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Brendan Gleeson Discusses "Troy"
brendon gleeson king menelaus  troy the movie


I actually met Wolfgang [Petersen] on the way home from Romania off of “Cold Mountain.” I met him in London on the way home to Ireland and I said, “Look, I’m not sure. I just loved the script but I’m just very tired at the moment.” But he takes an age to make up his mind about who he wants, as well, because of this, that, and the other thing. So I had over Christmas to think about it. Eventually they came back and said, “We’d really like you to do it.” I kind of said [hesitantly] yes.

It was really more the script than the character that drove that one. I enjoyed the chat with Wolfgang and I said, “This is going to be one of the greatest stories in the world and it’ll be interesting to be a part of it.”

The more I got to know Menelaus, the more I liked him. He’s one of these poor guys that even though he has a lot going for him, even when he won, he lost. He married the most beautiful woman in the world and then she runs off with Orlando Bloom. He goes off and fights him, and he kind of beats him, but he still loses out. I actually kind of grew really fond of him because I felt he was dishonored at every turn. He had this kind of vague sense of honor. And of course the Trojans are over there to make peace and they’re eating all his food, and then they run away with his wife. And it just kind of tickled me for some reason (laughing). I actually grew to really like Menelaus. And you could see the scale of the story, I think it’s going to be massive.

It seems everyone is really looking forward to “Troy” hitting theaters in 2004.
It’s glorious. “Cold Mountain,” I think even for all its epic scale, is quite an intimate movie. It’s a very personal and intimate story. For all the characters, when you were asking before about getting lost, I think there’s an intimacy about each of those characters, both the main ones and the people who he meets along the way and the people like myself who drop in at the end. There’s an intimacy about that. Whereas “Troy,” it’s just up there. It’s all out there. All the emotions are huge, all the issues are huge, all the armies are huge, and the fleets are huge, and the walls of Troy are huge – and it’s just really ‘go for it’ time. Subtlety not required at all, which is a fantastic liberation at times. Not very often in filmmaking can you do that. If you lose your subtlety, you lose credibility for the most part. Whereas “Troy” isn’t like that. You just go for it – there is no over-the-top.

Were you involved in a lot of fighting scenes in “Troy?”
I am. Myself and Orlando go at it.

Are scenes where you just get to go physically wild fun for you?
(Laughing) A lot of fun. It really was. It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed that particular one. It’s great because no one gets cut or no one gets hurt – or not seriously hurt, I should say. It’s just such fun. It’s being a kid again in a way. For a grown man to lash away at something and there’s no consequences at the end of it. It’s like a license to have great fun.

And it’s a release.
Absolutely – and nobody gets hurt.