The film that took 3,000 years to make

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The Independent Online

As the film Troy opens in Britain, it is noteworthy that almost everyone connected with the film has been interviewed, with one vital exception: the author. We put that right today with an exclusive encounter with Mr Homer himself.

As the film Troy opens in Britain, it is noteworthy that almost everyone connected with the film has been interviewed, with one vital exception: the author. We put that right today with an exclusive encounter with Mr Homer himself.

Indy: Are you glad the film has been made?

Homer: Very glad. The film was in pre-production for 3,000 years. That's a long time to wait, even by Hollywood standards. After all, Mel Gibson only had to wait 2,000 years to film The Passion of the Christ.

Indy: Did you see his film?

Homer: I saw it.

Indy: Did you like it?

Homer: No. But then I'm not English.

Indy: Why would you have to be English to like it?

Homer: Well, having seen Braveheart and The Patriot and all those, this was the first Mel Gibson film in a long time that didn't pin everything on the English. I can imagine the English coming out of The Passion and saying: "Well, at least the Jews got the blame!"

Indy: Why did it take so long to get the Iliad on the screen?

Homer: I think they were waiting for the right actor to come along to play Achilles.

Indy: And they chose Brad Pitt?

Homer: Yes. They must have got fed up waiting.

Indy: Incidentally, I can't help noticing that you're not blind.

Homer: I'm sorry?

Indy: I always thought that Homer was a Greek blind poet.

Homer: Oh, that. No, I am not blind. I only pretended to be blind. That was to get the job in the first place. I very badly wanted to be a story-teller in ancient Greece, but all the best storytelling jobs went to blind people, because it was thought they could memorise poetry better. So I pretended to be blind. I even had a boy to lead me around.

Indy: And he could see all right?

Homer: No, funnily enough, he couldn't. The boy was blind. I got him cheaper that way. So when people thought he was leading me, I was actually pushing him around.

Indy: Is that really true?

Homer: You shouldn't ask the man who wrote the Iliad if things are true! It's a meaningless question! You'll be asking me next if the Trojan War really took place!

Indy: Did the Trojan War really take place?

Homer: How should I know? It all happened 500 years before I came along.

Indy: What do you think of the script they made from your book?

Homer: I think it was written by a blind man. No, I shouldn't say that. Let's just say it's not exactly Homeric.

Indy: In your original poem, the gods played a major part in the outcome. In the film, the gods have virtually vanished. Why do you think that is?

Homer: Too close to home.

Indy: What do you mean by that?

Homer: Well, the gods were all people with too much power and money, making ludicrous decisions about people's fates, and drinking and sleeping around all the time. The same is also true of Hollywood executives. Maybe they felt they were being satirised. So the gods had to go.

Indy: What does the Iliad teach us about war?

Homer: It teaches us not to be on the losing side. Look what happened to the Trojans.

Indy: What did happen to the Trojans?

Homer: They got wiped out. Vanished. No more Troy, no more Trojans. When I finished the Iliad, I didn't get a single letter of protest from any Trojan reader. Why? Because there weren't any. But the Greeks loved it. That's because they got to win. Very American, that. Has there ever been an American film in which America lost? I don't think so.

Indy: Finally, will there be a sequel to Troy?

Homer: I've already written it. It's called the Odyssey.

Indy: And will it be filmed?

Homer: I believe shooting is due to commence some time in the next 1,000 years.

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