Saturday, November 04, 2006

Aussie Russell Crowe Enjoys Petanque

During the filming of the new Russell Crowe film: "A Good Year" in the Luberon region in the South of France, it was learned that the actors and film crew would relax each Friday with competitive games of boule.

I found this excerpt of a journal entry witnessing the festivities:

We made plans to go to the Friday night wrap party held every week, and hosted by Mr Crowe. At 5 PM we returned to the chateau set and the party. They wrapped shooting early so preparations were beginning when we arrived. I was so pleased to meet Jocelyn and Alex Crowe. Jocelyn and I had some lovely quiet time chatting and getting to know one another. Two chefs were busy preparing an amazing feast including couscous, hamburgers and steak sandwiches. The hamburgers were made by Alex Crowe. There were other crew members there. It was an exciting group of people from all over the globe. If you sat and listened, you could hear French, Italian, Australian, Irish, British and American voices all around you!

Russell was there already, and Ridley arrived with Branko Lustig, the film’s producer. We got to speak to Ridley briefly - a very funny and warm man. He told us he is local. He's been living on the other side of the mountain for 14 years. Food was eaten, drinks were drunk, and then we moved over to the next area where a court had been set up for this film’s game, petanque, the French version of bocce. Russell has a different game for the cast and crew for each of his films, In Master & Commander, it was rugby, in Cinderella Man, the Ugly T Shirt contest. We also got a chance at the court to meet Dani, who had arrived with her Dad, Don Spencer, and her brother. She was so lovely and warm, and thanked us for Charlie's books.

Russell’s team, “Le Porte Rouge”, and Ridley's, “The Insiders”, were the first to play. Russell's team won a close contest. After he had finished his game, he joined us on the benches set up for spectators. He and I had time for a quiet chat, and that was much enjoyed. He even talked me into trying some red wine, a fine Chateau Neuf du Pape (a 1995 Vieux Telegraph), and showed me how to taste and drink it properly.

Since we had to be ready at 5 AM the next morning to begin our long trek back to the USA, Mary Beth and I left at 10 PM, in the middle of Keith’s game. He and his teammates, Mickey and David Oliver, “The Three Didilos”, make a great entrance in costume, waving and bowing to the crowd. I heard later they lost a close game. The whole contest/game was such fun, for us to see, and for the cast and crew to bond in the competition.