RELEASE DATE Nov. 24
Oliver Stone has been trying to make a movie about Alexander the Great for more than a decade. He's thought about it, sweated over the script, and delved into countless hours of research about the brilliant Macedonian conqueror who ruled most of the known world by the age of 30. None of that, though, made the actual filming -- with a budget of $150 million-plus -- any easier. To do it right, Stone took his cast around the world, globe-trotting from Morocco to London to Thailand, with wee side trips to India and Paris wedged in.
''I was talking to Jared [Leto, who plays Alexander's friend and sometime lover Hephaistion] about it in London doing looping,'' says Rosario Dawson, who plays Roxane, Alexander's first wife. ''And we were sitting there going 'Oh, my God! It's over! We survived it!''' There was a lot to survive. Blistering sandstorms halted shooting in Morocco. Budget problems delayed construction of the sets in London. The tabloids trailed the production, filing endless reports on who was sleeping with whom. And with horses and elephants and foot soldiers mixing it up throughout the film, there were major injuries to stuntmen and stars -- including Colin Farrell, who tripped on some stairs at the end of the production, fractured his foot, and had to finish the movie in a cast.
Though the end result is the most complicated film Stone has done since 1991's ''JFK,'' don't look for ''Alexander'' to function as a contemporary allegory. ''I don't make movies to join a political examination, or give my day-by-day look at what's going on,'' says Stone. ''I like the anonymity of film. This is a mass collaboration. It's like building a ship or a cathedral. An imaginary building of the mind.'' The hot-blooded director found a perfect partner in his fierce star: You could practically see Stone and Farrell falling head over heels for each other on the set. ''It was such a monumental endeavor, and Oliver's intentions were so noble everyone was affected,'' says Farrell. ''He's a f---ing champion, Oliver. A man amongst bulls---ters.''
WHAT'S AT STAKE The future of sword-and-sandal epics. It's gotta be better than ''Troy,'' right? Right?