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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Luhrmann signs up for Alexander epic
Baz Luhrmann
Luhrmann has only completed three films
Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann is to direct an epic movie depicting the life of Alexander the Great, according to reports.

He has signed on to bring a trilogy of novels by Italian academic Valerio Manfredi to the big screen, with filming expected to begin in 2003 in Morocco, the Hollywood Reporter trade paper reports.

The film is tipped to be the first of a trilogy of epics for the Australian director, following his three forays into the musical world with Strictly Ballroom, Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge.

Luhrmann has previously stated his fascination with Alexander the Great.

"The Western culture that we know and respect today would not have existed without Alexander," Luhrmann said.

Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge is credited with reinventing the musical film
"Alexander was the first recorded cult of personality - while he was still alive - in human history. He was almost a deity," he added.

Luhrmann said that his vision for the movie was to chart Alexander's journey in a similar style to the 1962 blockbuster Lawrence of Arabia.

Producer Dino de Laurentiis optioned Mr Mandredi's books more than a year ago and immediately began to condense their 1,200 pages. He will produce the movie with his wife Martha.

The script has been adapted by Ted Tally, who won an Oscar in 1992 for his Silence of the Lambs screenplay.

Luhrmann was one of the last to come aboard the project but his inclusion has been welcomed by all sides.

Rival projects

"He's one of the best directors in the world; he's a genius," said de Laurentiis.

"Any producer who wants to develop the story of a great man like Alexander needs a director with a vision."

Two other productions based on the life of Alexander the Great are said to be in the early stages with both Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone said to be interested in recreating it for the cinema screen.

Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge was controversially passed over for a best director nomination at the 2002 Oscars.

But his wife Catherine Martin, who has worked on all his films, picked up two awards for the film for best art direction and best costume design.

See also:

03 Sep 01 | Oscars 2002
07 Feb 02 | Oscars 2002
04 Mar 02 | Entertainment
24 Feb 02 | Entertainment
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