A rumored plot to kidnap Gladiator star Russell Crowe that's eerily reminiscent of his most recent movie, Proof of Life, has proved to be all too true, the FBI confirmed on Tuesday.
The Oscar-nominated actor, who has rocketed to international stardom after the success of Gladiator and his high-profile romance with Meg Ryan, was informed of the plot prior to the Golden Globe awards ceremony, according to Entertainment Tonight.
Crowe chose not to skip the Jan. 21 awards show, but he showed up flanked by several unidentified men — who were now revealed to have been FBI agents dressed in tuxedos.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Bosley told Reuters that the New Zealand-born sex symbol has also beefed up his personal security since learning of the plot against him.
Crowe's publicist, Robin Baum, told Reuters, "We're aware of [the plot] and the FBI has been helpful in guiding us, and [Crowe] has taken the necessary security precautions."
The FBI's Los Angeles-based spokeswoman did not elaborate, but said that federal agents are investigating the kidnapping plot and have interviewed Crowe about the situation as part of the probe.
The bureau normally declines to comment on pending investigations but decided to make an exception in this case because of media reports surfacing in recent days, according to Reuters. "In light of that, we have confirmed that we have an investigation into a plot to kidnap him," the spokeswoman, Laura Bosley, said. She said the probe was continuing.
Entertainment Tonight also reported that police from Scotland Yard worked closely with Crowe to protect him last week during the London premiere of Proof of Life, confirming weekend reports in the British press.
Coincidentally, in Proof of Life, Crowe plays a "kidnap and rescue" specialist who's called in to negotiate the release of a kidnapped businessman.
Crowe has not let the kidnap scare keep him from his scheduled public appearances. He attended the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards in London (where he was a Best Actor nominee) and is back in Los Angeles, hosting pre-Oscar screenings of Gladiator for the public.
Reuters contributed to this story.