Colin Farrell thinks that there's something to be said for the ways of men around 330 B.c. As he studied for his role as Alexander the Great for the upcoming Oliver Stone film Alexander, slated for November, he discovered that male bonding went much further than it does today.
"It was a time when men and men lay together and shared knowledge," he says like an enthusiastic historian. Then he winks and adds, "And they lay together." In the world of Alexander women were for procreation and men were for companionship--and a bit of fooling around, Farrell notes. The movie concentrates on youthful Alexander's years at war conquering most of southern Europe and much of the Middle East, a quest he shared with his boyhood buddy and battle mate Hephaestion, played by Jared Leto (Requiem for a Dream). More than one historian has postulated that Hephaestion had a physical relationship with his emperor. Don't count on any steamy warrior-on-warrior sex in Alexander, but "Oliver [Stone] isn't shying away from anything just because it may be shocking to the masses," Farrell says.
That includes making Alexander someone who swings both ways. "You know he's bisexual [by the way he's portrayed in the film]," Farrell says. "That's all you really need to know, and you don't even need to know that, because there was no term for sexuality back then in respect to categorizing it as homosexuality, bisexuality, heterosexuality."
Sexual identity aside, Alexander was the toughest role that the Tigerland, Phone Booth, and S.W.A.T. star ever attempted, he says, because it was both psychologically and physically draining. "It's the motherfucker of all motherfuckers," the Irishman says with characteristically colorful language. "These were flicking animals, even the king. He was on the battlefield with blood, sweat, and tears. Society was rough. It was honest, but it was rough. They drank a lot; they cussed a lot."
Known for doing plenty of drinking and cussing himself, the handsome Farrell looks sexily scruffy at this intimate Beverly Hills press conference, with a Guinness in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other, defying the rules at file Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel. With his oft-reported nightlife escapades, salty interviews, and year-old son by model Kim Bordenave, the currently single actor knows his life is swirling with tabloid fodder, and he relies on his publicists to roll him whom it's safe to talk to. That likely explains how he managed to star in a gay-themed film this summer--A Home at the End of the World, based on Michael Cunningham's novel about a gay man, a straight woman, and the free-spirited hunk they both love--without actually talking about it to anyone in the gay media, despite repeated requests by The Advocate and other publications. He also missed the film's gala Los Angeles opening as part of Outfest, the city's respected gay and lesbian film festival, with scheduling difficulties said to be the culprit. …