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Proof of Life

Much of Proof of Life was shot in Ecuador, a place, Russell Crowe later declared, "where you just cannot predict what's going to go on":

"One day we were shooting in the San Francisco square," Crowe told Jay Leno, "and there were a couple of thousand extras, and we were about two takes into it, and from a brilliantly sunny day, all of a sudden, we're in the middle of a massive hailstorm, you know? So, everybody scatters, and I grabbed Meg, and we ran into the first doorway. And what happened to be a... men's public toilet...

"So, there's about thirty other people in there, and they go, 'Hi!'... and then a couple of seconds after the rain hits, the sewage system backs up, and a big thing just bursts out of the wall... So we're standing at the edge of the door, looking at those other people, knee deep in...

"And so we thought, 'This isn't a good place to go,' so it's back out into the hailstorm, and into the next doorway, which is a 15th century cathedral, you know? Full of all these beautiful carved things on the wall, and quiet, so we got asked to go out the back door, so we went out into this square.

"And we saw this group of schoolgirls standing over in a corner, you know, in their Catholic uniforms, with their little sailor's uniforms... So we go over to see what they're looking at, and there was a guitar player, and a blind accordian bloke, and they were doin' this song...

"And all the girls started singin,' and we got caught up in that. And that was magnificent. And the bloke said to me, 'Would you like to play a song?' So I said, 'Oh, what the heck?' so I grabbed the guitar, and played 'Folsum Prison Blues,' a Johnny Cash song...

"And now it turned into a scene from a Beatles movie, right? I got thirty Catholic school girls that just won't leave me alone... And Meg thinks this is hilarious, and I'm tryin' to get back to work...

"So, we finally go back out to the square, we put the 2000 extras back in place, and then my eyes started waterin'. I'm thinkin, 'What's this?' I look around. Everybody's doin the same thing...

"There was a riot on the other side of the place. The police tear gassed every body... And this is 11:30..."

"Right," Leno laughed. "It's not even lunch yet!"

[Among Russell's briefly-held jobs? Busker, horse wrangler and (seriously) bingo caller.]

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