It’s not exactly difficult to picture Academy Award winner Russell Crowe playing the part of a dashing U.S. Coast Guard officer gallantly saving two friends who got themselves stranded at sea on a kayaking trip.
In real-life, however, the 48-year-old actor found himself cast against type in the role of the endangered kayaker, after he and a companion got lost off the Long Island coast this weekend.
The Associated Press reports that the pair took off from Long Island’s Cold Spring Harbor Saturday afternoon, but they lost their way as it became dark, and were forced to beach their kayaks 10 miles east from where they had left, at Huntington Bay.
At approximately 10 p.m., a Coast Guard patrol was alerted to Crowe calling out from the shore.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Swieciki, who was part of the rescue team, told Reuters: “It is common for the Coast Guard to assist boaters like this, but it was very cool to help Russell Crowe and his friend.”
He added: “Crowe and his friend were very grateful.”
Playing down the rescue, Swieciki told the BBC: “It wasn’t really a rescue, really, more of just giving someone a lift.”
The actor thanked the Coast Guard team “for guiding the way” in a post on Twitter, although he took pains to reassure his fans that he was never actually lost: “we knew where exactly where we were, paddling around from CSH [Cold Spring Harbor] into wind, we ran out of day.”
Somewhat ironically, Crowe is currently starring in Darren Aronofsky’ latest big budget picture, entitled Long Island, due for release in 2014. Crowe plays the biblical character Noah, who famously survived an apocalyptic flood after God told him to build an ark.
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Perhaps owing to the grey beard and nearly-bald look Crowe is currently sporting, presumably for his latest role, his rescuers initially failed to recognize him.
“When we tied up in Huntington, one of the guys that was on the back of the boat told me it was Russell Crowe — I didn’t believe him,” Swieciki revealed to the New York Post. “I thought it was pretty cool, you know. I love the movie Gladiator.”
Through Swieciki suspected that Crowe “probably isn’t happy that everyone knows he got stranded, especially since he was in Master And Commander.”