Russell Crowe: Back in Shape

I went to see Russell Crowe’s new film Robin Hood yesterday. Reasonably enjoyable film, a sort of prequel where the story is about all that took place leading up to his "outlaw" status, so stand by for the sequel. At any rate, some weeks ago when I first learned of the film by seeing the trailer, I recall thinking to myself, ‘thank God Crowe got a role forcing him to get back in shape.’

There’s a few other male celebs out there not fairing so well (HT: Diana), though that collection is missing two of the worst: Val Kilmer and Alec Baldwin, though I think the latter is finally losing some of that fat. But anyway, here’s how good and bad it got for Russell Crowe, Gladiator (2000) and in 2008 when he was doing roles like Body of Lies and State of Play.

Russell After and Before
Russell Crowe After and Before

And now, pretty much back again. Good job.

Russell Crowe Redemption
Russell Crowe Redemption

There was a shirtless scene in the film. Weird I couldn’t find that anywhere, and while he wasn’t sporting six-pack abs, his abdominal muscles were clearly in view and he otherwise had excellent form & definition. Again, good job.

I attempted to research how he did it, but there’s not a lot really specific. Of course, all the speculation always focusses on his "workouts." Bullshit! That kind of transformation simply has to happen, first & foremost, in the kitchen.

According to this year old interview with Matt Lauer, Crowe says he was already in the process of losing the weight from Body of Lies when he accepted the role for State of Play and had to halt the loss for that.

Well, on the other hand, here’s one that briefly mentions diet.

…while 45-year-old Crowe has worked hard to get himself into the kind of shape he was in for his Oscar-winning performance in Gladiator. The muffins and cheeseburgers he is said to have gorged on for Body of Lies have been replaced by peanuts, apricots and porridge and Crowe has also been on a daily cycling regime.

And well over a year ago, Ridley Scott got it completely right.

When asked if Russell Crowe could ditch the weight on evidence in Body Of Lies (and to be fair, it seems to be Crowe’s usual condition these days), Scott replied: "Oh that is silly. All that stuff is bullshit. He is going to be totally fit. That is not a problem at all."

Well what a relief. Crowe is really a top-notch actor and I’ve always liked his work. I’d been well aware of him getting all fat but wasn’t aware of whether he’d just let himself go or had been doing it for a role. I guess it was really the latter.

So, all you paleos and low-carbers, what amount of money would it take to get you to do that to yourself?

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  1. Margaret on May 16, 2010 at 14:41

    When your image is your stock and trade and your name is gold, you can devote 24 hours a day to it! I’d do it. I found this summary of Robert Downey Jr.’s transformation between S.H. and Ironman interesting (especially since I like kettlebells), adding muscle over four weeks. There’s a brief sentence about diet, upped the protein and “calories”, which I assume means fat.

  2. Dave C. on May 16, 2010 at 12:35

    I would be a liar if I said I wouldn’t risk my health for any amount of money. A blockbuster movie salary is nothing to shrug off for sure. Thankfully, we have plenty of evidence indicating how quickly the body can repair itself and return to a healthy state when returned to evolutionarily appropriate food types and exercise levels. To be honest though, it is fairly easy to start putting on fat while trying to become fit. Cortisol can become pretty counter-productive if not managed properly.

  3. MarkD on May 16, 2010 at 14:39

    I have to be honest – I would definitely do it for five million pounds. Perhaps it would shorten my life, but I could give up work, thus saving myself forty hours a week, which would in effect add years to my life……

  4. Debbie on May 16, 2010 at 23:03

    Ahhh… My two favorite topics — Russell Crowe and low carb eating — combined into one.

    Great post. Thanks. And keep up the great work.

  5. Aitor on May 17, 2010 at 03:30

    A similar amazing transformation was made by Tim Ferris when he prepared for the National Chinese Kickboxing Championship. He lost lots of pounds by means of de-hydratation and just before the competition he re-gained them all. Obviously, he won by pure brute force. He out-weighed his opponents and pulled them out of the ring. Tricky but effective :)
    I would never risk my health this way. Well, maybe for a decent amount…
    Great blog! Greetings from Spain.

    • Bane on May 17, 2010 at 12:36

      Pulling the guys out of the ring was tricky, but the weight loss and rehydration is something that most fighters do before every fight. Nothing unusual about that.

  6. Austin on May 17, 2010 at 06:25

    Great to see Crowe back in shape after all these years.

    As for gaining weight, I don’t think I’ll know the answer until the money is actually waved in front of my face. I’m kinda enjoying looking good naked right now!

  7. Sam on May 17, 2010 at 07:29

    By excluding transfats, excess and imbalanced PUFAs, fructose, wheat and soy I think it’s easy to gain plenty of fat without sacrificing your health: just eat lots of starch (-> glucose) or glucose (including lactose -> galactose+glucose -> glucose).

    You’ll get fat but likely not obese (ie, without pathological insulin resistance leading to central body obesity). Possibly very fat indeed, like a bear preparing for hibernation, but without a chronic inflammation.

    Anybody want to give it a try? ;-)

  8. Ned Kock on May 17, 2010 at 08:22

    I saw Kilmer in a movie called “Felon” recently (link below). He was not in shape, but he was superb in the role he played.

    Getting reasonably in shape is hard, but not that hard. What is really difficult is to get rid of that last stubborn subcutaneous abdominal/thigh/hip fat (depending on whether you are a man or woman), especially if you are older than 40.

    I guess the aboriginals on the photo below (link) have found the formula:

    • gallier2 on May 17, 2010 at 10:00

      Oh my non god. It was Val Kilmer who played the role of the long time convict? I didn’t even recognize him!

  9. Janey on May 17, 2010 at 11:22

    Re: the “male stars before and after” link….GEEZ…are people not allowed to age anymore? Rod Stewart is 65. Clint Eastwood is a couple of weeks short of 80. And Roger Moore is 83!

    • Richard Nikoley on May 17, 2010 at 11:31


      Sure, people can age, but we have lots of clear examples of people aging very well and that’s the only point. Aging does not imply any necessity to get fat & flabby. Of course, everybody can do whatever they want. These are merely examples.

      • Janey on May 17, 2010 at 13:10

        Don’t come back and be reasonable! I’m feeling cranky today. ;-)

      • Elizabeth on May 18, 2010 at 10:34

        Here’s an example of someone aging very well. John Turner was 67 when this photo was taken.

  10. Janey on May 17, 2010 at 11:31
  11. Joseph on May 17, 2010 at 13:42

    I would never do that to myself, not for any amount of money. Feeling well is more important to me than being rich or producing great art, I guess.

  12. Great links for the weekend! on June 4, 2010 at 13:03

    […] been a bit disturbed by his chunkiness is Body of Lies so I was really pleased to hear that he has leaned out successfully for Robin […]

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