Wolfgang Petersen launched this search for the most beautiful actress possible to play Helen of Troy in his upcoming epic "Troy"
I don't know if he found anyone yet.
She was the original face to die for. So who should be Helen of Troy on film? Ian Nathan checks the field
According to Homer, Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships, "the very image of an immortal goddess". According to a recent casting call put out in search of a Helen for Wolfgang Petersen's $ 120 million big screen rendition of The Iliad (simply called Troy), "On a scale of one to ten she's a 20."
Whichever way you look at it, Helen -whose abduction was the cause of history's most celebrated dust-up -is held up as the epitome of beauty. This search for an actress to fill the role of the new blockbuster is thus ostensibly the search for the most beautiful woman in the world.
Troy is certainly an ambitious project. Born of the Tolkien-fuelled resurgence in the fantasy genre, this centrepiece of Greek mythology has been plumped up with big stars: Brad Pitt plays Achilles, Eric Bana is Hector, Orlando Bloom is Paris, Sean Bean is Odysseus with Peter O'Toole as the Trojan king Priam. The film will shoot in Malta, Morocco and London, although concerns over Iraq may shift exteriors to desert locations in Mexico.
Yet, no matter how festooned with mind-bending special effects, the heart and soul of the story is Helen. For the past two months Petersen has engaged the UK casting agent Lucinda Syson to lead the hunt, which may suggest that he is seeking a British actress. Despite Homer's references to her being "white-armed", surely she would be of Greek colouring?
In public Petersen is non-specific. "She has to be believable as the face that launched a thousand ships and caused the Greeks to go against Troy," the director of Air Force One proclaimed. "She has to be that beautiful."
The rumour mill is full of names of would-be Helens. Saffron Burrows was announced, but it transpired she was to play Hector's wife Andromache. Then came the name Rosie Byrne, known only for a bit part in Attack of the Clones, but she was Brisies, romantic interest for Pitt's Achilles. Other names have circulated, some obvious wish-fulfilment, others with a patina of truth, but each swiftly knocked down: Halle Berry (too old!), Catherine Zeta-Jones (too pregnant!), Connie Nielsen of Gladiator (too Roman!), Sophie Marceau (too French!), Jennifer Lopez (too much!). If the barometer is pointing anywhere, it is towards a Helen younger than the established set of Hollywood beauties. One obvious candidate, Natalie Portman, is unavailable because of Star Wars commitments, leaving such names as Kristin Kreuk of Smallville and our own Kiera Knightley being touted.
Yet Claire Forlani, the feline-featured actress from Twickenham who made a minor impact opposite Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black, has emerged as the unofficial frontrunner. Her name was briefly added to the cast list, before mysteriously disappearing. The internet crew, taking up their improbable position as independent adjudicators of the studios' creative decisions, have greeted the possibility with mixed feelings. "It's a travesty; she's worse-looking than my sister," bewailed one contributor. "Perfect! She has that sublime mix of regal and bewitching," cheered another. Which brings to mind the well-used adage, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, when it comes to Helen of Troy you need some kind of consensus. Which is perhaps why Petersen has set up a sensible smokescreen, hinting that after all the talk he would rather go for an unknown.
Not that the fuss will hurt at all. The quest to fill the shoes of certain characters is part of Hollywood mythology, helpfully adding layers of publicity to a movie. Most big roles involve a host of nominees and when a very famous character -real or fictional -is to be portrayed, the exposure is amplified.
Originally posted by mrrene@Apr 8th, 2003 - 9:46 am Anyway, if Petersen is considering unknown actresses, maybe our Mara should apply...*
I was thinking that as I was reading!
I remember seeing Claire Forlani's name tossed around in regards to the movie, but...I dunno...I think she's lost some of her beauty since she dissappeared off the scene. It's like her face is morphing into Tiffani Amber Theissen's or something.
I'd like to see Natalie Portman. She's breathtaking and it's about time she did something other than Star Wars. But I read somewhere that she wasn't taking on any other roles until she finished college.
__________________ Fashion is the deliberate inculcation of obsolescence. - Paul Hawken
Originally posted by seditionary@Apr 8th, 2003 - 2:24 pm nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooo
please enver never never never never
let her do another movie
please no nononononononnononononononononoooooooooooooo
C'mon, seditionary, tell us how you really feel!
__________________ Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman -- Coco Chanel