Do You Recognize Russell Crowe?

10/24/2012 at 01:10 PM EDT

Russell Crowe Sports Long Beard for 'Noah'
Russell Crowe
SWAP/Splash News Online
Who's that man with the long beard and grey hair? Could it really be strapping Australian Russell Crowe?

Yep! The actor's newly disheveled appearance might make it seem like he's fallen on hard times, but Crowe is just getting seriously into character for an epic role as Noah – as in the Old Testament figure with the ark.

The star, 48, was spotted on the New York set of the Biblical saga Noah on Tuesday. His new look is a far cry from other parts such as his clean-shaven role in Cinderella Man and even his sexy scruff in Gladiator.

For his namesake character, Crowe sports a bedraggled beard and messy hair, topping off his transformation with tattered threads – proof positive that sheltering animals causes wear and tear.

Crowe, who split from wife Danielle Spencer earlier this month, has a sense of humor about his facial hair.

"The beard will be gone mid November," he Tweeted Sunday, "so, no, I'm not booking Christmas shows #missedopportunity."

Crowe will be sharing the ark in Darren Aronofsky's tale of massive proportions alongside Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly, with whom he starred in A Beautiful Mind.

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