This is New Zealand actor Russell Crowe on the cover of the June issue of PhotoIcon in “typical mercurial and irreverent mood”. Taken by British portrait photographer Michael Birt in February 2000 at a pivotal moment in Crowe’s career, within months Russell would be a household name following his Oscar-winning performance in Gladiator. Crowe effectively art-directed the session himself: “When Russell Crowe walked into the studio, he chose what he wanted to do,” Birt remembers. “It was a seamless session, except that the lunch I’d ordered was left untouched. A meatier menu was preferred.” And as for Crowe’s devilish expression, touch of blue lipstick and flick of blue eyeshadow – it certainly matches the twinkle in his eye.