Troy - Press Archive - Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald
10 Jan 03
Pitt's next movie won't please Bush
Air Force One film director Wolfgang Petersen says his new film project, Troy
starring Brad Pitt, will not be to US President George W Bush's liking.
"The black-and-white mentality of a George W Bush is totally inappropriate
for this film," Petersen, 61, said in an interview with Die Welt newspaper.
Principal photography on the $US130-$US145 million ($A226 -$A252 million)
production with Pitt as Achilles is scheduled to begin in April.
"I want the audience to be able to identify with both sides," the German
director told the paper. "This is not a Bush-style war of good versus evil," he
Far from being a trite topic, the Trojan War is a "timely and moving war
drama" full of meaning for our time, he said.
"Each side was convinced they were right, so they bashed each other's skulls
in all the more," he told the paper.
Although the film "tells a tale of great human tragedy", Petersen said he
does not want it to be depressing.
"Our goal is that of the classical Greek tragedies," he said.
"They allow the audience to experience the tragedy of the world and draw
their own conclusions."
Bringing the glory of Homer's Iliad to life, Troy charts the bloody path of the
Trojan war, which encompasses a 10-year conflict, numerous bloody battles
and of course that famously large wooden horse with a surprise inside.
Pitt takes the lead as legendary Greek hero Achilles with Eric Bana standing
on the other side of the wall as Trojan prince Hector.
Orlando Bloom's Paris is the man who provokes the wrath of Menelaus, the
Spartan king - by spiriting away his beautiful wife Helen - the face that
launched 1,000 ships and a decade-long war.
Befitting Homer's epic poem The Iliad upon which it is based, the picture will
have a running time of two and three-quarters hours, Petersen said.
Even so, Petersen concedes he is taking liberties with Homer, deleting some
of the more arcane bits, including the metamorphosis of Greek gods into
Petersen first made his mark in the film world with Das Boot (The Boat) which
offered an unprecedented glimpse of World War II submarine warfare through
the eyes of a German U-boat crew.
Although he had been making feature films in Germany since 1973, and
television productions before that, it was Petersen's success with this 1981
U-boat epic, along with an Oscar nomination for best director, that bought him
his ticket to Hollywood.
In 1984 Petersen directed The Neverending Story, a partly American-financed
project filmed in Munich's Bavaria Studios.
Although some critics dubbed it "the neverending movie," it would be Petersen's
most successful "Hollywood" film for several years.
His first actual full-blown Hollywood effort (also filmed at the Bavaria Studios
complex in Germany), Enemy Mine in 1985, was neither a critical nor a box office
He finally hit his stride in 1993 with the assassination thriller In the Line of Fire.
Starring Clint Eastwood as an angst-ridden presidential Secret Service guard, In
the Line of Fire gave Petersen the box office clout he needed to direct another
suspense thriller, Outbreak in 1995, starring Dustin Hoffman.
The 1997 Petersen blockbuster Air Force One did very well at the box office,
while getting a mixed opinions from movie critics.
In another recent project, Petersen executive-produced (but did not direct) Red
Corner starring Richard Gere. Then with The Perfect Storm in 2000 the former
small-town German kid showed he was on a roll.
Troy is a long-time personal dream-come-true for Petersen, who was entranced
by Greek and Roman myths when he was a schoolboy.
"The money may come from Hollywood, but this is very much a European
production, with most shooting being done in Europe and North Africa,"
stressed Petersen. "Nearly half the film is to be shot in Morocco."
The Warner Brothers project will begin filming in London, Malta and Morocco
in April for a 2004 release.
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