THIS IS TROY, 1184 BCComplications Ensue
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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Q. I wonder what you think about TROY (2004) with Bradd Pitt and how it compares to your concept in "Wine Dark Sea"?
Did you write that before or after "Troy"?
I suppose that production makes your shot even longer?
I wrote it before. I'm not sure it would have made a difference though. I've always wanted to adapt The Odyssey, ever since I found out Penelope knew perfectly well who the old beggar was. It pays to read footnotes. And then there's that amazing conversation between Athena and Odysseus on the uplands of Ithaka: "If I were a mortal, Odysseus, I'd want to be you."

I thought Troy was a dreadful mashup of about four movies, three of which had nothing to do with why we still read The Iliad. Not that an adapter has any obligation to pursue the same artistic intent as the original creator, though that's always a good place to start. But one picture at a time, please. I also enjoyed the cartoonish Robin Hood Prince of Thieves that Alan Rickman was in ("because it's duller, you twit!"), and I liked the brave and proud one Sean Connery was in. The ones that Kevin Costner was in didn't do much for me.

As to produceability, that's a toughie. Had Troy done well, that ought to have opened up room for an adaptation of Homer's other work. (Unless, as they say, The Odyssey wasn't written by Homer, but by another Greek with the same name.) It stunk, so that didn't help. I have the impression it flopped, though I could be wrong about that.

When Hollywood adapts the same book as you just did, you're probably toast; unless you're in a different part of the industry, that is: Ho'wood makes a blockbuster and you're doing an art film or a D2DVD film. Jurassic Park didn't hurt Carnosaur any. And I'll never forget Roger Corman's quote about the similarities between his picture and Spielberg's: "Steve Spielberg is an honorable man. I never for a moment would dream that he would stoop to stealing my plot!"

I still think The Wine Dark Sea is one of the better things I've written, and I'm rather proud of how the Horse turned out. But I don't hang around with people who do $200 million pictures, alas, and more importantly, neither do my current agents. My LA agency (Paradigm, at the time) had access to all the relevant development people; but my Montreal and Toronto people don't.

So, at some point, it may again be time to hunt up someone who can rep me in LA. Not till I have two killer feature specs to go out with...

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Thanks to answer. I did some research to catch up my classics. I found some good sites with e-book translations and comments.
Someone said "Oh Brother" was 10 times better than the book.

By Blogger max, at 4:00 PM  

Okay, I'm confused. The Kevin Costner Robin Hood WAS the one with Alan Rickman's great "because it's duller, you twit, it will hurt more" line.

Troy is a film tragedy. It could have been great. The screenplay is brilliant and I love the parallels drawn between brothers and cousins. The photography is beautiful and James Horner's score is breathtaking. I think Troy is crammed with awesome performances. Just watch Brendan Gleeson, Brian Cox, Eric Bana, and Peter O'Toole. Some say that Orlando Bloom stunk in the film but he was playing a pansy so how can you tell? Can one actor's performance derail an otherwise great film? Because the only thing I can find wrong with Troy is Brad Pitt.

By Blogger MaryAn Batchellor, at 6:39 PM  

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