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A Lasting Impression

Russell Crowe’s encounter with a young fan proves more inspiring than expected.

Russell Crowe in a publicity shot from Gladiator

Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe can be, well, cantankerous. But not with fans, as he revealed one day several years ago, watching some British schoolboys play his favorite sport, rugby.

Russell was filming a scene for a movie at their boarding school in Buckinghamshire. Between takes, one of the lads jogged up to Russell and extended his hand. “Hi, my name’s Henry. I am considering becoming an actor. Any tips?”

Taken by the boy’s boldness, Russell gave him a few words of advice. He also took down the boy’s address.

Back home a few days later, he sent his young fan a box of fun things: a rugby jersey, some sweets and snacks from Australia, a CD and a signed photo of himself in the movie Gladiator, along with the message, “Dear Henry, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

As Russell recalled, “I figured the greatest thing you could get when you’re in boarding school is unexpected mail.

Twelve years later, in 2012, Russell signed on to play the role of Jor-El, Superman’s father, in Man of Steel. To get in shape for the part, he began going to a gym on location in Naperville, Illinois.

Working out with him one day was his young costar, who had just won the role of Superman over a who’s who of high-profile hopefuls. Russell went to introduce himself, but stopped in his tracks. There was something familiar about this new actor. “Have we met before?” Russell asked.

“Do you remember a boarding-school kid who came and talked to you about twelve years ago?” the actor said.

“That’s right,” Russell said, shaking his hand. “Henry Cavill. Good to see you again!”


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