25 FEBRUARY 2003
When Peter O'Toole said he didn't want a lifetime achievement Oscar because he still hoped to win best actor, many thought he was squandering his last chance at the coveted prize. It now seems the 70-year-old may have had good reason, however, as he has been cast to star in a new film of truly epic proportions.
The Irish actor will appear opposite Julie Christie in a new production of the legendary Greek tragedy Troy. He will play Priam, the king who calls on his son Hector to defend his kingdom when an Armada of Greek ships comes to raze the city.
Also set to appear in the film are Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Saffron Burrows, Sean Bean and Peter's fellow Irishman Brendan Gleason.
Brad will play the warrior Achilles, who must choose between the woman he loves and the chance to become a legendary soldier. Julie Christie is his mother, Thetis, who helps him make the agonising decision. The film will also see rising star Eric Bana, who won acclaim in the independent Australian hit Chopper, take on the role of Priam's son.
Director Wolfgang Peterson says that Peter O'Toole and Julie Christie were the only choices for the roles of Priam and Thetis. The two performers are best known for their roles in David Lean's epics, Lawrence Of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago.
"David Lean was one of my heroes, and my ambition has been for 'Troy' to be made in the tradition of the great Lean epics," said the filmmaker. "To have two of his greatest actors join this balance of stars and fresh faces is unbelievable luck." The film starts shooting in April and is scheduled to go on general release in the spring of 2004.