Oscar winner Russell Crowe has been having fun with his choice of roles lately, and there’s none more fun than a Vespa-riding, joke-cracking professional exorcist, as Travis Johnson found out when he spoke to the Gladiator himself.

If you tuned into Wrestlemania this week, you were treated to the unusual sight of Russell Crowe, in character (sans Italian accent) as Father Gabriele Amorth, the protagonist of his new film The Pope’s Exorcist, introducing the Hell in a Cell match between Edge and Fin Balor.

It’s not the wildest bit of cross-promotion we’ve ever seen. It’s not even Crowe’s most playful in-character appearance (that’d be his turn as Romper Stomper’s Hando on Australian sketch comedy The Late Show back in the day). But it is a bit odd, given that Amorth, who died in 2016, was a real guy—and a real exorcist.

Chatting over Zoom, Crowe explains that what drew him to the project was not the subject matter or the genre, but the real man at the centre of the film.

“Yeah, it is a weird one,” he muses. “And it was actually probably slightly weirder when I first read it. But what started to interest me was the central character, you know? So, I read what was in the script, and then I went off and did my own little research. And then everything that I found out about Amorth just made me more interested.”

Read more at Flicks.

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