Leading men: ‘Noah’ and ‘The Ten Commandments’ offer career comparisons between actors

Charlton Heston as Moses in the 1956 film “The Ten Commandments.”

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Russell Crowe in a scene from “Noah.” (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Niko Tavernise)



Here is a sampling of other movies based on Biblical characters:

■ “Samson and Delilah” (1949)

■ “Ben-Hur” (1959)

■ “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965) (Note: Charlton Heston starred as John the Baptist in this film.)

■ “Jesus of Nazareth” (1977)

■ “Joseph: King of Dreams” (2000)

■ “The Passion of the Christ” (2004)

■ “The Nativity Story” (2006)

■ “One Night with the King” (2006)

■ “The Bible” — TV miniseries (2013)

■ “Son of God” (2014) 

■ “Exodus” (Dec. 2014)

■ “A.D.” — TV miniseries (spring 2015)

It was billed as “Moses vs. The Gladiator” as actors Charlton Heston and Russell Crowe raced each other up the Tower of Terror for the chance to survive.

Both strong male leads in epic films — Heston as Moses in 1956’s “The Ten Commandments” and Crowe in 2000’s “Gladiator” — the duo seemed an even match for the claymation world of former MTV series “Celebrity Deathmatch.”

Although Heston and Crowe had a significant age difference — about 40 years — maybe the MTV show wasn’t so off-base for pitting them against each other in a fictitious, over-the-top fight to the death.

(View the video at liquidtelevision.com/video/celebrity-deathmatch-charlton-heston-vs-russell-crowe if you’re curious who wins. But it is brutal, in a claymation sort of way).

Heston, an American who starred in “The Ten Commandments” and “Ben-Hur,” and Russell Crowe, born in New Zealand and leading man in “Noah” and “Gladiator,” share uniquely powerful voices, fiery personalities and commanding stage presences that make them alike beyond their epic Bible and gladiator films.

In fact, after seeing “Gladiator,” Heston said he thought it “was very good, and Mr. Crowe does a marvelous performance,” according to a Yahoo Daily News story at theforbidden-zone.com/news/hestonnews.shtml.

While Heston, who died in 2008, won’t be able to comment on Crowe’s “Noah,” the Friday, March 28, release of that film as well as the approach of Easter — it’s that time of year when Cecil B. DeMille’s 3 hour, 40 minute “The Ten Commandments” is often televised — offer the opportunity to compare the careers of Heston and Crowe side-by-side.

Charlton Heston

Born: Oct. 4, 1923, in Chicago area.

Died: April 5, 2008.

Children: Two.

Academy Awards: One — 1960 Best Actor in a Leading Role for “Ben-Hur,” also received 1978 Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Most famous roles: Judah Ben-Hur, “Ben-Hur”; Moses, “The Ten Commandments;” George Taylor, “Planet of the Apes.”

Director to whom he was most commonly linked: Cecil B. DeMille.

Films set in ancient Rome: “Antony and Cleopatra” (1972), “Julius Caesar” (1950 and 1970), “Ben-Hur” (1959).

Ties to Superman: He was considered for the part of Superman’s father Jor-El in the 1978 film “Superman,” but the role went to Marlon Brando.

One actor Heston and Crowe both have had issue with: George Clooney. Nearly a decade ago, Clooney refused to apologize about comments he directed toward Heston in the wake of Heston’s Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis because, as Clooney said, Heston headed up the National Rifle Association and deserved what anyone said. Heston replied, “I don’t know the man — never met him, never even spoken to him, but I feel sorry for George Clooney — one day he may get Alzheimer’s disease. I served my country in World War II. I survived that — I guess I can survive some bad words from this fellow,” according to imdb.com. 

Year he received a Hollywood Boulevard Star on Walk of Fame: 1960.

Russell Crowe

Born: April 7, 1964, in New Zealand.

Children: Two.

Academy Awards: One — 2001 Best Actor in a Leading Role for “Gladiator.” He also was nominated in 2000 forBest Actor in a Leading Role for “The Insider” and in 2002 for Best Actor in a Leading Role for “A Beautiful Mind.”

Most famous roles: Maximus, “Gladiator”; John Nash, “A Beautiful Mind”; Jeffrey Wigand, “The Insider.”

Director to whom he is most commonly linked: Ridley Scott or Ron Howard.

Films set in ancient Rome: “Gladiator” (2000).

Ties to Superman: He played Superman’s father Jor-El in 2013’s “Man of Steel.”

One actor Heston and Crowe both have had issue with: George Clooney. In 2013, Crowe and Clooney exchanged barbs in popular men’s magazines “GQ” and “Esquire.” Crowe called Clooney a “sellout” for doing product ads. Clooney shot back that Crowe did the same with a band. Crowe responded, “I had a good laugh when Clooney tried to compare doing ads for suits, a car and a drink to what I do as a musician.  An endorsement is about money. My music is from the heart,” read imdb.com.

Year he received a Hollywood Boulevard Star on Walk of Fame: 2010.


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