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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Christopher Kyle on Alexander





A special one of a kind interview with co-writer of Alexander (2004) Christopher Kyle and his latest projects...


Ahhh! Alexander!!! Im sorry but no matter what anyone says, I LOVE this film! I asked if screenwriter Christopher Kyle would give me his take on the apparent 2004 flop of this (in my opinion) masterpiece. Every time I need inspiration I put this film on, which is basically once a month at least. So, if I love this film so much, why was it such a failure in America? Christopher explains:


me: "Christopher, Im sorry everyone talked badly of that film. For me, it is one of the most inspiring films Ive ever seen and I watch it every time I am feeling like I just cant get through a day. I love it. But Im so curious... How do you feel about that film and why do you think the American public received it so badly? For me, it was just written so well and played so well. My humble praises."


Christopher: "Well, yes, I co-wrote Alexander. Glad to hear you're a fan. Oliver [Oliver Stone] sent me a book recently, a collection of critical essays on the film, that takes a more evenhanded and thoughtful approach to it than most of the film critics did. It's called 'Responses to Oliver Stone's Alexander' edited by Paul Cartledge and Fiona Rose Greenland. Might interest you."


me: "For sure. I must get it!"


Christopher: "Oliver asked me to write Alexander based on my script for K-19: The Widowmaker. He had already been thinking about and outlining the film for several years at that point and had a previous script by Laeta Kalogridis. (If you watch The Doors carefully, there's a montage that includes images of Alexander. His interest in the subject goes back at least that far.) I was not on the set so I can offer no gossip about Angelina Jolie or Colin Farrell. Working with Oliver was great, however. He was in a somewhat experimental phase in his thinking about the project and he encouraged me to approach the story in unconventional, non-linear ways. Some of those ideas made it into the final film, many did not, but it was a very liberating way to work. The film did much better in international markets than in the US, particularly in countries where they don't speak English. I'm not sure why that it is, but presumably non-English speakers had little access to the stupid, homophobic reviews that blanketed the US. (One review I saw was headlined 'Alexander the Gay,' which spares one the necessity of reading further.) Of course the film was a big reach and I don't think the theatrical version is the best, most coherent version, but given how mindless and cautious most big Hollywood movies are, you would think the critics would have given Oliver more credit for at least attempting something so ambitious. But he has a big target on his back."


me: "Mamma mia! Alexander the Gay!?!? Please!!! Alexander was bisexual and so were most Greeks at that time. And the ancient Egyptians practiced incest and no mention of that in all those Egyptian/Hollywood films but thats another story. So, my feeling was that the film rang true. If it didnt have gay hints, it would have been trying to live up to some macho idea of a ruler when in my mind he was such a powerful ruler and symbol because of his androgynous sides. Thats why I loved his character. The most powerful people, in my opinion, are not macho power hungry rulers but the ones as sensitive as they are hard and vulnerable as they are strong. Anyway, the script, the direction, the music, the cinematography, the acting, all of it makes that film for me one of the most inspiring ever. One of my favorite scenes is when Alexander has gone too far East and Ptolemny is counseling him to go home Alexander says, 'have you found your home, Ptolemny? Women bring men home. I have no such feeling. I have Babylon but each land, each boundary I cross I strip away another illusion. I sense death will be the last. Yet still I push harder and harder to reach this home. Where has our eagle gone?'. Amazing writing! ... Anyway, I ramble... Christopher, really interesting information. Thank you! So, what are you doing these days? Are you writing books? Films? Plays?"


Christopher: "I've never written books. I began as a playwright and had a few plays produced off-Broadway before I started writing films. Recently, I went back to playwriting and finished a new play called "Dirt Archaeology." There's going to be a reading of it in NY on Monday. I recently finished an adaptation of Ron Rash's novel "Serena" for Darren Aronofsky to direct. That film is coming together and I hope it will go into production sometime next year. Now I am writing a new script for a project called "The Crowded Room" which is based on the nonfiction book "The Minds of Billy Milligan" about a man with multiple personality disorder. That one is for Leonardo DiCaprio's production company and director Ed Zwick."

me: "Wonderful! You are a screenwriter's dream come true. Cant wait to see your next scripts brought to life on the screen and your plays on stage. Ill be watching out for your work as always. And now Ill rename you Chryle the Great!  :-) Thanks Christopher!"


Interview by Vanessa McMahon on July 21, 2010.

view film trailer here: 


Colin Farrell with director Oliver Stone



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