Angry Greeks deny Alexander the Great was bisexual
November 20 2004 12:00 AM ET
A group of Greek lawyers is threatening to sue Warner Bros. film studios and Oliver Stone, director of the widely anticipated film Alexander, for suggesting that Alexander the Great was bisexual. The lawyers have already sent an extrajudicial note to the studio and director demanding they include a reference in the title credits saying his movie is a fictional tale and not based on official documents of the life of the Macedonian ruler. "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," Yannis Varnakos, who spearheads the campaign by 25 lawyers, said.
Stone was quoted on MSNBC.com as telling the upcoming edition of Playboy magazine that the film's depiction of Alexander could offend some. "We go into his bisexuality. It may offend some people, but sexuality in those days was a different thing," he was quoted as saying. While the film, starring Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie, will be released on November 24, Varnakos said he has already gathered enough information regarding the content of the movie to suggest there are "inappropriate references." "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film, but from the information we have already, there are references to his alleged homosexuality, a fact that is in no historical document or archive on Alexander," he said. "Either they make it clear that this is a work of fiction, or we will take the case further."
This is not the first time Greeks have been angered by suggestions Alexander was homosexual and had affairs with young men. Two years ago hundreds of northern Greeks from the province of Macedonia, where he was born, stormed an archeological symposium after one speaker presented a paper on the homosexuality of Alexander. Police were called in to evacuate the participants. One of the greatest military leaders of all time, Alexander, who was never defeated in battle, conquered about 90% of the then-known world before his mysterious death at the age of 32, building an empire that stretched from the Mediterranean to Afghanistan. Varnakaos said that although Stone has the right to freely express himself, the audience should have the right to know. "We cannot come out and say that [former U.S.] 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," Varnakos said.