Archive for Sunday, May 23, 2004

Expect more swords, sandals onscreen

Troy’ kicks off warrior film trend

May 23, 2004


Although the bean-counters and abacus-pushers at Warner Bros. won't cop to an exact figure, word is that "Troy," Wolfgang Petersen's "Iliad"-inspired megaproduction, cost in the vicinity of $200 million.

Whether Brad Pitt's bare backside will help to recoup said expense remains to be seen, but just as "Troy" followed the Oscar-glomming sword-and-sandals saga "Gladiator" to the big screen, likewise more epic undertakings of a historical nature are in the works. Here's a quick look at the status of several high-profile war and romance projects:

  • "Alexander": Oliver Stone directs a sprawling biopic based on power-hungry Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.). Colin Farrell is the title character, Rosario Dawson plays Roxane, Angelina Jolie dons regal wear as Olympias, Jared Leto does Hephaestion, and Val Kilmer essays Philip, king of Macedonia. Look for a release late this year.
  • "George and the Dragon": The 12th-century-England account of (the future St.) George (James Purefoy) battling a scaly monster and rescuing a fair princess (Piper Perabo). Patrick Swayze's involved, too. Said to be lighthearted in tone, this in-the-can title is without a distributor, but if "King Arthur" does well this summer, you can bet this one will be picked up.
  • "Gladiator 2": In development at DreamWorks. Russell Crowe, of course, died in "G-1," but that may not stop him from coming back for more.
  • "Hannibal the Conqueror": Based on the life of the Carthaginian general, Hannibal Barca, who, in 218 B.C., led a herd of elephants through the Alps in an attempt to attack Rome. Vin Diesel is attached to star, with a planned 2005 release.
  • Mel's "Maccabaeus": Just talk right now, but after "The Passion of the Christ's" global grosses, born-again auteur Mel Gibson has said he'd be interested in bringing the story of the great Jewish hero Judas Maccabaeus to the screen. Set in 166 B.C., it's a tale of torture, martyrdom and heroism that culminates in the defeat of temple-desecrater Antiochus Epiphanes and the feast of Hanukkah.

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