Russell Crowe on becoming Roger Ailes in 'The Loudest Voice'

The actor appears on "Popcorn with Peter Travers" and talks about his physical and mental preparations to play of the role of the late Fox News executive.
19:30 | 06/28/19

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Transcript for Russell Crowe on becoming Roger Ailes in 'The Loudest Voice'
Called the loud voice. Where are my guess today Russell Crowe. Plays Roger Ailes a big giant. Park full of complexity. And I'm thinking you before we hear it from Russell himself. That basically this performance that he gives where you're all thinking well Roger though he might as well be the Frankenstein monster. What Russell does add to define actor here is doesn't come basically. You condemn or condone him but to understand. So I can graduate UN that performance because it would be so easy. You just say monster. Definitely that you've got to understand. This history and this series is very interesting and it's not what you think you might be immune. Most people few relative few only through the perspective. And the frame of Fox News and if they know anything more about them they know that he was Glaus at the three Republican presidents. But when you drill a little deep. And you get into the and it is high school years and his co GG fond a young man who's obsessed with musical theater. Who plays the piano who is the quote unquote life of the pod. And then miraculously by the age of 26. He has worked his way up being the executive producer. Of the Mark Douglas. One of the foes forays into daytime chat and variety you know one moment he's got an exotic dancer on the show the next moment as a model with king. And he's crossing all of those boundaries in meeting homeless people could. And it was a backstage chat was Richard Nixon when Nixon was the moaning the frivolity of television. And Roger as a young 26 year old with some -- on the just turned around to mr. Nixon if you don't. Beginning to understand the power of television you'll never win another election. And it was aisles and on sixty who said John Maginnis. Quote for the bull the selling the president. Roger Rosen on its experience it in the future. Television networks will be political pots. So you talking about a young men and who had a forward reaching perspective. On what the power of the medium that he chose to work and walls he. Hassle that yet in the world we live in now when we hear that the latter's voice. Is coming as a miniseries the label just flat on Roger is sexual predator. If he's if that's. All week. King two if you do go limb that so you get you know right now that's the only information I get is the demise. You know so. But over the years you know who is use connected with the media he's done many interviews and conversations he actually was genial position at one point on. You know being this sort of you know the host of new of his. Did you show you know so there's a lot of footage of them. And you can get to low more about the man and it's not. Insisting is really if you're doing shows and you just agreed to work with that Cingular label. And when you were doing re search while what you're paying me to get over whatever misgivings you had initially his connection to the field. Really with because believe that gave me a different insight into the you know because you know he loved me as looking as young men and that he was on the team and and we that when and if students initially what I think anyway but didn't. There are numerous musical theater and an I'm advising Nixon might have him and came the news. As a producer on pooled. He had a monarchy but to show local hospital bolt now. But that teaches you about what's perspective so when you're looking at Fox News. And seeing the way Fox News delivers there information. You gotta understand it from a theological perspective what's going on opening them. Erdogan again. But for the right what's the eleven we don't finish yeah yeah and all of those new rules. Play out in how information is deluded. In a news channel. It's a good Segway that you bring up to this clip that arm I wanna shell and you could talk into it if you want but it. Him basically explain what Fox News is going to be little bit thicker but. One question. Who it is your audience. Everybody. We wanted to reach the woods who is possible but I think that's wrong. Excuse. Me every. Your problem is that you're talking broadcasts. Cable is different cable is about one thing. Leash. Loyalty of past few we neat program. Directly to viewers. Whose pre disposed by what we're trying to sell in politics is called turning up the base. If we can do that then they will never change show. And what is that change. Well I think it is conservatives. Well there you go. Yeah and am not a boy to Seoul that what other people didn't say and he did many many views on the subject. To Fox News. You know he looked at media collectively and news was delivered and it worked in the business for a long talk and he had tried to do this number on included in. Through the Nixon White House where you create. A new service which gives you directly. Laud the president intends. You know. And he tried a number of times and back in the days of video whatever he wasn't able to deliver. That news service nationwide. Until technology caught up with his idea. And who devote a kennel along with pockets deep enough to said that the level that it needs to be set. But while he was seen what is bisexuals. Did you take CNN MSNBC and CNBC. C span. ABC NBC CBS the post the times that all of that that media and in his month. All of that media as a left leaning bit me so war he school. Was a gap in the market roughly equivalent to 50%. And he said that plane market but many times he says. If his perception walls. That it was played the half way Fox News would have been a camel with a democratic votes even. So. Filling a void what that's right he sol and new age. Open in the market that he believed was undeserved and he went as that to. To be as wildly successful. This has been and we have to see that clearly Fox News do it alone makes two billion dollars a year in profit. The nuisance. And you know oh. And essentially you sit with. But the well you know I'd remind did to which you just brought up gladiator. That basically there's where in the ring we have in America now a divisive that between where nobody comes together on anything. You're in that rain and it's also becomes. The great line from gladiator about are we not entertain. News has become that what is it going to be he made a good editorial contact that didn't. Well he looked at walk. Tabloid newspapers and magazines were lap to get away with and he applied that to television news. That is do you sit on your hands on wait for the next are kind and or do you create. The next Erica has I got people to pay you and abused this. So that's when. You know you get into this thing out of not just simply reporting news. But there is an element of all the ship in that news. And then just as you think you've figured him out. You don't. One of the great things is that every episode skips. To end of the year it's about to be lectured your fault line he seeks to 2001 to 2000 to 9/11. And where we see him actually. Passionate about what happened. Yes we see him also thing. You should call during the bombing years I want him by called Barack Hussein Obama you every fact it. And he kind of is amused sometimes when he sees it played out but there is not a you know it just as. This definite feeling about what he's putting out there. We'll to not use other experts and it's probably only use. You know non eleven weapon on as a project. Is now the country needs him. The White House needs the country needs him to fry name. This so they can understand and go forward in two essentially to war and to a response. The network is a political party you know that's what we're really feet pavilion when you start examining in seeing how Fox News. Has a Baugh us towards one side. You also see. How other people have their own lives and everything has plus as well just says in the light erupts you don't think the New York Times isn't Q rated. Every day. To have a Bob's you know of course it is. I think you know what you have. We use hawks and and what's become problematic is as whose time before. There is no longer any room for discussion. There's no longer any room for people to have to from points of view and share those points in. Because both sides have been fed extreme versions of what is the truth and the truth itself. Become something which is optional. And that's not healthy for a new. I don't think it is but the point is made over and over again that we're seeing. You're showing it rather than telling it we're seeing what's going on when we're watching this years to do it. The other thing that I have to address in the clip is that people were looking at the group thing where's Russell Crowe what did you have to suffer through two real. And ultimate stuff for an. The use your assumptions correct me if RO. You know the process of value not originally thought the mob in multiple ways that we could approach roads who have moved on and everything but in reality. By no money seeks he was treating much. How he was going to be for the rest of his life you know you had. Certain phases when he was younger had a phrase reward goatee he had faced through war little purple but the by the time he gets 96. Rodgers treatment and goodness looks like Roger goes you know you for the rest of his days. So I kind of had only one option and not walls. To go with prosthetics. Tubal caps. Full facial stuff ruled that. Your thinking of me agencies aluminum afforded. My allies among them everything else is making. I can't we call you in any other role where you've had to do so much. With anything like this may what's he's if you go back through my career. There has been. Lots of stuff which builds up to this if you do or that someone like a role stone mountain where I'm doing seven right now as the week getting tattoos put me. You something like virtuosity. Where there's a period of the film. Where I'd stay in the column when these shops have lost coming out of my head. It is a beautiful mind for example this Kim a fool aging makeup. We John Nash by the Tommy's winning the Nobel Prize and development of got used knows we those three. You know I've had lots of experience. We'd make up but never anything as completely. Consuming. As this particular make you know and I knew what his heart and I knew his wit and I'm not hold him swipe at the wheel so worked to. The geometry of him that you line get. The middle who's been in relation to the two the heart the latitude long that you them you know and that was caught that was quite tricky you know and the odds looked Melissa's got back a long way that if you gonna do that's with the stuff. It takes you time take she can't get there until she timed comeback from a and you have to allow for that process. Did you try to contact. Anybody and turned. This idea and his widow well that was the one the lifestyle that I was really open I was disappointed. I log on contact for she knew I was going to be reaching I reached out and then she didn't respond. That was unfortunate but I didn't process in Taunton. Like I get her opinion that's the things you've got on the sandy this is a series of real people moving fictional laws. And there's just no way in the world that one of what we've done is going to be seen by them. As being connected to reality assisted TV show you never met Roger and I think it was in the room within in the early 2000. What he a lot of what's in them. I don't ever remember that we had. Anything more than a brief had not you know would never looms as you know let's get a question from the people outside a few what they want asked. A pick going to be on there. I'm Lana as says cannot wait to Siegel at a sports it's an important story to be told is it tougher for you to play real people parked. You know that it is because there's a certain. Responsibilities he's just playing in Newton fantasy figure electric Maxima so. Roman long struggle whatever you need consensus. Go with the system Robbins I'd be met. At the issue. But certainly that is a responsibility but in the mountains who's who like it very clear. I probably don't sound like Roger wells are probably don't really walk clever drove a broad really you know actually go forensically look like fraudulent you know. But this what I try lose something. Of what I'm doing holds the truth of who he was as a man you know that's what we're talking about people and meant that that would put them. Uniformly. The people who booked with Roger for a long period of time. When I sat down to told them. What they really went mute it. Was that they loved him. That they missed him. That they respected his leadership. And it was like I was a little overwhelmed by that because I thought I was going to be sitting in front a whole bunch of people who done it is their complaints. And and here that would there was talking about a dog that you know if you do that students which it is that he would hold not a monster. And I'm sitting in front of them and they were telling me about the real men who to look. Poland with them to help the mold that Koreas who change people's lives who took you know a cleaner. Who had a desire to be a makeup woman and she can make a woman and then have the department and you know incredible story to let them end as well as men and we're telling yet and benefiting from home. His faith in them. You know now obviously doesn't doc doc cage. To wrote his misuse of path and you know. But without making any excuses. I can see. The change through the culture. Because we go back to the Mike Douglas show. Executive could use some of love sexual revolution. You know he has things ingrained in him then. In terms of how law and how he can get an advantage tool but an edge of the somebody dead and then pact goes through. The washing machine politics than that goes through the process of being. Roadway could use it because. He comes back to that it comes back to this that you told me you found interesting about the character and about him with musical theater for doing and I have here. Isn't that good of me but because I can't say what do you with out and about music because it's always been a part of. Your life and might imply creative life is based on music and when people talk bad acts and to think that that's of that music. When you talk about how you deliver dialogue that is about music you know so. And I always fallen debris zero I and the more focused on am on the character. The most homes on the stock to report. And my weekend. And my spare time becomes filled with that stuff because you know you're operating your machine at a high level and it just. What wants to sort of have an out is an an outlet. You still have a band I feel good do you still go out hit him. But it's things I mean. A lot of people only think of mud music finishing with a bag of food deal for the grounds that threat but that god and though that was that you went to another that did lead to spend in 2003 but that band been together twenty. And then the next bend those with the school culinary fear of dog. And I started doing these shows with the knuckle Alan dual writes songs. And we cold shows Kindle god pods. Which is a play on. Cultural thing in and the Newfoundland where people go to kitchen clogs and everybody in the absence of Saul. Blows. The illegal gun parties as concerts became. The name of the band so it's like a baton people who guess at those calls it speak time. Like actual coal that amendment. So people can get this and do excellent that you bills now YO inflicted and shell which you and song. You did it Latin gifted like something absolutely terrifying from him as a rock. I'll do it with your vocal experts. At a think it destroyed a microphone Taylor everything with them. Well it but can you give me a little something. Yes this is that it something it has been. All that when I just finished recording in in Sweden via your voice is gone show but so I don't if you for something tender. That's that's all something really. Does not fewer rock and roll the league says I'll explain that he lay back. I can't do anything. I'm not even the tiny bit of honey I've been really. And I'm thinking of the conversations on the to do. I'm not larger I don't have his powers per week. To do that facilities like well it is it work you'll about a on the poll who I thought. After OK I'm with an abject failure but I'm off. Thrilled to keep up slogans.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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