Christian Bale and Russell Crowe face off in the western “3:10 for Yuma”, a remake of the Delmer Daves classic by James Mangold. Prior to collaborating with the ‘Gladiator star, the ‘The Dark Knight’ actor had several less-than-glowing comments about his temper.
3h10 for Yuma: the re-reading of a classic
If he had already been inspired by 3h10 for Yuma by Delmer Daves for his contemporary western CoplandJames Mangold signed a remake of the classic in 2007. This feature film was released 50 years after its model was adapted from a short story by Elmore Leonard, Christian Bale, and Russell Crowe succeeding Van Heflin and Glenn Ford.
The first lends his features to farmer Dan Evans, crippled since the Civil War. After witnessing the robbery of a stagecoach by the outlaw Ben Wade, played by the second, he allows his arrest in the town of Bisbee. In order to be able to repay his debts, Evans agrees to be part of the convoy to escort Wade to the Contention City station, where he is supposed to take the train that will take him to Yuma prison.
Their journey turns out to be particularly dangerous. Faced with the manipulation of the criminal and the attacks of his men, the group to which the farmer joins continues to shrink. And despite their opposing natures and the kills, Evans and Wade develop mutual respect during this bloody journey.
Ben Foster, Logan Lerman, Vinessa Shaw, Kevin Durand, and Peter Fonda round out the cast of 3h10 for Yuma. A film that marks the on-screen encounter between its two actors who, like their characters, developed a certain bond during filming.
Christian Bale warned
During a press conference organized in 2007 and quoted, Christian Bale and Russell Crowe talk about their collaboration. Not without humor, the star of The Dark Knight ensures to have been warned about the complicated temperament of his partner:
We had never met before. Every time people asked me what my next project was and I said I was going to work with Russell, they looked at me and said, “Oh no.” “You’re going to have a hard time with him.” And it is absolutely true. (laughs)
After qualifying the comedian as Gladiator of “real bastard” a few moments earlier, he adds with more seriousness:
A lot of actors complain and do anything to avoid working, so it’s good to work with someone like Russell who you can cut to the chase and have candid conversations on stage, it makes things easier. (…) It’s a pleasure to work with someone as good as him.
A complicated shoot
The two actors also return to the sometimes difficult filming conditions in New Mexico. Christian Bale says about it:
It was freezing, especially during night shoots, it was cold.
Russell Crowe confirms:
Christian Bale clarifies:
We had the worst winter storm on record in history.
Russell Crowe continues:
And we were surrounded by more than a meter of snow to make scenes where it is a question of drought. It was that kind of cinematic experience.
In this environment, the tandem was stunned by a clause in Peter Fonda’s contract about which Russell Crowe explains:
Peter Fonda did something that should, I think, be picked up by the Screen Actors Guild. One day, he said he couldn’t play in period costume in -10°C.
His partner concludes:
Which is great, I’m going to have that included in my contracts.