Troy - Press Archive - Variety
Director firms 'Troy' shoot
April 22 start date set, and strife won't delay schedule
By MICHAEL FLEMING
As he set Peter O'Toole and Julie Christie
for starring roles, "Troy" director
Wolfgang Petersen has vowed that a war in the Middle East will not stop the
showdown between Achilles and Hector.
Petersen has set a firm April 22 start
date in London for the Warner Bros./
Village Roadshow Pictures epic, and a May 21, 2004, release date.
The director denied published reports
that the lensing is imperiled by the prospect
of a war in Iraq. It is among several grand-scale period films that expect to shoot
"We start shooting in April, and
then we will move on to Malta," said Petersen.
"We won't be shooting those final battle scenes until July or August. If things are
going on in the world that make Morocco impossible, we have explored Mexico and
Spain. Of course, we will take care of the security and safety of everybody involved,
but the movie will happen and there won't be a week of delay. Everything is in
place, cast included."
When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts
& Sciences announced an honorary Oscar
for O'Toole, the actor was reluctant to accept on the grounds that he wasn't finished
turning in big performances. Apparently he wasn't kidding. O'Toole will play Priam,
king of Troy.
His sons Hector and Paris are played by
Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom. Brad Pitt
will play Achilles, who leads the Spartans (including Brendan Gleeson, Brian Cox and
Sean Bean), who are out for revenge after Paris steals Helen from her husband,
the king of Troy.
Christie will play Thetis, the mother of Achilles.
Casting director Lucinda Syson held a
worldwide search for Helen of Troy; Petersen
said he's close to choosing a newcomer for the role. "She has to be believable as the
face that launched 1,000 ships and caused the Greeks to go against Troy," said Petersen.
"She has to be that beautiful."
Also in the cast are Saffron Burrows and Rose Byrne.
O'Toole starred in "Lawrence of Arabia"
and Christie in "Doctor Zhivago." "David Lean
was one of my heroes, and my ambition has been for 'Troy' to be made in the tradition
of the great Lean epics," said Petersen. "To have two of his greatest actors join this
balance of stars and fresh faces is unbelievable luck."
Petersen has been sweet on "Troy"
since David Benioff first turned in his adaptation
of Homer's "The Illiad." The director's participation seemed iffy when he agreed to first
make "Batman vs. Superman." He said he is glad that circumstance prompted him to
double back to the epic confrontation pitting Achilles vs. Hector.
"When Warners decided to make 'Superman'
right away, I think it was fate that worked
well for me," said Petersen. "All of a sudden, I was back on 'Troy,' and Brad Pitt was
suddenly available to play Achilles because he was no longer doing 'The Fountain.'
"This is the best kind of epic because
you are working on the grandest scale, with
1,000 ships and 75,000 people waging enormous battles. But the core is emotional
themes that Homer handled so well on a human scale."