Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe was so committed to the authenticity of his latest film, that he hired a top violin player to teach him the basics for a scene where he plays the instrument. Crowe portrays Captain Jack Aubrey in 'Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World', based on a series of novels by Patrick O'Brian. Captain Aubrey is characterised as a proficient violin player throughout the Napoleonic adventure series, and Crowe decided that he didn't want to have the scene unless he could successfully play the instrument. In order to keep the scene in the film, Crowe enlisted the help of Richard Tognetti - one of the highest regarded Australian violinists. 

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Crowe explained the thought process behind his decision, saying: "I said to myself, 'You're not allowed to pretend that you're a violinist. Richard is the director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and we've become friends, so I asked him to be my violin teacher. It was a very long process and very strange things happened. I used to put my violin down after 45 minutes of rehearsing and I'd feel very lightheaded and euphoric and I thought that's amazing that it makes you feel like this."

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The 'Gladiator' actor continued to explain the difficulties with the instrument, saying: "Then I realised that I wasn't breathing while I was playing. I started getting really bad sore throats, so I came up with this system where I would hold a bit of rock candy between my teeth so at least it kept saliva going down the back of my throat and I taught myself to breathe with the playing, as if I was singing. I can't say I claimed the instrument but I was OK."