“My Best Friend’s Wedding” was a charming romantic comedy when it was released in 1997. It’s okay if you don’t remember the movie from almost three decades ago, because if you ask Russell Crowe, the director of the movie remembers almost nothing. Or, at least, according to the actor, he has a distorted memory of the process of preparing for filming. In a recent interview, director P.J. Hogan stated that he originally wanted Crowe to play the role of best friend and romantic hero, playing alongside Julia Roberts. Hogan, however, stated that Crowe had a bad audition, and now the actor applauds this statement.
At the time the film was in production, Russell Crowe was mostly unknown to American audiences, but Julia Roberts was still thrilled with the success of one of the best romantic comedies of all time. According to P.J. Hogan, the problem with Crowe’s casting was that the actor gave a disastrous reading of the table, where he allegedly squeezed his script and barely made eye contact with the star of “Beauty.” As a result, the role of best friend went to Dermot Mulroney.
While the director said it was one of the worst readings he had ever gone through, the Gladiator actor claims there was never a reading at the table. He took to Twitter to challenge the director’s memory, saying that this story is a complete fiction on his part. The Oscar winner wrote:
Pure fantasy on behalf of this director. I didn’t audition for this movie. I have never read the table with the mentioned actress. It would be funny if it wasn’t so pointless.
The star claims that not only did the reading at the table not happen, but he also did not audition for the role. Admittedly, this seems to be a bit of what he said, he said the situation, making you wonder what exactly happened or didn’t happen.
It’s hard to imagine why P.J. Hogan would make up such a story about a twenty-five-year-old movie, whereas theoretically it can be argued that Russell Crowe’s pride could be at stake if he acknowledges the story. In fact, this is not the first time he has been involved in disputes about his participation in the production. In a previous interview, Crowe stated that the original Gladiator script was terrible, and hinted that it helped him succeed. But one of the film’s producers suggested that Crowe’s contribution was greatly exaggerated.
What’s most interesting about the actor’s reaction to this recent situation is how he refers to Julia Roberts as the “mentioned actress” and not by name. It’s hard to say why he didn’t mention her directly, but there’s a chance it could have been his way of just keeping her from getting further involved in the discussion.
At the time of the release of “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” Julia Roberts was a megastar. P.J. Hogan said in the same interview that because the actress had such power on the best list, she had a lot to say about the production of the film. To be honest, it would be interesting to hear from Roberts about whether the allegedly catastrophic reading of the table really took place.
It is likely that we will never know who is telling the truth here, unless Julia Roberts or someone else in the know confirms the stories of Russell Crowe or P.J. Hogan. In the meantime, we have another interesting anecdote related to one of the most beloved films of the 90s.
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