Alexander the Great wore a mullet


One of the best books I’ve read so far this year was Robin Lane Fox’s historical biography, Alexander the Great. Thus, I was pleased to notice that Oliver Stone’s latest film, which debuts late next month, is based on the life of the famous Macedonian warrior-king. Simply entitled Alexander, Stone’s film stars Colin Farrell in the lead role, with Angelina Jolie playing his mother Olympias and Val Kilmer playing his father Philip. Anthony Hopkins will play Ptolemy, Rosario Dawson will play Alexander’s Bactrian wife Roxanne, and Jared Leto will play Alexander’s friend-lover Hephaestion.

Moreover, according to the current issue of Archaeology magazine, Robin Lane Fox advised Stone regarding historical accuracy in the movie, and was rewarded with the opportunity to charge on horseback in several scenes as one of Alexander’s cavalrymen. “In Morocco’s desert, for the Gaugamela battle, and in Thailand’s jungle, for the elephant battle, I was charging on camera on horseback with Colin and the stars in the front line,” the Oxford academic reports, “galloping for my king, with a long lance and no stirrups.”

Fox was optimistic about the historical accuracy and scope of the film. “Cleverly, he said, “[Stone] used Ptolemy, reminiscing and as ‘voice-over,’ who could hint at things the film could not show. And he designed the script as a drama, hung round Alexander’s turbulent youth and his present actions, with Ptolemy speaking for the future. …My worry would be either that the film would be undramatic and boring, just one more thing after another, or ignorantly claiming to be ‘nothing but the history,’ or totally detached from known history altogether. In fact, I find it tremendously exciting, a real epic drama — Oliver’s deliberate, respectful aim.”

To commemorate the upcoming film — and with the intention of sharing some fascinating facts about the real Alexander, I will be quoting from Fox’s book in coming weeks. I’ll start today with a passage that appears to infer that Alexander — against the fashions of his day — wore his hair in a “mullet”:

“His hair stood up off his brow and fell into a central parting; it framed his face, and grew long and low on his neck, a style which was in sharp contrast to the close-cropped haircut of athletes and soldiers and was already insulted in antiquity as a sign of moral laxity.”

[From what I can discern of movie posters, Farrell does indeed sport a mullet-esque hairdo while portraying Alexander. Who would have guessed that Alexander the Great’s hairstyle would not find popular acceptance — and then only briefly — until the 1980’s?]

Posted by | Comments Off on Alexander the Great wore a mullet  | October 9, 2004
Category: Travel Writing

Comments are closed.