The Gladiator star has two boys, aged eight and 11, with his estranged wife Danielle Spencer, and he has revealed he made a career change and stepped behind the camera to take charge of historical movie The Water Diviner for the sake of his kids.

He says, "As an actor I used to think that I had the greatest job in the world... At this stage in my life this is (sic), it really suits me to be doing this (directing)... but this is a gamble... It's a three year process to direct a movie... and what's on the line is essentially if I get a commercial result I buy my freedom.

"For 25 years I've been a gun for hire actor making lead roles and feature films and if Ridley Scott... wants to shoot in Morocco, we go to Morocco. If Darren Aronofsky wants to shoot in Iceland well, we're going to Iceland. You know? I've got two boys. I've got an eight year old and an eleven year old and I need to be home more. So if I can wrest creative control, then I benefit in two ways. One is suits me now (sic) at this stage to actually run the show to make those creative decisions and also it means that my pre-production, post-production, the majority of any given year is going to be spent where my kids are so that's the gamble but I need a commercial result."