Oliver Stone and Colin Farrell made an appearance at the MarrakechInternational Film Festival today (Oct 6) to talk up Stone's Fidel Castrodocumentary Comandanteand his $150m historical epic Alexander, which has now entered the third week of production at asite 35km south of Marrakech.
The pair were on ebullient form at a press conference which sawStone speaking with characteristic zeal about Comandante's difficulties in America, and Farrellspeaking with characteristic colour between drags on an ever present cigarette.
Comandante has run into trouble in the US with protests from anti-Castrogroups and co-producer HBO, which pulled the original film from the air in May,after Castro imprisoned Cuban dissidents and put to death three hijackers.
"One of the low points in my life was to be censored in America," saidStone yesterday. "I don't understand why this film can't be seen by the American people.I've been through this many times - I've been called anti-American since Platoon, but I make these films because I careabout America."
In response to the May executions and imprisonments, Stone was encouraged by HBO to take his Comandante crew back to Cuba to challenge Castro on screen about his latest actions. The result is a new 50-minute documentary, Looking For Fidel, which will air on HBO in place of the pulled Comandante next April.
Production on Alexander is going well and is on schedule and on budget Stone said, althoughthe weather has caused difficulties. "The weather has been a little tricky,"the director admitted. "The sandstorms and the rains have taken us by surprise,but we're pushing on."
"I've never read anything like it in nine years," said Farrell ofStone's script. "Oliver is a man of opinion and a man of passion and a man oflife."
Farrell's colourful, digressive speaking, gave the Frenchtranslator some difficulty. "I'm Irish," he said by way of an apology. "I talkfast and I talk a lot of shit."
Alexander'scast also includes Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, Val Kilmer, Jared Leto,Rosario Dawson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Cinematographer is Rodrigo Prieto,whose credits include Stone's Commandante, Amores Perros and 8 Mile.
Stone praised producer (and Intermedia chief) MoritzBorman - also in attendance - for his dedication to the project.
"Most of my films have been hard and I've never had such acomplicated movie as Alexander. Moritz has gone to the wall many times. He was turned down againand again but he kept trying. And Moritz is also the only man who did not backoff from Morocco after the Casablanca bombings: he stayed, and paid higherinsurance rates, and made the film here in Morocco."
The Marrakech International Film Festival ends on Wednesday (Oct8) with a screening of Tonie Marshall's comedy France Boutique.