Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ian Worthington's "By the Spear," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: By the Spear: Philip II, Alexander the Great, and the Rise and Fall of the Macedonian Empire by Ian Worthington.

The entry begins:
My book uniquely compares the reigns of Philip II and Alexander the Great of Macedonia to show how Philip was the architect of the Macedonian empire and Alexander its master builder. In truly a case of West meeting East, Alexander's conquests brought down the Persian Empire and spread Greek culture as far east as India, making the Greeks aware of being part of a world far bigger than the Mediterranean. I also discuss the problems Alexander faced in dealing with a multi-cultural subject population, and how his successes and failures can inform makers of strategy in culturally different regions of the world today.

A major reason why previous movies about Alexander the Great flopped was because of credible actors. By this I don't mean actors who are poor (far from it), but actors who are believable as the people they're portraying. Colin Farrell in Oliver Stone's movie never worked because he never looked comfortable or credible as Alexander (compare that performance to his character in Phone Booth, still his best movie I think). Nor did Richard Burton in Rossen's movie. But casting Alexander is not easy. He was only 22 when he invaded Asia, died not too far short of his 33rd birthday, and he was no six-foot macho man with muscles like The Rock. We need an actor to play the adult king who is not too old, looks like he's had a few knocks in his life, and is not the "screen hunk" type. Two actors come to mind: Sam Worthington (no relation), even though he's in his late 30s, and even better...[read on]
View a slideshow of the rise and fall of the Macedonian Empire in pictures.

Ian Worthington is Professor of History at the University of Missouri.

My Book, The Movie: Demosthenes of Athens and the Fall of Classical Greece.

The Page 99 Test: Demosthenes of Athens and the Fall of Classical Greece.

My Book, The Movie: By the Spear.

--Marshal Zeringue