Russell Crowe has signed on to star in the indie thriller Tenderness for director John Polson.

Variety reports the film follows a violent teenager, Eric, whose life intertwines with Lori, a 16-year-old runaway who can't resist his charm. Crowe will play Lieutenant Cristofuoro, a cop who sets out to unravel Eric's complex past.

Crowe will shoot Tenderness quickly starting in May; once he's done with that, he'll start production on the Baz Luhrman epic American Gangster with fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman.

Tenderness was adapted to the big screen from the Robert Cormier novel. American Gangster is set for a 2007 release.