LONDON – Director Oliver Stone (search) said he was surprised by the critical reaction to his historical epic "Alexander" (search) — and put the blame on the fundamentalist morality in some parts of the United States.
Critics lambasted the film, which stars Irish actor Colin Farrell (search), and some conservative groups condemned Stone's depiction of the Macedonian conqueror's sexuality.
"I was quite taken aback by the controversy and fierceness of the reviews about a character we don't really know too much about," Stone told reporters in London Wednesday before the film's British premiere.
"I operate on my passion and sometimes I'm naive, I don't think about the consequences," he said.
Stone said the commercial failure of "Alexander" in the United States could be linked to "a raging fundamentalism in morality."
"From day one audiences didn't show up," he said. "They didn't even read the reviews in the South because the media was using the words, 'Alex the gay.' As a result you can bet that they thought, 'We're not going to see a film about a military leader that has got something wrong with him.'"
Stone, director of "Platoon," "JFK" and "Natural Born Killers," said "Alexander" was "the epic of my life."
"I'm very happy with the result and I think Colin's work is extraordinary," he said. "He's had some tough reviews but he'll ride it out."
Said Farrell: "If Oliver ever wanted to work with me again I would do it in a heartbeat."