|Helen of Troy
USA Network mini-series
August 9, 2003 2 PM EST - parts 1 & 2
Region 1 DVD release date, August 12, 2003
] You are a smudge on history's ledger, but you are my
(IMDb memorable quote)
Troy Photo Gallery New
of Troy reviews
July 28, 2003, 9 AM parts 1 & 2
HELEN OF TROY (USA Network): MAKING THE EPIC AIRS:
|Agamemnon, King of Mycenae. Greece's most
ruthless king, he used Helen's escape to fulfill his own ambition: destroying Troy and
crowning himself king of the Aegean. Married to Helen's sister, Clytemnestra, Agamemnon
sacrificed their daughter, Iphigenia, in order to sail safely to Troy.
|Menelaus, King of Sparta, successor to
Tyndareus. He was Agamemnon's younger brother. Married to Helen and disgraced by her
affair with Paris, he sought to avenge his honor with the conquest of Troy. Throughout the
war, however, he proved quieter, less imposing, and less arrogant than Agamemnon.
Queen of Sparta, mother of Helen. Leda was raped by Zeus, making the god Helen's father.
Later, she went mad and killed herself.
King of Sparta. He was ashamed by his daughter Helen's beauty. After his death, Menelaus
Helen's sister and wife of Agamemnon. At the end of the war, she killed her husband when
she learned he sacrificed their daughter, Iphigenia, in order to sail to Troy safely.
and Pollux, Helen's brothers. It is believed that Pollux was also the son of Zeus. Both
brothers were killed in their efforts to save Helen from Theseus.
|Helen, Daughter of Tyndareus. Helen was the
most beautiful woman in the world. Married to Menelaus against her will, she was destined
for Paris by the gods. Her escape from Greece to Troy plunged both empires into war.
|Hecuba, Queen of Troy.
Mother of Paris and Hector, she tried to save her family from being torn apart by a
10-year war with Greece.
|Priam, King of Troy. Ignoring his daughter's
prophecies, he allowed Paris to bring Helen into Troy. His refusal to hand over Helen to
the Greeks set the stage for war.
Princess of Troy. Blessed by the gods with the power to see the future, Cassandra tried to
convince her father to give up Helen in order to save Troy.
|Paris, Prince of Troy. He and Helen fell in
love with each other the moment they met. He brought her back to Troy, even though it
meant risking his kingdom and his life.
|Hector, Prince of
Troy. He was Paris' brother and leader of the Trojan army. When the Greeks invaded his
land, he was forced to fight a war he had no part in starting, and he resented his brother
for bringing the war upon their family and city.
Return to top of page
|Theseus, King of
Athens. A legendary warrior, he kidnapped Helen but also befriended her when she was a
child. He revealed to Helen the truth about her past; though raised by a king, her real
father was Zeus.
FRIDAY, APRIL 11 7:30PM/6:30C
MONDAY, APRIL 14 11PM/10C
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16 1AM/12C
SATURDAY, APRIL 19 10:30AM/9:30C
SATURDAY, APRIL 19 11PM/10C
SUNDAY, APRIL 20 12PM/11C
MONDAY, APRIL 21 8AM/7C
From a land before time to prime time: what's life really like on the set of a
major motion picture? Don't miss your chance to go behind the scenes of the USA original
miniseries Helen of Troy in the USA original special Helen of Troy: Making the
Learn just what it took to bring the greatest story of ancient Greece to life, including
armies of extras, film crews from a dozen countries, multiple special effects studios,
some of the toughest fighting ever experienced, and more. We'll get you a front row seat
for every battle, an up-close look at every major take, and even let you stand right
behind the camera and see the things you never get to see on screen!
You'll get an insider's look at Helen of Troy's special effect and stunt secrets,
and watch exclusive cast interviews direct from the set, including with Sienna
Guillory ("Helen"), Rufus Sewell
("Agamemnon"), and Matthew
Marsden ("Paris"). You'll also learn some of the finer points of
moviemaking from critically-acclaimed Director John Kent Harrison and Producer Ted
Kurdyla, as well as hear some great stories from the crew.
How do you steer a chariot? How do you create a raging hurricane in an over-sized swimming
pool? What about sword fights - real or fake? Learn these cinema secrets, plus many more,
on Helen of Troy: Making the Epic!
"Helen of Troy" Official USA
view the trailer (requires Windows Media Player or Real Player)
The set at Fort Ricasoli being used for Helen of Troy
February 28, 2003
USA Network is proud to present Helen of Troy, a four-hour, action-packed epic
about one of the world's most beautiful women - and one of ancient history's grandest
Helen was literally the face that launched 1,000 ships, a woman so captivating that for 10
years, a war raged over her. Helen was forced to marry and then kept secluded for fear her
beauty would destroy her kingdom. But her presence was too powerful to hide forever, and
when Helen and a young warrior named Paris of Troy saw each other, they immediately fell
in love and risked everything to be together. Their relationship sparked a decade-long
against the city of Troy, and only history's most famous deception, the Trojan Horse,
brought an end to the devastating conflict.
NOTE: USA Network will be airing a special, 30-minute documentary on Helen of
especially for Cable in the
Classroom. This presentation, which will air COMMERCIAL FREE for
easy taping, is scheduled for early morning on Wednesday, April 2, from 4:30 - 5:00 AM
An archipelago at the centre of the Mediterranean with a wealth
of heritage. Home once to ancient civilisations and Europes nobles.
Maltas location at the heart of the Mediterranean is the
key to its rich history
At the crossroads of maritime routes, the Islands have been a
home, stronghold, trading post and refuge over 7000 years of history. From temple
builders, seafaring Phoenicians and the traveller Apostle Paul, to the Knights of St John,
Napoleon and British royalty - all have set foot here leaving their imprint for you to
The Islands have several World Heritage sites: the enigmatic, prehistoric temples;
Maltas baroque capital Valletta,
founded by the Knights; and the walled, medieval capital, Mdina,
descendants of Norman families still live today.
The palaces and cathedrals of Valletta and Mdina house some of Europes finest
Wander around the sister island Gozo and explore gems of a
rural life largely untouched by time. And hike across a rugged,
terraced landscape fashioned by man over a millennium ago.
The Islands present a kaleidoscope of past and present: a fascinating legacy
of European culture and rural Mediterrranean traditions.
TV mini-series Helen of Troy to be
shot in Malta
Author: Fiona Galea Debono
2 May 2002
The Malta Film Commission is experiencing yet
another busy period, with a number of foreign productions showing an interest and making
serious enquires about filming in Malta.
Among the many projects heading Malta's way
is a two-part, four-hour, TV mini-series, Helen of Troy, which starts shooting in various
locations at the beginning of summer over a period of about two months.
About 95 per cent of the $14 million-budget
production is being shot in Malta, which is doubling as Athens, Sparta and Troy, the MFC
Helen of Troy is produced and distributed by
USA Cable Entertainment - part of Vivendi Group, the largest media group worldwide - and
is to be aired in the US early next year.
It is being directed by the renowned TV
director, Hungarian-born, Peter Medak, and scripted by Ronni Kern, while a number of
top-class actors have been mentioned for the series, although their names cannot yet be
The producers approached the Malta Film
Commission representative in Los Angeles and meetings were held earlier last month.
Following a recce in Malta, they decided to shoot the bulk of the production locally.
Malta was selected for the TV film primarily
due to the sets in Fort Ricasoli and the fort itself, as well as other locations, the
short distances and competitive costs, the MFC said.
Helen of Troy marks the third TV project to
be almost completely shot in Malta in 2002. Shooting of the TV series Julius Caesar and
the filmed version of the opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, was completed earlier last
Julius Caesar pumped around $14 million into
the economy over seven months.
Commenting on the latest project, the
parliamentary secretary in the Economic Services Ministry, George Hyzler, remarked that
USA Cable Entertainment's decision to shoot the series in Malta confirmed yet again that
the island was turning into a reliable and popular film destination.
"The various, unspoiled locations, Fort
Ricasoli and the sets in particular, as well as the hard work and professionalism of the
MFC have contributed to attract the project to Malta, which was competing with Croatia's
Dr Hyzler commented that if Malta lost its
reliable reputation on one project, irrespective of its budget, it could lose business for
the coming years. The government and the MFC would continue to do their utmost to satisfy
the needs of every production, he said, confident that the public had understood that the
film business was not a "rip-off industry".
The MFC has received encouraging feedback
both from the producers of Julius Caesar and Klinghoffer, who said they were looking
forward to shooting in Malta in the future.
The past three months have been busy for
Malta, following a quieter 2001, Dr Hyzler said, speaking about the need for more human
resources in the business and encouraging the private sector to consider the potential of
the industry and start investing in it.
He said Malta needed a sound stage and other
ancillary services and that while the Business Promotion Act catered for incentives for
the industry, feedback from the local private sector was still low.
A training programme for the industry would
soon be launched to help Malta increase its workforce in the field, Dr Hyzler said.
According to Variety, an influential daily
trade newspaper, the mini-series on the legendary life of Helen of Troy - the face that
launched a thousand ships - traces the story of how a savage war was waged over the beauty
of one woman, Helen, who risked everything to be with her lover, the young warrior Paris
The production team was looking at either
trying to lure a big name, known for both her beauty and her acting prowess, or at
launching a worldwide search for the perfect Helen.
The mini-series has been described as "a
big story, which also involves an interesting personal story that carries you
Source: Times of Malta, www.timesofmalta.com
report on Trojan War big-budget film
The Times of Malta September 28, 2002
the filming in Malta of the USA Cable TV mini-series, Helen of Troy, again on the Trojan
War and the beautiful Helen, finished on Monday after a "successful" three-month
shoot at Fort Ricasoli and other locations, the commission said. Helen of
Troy is be aired in the US over two nights in March.
Rufus Sewell wants comic role
The Times of Malta August 28, 2002
Agamemnon plays computer games on his laptop, whiling away
the time before he is called to
step back into a technology-free era and slip into the role of the power-hungry
king. Before long,
he is perched on a rooftop on the Helen of Troy set at Fort Ricasoli, brandishing a
bellowing his lines in true stately style.
It is twilight, but the glint in the trademark green eyes of
actor Rufus Sewell pierces the
semi-darkness like a dagger and the expression on his face is deep and dramatic as
Effortlessly swaying through the ages, it looks like he is
enjoying himself. The sword fighting
may be hard work, but Rufus (A Knight's Tale) does not even try to convince anyone
is a martyr, knowing full well that nobody would buy it.
After all, there is no actual work in acting "except the
hanging around". Quoting Michael Caine,
he says: "The acting is free. It's the waiting around that you get paid
for" - useful words that
stop him complaining when he has to resort to computer games in his trailer.
"Anyway, no one wants to listen to actors moan because,
when they do, it is usually to people
who have woken up three hours before them and go to bed three hours later, have
money and have no one asking them what they would like to drink."
So, Rufus tries not to... until he is, again, left twiddling
his thumbs between takes.
"It's the only part that feels like work," he
confides. Otherwise, he is playing at war, with the
props, costumes, weaponry and extras to render anyone's boyhood fantasy a reality,
mention the talent to enthral audiences.
Rufus appears to have a down-to-earth and humorous approach
to his 'job'. Obliterating any
prima donna traits and traces of self-importance, he nevertheless strives to
achieve his goals,
which he constantly shifts further and further away, always seeking a challenge.
Comfortable poking fun at himself, he strips off any romantic
notions surrounding actors and
acting, although that is not to say he does not take his job seriously.
Starring in the USA Cable TV mini-series, Helen of Troy,
which is being shot in Malta, the
34-year-old readily admits to having only read the pocket 'Iliad', with its
"big and easy print".
Nor does he wax lyrical about Malta. Diplomatically, after a
lengthy pause, Rufus says it is...
"better by night" (not because you cannot see anything, but because
"the towns are dry and
dusty, which in some ways is quite beautiful and in others very urban").
In between filming, Rufus leaves his mythological character
behind and steps down into the
real world to talk about his five-month-old son William, who is in Malta at the
When he is not acting, Rufus still tries to be creative and
is into photography and music -
"anything but country and western and 1980s rock".
"I stopped being in bands when I became an actor because
I didn't want to be an actor/musician.
It's sad! A bit desperate too," he states, almost under his breath.
"Established actors, who then release singles, embarrass
me slightly. I'm embarrassed for them
and want them to stop it, whether they are talented, or not." The crux of the
matter is that people
always want what they don't have!
Rufus is currently attempting to write a script: "I've
started many and am beginning to get excited
about the idea. Dialogue seems to come easily to me".
But, as regards "actual strands of storyline that hold
it together", that is another story!
Nevertheless, he is optimistic that they would somehow gel
and, in the meantime, keeps tapping
Would he star in it himself if it were to materialise?
"Well if you cannot write yourself a great part..."
Having said that, "sometimes, by the time you've
finished a project like that, you're too old for it
About the appeal of Helen of Troy, Rufus believes that
"audiences like historical drama. The fact
that it is set in the distant past renders it, in a way, more accessible because
they can relax into
watching the story and do not always want to be confronted with their own world.
"What renders a story universal and eternal is the fact
that it is about lust... about the quest for
power... about men and women and what they want to do to each other.
"It is about a woman who drives men to do some crazy
stuff, which is just as topical now as it was
in the past. If you go to St Julian's at 2 a.m., there are plenty of mini Helens
The reason the story of Helen of Troy is still being told is
because it is about "basic humanity -
greed, lust and what drives us - which is the same as when we were living in caves.
It is about
wanting to possess and not wanting to share".
Rufus is known to move effortlessly between stage and screen,
comedy and drama. He has the
dual ability to either portray the deranged villain, or the romantic leading man.
But, he feels that
he is most in his element in comedy and has his heart set on a comic role.
However, having been seen as "the baddie" of late,
he feels it may not be easy for him to be cast
as the funny guy.
"As soon as you establish yourself in one role, it can
be hard work to pull away from it. The past
few parts I have played were bad guys, so I can't do another. Apart from being
boring, it would start
to feel like a business. The fun part is doing something I have never done
Rufus knows that "the trick is not to fall too much in
love with money and comfort. A few years ago,
it was romantic, Victorian dramas that I had to turn down. The first time I
accepted the role of the
bad guy, it was because I was breaking an old mould. Now, I have to do it
So, if audiences next see Rufus in a bad-guy role, they can
be sure he has earned himself a packet.
"If I were driven by money, I'd get lazy and play the
same role again and again. If I am ever
stereotyped, it would be my fault alone."
His film work has been equally varied and acclaimed: from the
junkie in Twenty-One to the sweet
bus driver in A Man of No Importance, the volatile artist in Carrington and the
lustful son in Cold
Comfort Farm, the star-crossed suitor in Dangerous Beauty and the bitter, acidic,
Martha Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence.
Rufus works for the moment and refuses to get "too
involved in the way a film could turn out.
Otherwise, you could get damaged. It's easy for your hopes to get caught up in what
you could achieve. It is best to forget about that and concentrate on getting your
rom the work".
The actor, who was nominated for an Olivier Award and
received the Broadway Theater World
Award, "might" be soon seen in the
"fantastic" Chekhov play, The Three Sisters, although he
has no idea whether, as has been reported, he could be taking Ewan McGregor's
"They don't even know which role I'm playing, so I don't
know how they can say that."
About other upcoming projects, he prefers to remain vague and
stops at merely mentioning
"a film" he might be doing in January.
"I can't tell you about it unless I do it. What if it
doesn't happen and someone else ends up
doing it? That does happen, you know.
"For every one job I do, there are 25 I am rejected
for... However, I decided a long time ago
that I'd rather get my hopes up every time and have to face the disappointment,
never be excited about wanting something. I'd rather be up and down all the
Underlying the light-hearted approach to his job, Rufus does
harbour a streak of ambition. He
aims "to do something great one day. At the moment, I don't think I've reached
Most parts I've played, despite being good, have been a compromise in comparison to
want to play. I haven't yet started getting into the roles I really want - roles
that demand more
dimensions. I want to be stretched a lot more."
Pleased that he is not playing the part of the
"wholesome hero" in Helen of Troy, Rufus's
Agamemnon is, nevertheless, "not your clear-cut villainous king".
The actor has given his character his own slant: "As an
ambitious person, Agamemnon wants
to be a good king, and to be a good king he needs to acquire wealth and power. And
what he does. A good king is unstoppable in his quest for power for the benefit of
while a weak king is not," he reasons.
Although "you cannot play a part unless you understand
it", Rufus does not over-analyse his
characters. Nor does he meditate on and warm up to his role in between takes.
Instead, he takes the opportunity to take a nap... Either
that, or more computer games.
Mediasetonline (Italian, English translation
esclusiva di Mediasetonline sul set del kolossal Elena di Troia, in onda
Mediaset nel 2004
visitato in anteprima il set americano di Helen of
Troy (Elena di Troia),
film diretto da John Kent Harrison, prodotto dalla Fuel
Entertainment, distribuito dallamericana
Cable Entertainment e acquistato da Mediatrade
Salvo imprevisti dellultima ora, la messa in onda in Italia è prevista in
due puntate nel
2004 su una rete Mediaset ancora da definire. Le riprese, che dovrebbero
terminare il 24
settembre, sono iniziate a fine luglio sul set cinematografico allestito a
I protagonisti di Elena di Troia sono Rufus Sewell nel ruolo di Agamennone (Amistad,
knights tale, Sense and sensibility); Stellan
Sdkarsgard è Teseo (Breaking the waves,
Good Will hunting, The glass house). Il giovane Paride è interpretato da Matthew Marsden
(Dale Sizemore in Black hawk down). Il marito di Elena, Menelao, è
lattore James Callis,
noto al pubblico italiano come uno dei protagonisti de Il diario di
Per Sienna Guillory
(The time machine), Elena nel film, questo è il debutto in una
produzione televisiva americana. Infine Daniel
Lapaine (Say youll be mine e la miniserie
tv Flipper) è il coraggioso Ettore. Daniel ai nostri microfoni ha
dichiarato il suo amore per
lItalia: infatti tutta la sua famiglia vive in Toscana.
Oltre ai protagonisti principali hanno collaborato
alla realizzazione del film anche 6.000
comparse, utili per le numerose e avvincenti scene di
combattimento. Una curiosità: il
cast artistico è internazionale mentre il cast
tecnico è costituito per l80% da italiani,
dal trucco ai costumi, dai macchinisti alla sartoria.
Per costruire la città di
Troia ci sono voluti ben 2 mesi e mezzo. Inoltre alcune
scenografie e alcuni costumi, costruiti in gomma e lattice, sono stati fabbricati a
presi in affitto e, infine, ereditati da unaltra mega produzione
internazionale: Giulio Cesare.
La cosa straordinaria di questo film ha detto ai
nostri microfoni Judy Ritcher, supervisore
della produzione, è che sono stati rispettati al massimo i tempi previsti
senza alcun intoppo e alcun ritardo.
Ma la protagonista assoluta di Helen of Troy è
Malta. Sullisola è stato allestito un mega set cinematografico. Molti altri film
sono stati girati a Malta: Il Gladiatore, Il Conte di Monte
Cristo e Giulio Cesare.
In realtà la scelta di Malta non è stata casuale, ha dichiarato Michele
manager che si è occupato anche di undici episodi della Bibbia e del nuovo Apocalisse
onda a breve sul piccolo schermo, per due motivi principali: anzitutto la
maltese che ci ha supportati sin dallinizio, dalla scelta delle location, e
poi perché i costi
della lavorazione si abbattono almeno del 20% rispetto lItalia.
La produzione ha pensato davvero a tutto, in particolar modo,
alla preparazione atletica
sia dei protagonisti maschili (sono molte le scene di combattimento) che degli
come Pascal e Janik (nella foto a destra). Noi sostituiamo
nelle sequenze più pericolose
Paride e Ettore, ha dichiarato Pascal a Mol, è stato un
lavoro duro e faticoso perché
abbiamo impiegato ben due mesi per prepararci al meglio.
Durante la nostra visita sul set, abbiamo potuto ammirare le
affascinanti scenografie, curate
da Ino Bonello (Art Director) che ci ha anticipato: "Abbiamo
ricostruito il modellino del mitico
cavallo di Troia in 18 metri circa di altezza, ma il suo ingresso nel film sarà
Gli arredamenti, ricostruiti fedelmente all'epoca dell'Iliade, sono stati curati
Aglietto. Tutto sommato il mio lavoro non è stato molto faticoso
perché ho avuto modo di
preparare tutto già molte settimane prima linizio delle riprese, ha
detto Anna a Mol.
Mediasetonline vi proporrà prossimamente interviste esclusive ai
protagonisti e notizie inedite
e divertenti riguardanti la
lavorazione di Elena di Troia.
English translation of the above article:
|Backstage photos of Helen of Troy
|Exclusive visit of Mediasetonline on
the set of kolossal the Elena of Troy, in wave on the Mediaset nets in 2004
Mediasetonline has visited in
preview the set American of Helen
of Troy ( Elena of Troy ) ,
film directed from John Kent Harrison , produced from the Fuel
Entertainment, distributed dall?americana Cable Entertainment and acquired from Mediatrade for l?Italia.
Barring accidents dell?ultima hour, the putting in wave in Italy is previewed in
two heading in the 2004 at one Mediaset net still to define . The resumptions,
that the 24 would have to finish september, are begun to July aim on the prepared
cinematographic set to Malta.
The protagonists of Elena of Troy are
Rufus Sewell in the role of Agamennone ( Amistad , To
knight?s such , Sense and sensibility ); Stellan Sdkarsgard is Teseo ( Breaking the waves, Good Will hunting, The glass house ).
The Paride young person is interpreted from Matthew Marsden (Gives
them Sizemore in Black hawk down ). The husband of Elena, Menelao, is l?attore James Callis , famous to the public Italian as one of the protagonists de the
per diem one of Bridget Jones .
For Sienna Guillory ( The Time machine ), Elena in the film, this is the debut in one
television production American. Finally Daniel Lapaine (
Say you?ll be mines and the miniseries tv Pinball machine ) is the brave
Ettore. Daniel to our microphones has declared its love for l?Italia: in fact all its
family alive in Tuscany.
Beyond to the main protagonists 6,000
appearances have collaborated to the realization of the film also , profits for the numerous and fascinating scenes of combat. One
curiosity: the cast artistic it is international while the cast technical it is constituted for l?80% from
Italians , from the trick to the
customs, the machinists to the sartoria.
In order to
construct the city of Troy 2 months and means are intentional very . Moreover some scenografie and some customs, constructed in
rubber and latex, have been manufactured by hand, taken in rent and, finally, it inherits
to you from un?altra mega international production: Giulio Cesar .
?La extraordinary what of this film? it has
said to our microphones Judy Ritcher , supervisor of the production?è
that they have been respects you to the maximum the previewed times of the working without
some difficulty and some delay.
But the absolute protagonist of Helen of
Troy is Malta. Sull?isola has been prepared mega a cinematographic set. Many other
films have been turn to you to Malta: The Gladiatore, the Conte di Monte Christ and
Giulio Cesar .
?In truth the choice of Malta has not been accidental, Greek Michele has declared ,
production manager that it has been taken care also of eleven episodes of the Bible and
the new Apocalypse in wave to short on the small screen?per two main reasons:
first of all the maltese cultural politics that it has to us support to you sin
dall?inizio, from the choice of the location, and then because the costs of the working at
least pull down of 20% respect l?Italia.
The production has thought indeed next to
all, in particolar way, to the athletic preparation it is of the male
protagonists (are many the scenes of combat) that of the stunt man like Pascal and Janik (
in the photo to right ). we replace in the more dangerous sequences Paride and
Ettore, Pascal to Mol has declared ?è be a hard and laborious job because we
have employed two months very in order to prepare to us $R-al.meglio.
During our visit on the set, we have been
able to admire the fascinating scenografie, cured from Ino Bonello (Art
Director) that it has anticipated to us: "We have reconstructed the model of the
mythical horse of Troy in 18 meters approximately of height, but its income in the film
will be prevails them!".
The furnishings, reconstructed faithfully to the age of the Iliad , have been
cure dall?italiana Anna to you Young garlic . added my job it has not
been much laborious one because I have had way to before prepare all already many weeks
l?inizio of the resumptions, Anna to Mol has said.
Mediasetonline will next propose you exclusive interviews to the amusing
protagonists and regarding unknown news and the working of Elena of Troy
Maltese actors impress in
The Times of Malta August 15, 2002
As many as 80 of the 100 speaking parts in the USA Cable TV
mini-series Helen of Troy, currently being shot in Malta, are being played by Maltese.
Locals are also playing major roles and have been described
as "sensational" actors by producer Ted Kurdyla.
"Besides being good-looking, the Maltese offer a good
cross-section for casting," he said, speaking of the advantages of filming
"Usually, in other countries, few speaking parts can
The local actors are working with the likes of Rufus Sewell (A Knight's
Tale), starring as Agamemnon; Matthew Marsden (Black
Hawk Down) as Paris; Stellan Skarsgard (Good Will Hunting) as Theseus; and Sienna Guillory
Time Machine) as Helen - the face that launched a thousand ships.
The production involves 6,500 extras
(in terms of man days). They have had to contend with sweltering heat,
which nobody seems to be too fazed by, as well as howling "demon" winds
when filming a supposedly "windless" scene on the cliffs of Mellieha, where
Agamemnon and his men are
about to sail for their siege of Troy.
The two-part, four-hour mini-series stars a predominantly
British cast, says executive
producer Adam Shapiro, who describes the actors as "superb, professional and
Filming of Helen of Troy, which
rides the wave of the surging interest in history, started on July 22 and continues until
the end of September.
The production is being shot in its
entirety in Malta, which is doubling as Sparta, Athens, Troy and Mycenae, using a number
of locations, including the Mizieb woods, Rdum id-Delli between Mellieha and Manikata,
Fort Campbell in Selmun, Villa Bologna in Attard and Comino.
Vittoriosa Gardens, with its olive trees
and limestone walls, is the ideal Sparta; "magnificent" Ghajn Tuffieha is the
site of the Greek invasion, with Troy being digitally imposed on the escarpment; and San
Anton is Athens.
"Malta is able to offer different
locations, which could go 2,000 years back in time, and could be reached in the space of
"It is also one of the two places in
the world where the water sequences can be shot in the safety of a man-made enclosure (the
Rinella water tanks), with the horizon as the background, so that it doesn't look like a
tank," Kurdyla points out.
Although it depicts ancient Greece, he
maintains that Helen of Troy is to be a "travelogue" for Malta.
"The vistas are magnificent,
particularly Comino's Blue Lagoon - the scene where the two shipwrecked lovers experience
the only happy moment in their lives. Audiences are going to ask: 'where is that? I want
to go there'."
Of course, finding an area that looks 2,000
years old because it is undeveloped has a price - inaccessibility. However, even that
problem was surmounted.
The forts and the limestone walls are
perfect, according to Kurdyla, and the lack of vast fields of greenery is compensated for
by the public gardens.
"Malta is unique in that it can double
as so many places in the world. Different towns have a different look and feel, which can
be adapted to suit different ages. Depending on the time of the year, Malta could be
anywhere in the Mediterranean."
Malta is on Kurdyla's agenda for other
productions. However, he would like to see similar incentives to the ones that are offered
in other countries such as Canada, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic.
"Malta has 10 times more to offer than
Luxembourg, yet it is the latter that offers tax incentives.
"In many countries, I could walk away
with an 18 per cent return on my investment, which is not insignificant if you calculate
spending around $10 million on an average production...
"That money is spent in the space of
five months. Who else drops that kind of money and leaves? And that does not even include
hotel accommodation, the buying of gifts and going to restaurants."
The production company is using the
services of 250 Maltese companies, Kurdyla adds.
The fact that Malta is an island could be
considered a drawback in that everything has to be flown in from Rome and, if equipment
needs to be repaired, things could get complicated.
Having said that, about 75 per cent of the
required equipment was found.
"We managed to utilise companies that
had what we needed without even knowing it."
Another slight hitch is that when
filming in July and August - the height of the tourist season - weekend evenings are
alight with fireworks, which are not ideal for shooting scenes like funerals.
For Kurdyla, however, there is
always a plus side - in this case, invitations by staff members to their village festas.
"We cannot afford to offend
anyone," he says, only too keen on enjoying the festivities.
"When we have time off, Malta
is a wonderful place to relax. The people are warm and welcoming."
The Malta Film Commission, and its attempt
to create one-stop shopping, is probably the main reason Helen of Troy is being filmed in
"They were responsible for answering
our questions truthfully, letting us know where the strengths are and where the manpower
Fort Ricasoli, where shooting is currently
under way, was also the "dangling carrot". It is here that Troy has been
recreated, complete with the looming gateway through which the notorious Trojan horse,
still in meticulous design stage, enters.
Maltese construction workers on the set
include 100 carpenters, with as many as 80 plasterers at the peak. They have been working
round the clock, building replicas of Sparta and Troy in the space of six weeks - a
procedure that would normally require six months.
"Maltese are the most talented
workmen... the best talent we have ever come across," said production designer Jim
Allen, who is currently inundated with sketches of 'a Trojan horse with a difference'.
The idea is to drift away from the
traditional, rough-hewn, static, wooden horse, which is being fashioned from the remnants
of the Trojan camp, including shields and armour. Only parts of the "snarling,
ominous, stylised beast" are being constructed and the rest is the work of
"We did not just take the Roman sets
(from Julius Caesar) and call them Greek," stresses Shapiro, explaining that the
Roman arches have been squared off.
"The general perception is that the
only Homer Americans know is Homer Simpson and that they cannot tell the difference
between ancient Greek and Roman architecture," but Shapiro is out to prove the
contrary and defend his compatriots, rectifying the "uncultured, ignorant" image
they may have.
Shapiro is the former USA Network senior
vice-president of long-form programming, and producer of Andre, as well as a number of
other children's films.
New sets were designed and the façades of
the Julius Caesar structures, depicting ancient Rome, were altered, meaning that once
Helen of Troy is complete, Malta is to have at its disposal both Roman and Greek backdrops
- a plus for production companies, intending to shoot a period film on the i
"It is such a great feeling to come on
set and see that what you could only visualise a mere 18 months ago has
materialised," says Shapiro.
The mini-series, originally penned by Ronni
Kern, was altered by director John Kent Harrison. Characters have been motivated and
motivations simplified, relationships between them have been intensified and others
brought to the foreground, the executive producer points out.
Although attention is being paid to
historical detail, Helen of Troy, which is premiering in the US in April,
is not only targetting a discerning, intellectual audience. The production is not
masterpiece theatre, but a "rousing, spirited love story, set against the tapestry of
the ancient world," says Shapiro.
The script has strayed from the original
and focuses on the love story, rather than the meddling and conspiring of the gods with
each other and the mere mortals.
Helen of Troy traces the story of how a
savage war was raged over the beauty of one woman, who risked everything to be with her
lover, the young warrior Paris of Troy. She was the most beautiful woman in the world and
her husband and his allies quickly realised that her beauty could cause a devastating war.
Spurred on by the villainous Agamemnon, they vowed that no one would ever sleep with
Helen, not even her husband.
Unfortunately, Paris, a young Trojan
warrior, knew nothing of the vow. The minute he and Helen saw each other, they fell in
love and risked everything to be together, sparking ancient history's greatest war.
After countless people lose their lives,
history's most infamous trick - the Trojan horse - brings the incredible story to an end.
August 3, 2002
Rufus is in beautiful Malta for 10 weeks, filming "Helen of Troy."
Amy and Billy are with him.
Variety.com - July 9, 2002
of "Quantum Leap" and "Tremors" are among several original series and
films based on Universal titles morphing their way to Sci Fi Channel, which is now part of
Universal Television Group.
Cable net announced the projects during the Universal
Television session at the Television Critics Assn. Tour in Pasadena, which kicked off
Tuesday. The cable portion of the tour continues through the end of this week.
A two-hour "Quantum Leap" movie, which will serve
as a back-door pilot for a reinvention of the former series, is being developed, with Don
P. Bellisario exec producing. "Tremors," based on the cult movie series, will
debut as a one-hour action series in January. It comes to the small screen from the
original creators of the movies -- exec producers Nancy Roberts, Brent Maddock and S.S.
Wilson -- and exec producer David Israel.
Projects join two previously reported endeavors at Sci Fi
based on Universal properties, upcoming series "Firestarter: Rekindled" and
"Battlestar Galactica," under way as a four-hour miniseries/backdoor pilot.
Sci Fi also announced it has ordered 65 episodes of
"The Dream Team With Annabelle and Michael," a nightly half-hour alternative
reality series produced by Stone Stanley Entertainment. Production is slated to start this
fall for a January start. Former co-host of TBS' "Dinner & a Movie"
Annabelle Gurwitch and psychotherapist Michael Lennox host the strip, which Sci Fi said
"pulls up the subconscious shades" on auds by peeking at subliminal desires.
Universal TV chairman Michael Jackson introduced the sesh
by acknowledging his company's recent woes. "No television (show) could match the
drama and bloodshed that Vivendi Universal has experienced in the past few weeks," he
Also at the U sesh, USA Networks announced casting for its "Helen
of Troy" mini and pic "Dominick Dunne Presents: Murder in
Sienna Guillory ("The Time Machine") has
been deemed a face that could launch a thousand ships, landing the role of Helen. She'll
be joined by Rufus Sewell as Agamemnon, Stellan Skarsgard as
Theseus and Matthew Marsden as Paris.
Christopher Meloni ("Law & Order: SVU") will
play LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman in the pic based on Fuhrman's book "Murder in
Net also trumpeted its record ratings for frosh series
"Dead Zone," reminded that skein "Monk" bows Friday as part of its
branded night, "Crime Fridays," and announced a development slate (Daily
Variety, July 8).
- ESPN is looking to the mid-1950s tale of 35 boys who
survived Bear Bryant's harrowing Texas A&M pre-season college football training camp
for its second original movie.
Boys: How 10 Days in Hell With Bear Bryant Forged a Championship Team," an ESPN
Original Entertainment production based on the book by Jim Dent, is set to preem at 9 p.m.
Dec. 14. Orly Adelson is exec producing, and Michael Robe is writing and directing.
ESPN also announced that four of the passengers who died
Sept. 11 on United Airlines Flight 93 will receive the 10th annual Arthur Ashe Courage
Award, to be handed out during tonight's ESPY Awards. Dennis Franz will present the awards
to the families of Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick, who have been
credited with saving untold lives by forcing the plane down in a Pennsylvania field.
- Struggling cable network Oxygen presented the first sesh of
the day Tuesday, with topper Geraldine Laybourne attributing some of the net's difficulty
drawing viewership to the fact that viewers don't know they have the network on their
cable systems yet.
"Last year we probably had
half the subscribers we will have by the end of this year," she said. "The name
of the game in the next few years will be figuring out how to get their attention."
Laybourne said she is looking forward to establishing a
comedy block with original, scripted laffers. The info-heavy bent to content in the first
year was due to the fact "that's what could be done" in the six months of prep
before Oxygen launched in 1998.
- E! Networks, which sponsored the Tuesday luncheon, dedicated
its sesh to a panel with the cast of debuting "The Anna Nicole Show," starring
Anna Nicole Smith. The comedic reality show's first season of 13 half-hour episodes preems
Aug. 4. E! has options on several seasons of the show.
Tuesday July 9, 3:00 pm Eastern Time
SOURCE: USA Network
USA Network Announces Casting for 'Helen of Troy' A Special Event 4-Hour Original
Rufus Sewell, Stellan Skarsgard, Matthew Marsden and Sienna Guillory to Star
PASADENA, Calif., July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- USA Network made casting
announcements today for "Helen of Troy," the 4-hour original mini-series
based on the legendary life of Helen of Troy. The mini-series stars Rufus
Sewell ("A Knight's Tale," "Sense and Sensibility,"
"Amistad") as Agamemnon; Stellan Skarsgard ("Breaking the Waves,"
"Good Will Hunting," "The Glass House") as Theseus, and Matthew
Marsden ("Black Hawk Down") as Paris. Making her U.S. television debut, Sienna
Guillory ("The Time Machine") will star as Helen -- the face that launched a
thousand ships. Jeff Wachtel, executive vice president, series and longform programming,
USA Network, made the announcement.
"Helen of Troy" is an epic story of love and war. Helen of Troy was the most
beautiful woman in all of the world. Her husband and his allies quickly realized that
Helen's beauty could quickly cause a devastating war. Spurred on by the villainous
Agamemnon, they vowed that no one would ever sleep with Helen, not even her husband.
Unfortunately Paris, a young Trojan warrior, knew nothing of the vow. The minute he and
Helen saw each other, they fell in love. They risked everything to be together, sparking
ancient history's greatest war. After countless had died, history's most infamous trick --
the Trojan Horse -- brought this incredible story to an end.
"Helen of Troy" is currently in pre-production and is slated to premiere in
second quarter, 2003. The mini-series is being directed by John Kent Harrison "A
Wrinkle in Time," "What the Deaf Man Heard"), produced by Fuel
Entertainment and distributed by USA Cable Entertainment. Penned by Ronni Kern ("The
Princess and the Marine"), the executive producer is Adam Shapiro, former USA Network
senior vice president of long-form programming, and producer of "Andre" and
"Tom's Midnight Garden."
USA Network has a history of premiering successful original mini-series. The critically
acclaimed mini-series "Attila" premiered in January 2001 and became basic
cable's highest-rated original miniseries since USA's Emmy®- nominated "Moby
Dick" premiered in March 1998, delivering the largest audience of any entertainment
programming in the history of basic cable at the time of its premiere.
USA Network is cable television's leading provider of original series and
feature movies, sports events, off-net television shows and blockbuster
theatrical films. USA Network is available in 82% of all U.S. homes, and is seen in 86
million U.S. homes. The USA Network Web site is located at http://www.usanetwork.com.
USA Network is a program service of Universal Television
division of Vivendi UNIVERSAL
Entertainment (VUE), the U.S.-based film, television and recreation entity of Vivendi
Universal, a global media and communications group.
SOURCE: USA Network
thanks to Grace of Vue2Sewell
Editorial comment - Rufus was in neither "Sense and Sensibility" nor