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Book Claims Russell Crowe Threatened To Kill Veteran Producer With Bare Hands

April 28, 2010 Russell Crowe, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott

Russell Crowe apparently threatened to kill a veteran producer with his bare hands, a new book claims. A tell-all book by Nicole LaPorte claims the New Zealand-born, naturalized Australian actor phoned 77-year-old "Gladiator" producer Branko Lustig at 3 a.m. one day to threaten his life.

"The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks" reveals details about the making of "Gladiator," in which Crowe had starred in 2000.

According to an excerpt of the book obtained by Gawker, Crowe, who hadn't come to full stardom then, was incensed because he believed DreamWorks was paying his assistants cheaper than normal.

He allegedly called Lustig, a Holocaust survivor, at 3 a.m. in England, and said, "You motherf*****. I will kill you with my bare hands."

Lustig was so afraid that he called Steven Spielberg in Los Angeles to ask to leave the project.

The tome also mentions a time when the sometimes volatile star was unhappy with uttering the film's iconic line: "And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next." The scene called for his character, Maximus, to remove his helmet and reveal his identity.

Crowe thought the line was ridiculous so director Ridley Scott waited for his tantrum subside before filming.

When he finally relented to try the line and everyone agreed that it was a brilliant scene, the actor allegedly said, "It was sh** but I'm the greatest actor in the world and I can make even sh** sound good."

The "greatest actor in the world" denied the allegations in the book. He wrote on his Twitter: "on Gawker/Defamer, book re dreamworks lf mentions of me are eg's of distance from the truth waste of paper written by a lying horse's a**."

The book will be released May 4.

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By: Maverine Lane

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