Alexander: Colin Farrell felt such shame after failure of the Oliver Stone epic

Colin Farrell, Alexander

Nearly twenty years ago, Oliver Stone set out to tell the life story of the ancient Macedonian general and king Alexander the Great. He assembled quite the all-star cast, including Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Anthony Hopkins, Jared Leto, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Plummer, and more, with Colin Farrell starring as Alexander himself. While certainly ambitious, Alexander became a critical and commercial failure upon its release, which Colin Farrell didn’t see coming; In fact, he told THR during a roundtable discussion that the cast was ready for Oscar glory.

Expectation is a dangerous thing. Alexander was a story that Oliver Stone had dreamed of since he was in college. So, as grand as it was, as global as it was, as political as it was, as thrilling as it was, as violent as it was, and as sensual as it was, it was really personal — to Oliver and to me. It took us six months to shoot, on three continents. It was incredible. When I say “expectation,” we all had our tuxedos ready [for awards shows]. I’m not even joking. We were all like, “Right, lads, we’re off to the Oscars. This is a sure thing.” And then it came out. The reviews came out, and I remember someone going, “Oh God, it’s not good.” And my publicist going, “It’s really not good.” I was like, “Well, what do you mean ‘not good’?”

Faced with the devastating reviews, Colin Farrell said that he “felt so much shame” about the failure of Alexander. “I found myself in a place where with everyone I met I wanted to say, ‘Have you seen Alexander? If you have, I’m really sorry,’” Farrell said. “I’m not even joking. I wasn’t going to give them their $20 million back, but…” Farrell retreated to a ski resort at Lake Tahoe for several days, feeling sorry for himself. “I went, ‘I’m just shite at it. I’m a crap actor. I’ve been found out,’” Farrell said. The actor was just 23 at the time, but Alexander proved to be a turning point in his career, pushing him to recognize what was important to him as a man and an actor. “This is not to apologize — I was a young man — but Alexander really made me go, ‘I don’t know,’” Farrell explained. “And what I had to do was plug back into the Colin that went into an acting class when he was 17. And not only the fellow that went in the first time, but more importantly the fellow that went back for the second workshop. I had lost that. I was shot out of the cannon, as you said. I was given so much opportunity. It was insane how much money I was given, the keys to this, the keys to that.

Despite the failure of Alexander in theaters, the film has enjoyed a long life on home media, with Oliver Stone releasing three different cuts of the movie. In addition to the theatrical cut, Stone released the Director’s Cut in 2005, followed by the Final Cut in 2007, and the Ultimate Cut in 2014. It’s been ages since I last watched Alexander; perhaps it’s time to revisit the movie, if only to decide if Colin Farrell’s shame was justified. He’s certainly proved just how capable an actor he is since the release of Alexander, most recently in The Banshees of Inisherin, which is up for multiple Golden Globe Awards.

Source: THR

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.