A modern-dress production of Antigone by Sophocles has just opened at the National Theatre while, on television, interest in ancient history is at an all-time high: Mary Beard's BBC series Meet the Romans attracted almost two million viewers and Bettany Hughes is filming an ITV documentary about Roman archaeology.
Cinema, too, has become populated by semi-clad Trojan heroes and Spartan warriors: Wolfgang Petersen's film Troy featured the rippled muscular torso of Brad Pitt as Achilles, while was a fictionalised retelling of the battle of Thermopylae. Both were box-office successes. Why are the classics making a comeback?
According to Hughes, the classical historian and broadcaster, it is to do with emotional connection.
I read that and I remembered doing that with my own child. There are big philosophical connections, but also the base connection of what it is to be human. If anything can answer those, it's the wisdom of the ancients because the Greeks and Romans weren't just swanning around in the Mediterranean sunshine, they were living in tough times. You could be dead by the age of You were in a time of total war.
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The experience of living through war is of particular relevance for present-day audiences accustomed to seeing hour news coverage of conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Miller says that she was "absolutely" aware of the parallels when writing The Song of Achilles.
In the National Theatre's production of Antigone , starring Christopher Eccleston and Jodie Whittaker, the similarities are even more explicit: the play opens with generals and bureaucrats gathered round a TV watching a war ending. Chips , originally published in Summer were also among the condensed selections.
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It was good to have the narrator be isolated. She came in to the studio in New York 45 minutes after getting the Oscar nomination. She was cheerful and delighted, rolled up her sleeves and got to work. She did seven hours in one day. She had some good on the spot suggestions that went straight into the movie.
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It makes sense that Spielberg would have an affinity for the Jewish German emigre who rose to the top of the Hollywood studio pyramid as one of the great exemplars of what Spielberg does best — captivating and emotional mainstream dramas. The director had also met Wyler. Producer Spielberg also kept his eye on the documentary big picture. One difference between the book and the movie is that Del Toro is much fonder of Capra than Harris.