Actor Russell Crowe recently discussed why Hollywood shies away from portraying strong and capable male heroes in its films.

Russell Crowe as Maximus in Gladiator (2000), Universal Pictures

During a discussion with YouTuber The Critical Drinker aka Will Jordan, the two were discussing Crowe’s role as Captain Jack Aubrey in 2003’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

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After Crowe briefly touched on why the film did not perform as well at the box office as what it should have done, he transitioned to how the film has finally begun to find its audience among people in their 30s.

Crowe said, “There was an article recently in GQ asking the question, you know, why are so many 30-year-olds obsessed with Master and Commander? And there’s a lot of reasons. And one of the things that they said in the article was that they believe because everybody on board the boat and it’s a very masculine situation on board that boat, you know, but everybody has a job. Everybody’s on this adventure together. They’re all willing to work as a unit. They’re all willing to be led by this one guy. In fact, they love that guy and they want to do their very best for this guy.”

“And at the end of their exploration of it it’s like is this because this is masculinity without the toxicity. This is masculinity in an almost pure way where there is a job to be done and we’re all going to do it. We’re facing great danger and blah, blah, blah, all those cool things. And all those sort of boys on adventure things,” he said.

Russell Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), 20th Century Fox

Jordan then asked, “That’s the thing that we seem to be missing so much nowadays in cinema, is like this idea that you can have like strong masculine role models and they don’t have to be these overbearing toxic arseholes. They can be just strong and capable and competent and good at what they do, and something to aspire to.”

“But it’s like so many films to shy away from that now and I don’t really understand why that’s happening, but it’s frustrating because, like you say, that’s why guys are gravitating to these older movies that are giving them that,” he added.

Russell Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), 20th Century Fox

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Crowe responded, “The interesting thing about Master and Commander, it might not be exactly equal but there’s definitely a balance between male and female. So it’s not just that young men are reaching for it. Girls in their 30s are watching it as well. So it’s very interesting.”

“But we do seem to emphasize the faults in our heroes, but I supposed that cynicism has grown,” he continued. “So many times we’re told somebody is a righteous person or whatever and then X amount of time goes by and you realize that person was involved in some very strange things.”

“I think quite often we tend to pick the wrong heroes in a public forum,” he concluded.

Russell Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), 20th Century Fox

Crowe recently starred as Father Gabriel Amorth in The Pope’s Exorcist and can be seen in the upcoming Kraven the Hunter film where he plays Kraven’s father believed to be Grand Duke Nikolai Kravinoff from the Marvel comics.

What do you make of his commentary about why Hollywood now shies away from depicting strong and capable male heroes?

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    John F. Trent
    Founder and Editor-in-Chief

    John is the Editor-in-Chief here at Bounding Into Comics. He is a massive Washington Capitals fan, lover of history, and likes to dabble in economics and philosophy.