It seemed so perfect. We had Oliver Stone, the filmmaker behind JFK & Nixon; the auteur director of Wall Street, Platoon and the Doors. We had a monstrous budget, a huge cast and locations from India to Morocco. We had one of history’s most interesting characters. We even had an excellent historical consultant on hand to keep the filmmakers honest. We finally had the follow up to Ridley Scott’s Gladiator!
And then it all went so wrong.
Join us this week as we discuss Oliver Stone’s epic disaster, Alexander. It’s Doris Day’s wig playing Collin Farrell playing Alexander the Great. Bizarre performances from some of the worst casting you have ever seen in a serious Hollywood production meets appalling dialogue in this baffling biopic. Collin Farrell is somehow supposed to be believable as the son of the Snake-Witch Angelina Jolie and horrendously drunk Val Kilmer all whilst sporting a truly offensive hair-do.
Alexander the Great has lived in the memory of both the west and the east as he went from first dominating the Greek world to founding over a dozen cities and stamping Greek culture on Asia from modern Turkey to India. Dead at 32, this forever-young historical icon produced some of the regions most important cultural milestones from battles and an attempt at ethnic harmony to long-lived dynasties that would later give even Rome a headache. From a reference in the Bible as the King of Greece who will conquer the Medes and Persians to the Arabic ‘Two Horned one,’ and the Zoroastrian ‘Alexander the Accursed,’ few figures have loomed quite so large over history.
Our hosts are exasperated by a movie who’s running time is matched only by its increasingly bizarre choices. The Greeks are English while the Macedonians are Irish…except when they’re American…or Welsh…the wigs are crazy, the waste of talented actors is unforgiveable and Jared Leto is in it for some reason.
We’ll discuss the true story of this young King of Macedon and discuss why he’s known to history not just as Alexander, but Alexander the Great.
Alexander the Great- Robin Lane Fox (2004)
Alexander the Great Failure- John D. Grainger (2009)
The Campaigns of Alexander- Arrian (Penguin Classics, 1976)
Life and Exploits of Alexander the Great- Quintus Curtius Rufus (2018)
The Age of Alexander- Plutarch (Penguin Classics, 2012)