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    G'day, Mate: Russell's Wedding Plans

    How's this for a birthday present?

    Russell Crowe and his longtime squeeze, actress-singer Danielle Spencer, have selected April 7 as the big day, his publicist confirmed.

    Crowe's Australian rep, Wendy Day, announced that the date was chosen by Spencer because it just so happens to be the same day the Oscar-winning star of Gladiator turns 39.

    Crowe and his betrothed will tie the knot in a small ceremony on his remote ranch just north of Sydney. About 80 family members and close friends will descend on the small chapel situated on Crowe's Nana Glen property, near the coastal resort of Coffs Harbor in the state of New South Wales.

    The nondenominational chapel is where the actor's brother, Terry, tied the knot with his fiancée, Melissa, last year.

    For his nuptials, however, Crowe is planning to add on to the building, which contains symbols from various religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Celtic, Catholicism, Orthodox, Nordic and Maori.

    And in the spirit of his Gladiator alter ego General Maximus, he has installed a Roman mosaic, dating back to the third century that features two fish caught on a hook as its showpiece, on the chapel floor.

    According to Day, the locals call the site "St. Russell's Basilica," though Spencer jokingly refers to it as "Sacre Crowe," a twist on Paris' famed Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart) basilica.

    "Danie loves it," Day said. "She is overwhelmed by the simple elegance of the building, its permanence and the chivalry of the idea."

    Crowe, who has developed a big-time fetish for antiquities since his rise to stardom, also just put in a stained-glass window from a now defunct Sydney Church. Day said the window had been sitting in the actor's garage "waiting for the right home."

    In preparing for the big day, Crowe reportedly whisked Spencer and their parents off to Europe, where they met with Italian designer Giorgio Armani about Spencer's wedding dress and custom-ordered diamond rings from Cartier.

    The New Zealand-born Beautiful Mind star got down on bended knee for Spencer last November.

    The twosome first were introduced to each other in 1990 when they both appeared in the Australian film The Crossing. After dating off and on throughout the '90s, both split up when Crowe's Hollywood career took off with L.A. Confidential.

    Spencer, 32, spent her post-Russell time working on her solo debut album, White Monkey, and touring Down Under. Her beau, meanwhile, famously dated Meg Ryan (helping sink her marriage to Dennis Quaid), palled around with "good friend" Nicole Kidman (during her breakup with Tom Cruise) and toured with his band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, before reuniting with Spencer. (Coincidentally, Crowe's band is slated to release their next album on April 8.)

    Because of Crowe's busy schedule, the couple needed to set a date soon to make sure they had time to honeymoon. Crowe's shooting two films in the first half of 2003--the boxing saga Cinderella Man and the World War II drama The Long Green Shore, which also marks his debut as a director. He'll also be making the promotional rounds in May for the June release of the 18th-century naval actioner The Far Side of the World.

    This will be Crowe's first trip to the altar.

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