Actor Russell Crowe said Monday he quit an epic movie about the Australian outback co-starring Nicole Kidman because he doesn’t do “charity work” for major studios.
The New Zealand-born Australian actor had been scheduled to star in the as-yet untitled film directed by Baz Luhrmann, but dropped out and was replaced by another Australian actor, Hugh Jackman, in June. At the time, no reason for the cast change was announced.
“I just didn’t want to work on that movie in the type of environment that was being created because of the needs of the budget,” Crowe told reporters while promoting his new movie, director Ridley Scott’s “A Good Year,” in New York.
“I do charity work, but I don’t do charity work for major studios.”
The Luhrmann movie was due to begin production this month, but has been pushed back to February because of scheduling conflicts and budget debates with 20th Century Fox, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
A spokesman for 20th Century Fox had no immediate comment.
Media reports have put the budget for the ambitious film at between $150 million and $175 million.
Luhrmann, director of the hit musical “Moulin Rouge,” has described the film to Australian newspapers as a sweeping romance in the same vein as “Gone with the Wind” and on the scale of David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia.”
He said the film would be set in Australia from the mid-1930s leading up to the Japanese bombing of the tropical northern city of Darwin in World War Two.
Crowe and Kidman were scheduled to have starred together in another Australian movie, based on the novel “Eucalyptus,” but the project collapsed last year because of difficulties with the script.
“It will come around when it’s supposed to come around,” Crowe said of filming a movie in Australia.
“The unfortunate thing about the way the media works these days, before the idea is even really solidified in people’s heads it’s already front page news. The film business is very complicated.”