When casting an epic, it apparently helps to have actors with epic experience. That seems to be why, in casting ''Troy,'' director Wolfgang Petersen is filling supporting roles with ''Lord of the Rings'' actors Orlando Bloom and Sean Bean, as well as two actors associated with the David Lean-directed epics of the 1960s, Peter O'Toole and Julie Christie, Variety reports.
Bloom will call upon the archery skills he displayed as Legolas in ''LOTR'' to play Paris, the Trojan prince who starts the war by abducting Helen, wife of the Spartan king Menelaus (Irish actor Brendan Gleeson, currently on screen in ''Dark Blue''). Bean, who played warrior Boromir in ''LOTR,'' will play wily Greek hero Odysseus, who is drafted along with Achilles (Brad Pitt) into the army led by Menelaus' brother, Agamemnon (''Adaptation'''s Brian Cox) to attack Troy.
O'Toole, who knows from war epics thanks to his starmaking role in Lean's ''Lawrence of Arabia,'' will play Priam, the Trojan king and father to Paris and Hector (''The Hulk'''s Eric Bana), rival of Achilles. Christie, who starred in Lean's ''Dr. Zhivago,'' will play Thetis, the nymph who is Achilles' mother, and who missed a crucial spot when dipping her infant son into the waters of immortality. Rounding out the cast is Saffron Burrows (''Deep Blue Sea'') as Hector's wife, Andromache, and Australian newcomer Rose Byrne as Briseis, the captive Trojan woman who comes between Agamemnon and Achilles.
Petersen, who is denying rumors that the production will delay its April start date or pull out of its Mediterranean locations (Morocco, Malta) over fears of real-life war in the Middle East, says he'll cast an unknown to play Helen, the woman with the face that launched a thousand ships. The ''Perfect Storm'' director says he's taking that thousand-ships thing literally. ''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,'' he tells Variety. ''But the core is emotional themes that Homer handled so well on a human scale.''