"Hello, is your refrigerator running? Yes? Well, you better go catch it!"
If you ever prank called someone like that when you were a kid, don't feel bad—according to Russell Crowe, Michael Jackson found this type of humor funny well into adulthood. In fact, the actor tells the U.K.'s The Guardian that the King of Pop used to prank call him with an equally cheesy joke "for two or three f--king years."
"I never met him, never shook his hand," says Crowe, "but he found out the name I stayed in hotels under, so it didn't matter where I was, he'd ring up do this kind of thing, like you did when you were 10, you know. 'Is Mr. Wall there? Is Mrs. Wall there? Are there any Walls there? Then what's holding the roof up? Ha ha.' You're supposed to grow out of doing that, right?"
Crowe's prank calls from Jackson were bizarre, but Al-Qaeda's purported plan to kidnap him back in 2001 was downright scary. "I still really don't know to this day what the f--k that was all about," he tells The Guardian. "All I know is, I arrived in L.A., got to my hotel, as I'd done umpteen times before, started unpacking, and there was a knock at the door and a team of FBI guys wanted to sit down and discuss something with me. And then, for nearly two years, they were always around. I remember going to the Golden Globes and having, like, 16 security guys with me. I don't even know why. They wouldn't give me any details. And of course, people were like: 'Look at him, he thinks he's f--king Elvis.' And then one day they just weren't there any more."
Crowe himself had nothing to do with that unfortunate series of events, but he is responsible for some of the comments he makes stirring up controversy. Take, for example, the 2014 interview with Australia's Women's Weekly in which he said rather bluntly, "Hollywood actresses need to act their age."
In his latest interview with The Guardian, Crowe clarifies he was merely trying to point out that as you age, "the types of roles you play change."
"But what I said about knowing 40-year-old women who are absolutely certain that because they eat the right things, they do yoga, look after their bodies...they look sensational, but that still doesn't mean they look 21," says Crowe, 50. "In their eyes, there's not the ingenue kind of innocence. I can't be the gladiator any more [like he was in 2000's Gladiator]. I don't have that kind of physicality."
"Look...the thing that people are talking about in terms of ageism or sexism or whatever, that's prevalent everywhere and it's male and female," he says. "I'm just saying: be comfortable in your own skin. Sure, you know, if you're lucky enough you get to be the ingenue, but then at a certain point, you're the dowager. But enjoy playing that role, too."