D.O.B.: 8th July, 1968, Manhasset, New York, USA
QUOTES: “I wish I could say that when I didn’t agree with a director I defer to him, but I think sometimes I’m a little self-righteous.”
“If I had done TITANIC, it would have made, probably, $200,000 worldwide. So I think my life would have been very, very similar.”
Whether playing a misunderstood superhero in Watchmen, a political figure in Public Enemies or a young philanderer in Big Fish, he has proved during his varied career that he is more than capable of playing a vast array of characters. The reason you may struggle to put the name to the face, however, is that Crudup has never been your atypical leading man.
After graduating from the University of North Carolina and the Tisch School of the Arts at New York in 1994, he started to make his name on Broadway and had won an Outer Critics Circle Outstanding Newcomer Award within a year. By 1997 he had worked with Woody Allen, acted alongside Brad Pitt and Jason Patric in Sleepers and declined an audition for Leonardo DiCaprio’s role in Titanic in order to find more challenging projects.
In 2000, Crudup played the role of Russell Hammond in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous alongside Kate Hudson – the role originally belonged to Brad Pitt, but he dropped out to play a little character called Tyler Durden in that insignificant film, Fight Club. Kudos to Mr Pitt. This pushed Crudup a little more into the mainstream, making him part of a film he would have to promote. He has often spoken of being uncomfortable with the premise, as he generally feels it is the role of the production company to provide enough advertising for films, believing less money should be paid to the actors and more should go towards promoting the film to ensure it makes a good profit.
Billy regularly works onstage (he’s been nominated for a couple of Tony Awards) and manages to stay out of the gossip pages by choosing interesting supporting roles as opposed to leads in big-budget franchises. It is interesting to note that as well as Titanic he also turned down the lead in Ang Lee’s Hulk. But maybe he just hasn’t found a franchise that’s taken his fancy yet. Who can say he was certain Watchmen would end up as a one-picture deal?
Away from films and the theatre, Crudup earns a healthy living from US Mastercard adverts (which he has voiced since 1997) and a range of other voiceover work, therefore having the ability to pick and choose his acting roles as, and when, he pleases.
Oh. And it’s pronounced croo-dup, not crud-up.