Russell Crowe is refuting My Best Friend’s Wedding director P.J. Hogan’s anecdote about him giving a terrible table read opposite Julia Roberts during casting for the 1997 rom-com. And, Crowe isn’t just denying that his table read was bad — he’s saying that he never auditioned for the movie at all.
“Pure imagination on behalf of this director. I did not audition for this film. I have never done a table read with the actress mentioned. Would be funny if it wasn’t so pointless,” Crowe said in a tweet on Friday.
But Hogan remembers it differently.
In an excerpt from Scott Meslow’s book From Hollywood With Love: The Rise and Fall (And Rise Again) of the Romantic Comedy published by Vulture in February, Hogan explains how Russell Crowe had been his first choice for the part of Michael, a lifelong friend of Roberts’ character, Julianne, who she is secretly in love with.
“Russell was, I thought, probably the most amazing actor I had ever encountered. I kind of knew Russell was going to be a really big star,” Hogan said.
The role of Michael ended up going to Dermot Mulroney, and together, he and Julia Roberts pulled off an excellent will-they-won’t-they romance with Cameron Diaz’s character Kimberly — Michael’s fiancée — uncomfortably stuck in the middle.
Hogan said the reason he didn’t end up casting Russell Crowe as Michael was because of a particularly bad table read between him and Roberts. Again, Crowe denies that this ever happened.
“It was one of the worst table reads I’ve ever experienced. Russell was seated opposite Julia. He gripped that script, and he stared at that script, and he didn’t look at her once. He read every line in a monotone. At one point, Julia was literally leaning over the table, staring, like, inches from Russell’s face, trying to make eye contact. And he wouldn’t look at her. At the end of the reading, Russell came up to me and said, ‘I thought that went pretty well.’ And then I knew: Russell was not going to be in My Best Friend’s Wedding,” Hogan said.
Ultimately, the final choice of who would play the other main characters in the film came down to Roberts, who had casting approval, according to Hogan. He ultimately convinced her to let Cameron Diaz play Kimberly instead of her favorite, Drew Barrymore, by promising to cast Mulroney in the role of Michael.
Reps for Crowe and Hogan did not immediately respond to MovieMaker’s request for comment, nor did Roberts’ reps respond to a question about whether she remembers Crowe auditioning for the role of Michael. So, for now, it seems like Hogan and Crowe will have to agree to disagree.
Main Image: Julia Roberts and Dermot Mulroney in My Best Friend’s Wedding