Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
 

Russell Crowe used to Receive Ridiculous Prank Calls from Michael Jackson

Steve Palace
Photos by Eva Rinaldi CC BY-SA 2.0 and Casta03 CC BY-SA 2.0
Photos by Eva Rinaldi CC BY-SA 2.0 and Casta03 CC BY-SA 2.0

If there’s one celebrity not to get on the wrong side of, it’s Russell Crowe. The onscreen hard man appears just as tough away from the camera.

His no nonsense approach to stardom has earned him both respect and ridicule. Some see his irritation at playing the showbiz game as refreshing, though it has led to some famously temperamental behavior.

Russell Crowe (seen here in 2012) received critical praise for his performance in Gladiator and won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Photo by Eva Rinaldi CC BY-SA 2.0

Russell Crowe (seen here in 2012) received critical praise for his performance in Gladiator and won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Photo by Eva Rinaldi CC BY-SA 2.0

The Australian actor had been in hot water before after a notorious phone-throwing incident in the early Noughties. It’s safe to say getting on his nerves wouldn’t be the most advisable move.

However if one individual could get away with it, it was Michael Jackson.

Jackson performing in 1988. Photo by Gaston S/Kpo! 09 CC BY-SA 3.0

Jackson performing in 1988. Photo by Gaston S/Kpo! 09 CC BY-SA 3.0

Whilst promoting his directorial debut The Water Diviner, Crowe revealed a secret and somewhat silly connection between himself and the King of Pop.

When staying at hotels around the world, Crowe would use the pseudonym Mr. Wall. Somehow Michael Jackson found out about this and hilarity ensued. This time however, Crowe was answering the phone rather than using it as a projectile. The voice on the end of the line was strangely familiar.

Russell Crowe on the set of movie Gladiator, being filmed at Bourne Wood. Photo by Ken Goff/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Russell Crowe on the set of movie Gladiator, being filmed at Bourne Wood. Photo by Ken Goff/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Speaking to the Guardian in 2015, he described the prank calls from Michael he used to get:  “he’d ring up [and] 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.’”

Crowe’s reaction to Jackson’s calls, which were numerous, was one of surprise rather than savagery. “You’re supposed to grow out of doing that, right?” he asked the journalist.

Michael Jackson performing his song ‘Jam’ as part of his Dangerous world tour in Europe in 1992. Photo by Casta03 CC BY-SA 3.0

Michael Jackson performing his song ‘Jam’ as part of his Dangerous world tour in Europe in 1992. Photo by Casta03 CC BY-SA 3.0

Had the artist been in the same room as the star, the response may well have been different.

Not long after his breakthrough success in 2000’s Gladiator, Crowe reportedly got into a scuffle with a businessman in a London restaurant. The same year, according to the Guardian, he “pinned the (Bafta) show’s television producer against a wall and subjected him to a barrage of abuse after a poem recital intended as part of his acceptance speech was cut.”

Russell Crowe facing off against tiger in a scene from the film Gladiator (2000). Photo by Universal/Getty Images

Russell Crowe facing off against tiger in a scene from the film Gladiator (2000). Photo by Universal/Getty Images

Despite risking the wrath of Crowe, Jackson continued calling him for around 3 years. That’s a whole lot of pranking. It isn’t clear if it was being done out of admiration for the actor’s work or just for the music legend’s amusement.

Jackson had form for elaborate gags, as mentioned by actress Rashida Jones. With her father being producer Quincy Jones, she spent time with the pop juggernaut and witnessed his antics first hand.

Rashida Jones. Photo by Stephanie Moreno/Grady College CC BY-SA 2.0

Rashida Jones. Photo by Stephanie Moreno/Grady College CC BY-SA 2.0

Quoted in the Huffington Post in 2011, she said “He was definitely a little bit of an alien, for sure, and when I was young, it felt as if he was my age, not 18 years older…”

One incident involved a water pistol. “Later, we’d go out on the town together. He always wore those surgical masks… (we) got in a car with Super Soakers and went by a movie theater and supersoaked the hell out of people waiting in line. They had no idea they’d just been supersoaked by the King of Pop.”

Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009) performs the dance from ‘Thriller’, circa 1984. Photo by Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009) performs the dance from ‘Thriller’, circa 1984. Photo by Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

This appears to have been a recurring theme, as during a Jimmy Kimmel interview, director Brett Ratner told the host that “he was sleeping in ‘The Elizabeth Taylor Suite’ when Michael’s voice floated in via intercom.”

He then went “on a trip he’ll never forget. They ended up at the bathroom of a 7-Eleven convenience store, filling up water balloons with Jackson wearing a Hulk mask.”

The eye-opening punchline was the random homeless person who was selected as the target, before suffering the indignity of being pelted with the balloons. Michael Jackson’s humor trod a fine line between “funny ha ha” and “funny peculiar.”

Read another story from us: Michael Jackson and why the press called him Wacko Jacko

When he passed away in 2009, people had lots of stories to tell. Russell Crowe’s contribution certainly fits into the peculiar category. The pair never came face to face. By the sounds of it, that’s probably for the best.