Speaking with GQ for a retrospective video on his career published Monday, Crowe recalled when he told the studio to put its weight behind Giamatti, not himself, during awards season. Crowe, who had already won an Oscar for 2000’s Gladiator, explained that when he did 1999’s The Insider, Al Pacino told the studio to “back the kid,” meaning Crowe.
“Paul Giamatti’s mom died during the course of shooting Cinderella Man, and I made her a promise on the phone that Paul was such an incredible actor, that he would be nominated,” Crowe said. “And the studio asked me what I wanted to do, and I said, ‘Back the kid.’ And Paul Giamatti got an Academy Award nomination.”
In a different segment, Crowe revealed that he believed he was going to be replaced with Sean Penn on L.A. Confidential.
“I was flown in and put up in a hotel during the time that we were supposed to be rehearsing,” Crowe told GQ. “And I’ve got friends in the business who were telling me that Sean Penn was going to be playing my role.”
Crowe continued, “At one point in time, they stop paying my hotel bill and rental car bill, stop providing me with per diem … so it got pretty heavy. I felt all that going on around me, and the only thing I had to go off of was the assurance of the director that he’d made his choice. So I just kept turning up to work. I think if there was ever a day that I gotten frustrated, and I hadn’t turned up to work, that would have been the chink in the armor they used to ship me out of the role.”
Watch the full video below.