Russell Crowe spent up to six hours a day transforming into late Fox News chief Roger Ailes for Showtime’s new series, The Loudest Voice.
Now, as the 55-year-old actor prepares for the show to premiere on Sunday, he’s opening up about the mental toll the transformation took and how he feels about potential backlash he may face from the network.
“It's always difficult when you try to do contemporaneous, historical stuff, because no matter what we do and how well-researched, it's still a fictionalized version,” Crowe told ET at the show’s premiere at New York’s Paris Theater on Monday. “I think if Fox News plays their normal and expected game, they will just be sitting there thanking us for the advertising.”
The limited series is based on the 2014 book The Loudest Voice in the Room, by reporter Gabriel Sherman. It chronicles the rise and fall of Ailes, a polarizing media figure, who resigned from Fox News amid sexual harassment allegations in 2016, and died the following year.
Crowe didn’t know a lot about Ailes when the opportunity to portray him first came his way, however, after reading the early scripts he was immediately captivated.
“I wasn't fully engaged in playing the character, mainly because I didn't really know his history,” Crowe said. “But as I was reading the first three scripts that they sent me, they were just fantastic pieces. Then, doing my own due diligence and looking into his life and seeing what this complicated gentleman had been through, it was just something that I couldn't turn down.”
Admittedly, the role was, as Crowe described it, a “hell of a long job” and a “very difficult job."
However, he remains grateful for the opportunity, even it meant taking on a startling transformation, which saw him spend endless hours in the makeup chair. The result made the New Zealand-born actor unrecognizable and gave him a “huge advantage” when it came to portraying Ailes.
“I used to call it face jail,” he said. “It wasn't fun at all. The first application took six hours, and over a seven-month period, we whittled it down to two-and-half [hours]. But still, it was a mental challenge to be faced every day. The makeup [artist] used to call me the Buddha because I'd get into my Zen moment and just let it be.”
The Loudest Voicepremieres on Showtime on Sunday, June 30.