RSVIP: Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks Fete "The Next Three Days"
Two years ago in Paris, Luxist happened to catch a small French thriller called "Pour Elle ('For Her')." The plot: Diane Kruger, a loving mother, is accused of murder and sent to jail. With no legal means left to get her out, her husband becomes involved with French criminals and creates a clever plot to break her out of prison. Kruger is ravishing in the film and speaks flawless French. When RSVIP was invited to the premiere of "The Next Three Days," a film by the Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis, a few details instantly recalled "Pour Elle." But Haggis had embellished the story and the chase scenes. Crowe plays the male lead, and Elizabeth Banks takes Kruger's role.
Olivia Wilde, wearing Celine on the carpet, who plays a mom Crowe meets on a playground, said that she had seen both features, French and American. "Diane is extraordinary in the original," said Wilde.
What's different? "Russell Crowe is one of the best living actors. My heart was pounding harder. They upped the stakes, upped the intensity."
Banks, wearing a unique black Versace getup with a clear plastic panel at her waist, also gave Kruger a nod. "Yes, I have seen the French version. Diane Kruger is great. I think she's an incredible actress," said Banks. "But we really have a totally different movie. The main thing that is different is the prison system in France. Apparently, they allow you to wear whatever you want, because she wore jeans and a sweater throughout the movie. And I'm in full prison garb . . . a serious drag. I'm not sure I'm pulling it off in a lot of scenes. She got to look much lovelier."
How did the coproducer end up with Elizabeth Banks as his love interest?
"We did a series of auditions with Paul Haggis," said Crowe. "And I said to him, 'On "A Beautiful Mind," we just met with the actresses, and Jennifer Connelly was the last one we met. So we met with everybody, and then there was some rumbling that they wanted to have a bigger name, so to speak. And I just said, 'You know, that's not cool.' Elizabeth won the day. She should have the role."
RZA, the rap star, began describing how he got the role of a street pusher with lyrics from Wu-Tang Clan: "Runnin' on the crime side, the New York Times side, stayin' alive is no jive. We had to sell drugs to live."
"To get the role," he continued. "I came in with the toughest look I could. I came in and said, 'I'm the man!"
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"We watched Russell's rugby team religiously," said Moran Atias, left, a curvy Israeli actress who plays Crowe's feisty sister-in-law. "He has his own team, Rabbitchs [South Sydney Rabbitohs]. The matches are recorded. And the whole crew watched. It's a very rough sport--not that I understood it." See "Invictus."
If Crowe's oncamera prep work slows the pace, wait for the last three quarters of the film, which offers at least one completely breathtaking action sequence. "I think I took a French film and made it darker and more complex," said Haggis. "But I loved the spare nature of the original."
And had Haggis considered using Kruger? "Stupidly," he said, "I did not. But you'll recognize the plot and some of the shots. The [French] director did a great job."
Liam Neeson, also on the red carpet, in a black leather jacket, has only one scene. "He's an author who has broken out of prison nine times and written a book about it," explained Haggis.
Anyone considering a heist might have started with the jewelry that Wilde and Banks wore that night. Banks had on two rubelites drop earrings of 32 carats and two pear-shaped rubelites by Stephen Russell, 70 carats. Wilde sparkled in a platinum-and-diamond deco bracelet by Russell circa 1928 with, count 'em, 380 diamonds.
When the suspense ended onscreen, after much cheering, the audience migrated to The Oak Room at the Plaza. Chef Eric Hara's inspired menu: mushroom and truffle fritters, braised short ribs, and caramelized beggar's purses.
Luxist encountered Crowe and Banks, as well as Adrien Brody, Gerard Butler, and Ben Stiller.
Feed them, and they will come.