Date: 31st July 2003
Director Baz Luhrmann and producers Martha and Dino De Laurentiis annouce world wide casting search for a young Alexander for their epic historical adventure Alexander The Great
London, England, Monday. July 28th - Producers Martha and Dino De Laurentiis and Director, writer, producer Baz Luhrmann today announced a massive world-wide casting search for a young actor to play the part of the young Alexander in his forthcoming movie ALEXANDER THE GREAT.
One of the greatest historical figures of all time, the role of ALEXANDER THE GREAT will be portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in this epic adventure to be directed by Baz Luhrmann, produced by Dino and Martha De Laurentiis and Luhrmann and released by Dream Works Pictures and Universal Pictures. Nicole Kidman will also star as Olympia, Alexander’s mother and one of the most iconic figures in all history.
The project reteams both DiCaprio and Kidman with Luhrmann, following his internationally acclaimed, Oscar-winning masterpiece Moulin Rouge! and Broadway triumph La Boheme. The Oscar®-nominated DiCaprio (Catch Me If You Can, Gangs of New York) catapulted into superstardom when he portrayed Romeo in Luhrmann’s vivid interpretation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet in 1966. DiCaprio went on to star in Titanic, the highest-grossing film of all time, and will next be seen in The Aviator for director Martin Scorsese. Kidman created an international sensation and earned an Oscar® nomination for her work in Luhrmann’s spectacular musical, Moulin Rouge!, and she won this year’s Best Actress Academy Award® for her work in The Hours. Kidman stars this year in Lars von Trier’s Dogville, Robert Benton’s The Human Stain and Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain.
“We are searching for a young Leonardo,” said Luhrmann, “to play the young Alexander before he became the world-conquering hero celebrated through history. The complicated young man
young man who, while honing the physical skills required of the warrior-King he was destined to be, also developed a wide intellect under the tuition of one of the greatest minds of history, Artistotle. The boy we are seeking will be around 8-9 years of age, exceptionally gifted with the looks of a young Leonardo. Above all, they will require tremendous equestrian skills as one of the significant elements of the film will be Alexander’s legendary relationship with the horse, Bucephalus”. continued Luhrmann.
“The person we are looking for must embody the complicated brilliance of a political leader and the physical prowess of a warrior in the making, all while being a young man embarking on the most amazing adventure of his life,” said DeLaurentiis.
Although, on the face of it a formidable task, it is not one with which producer Dino de Laurentiis is unfamiliar, having faced similar situations throughout his many years making movies. One of his most notable “discoveries” being the young Jessica Lange who he launched on the road to stardom, following a similar world-wide casting search, in the 1975 version of “King Kong”.
Luhrmann recently visited Los Angeles, where he dazzled representatives from both studios with a presentation of his new structure for the ambitious story and a precise vision for the visual language and epic reach of the film. The filmmaker’s passionate conception for the project similarly impressed DiCaprio and Kidman, already committed to the parts of Alexander and Olympia.
Leonardo DiCaprio stated, “The character of Alexander the Great is one of the most remarkable figures in history. It's not just that he conquered the world or was taught by one of the great minds in history, Aristotle; what most attracts me is the complex character of Alexander himself - always restless, impulsive but measured. It’s truly one of the most extraordinary stories in human history, the resonance of which has had a direct effect not only on who we are but where we find ourselves today.”
Nicole Kidman noted, “Baz and I have often discussed our love of epic stories and, in particular, those told through simple human drama. The character of Olympia is one of the few iconic women in history. She is unlike any other woman I’ve played before and it’s a role I’m really looking forward to.”
Based on the short but extraordinary life of the brilliant warrior-conqueror who ruled over the largest empire ever to fall under one man, filming Alexander the Great is the long-held cinematic dream of De Laurentiis, the legendary producer of several decades’ worth of memorable motion pictures. Working with Luhrmann continues De Laurentiis’ lifelong dedication to working with the visionary directors, from his early work with Federico Fellini (on films awarded two Oscars®) and Vittorio De Sica through contemporary mavericks such as David Lynch. In 2001, De Laurentiis received the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Academy Award® in recognition of his lifetime’s contributions to the motion picture industry.
The person lucky enough to be selected will enjoy one of the most high profile big-screen debuts in cinema history, co-starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman, amongst others, in this lavish production. Luhrmann is currently shooting visual effects’ plates in Greece and Iran, having commenced work on VFX in Sydney Australia. He and De Laurentiis continue to scout practical locations in Jordan and Australia, having already secured support from King Mohammed VI of Morocco as well as Prince Chatri Chalerm Yukol of Thailand.
Source: Press Release