To carve a demigod’s body in “Troy”, Brad Pitt spared no efforts. The actor was trained in combat and did not want to be doubled to face Eric Bana, like his partner. A duel during which the interpreter of Achilles was not tender.
Troy : the colossal peplum of Wolfgang Petersen
Haloed by the success ofIn the middle of a storm, Wolfgang Petersen was offered two projects by Warner in the early 2000s: Batman v superman and Troy. The director of The boat and In the crosshairs chooses to stage the colossal peplum inspired byIliad of Homer. For this mythological epic released in 2004, the filmmaker brings together a prestigious cast.
The feature film opens with the flight of Helena (Diane Kruger) from Sparta to get to Troy with his secret love Paris (Orlando Bloom), the son of King Priam (Peter O’Toole). A departure that makes her husband Ménélas (Brendan Gleeson), King of Sparta, who has just made peace with Troy through Hector (Eric Bana), the eldest of Paris, mad with rage.
While Menelaus demands revenge, his brother Agamemnon (Brian Cox) sees the opportunity to expand the scope of his power with this betrayal. King of Mycenae gathers an army to besiege Troy, calling on the best Greek leaders and warriors, including Ulysses (Sean Bean) and Achilles (Brad Pitt). Before his departure, the latter learns from his mother Thétis (Julie Christie) that he will not return from the fight. In search of eternal glory, the demigod does not renounce his destiny. Refusing to obey the orders of Agamemnon who nevertheless needs him, he makes the outcome of this war uncertain.
Rose Byrne, Saffron Burrows, Garrett Hedlund, Nigel Terry and James Cosmo complete the cast of this blockbuster written by David Benioff, co-creator of Game Of Thrones. When it was released, Troy imposes itself as commercial success, raising $ 497.4 million in revenue worldwide, for an estimated budget of $ 175 million.
A duel filmed without liners
The production of such a film is obviously not without pitfalls. The shooting takes place in England, on the island of Malta as well as in Mexico. During the shootings in South America, the entrance wall of Troy is ravaged by a hurricane which forces the team to leave the scene in an emergency. Asked by Vanity Fair for the fifteenth anniversary of the blockbuster in 2019, Wolfgang Petersen recalls:
The hurricane destroyed everything. (…) The huge tents where all the costumes and accessories were, everything simply disappeared.
Another wall must therefore be built. And since misfortune never comes alone, Brad Pitt is ironically hurts the Achilles tendon at this time, further delaying filming.
Not enough to discourage the actor, however. For their fierce duel – one of the highlights of Troy, Brad Pitt and Eric Bana ask not to be doubled. The two actors also establish their own conditions of remuneration. In case of a small injury, the culprit will have to give 50 dollars to his victim, and 100 dollars in case of more consequent offense. As reported by Chicago Tribune in 2004, Brad Pitt would have gave 750 dollars to his partner and would have received only 200. In defense of the star of Fight Club, Achilles is much more aggressive than Hector during this fateful confrontation.
A turning point in Brad Pitt’s career
When he meets the actor in a German restaurant to discuss the project, Wolfgang Petersen gets scared. Bearded and sporting long dark hair, a thin build, Brad Pitt looks nothing like the image he has of Achilles. But the actor promises him that he will be ready for the shots and keeps his word.
For six months, he trained intensively and adopted a strict diet to sculpt his body. He also stops smoking to gain speed and agility. An investment that does not prevent it from regret having participated in Troy, as he confided to New York Times in 2019, cited by Allocine :
I had to do Troy because, I guess I can tell now, I had dropped another movie (The Fountain, editor’s note). So I had to do something for the studio in return. So I was put in the Petersen movie. It was not a painful experience, but I understood that the film was going in a different direction than the one I would have liked to see. Myself I made mistakes in this project and realized that it was not like what I wanted to do. It was a mistake on my part.
The feature film allows him to realize that he would like the sequel to …