What's Eating Crowe: PEOPLE
While the FBI might be taking kidnapping threats against "Gladiator" Oscar nominee Russell Crowe very seriously, the star himself is cracking jokes, reports PEOPLE in its new cover story on the hunk from Down Under. On March 6 the bureau confirmed reports that Crowe, 36, was the target of an abduction threat. Usually tight-lipped, the FBI is taking pains to put out the word that the Crowe threat was no prank. (Cynics, meanwhile, suggest that such a story might be a good way to promote the foreign release of his kidnapping movie "Proof of Life," which tanked in the U.S.) "This is not a publicity stunt," FBI spokeswoman Laura Bosley says. "We wouldn't expend the resources unless we believed there was a credible threat." Publicly, Crowe is making light about the threat. At the Oscar nominees' luncheon in L.A. on March 12, he humorously suggested what it might be like for abductors trapped in a small room with him. Crowed Crowe: "They'd be on the phone going, 'Look! We've passed the hat around, and we've got a couple hundred bucks if you can take him off our hands!' "
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