Crowe Shrugs Off Kidnapping Plot

It takes more than a kidnapping threat to keep Gladiator star Russell Crowe home. Since being alerted by the FBI in January of a possible kidnapping plot against him, the Oscar-nominated star hasn't slowed down one iota.

In the past month, Crowe — accompanied by various FBI agents and bodyguards — has crisscrossed the globe promoting his movie Proof of Life; performing with his band, Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts; attending awards ceremonies; and prepping for his next role, that of mathematical genius John Forbes Nash Jr. in A Beautiful Mind.

At Monday's Oscar nominee luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif., Crowe said the headline-grabbing kidnapping plot doesn't worry him: "I probably take this situation a lot less seriously than [the FBI does]."

Joked the actor, who's well-known for his hot temper, "[Any kidnapper] would soon be on the phone, 'Look, we've passed the hat around; we got a couple hundred bucks — please take him off our hands.' I don't really think that these boys have put that much thought into it."

Crowe related another anecdote that poked fun at his tough-guy image: "After my first meeting [with the FBI], we talked about some very serious stuff. Then one guy sat down with me and said, 'Uh, Mr. Crowe, on a slightly lighter note, we've been talking in the office and we do believe that the logistics involved in getting you to do something you do not want to do is way beyond the power of this organization.'"

While he can be lighthearted about the kidnap threat, Crowe said he takes his second Oscar nomination seriously. "It's great, man. What can I say? It's the highest acknowledgement in my profession. I don't have any glib lines about it. I'm not cynical about it at all. I really was blown away last year and this year I think even more so."