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FOR THE MOMENT, CROWE FLIES HIGH
Cast, crew share memories of Oscar nominee
by Diane Nelson
Brandon Sun ~ March 22, 2001
Russell Crowe -- Hollywood movie star, sex symbol, two-time Oscar nominee -- eagerly wanting company and spending the evening alone?
Impossible, you say. Not quite.
It happened right here in Brandon.
"The first night he got into town, he wanted desperately to do something that night and I had a family commitment I just had to be at," recalled Dave Mahoney, who was location manager on For the Moment, a feature film starring Crowe that was shot in and around the Wheat City in 1992.
"The poor guy ended up spending the first night literally on his own. I had no choice -- I had to leave. And it's kind of funny, looking back and the kind of star he is now, and I had a quick drink with him and then I just dumped him."
The Australian actor, whose leading role in the sword-and-sandal epic, Gladiator won him an Academy Award nomination this year for best actor (the movie is also up for best motion picture), spent six weeks in Brandon during the filming of For the Moment, his first movie in North America.
And those who spent time with Crowe during his stint in these parts had mixed reactions to the sometimes temperamental performer.
One person involved with the film had an intense response when asked his opinion of the now-mega-star.
"Anything I could say about Russell Crowe wouldn't be fit to print," he said vehemently.
But Reg Forbes, president of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum where much of the filming for the Second World War-era flick took place, said the veterans at the museum thought Crowe was an "OK guy."
"We worked with him when it came to some of the technical aspects of the production," Forbes said. "We got along with him fine.
"He asked a heck of a lot of questions that were irrelevant to the film, but he seemed to be very interested.
"Of course, there was a lot of Australians trained here, and he was interested in some of their history."
And Forbes said those connected with Crowe during his stint in Brandon were pleased by his rise to fame south of the border.
"Of course we expected him to do good because we trained him," Forbes joked. "I don't pay much attention to the Oscars and that kind of stuff, but it's nice to see that he went the way he did."
Crowe was nominated for his first best actor Oscar last year for his turn opposite Al Pacino in the tobacco industry expose, The Insider.
He's worked with other show biz luminaries -- Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman in The Quick and the Dead.
Mahoney, who now runs his own Brandon-based production company, Konamerra Films, said Crowe was nothing but professional in his dealings with crew members. And while there was a brashness to the young actor, he had the talent to back up his degree of self-confidence.
"He was very hard on himself, and maybe that's why he's so good," Mahoney said. "From what I saw, as far as his temperament on set, I've seen a lot worse, that's for sure. And from a lot less gifted.
"He was good, he knew he was good, and he expected good things from himself."
And while Crowe could be a bit volatile, Mahoney remembers how quickly the actor could switch from irritation to interest in the personal lives of his acquaintances.
In one instance, Crowe was fuming about something, and then just seconds later, inquiring about Mahoney's twin daughters, Erin and Kayla.
"I think that's what I remember most about Russell, is the fact that he would be able to flip very quickly," Mahoney said.
"I remember him coming up and just very personably wanting to know about you -- just you. And he had the ability to remember things. It was touching. So he has that side to him."
Kim Johnston, the writer/director of For the Moment, who was raised on a farm near Oak Lake, has remained friends with Crowe since the two worked together.
Johnston said the actor's combination of presence, magnetism and skill results in a "real person to put in front of the camera."
"He's quite a perfectionist -- he's very professional," Johnston said. "He approaches his craft and his work with great intensity and preparation and a sense of perfectionism that is consummate. That's why he is where he is."
Johnston figures Crowe's sometimes unconventional approach to Hollywood -- his often-scruffy appearance and his near-contempt for the promotional process -- is partly just him and partly a contrivance to keep the crazy world of celebrity in perspective.
"I think he likes to be a maverick," Johnston said with a smile. "It's certainly part of his nature and the other part of it is that he likes to be a little bit of a disturber."
Johnston is hopeful his "old bud" will take home the hardware with a number of movies that he leaves his mark on, because I think it's going to be a good mark for cinema and for storytelling," Johnston said. "I think he's going to cut some of the bullshit out of things.
"If Russell's involved, chances are it'll be a little less processed. And so I think that's good for audiences.
AVIATOR TO GLADIATOR
The need for a dance hall sequence in For the Moment, filmed primarily in and around Brandon, resulted in the partial refurbishing of Albert Johnson's Palladium, a long-time dance emporium on Rosser Avenue, as well as the hiring of several local residents as extras.
Crowe and Christianne Hirt, who went on to become a regular in the television series Lonesome Dove, embrace on the shores of Grand Beach in a scene from the 1992 made-in-Manitoba movie For the Moment.
Russell Crowe is seen in character in the locally filmed For the Moment and in the Hollywood blockbuster Gladiator. He received an Oscar nomination for the latter role, the second such nod of his career.
Participants in the video include:
Archie Londry, Reg Forbes, Jack Hanlin, Frank McManes, Harry Smith, Alex
Matheson, Lyle Conquist, Stuart Johnson, Frank Bollman, Fred North, Marie
Graham, Tina Howell, Doug Longstaff, John Enns, Jack Stacy
The images of many of them as they appear in the video are displayed below:
Once again we are at the start of another year and a new century too. With our museum being as busy as it has been there has been little time for the usual reflection at the past year’s events. The winter has reduced our visitors but not the volume of projects that always seem to need immediate attention. I am very grateful for the constant development and improvement that evolve around our museum, a credit to the many dedicated volunteers.
One project that had been sought after by museum volunteers was the recording of veterans’ stories. The problem had always been, that we didn’t have the people to do it or the equipment. That all changed last August when we began our oral history project, funded mainly by Human Resources Development Canada. Katie Mackay, Kathy Makahoniuk, and Susan Green were hired and have been working tirelessly to preserve the many WWII stories people have shared. This material will be a wonderful treasure and a great resource. The oral history team has been a joy to work with and will be sorely missed by the volunteers and myself when the project ends this March. Thank you so much, Katie, Kathy and Susan.
Another major undertaking was the construction that began in June. The truss repair project has been difficult from the start and none of us were under the illusion it would be easy. We just never imagined that we would still have to deal with it in 2001. We are all looking forward to this spring when the museum can resume normal operations and ‘construction’ refers to Lyle, our darkroom volunteer building another display.
During 2000 our museum and volunteers received some well deserved recognition. It was an honour to be present at Brandon City Hall when CATPM volunteers received the Mayor’s Volunteer Service Award and at the same time volunteer Harry Hayward also won an award for his service to the museum and the community. This volunteer dedication resulted in the museum being chosen as Manitoba’s best interior site by Attraction’s Canada, as well for being honoured with a pennant commemorating the 60th anniversary of the BCATP. We were the only nonmilitary site to achieve this distinction. It was presented to us by Lt. Governor Peter Liba on behalf of the Governor General of Canada in recognition of our work in preserving the memory of the BCATP.
Our Special Theme Designation has continued to be a great asset to the museum. Not only does it allow me the pleasure of working for the CATP museum, but also the opportunity to work with five other special theme museums, Western Canada Aviation Museum, Manitoba Agricultural Museum, Costume Museum of Canada, Mennonite Heritage Village, and New Iceland Heritage Museum. This group collaboration helps increased awareness of our museum outside our local community and there is truth in the saying, ‘there is strength in numbers.’
We have much to look forward to in 2001. Truss construction will be completed, of this I can almost guarantee. Historic buildings will be brought to our site and some will be reconstructed. Our fundraising will begin for the overall redevelopment of the museum. These are just a few of the exciting milestones for this year and some of successes of last year. All of these projects were made possible by our fantastic volunteers and supportive members. I wish you health and happiness in the coming year and hope to see you at the museum!~Stephen Hayter
WOMEN OF THE WAR YEARS
Stories of Determination and Women
Whose Sacrifice Made An Incalculable Difference
to the Success of the War Effort
During World War II, almost 50,000 women served in Canada's Armed Services. Over 4,500 women were Nursing Sisters (all officers); 750,000 were in the war industry; 440,000 in civilian labour force and 760,000 on farms. Practically all these women were born before women were declared persons in Canada in 1929.
Women of the War Years is a record of the stories of women who faced challenges never dreamed of as they served in our Armed Services and worked for the war effort. Recorded here are the memories of a child who never knew her father until he returned from overseas after World War II. Other stories include the personal experiences of those women who lived through the occupation of their homeland by Nazi troops as well as the story of a child who survived 2 years in a Russian concentration camp. In addition, there are many stories of war brides who as young women experienced so much.
Women of the War Years is an important historical reference. Women of this era, who earned two-thirds of a man's pay for equal work unknowingly were the pioneers of a movement that would see their status improve.
A vital contribution and an impact on our history was made by these women. These stories document this fact. Those assisting with this project realized the need to record these stories before they would be lost with that generation. Several publications of men's experiences of that time were available but few were written about women.
Almost 200 submissions of women's personal stories were received from across Canada, the United States, Great Britain and New Zealand. Because of the assistance of family and friends , Women of the War Years became a reality and was published in October 2000.
Women of the War Years is a not-for-profit project. Proceeds, if any, will go towards assisting students in the health care field.
Peggy Galloway was the driving force for the collection of the stories of Women of the War Years.
For more information, she can be contacted at (204) 385-2935.
Visit the Women of the War Years site at:
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