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Russell Crowe: No Contact Sports for My Son Just Yet

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David Beckham, watch out: Russell Crowe’s teaching his older son how to kick.

“We take a soccer ball to the park and kick it around every now and then,” Crowe, 43, said about Charlie, 3. The boy’s mom is Crowe’s wife, Danielle Spencer, and Charlie has a 1-year-old brother, Tennyson Spencer.

“I don’t want to really make him focus on contact sports just yet,” Crowe said of Charlie’s athletic prowess. “He’s too little for that. But I do chase him around the room and tackle him every now and then, which he enjoys as a game.”

Speaking at the Los Angeles premiere of his new Western with Christian Bale, 3:10 to Yuma (Crowe plays the bad guy facing jail time whom Bale tries to get on a train to go serve his sentence), the Gladiator star said he had no problem adapting to the rigors of the Old West.

“Probably since I was about 9 or 10 years old I’ve ridden horses quite regularly, and I have a cattle farm,” says the New Zealand-born, Australian resident. “I have my own horses and stuff, so, for me, that was just a pleasure, being actually able to be on horseback for nine or 10 hours a day wasn’t worrying me at all. You know, the more the better.”

His costar concurs. “I like physical scenes,” says Bale, 33, who fights Crowe in the movie from start to finish. “So, we did that well, and Russell enjoys it, too. And it’s very good when you’ve got somebody who is coordinated – and we both are.”

As for Crowe’s difficult reputation, Bale admitted, “Everyone said, ‘Man, you’re going to have a tough time.’ And I thought, ‘Bring it on! Come on, buddy, give me the best you got!’ ”

So, did he? “I tell ya,” says Bale, “he was the easiest damn guy I’ve ever worked with. He was so simple. We got along so well, and he just appreciates people who know what they’re doing – that’s it. He’s a good guy.”

Reporting by JED DREBEN