RUSSELL CROWE almost looked completely different when he started his career - because he refused to replace a missing tooth.

The super-serious OSCAR winner feared he'd be giving up his integrity if he changed his look for movie auditions, but he was persuaded to think again by director GEORGE OGILVIE (corr), who cast Crowe in teen drama THE CROSSING.

Crowe says, "He was very nice about it, listened to it all, and said, 'All right, let me put it this way, Russell. You're playing the lead character in my film, right? The character of Johnny has two front teeth.'

"Somehow it (missing tooth) gave me an edge. I was sort of accepted into the rock 'n' roll thing a lot easier because I had this f**king half a tooth... It made relationships with girls a little difficult as well, because I never used to smile."