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ALEXANDER

Costumes And Music
The story of Alexander the Great encompasses many incredibly diverse ancient civilizations, captured over several decades, and Academy Award-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan was charged with creating more than 20,000 items of historically accurate dress for the ambitious production. Beavan consulted with historian Robin Lane Fox and Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, Doctor of Ancient History at Exeter University, who specializes in ancient costume. "There are an enormous number of vase paintings left from Greek civilization,” notes Beavan, "and a certain amount of written material, so we knew how they wove their fabrics.” Exquisite materials from the world over were fashioned to match the carefully researched styles of ancient Macedonia, Greece, Persia, Bactria, Sogdiana, Scythia and India. 

Beavan's wedding costumes reflect the cultural mix of Alexander's world, particularly Roxane's magnificent and exotic bridal attire. "In my research, I found that Afghan techniques haven't changed much in two thousand years,” says Beavan. "They sewed gold into clothes, which we did both for Roxane and Alexander's wedding costumes. I wanted Roxane to look sexy, and I often think that the less you see the more there is.”

Beavan and her crew were also responsible for the voluminous amounts of armor required to outfit Alexander's army. "We researched the different wardrobe categories of the Macedonian army, with excellent input from our military consultant, Captain Dale Dye,” says Beavan. "We constructed our initial armor in leather and brass, which were then replicated in lighter and more supple plastic.” Beavan paid particularly close attention to the various suits of armor worn by Alexander and his generals, some of which weighed as much as 30 pounds. One of the most emblematic wardrobe pieces is Alexander's double-plumed lion's head helmet, and upwards of 10 duplicates were on hand at all times during filming. 

In the Battle of Gaugamela, the white cotton tunics and armor of the Macedonian and Greek soldiers are quite a contrast to the more ornate and colorful attire of their Persian enemies. "The Persians actually constructed clothing rather than just draping fabric like the Greeks,” notes Beavan. "The Persians shaped cloth, made trousers, used belts and hooks and wore heavily decorated shoes. They gloried in their clothing, whereas the Greeks gloried in seeing the lines of their bodies.” This kind of adornment reaches its height in the costumes that Beavan created for such Persian nobles as King Darius III and Prince Pharnakes, ablaze with exotic colors and accessories.

Beavan also had her work cut out for her when outfitting the soldiers in the exotic attire required for the Indian army in the forest battle. "The costumes for the Indians are made from very bright colored silks, straight pieces of fabrics tied like dhotis. They wore highly decorated scarves, a huge amount of jewelry, and sometimes turbans. There was almost always a topknot of long hair. We know less about them because most of the sculpture of ancient India was done in sandstone that has perished over the years, whereas the Greek vases have remained.” 

During filming, Stone employed a technique familiar to him throughout his career: the playing of appropriate and often haunting music between scenes on set as an aural backdrop, setting tone and mood for the actors and crew. Although on previous films Stone would often utilize "temp music,” for Alexander, he played music that was being composed simultaneously, a thousand miles away in Athens, by famed Greek composer Vangelis. Inspired by the story of Alexander, one of his personal heroes, Vangelis dug deep into the roots of Greek and Macedonian musical heritage. The composer scored not only with his famed synthesizer, but also for such ancient instruments as bagpipes (which, although associated with Celtic music, probably originated north o

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