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Russell Crowe in GladiatorRussell Crowe allegedly threatened to kill a producer working on Gladiator with his 'bare hands' over a pay dispute, according to a new tell-all book.

The Oscar-winning actor was apparently left fuming when he discovered assistants working on the 2000 film - which took more than £300 million at the box office and won seven Oscars - were receiving paltry wages. Crowe then allegedly threatened veteran producer Branko Lustig with violence unless the issue was resolved.

According to Nicole LaPorte's upcoming book, 'The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company called DreamWorks', Lustig alleges Crowe phoned him at 3am and said: "You motherf**ker. I will kill you with my bare hands." Russell Crowe in GladiatorRussell Crowe allegedly threatened to kill a producer working on Gladiator with his 'bare hands' over a pay dispute, according to a new tell-all book.

The Oscar-winning actor was apparently left fuming when he discovered assistants working on the 2000 film - which took more than £300 million at the box office and won seven Oscars - were receiving paltry wages. Crowe then allegedly threatened veteran producer Branko Lustig with violence unless the issue was resolved.

According to Nicole LaPorte's upcoming book, 'The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company called DreamWorks', Lustig alleges Crowe phoned him at 3am and said: "You motherf**ker. I will kill you with my bare hands."

The book then says that a shaken Lustig immediately telephoned Steven Spielberg (whose company, Dreamworks, were bankrolling the film) and said: "'Steven. I'm leaving. Russell wants to kill me. I'm leaving."

In defence of these claims, Crowe left this message on Twitter: "On Gawker/Defamer, book re dreamworks If mentions of me are eg's of distance from the truth waste of paper written by a lying horse's ass," while Crowe's spokesperson added: "I've been told that (online retailer) Amazon already has the book discounted. Go figure."

Whether it's true or not, this of course wouldn't be the first time that the actor has reportedly lost his temper. In 2002, he threatened a BBC producer for cutting short his award acceptance speech at the Baftas and, in 2005, was arrested and charged with assault in New York after throwing a telephone at a hotel employee who had refused to help him place a call to Australia. The actor later apologised for both incidents.