I saw the Alexander movie at a preview screening Monday night (Nov. 22) here in West Hollywood. Colin Farrell and Jared Leto gave a Q&A afterwards and they were great, esp. Colin.
The movie totally portrayed Alex as in lifelong love with Hephaisteon, though it was pretty awkward and weepy. Bagoas was shown often and unambiguously as Alex's squeeze, although entirely wordless through the film, the best I could describe it is "furtive". Alex does lay a big kiss on him in front of everybody. The only sex scene was his wedding night in the Hindu Kush w/ Roxanne, who was one of his wives. Several times men were shown together w/ men in a casual way. Once even when Alex is giving away treasures to wives and daughters and girlfriends of veterans someone calls out "what about boyfriends???" So I'm VERY HAPPY with the homo factor in this telling of the Alex tale.
That said, the prevailing opinion of my group is that Ollie Stone is not a writer. There wasn't much to convince me to follow this guy all over the world, his smiles were too rare for a guy who was supposed to be so beloved by his troops. There were strings of sword-slinging cliches, the relationship between Alex & Philip was always obnoxious, there was little sense of humor and much pomposity, and the love between A & H was very awkward and clumsy and not very believable. Heph had incredible amounts of eye makeup. In a totally Monty-Pythonesque scene, Alex stands looking out the window soliloquizing about future conquests as H lies convulsing in death in the background! The audience laughed out loud!
So I'm pretty happy with it but I just hope the movie doesn't get panned. Sure, I complain a bit, and it could have been better, but it's GREAT and a well worth the price of admission just to get the sweep of history and to see this great man's story. Is it the Acadamy Award Best Picture winner (1962) that David Lean's LAWRENCE OF ARABIA was? Probably not, but go see it!!! It's definitely a must-see for all gay people out there. Given that the last Alexander the Great movie was in the '50s with Richard Burton speechifying and womanizing in a Shirley Temple wig, this is a HUGE leap forward.
New 'Alexander' Movie Under Fire for Sexual Portrait
Fri Nov 19, 2004 06:06 PM ET
© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oliver Stone's new film about Alexander the Great depicts the king as bisexual, fueling outrage from Greeks and prompting Hollywood to ask if a world conqueror with dyed blond hair and waxed legs will be able to attract box office hordes.
One newspaper calls it a case of "Queer Eye for the Macedonian Guy." Others have speculated that Stone, always a controversial filmmaker, is taking a big risk with a $160 million epic by including scenes of passionate embrace between Alexander and his best friend Hephaestion.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) says the film breaks new ground for a big budget epic because it shows Hephaestion "as the true love of Alexander's life."
A line from the film says: "Alexander was defeated only once -- by Hephaestion's thighs."
Last summer's blockbuster film "Troy," which could have portrayed Achilles and Patroclus as lovers, brushed aside any homoerotic elements to concentrate on Achilles desire for a Trojan princess.
Everyone associated with "Alexander," from Stone to star Colin Farrell, insist the film, which opens on Wednesday, is historically accurate and reflects the pagan mores of around 330 BC when the Macedonian king captured the world's mightiest empire, Persia, and pressed on to the ends of the Earth.
Farrell, in a recent interview with Reuters, said he had no problem with the role because "Oliver made the film as historically accurate as possible and ambivalent sexuality was something of the times and part of the character."
Stone said he kept the movie accurate and had an historian on the set. He added there was no question that Alexander had "a polymorphous sensuality and was an explorer in the deepest sense of the world."
British scholar Robin Lane Fox, author of a biography of Alexander and historical advisor to the film, said homosexuality and bisexuality were not "issues in ancient times" and that Alexander had extensive relations with women. [Mr. Fox is trying to water the reality down, I'd say -- Jay]
But a group of angry Greek lawyers say Stone and the film's distributor Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc. , should be sued for twisting history. The lawyers said they have asked Stone and Warner Bros. to include a reference in the title credits saying the film is fictional. Spokesmen for Warner Bros. and Stone did not have any immediate comment.
"We are not saying that we are against gays, but we are saying that the production company should make it clear to the audience that this film is pure fiction and not a true depiction of the life of Alexander," Yannis Varnakos, who is spearheading the legal campaign, told Reuters in Athens.
Two years ago, hundreds of Greeks from Alexander's home turf Macedonia, stormed an archeological symposium after one speaker presented a paper on the homosexuality of Alexander.
Stone's film, which he had been trying to get on the screen for 15 years, was filmed mainly in Morocco and Thailand. The Athens News Agency said no scenes were shot in Greece because of government opposition to Stone's portrayal of the Greek hero.
Asked if he toned down scenes, Stone maintained he shot the film the way he wanted. The only overtly sexual scene in the movie is a wedding night love scene between Alexander and his wife Roxanne that starts with her putting a knife to his throat after she catches him accepting a ring from Hephaestion, who is played by Jared Leto wearing eyeliner.
© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.