A/V Room









Alexander - Professor Robin Lane Fox Q&A

Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. How historically accurate is the movie?
The movie is an epic drama with unusually strong reference to history. Broadly, Alexander goes and does the things that are shown, and meets the things that are shown. But of course this is a movie with a limited time. It's all very well for you critics to say 'why didn't you put in this, why didn't you put in the other'? There were some really fifth-rate reviews in America and you would have thought they wanted a film that was seven hours long!
We know the problems. But Oliver has spun a drama, to take a very grand example, the way that Shakespeare would have spun a drama around Henry VIII. But there is a terrific amount of historical reference...
One of the lines in the film that I've heard people laugh at most is probably one of the few things we know attributed to Alexander. When he read a letter from what we now know to have been Angelina Jolie, he said 'she asks a high price, a high rent for nine months in the womb'. I heard an audience laugh in America and that is the one line that we know in ancient sources is attributed to Alexander.
So the answer is broadly historical and there's a strong interpretation of Alexander. Historians all over the world, critics think they know what Alexander was like; I've studied him for 35 years and I tell you they don't, cos we don't. So he is a perfect figure on whom to spin a powerful drama and that's what this film has done.
You can't say it's right historically, because we don't know. It's a perfect subject. It's very powerful.

Q. Why did you choose to focus more on Alexander in battle than some of the personal conflicts?
Angelina Jolie:
That's not true!
Stone: It's interesting that you should raise that question because it points to some of the difficulties in receiving the movie - the opposite has also been put out.
Many reviews mentioned they wished there had been more battles and there was too much talk and too much mother-son, father-son psycho-drama. So, you know, that's a choice. And I think the movie is structured along with two pillars, like an arch. The first one is Gaugamela and the last one is this composite battle, in India, of two major events.
Beyond that, I would have liked to have done the Battle of Colonia, but that would have been the fourth hour of the movie. And I think perhaps it should have been a two-part movie.
Val Kilmer: I disagree.
Angelina Jolie: So do I. For me, for a film that was about someone who is such a soldier and such a fighter, we were all so deeply aware of our characters, so many heavy dramatic scenes, so much deep relationship work, and more so than in most films, but there were also very grand fight scenes and they were very well done. But that's very much who he was.
Kilmer: I would bet between Gladiator, Troy, Thunder..., Braveheart...
Colin Farrell: Thunderbirds!
Kilmer: Thunderbirds, Team America and certainly The Incredibles, even though we're almost three hours, I would bet the actual number of the actual minutes of the fighting was less than any of those.
Professor Robin Lane Fox: This is a film about Alexander, and Alexander unquestionably is the greatest general and the bravest front-line general in world history. You have to emphasis that and show it. And that is what heroism means in the Greek world.
This is the difficulty people have had, they don't understand. We haven't made some crazy film here about armchair suburbia in Morningtide, this is a pre-Christian Greek world, whose depiction of a different morality is very, very strong.

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