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Russell Crowe recalls deadly snake encounter

Russell Crowe was a "split second" away from being bitten by a venomous snake.

The 52-year-old actor - who has sons Charles, 12, and Tennyson, nine, with estranged spouse Danielle Spencer - admitted he had never moved so quickly as when he caught sight of the venomous reptile while out for a stroll one day.

He recalled: "I was standing, one leg on either side, of a mature red-bellied black snake one day.

"I was walking through a paddock with this girl who had been talking to me for 20 minutes about how terrified of snakes she was. I said, 'I know it's Australia, but you hardly ever see them' and I looked down at this snake is rearing up, it's head is flattened out, it's a split second from striking.

"It was the 12 fastest reverse steps I've ever taken in my life. One minute I was there, the next minute I wasn't."

Despite his panic, Russell managed to keep so calm, his friend didn't even notice the snake.

Asked if the girl had screamed, he told People magazine: "No. She said, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'Nothing' and walked the other way and she followed me. Then later on I said, 'By the way...' "

And Russell's 'The Nice Guys' co-star Ryan Gosling also had a near-miss with a dangerous snake when he was younger.

He recalled: "I moved to Florida when I was 12, and I saw this red snake, I had never really seen a proper snake and I went to pick it up and there was a guy, God bless him, he said, 'Don't touch that, that's a 10-stepper.'

"I said, 'What does that mean?' He said 'Well, you've got 10 steps and then you die.' I was right about to grab it.

"And then he tried to sell me some really great weed."