The bigger the cushion, the better the pushin’?

A British paper reports “Gladiator” heartthrob Russell Crowe is now fighting flab in preparation for his next big warrior movie role.
Britain’s Sun newspaper says Crowe has packed on more than 20 pounds since his flex-flaunting role as general Maximus – and needs to tone up for a new role as a seafaring war hero.
The paper says Crowe hired a former star of the television show “Gladiators” to whip him into shape.
Lourene Bevaart, a martial-arts expert known as Glacier on the Australian version of the show, has signed on to be his personal trainer.
The new film, “The Far Side of the World,” stars Crowe as navy Capt. Jack Aubrey, a hero of the Napoleonic wars.
But “Captain Jack” needed to cut down on the booze and fatty foods, and has embarked on a rigorous training regimen to get himself shipshape, the paper says.
Shooting is set to begin next month in Mexico. The epic will be directed by Peter Weir.
Crowe is coming off rave reviews – and lingering controversy – over his portrayal of a schizophrenic math genius in “A Beautiful Mind.”
Some panned the movie for omitting mathematician John Nash’s supposedly close relationships with men and his divorce and remarriage. The film’s supporters countered that the criticism was part of a sleazy campaign to help the film’s competition on Oscar night.
His work on the other side of the camera may be a warm-up for his directorial debut later this year.
The film, titled “The Long Green Shore,” is set in the South Pacific just after World War II.