Russell Crowe Claps Back At My Best Friend’s Wedding Director’s Claim That He Gave A Poor Audition Alongside Julia Roberts

Russell Crowe in Thor: Love and Thunder
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

My Best Friend's Wedding was a charming romantic comedy hit when it was released in 1997. It's okay if you don't remember the almost three-decades-old film because, if you ask Russell Crowe, the film's director barely does. Or at least, according to the actor, he has a skewed memory of the pre-production process. In a recent interview, director P.J. Hogan asserted that he initially wanted Crowe in the part of the best friend and romantic lead, playing opposite Julia Roberts. Hogan, however, claimed that Crowe gave a poor audition and, now, the actor has clapped back at the claim.

At the time the movie was in production, Russell Crowe was mainly unknown to a US audience, but Julia Roberts was still hot off the success of being in one the best romantic comedies of all time. According to the P.J. Hogan, the problem with casting Crowe was that the actor gave a disastrous table read where he allegedly clenched his script and barely made eye contact with the star of Pretty Woman. And as a result, the best friend role ultimately went to Dermot Mulroney. 

While the filmmaker said it was one of the worst readings he had ever been through, the Gladiator actor claims the table read never even occurred. He took to Twitter to challenge the director's memory, saying that the story is a complete fabrication on his part. The Oscar winner wrote:

Pure imagination on behalf of this director. I did not audition for this film. I have never done a table read with the actress mentioned. Would be funny if it wasn't so pointless.

The star claims that not only did the table read not happen, but he never auditioned for the part. Admittedly, this seems to be a bit of he said, he said situation, leaving one to wonder what exactly did or didn't occur.

It's hard to imagine why P.J. Hogan would fabricate such a story about a twenty-five-year-old film, whereas one could theoretically argue that Russell Crowe's pride could be on the line if he acknowledges the story. This actually isn't the first time he's been involved in a back-and-forth about his involvement in a production. In a past interview, Crowe claimed the original Gladiator script was terrible and implied that he helped shape it into the success it became. But one of the film's producers suggested that Crowe's contributions had been greatly exaggerated

What's most interesting about the actor's response in this more recent situation is how he addresses Julia Roberts as "the actress mentioned" instead of by name. It's hard to say why he would not explicitly mention her, but there's a chance that may have been his way of simply keeping her from getting brought into the discussion even further.

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 A-List power, she had a lot of say over the film's production. It'd honestly be interesting to hear from Roberts as to whether or not the allegedly disastrous table read ever did take place.

It's likely that we'll never really know who's telling the truth here unless Julia Roberts or someone else in the know corroborates either Russell Crowe or P.J. Hogan's stories. Until then, we simply have another interesting anecdote connected to one of the most beloved movies of the '90s.

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Ryan graduated from Missouri State University with a BA in English/Creative Writing.