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Usual Suspects Writer Gambles on Dead Macedonian

jude law  
© 2000 Paramount  
Christopher McQuarrie may be the only person hoping for an actor's strike this summer. The Oscar-winning "Usual Suspects" writer received the go-ahead to direct an $85-million Alexander the Great biopic in December, but sometime in the next few months McQuarrie will have to reflect on the fact that "Alexander," the sweeping, grandiose, battle-charged epic it needs to be, is only his second directorial effort.

McQuarrie's first film, "The Way of the Gun," was an unexciting crime drama that deserved to flop at the box office (which it did). Clearly, "Way of the Gun" and "Alexander" will have little in common (unless Alexander packs a .45), but the loose ends and flawed storytelling in "Way of the Gun" are cause for concern when set against "Alexander's" complicated story. Ridley Scott successfully tackled the similarly-sized "Gladiator" after years of directing. Once production begins, McQuarrie might realize his pet project is a beast with designs on devouring its creator.

But "Alexander" isn't a doomed film. In fact, it seems blessed by synchronicity. As noted by script reviewer Stax, McQuarrie originally wanted Jude Law to star as Alexander, but his suggestion was made back in 1998 when Law was an unknown. Three years later, Law has ripened into a legitimate star, headlining upcoming films like "Enemy at the Gates" and Steven Spielberg's "A.I." If McQuarrie successfully signs Law, and it appears he will, those three years of development hell may prove to be "Alexander's" saving grace.

Also working in his favor is the "Alexander" script, which received a glowing review from the aforementioned script guru Stax. The spoiler-free review suggests that "Alexander" aims to be more than a bloody action spree, which is good news because the life story of Alexander the Great deserves more than a low-grade popcorn adaptation.

Posted by Mac on February 5, 2001 05:26 PM
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