Is it possible to defame someone who’s been dead for 2,300 years? Maybe you can under Greek libel law. According to Reuters, a coalition of 25 Greek lawyers is threatening to sue Alexander director Oliver Stone and distributor Warner Bros. over the upcoming film’s depiction of Alexander the Great as bisexual. ”We are not saying that we are against gays but we are saying that the production company should make it clear to the audience that this film is pure fiction and not a true depiction of the life of Alexander,” attorney Yannis Varnakos told Reuters on Friday.
Varnakos said he’d like for the movie, which opens Nov. 24, to run with a disclaimer that says Alexander is a work of fiction, ”or we will take the case further.” He said, ”We have not seen the film, but from the information we have already there are references to his alleged homosexuality, a fact that is in no historical document or archive on Alexander.” In a reference to another Stone film that offered a disputed take on history, Varnakos said, ”We cannot come out and say that President John F. Kennedy was a shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, and so Warner cannot come out and say Alexander was gay.”
Alexander, which stars Colin Farrell as the Macedonian emperor, contains a fairly explicit sex scene between Farrell and Rosario Dawson, who plays Alexander’s first wife, Roxane. Farrell is also shown kissing Francisco Bosch, who plays a Babylonian eunuch named Bogoas. As for Alexander’s closest companion, Hephaistion (Jared Leto), Stone shows them embracing and exchanging long, meaningful glances but stops short of depicting them as lovers. Farrell recently acknowledged to EW that the filmmakers shied away from making Alexander’s sexuality more blatant for fear of alienating homophobic moviegoers. ”In an ideal world we could have and would have shot the movie with [more graphic] stuff in it,” he said.
Robin Lane Fox, an Oxford historian who published a definitive and bestselling biography of Alexander in 1972, served as a consultant on the film and signed off on Stone’s interpretation of the sparse historical record regarding the conqueror. The film’s publicity materials quote Lane Fox as saying, ”One of the fascinations about Alexander is the gaps in what we can know — they give such scope for the imagination.”