Sunday, May 10, 2015

Eve MacDonald's "Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life by Eve MacDonald.

The entry begins:
What a movie Hannibal’s life would make. He was brave and fierce and arguably the greatest general of antiquity. A sword and sandals epic comes to mind – part Gladiator, part Alexander the Great – but there was no happy ending to Hannibal’s story, no redemption for him or Carthage.

Against a backdrop of vast landscapes I would start the film at Hannibal’s tomb at Libyssa (near Istanbul today). The tale would be told by a soldier who had fought with Hannibal, one of the many loyal followers whose life was shaped by his encounter with the great man. Then we would turn back in time through Hannibal’s life beginning with childhood at Carthage and moving to Spain, across France and down through Italy via the mighty Alps with elephants. The sets and cities would be magnificent with scenes at Carthage, Rome, the bay of Naples, Etruria and Ephesus.

I have often thought about who should play Hannibal in a film; it would have to be an actor who could convey the right mix of brave soldier and wise, charismatic and inspirational leader. It would have to be someone who could roughly fit the ethnic make-up of the multi-cultural Carthaginians - part Middle Eastern, part Berber - but really anyone from across the Mediterranean basin might fit the bill. There is a certain exoticism to Hannibal so my preference might be for a Spanish actor as Spain was a region deeply influenced by the Carthaginians and key to the story of Hannibal. Javier Bardem would be perfect because I think he could convey the complexity of Hannibal’s character, a man with razor sharp intelligence and a hugely inspirational leader. Another of my favourites for Hannibal would be...[read on]
Learn more about Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life.

My Book, The Movie: Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life.

--Marshal Zeringue