Who should play an Ancient Greek? (Vote!)

In thinking about race in the ancient societies, one can go way too far. Suddenly, this issue seems like a very important one, due to several historical and political reasons.

When it comes to media representation, we all know Hollywood (and media in general) tend to influence people’s opinion. Speaking of which, a friend and I had an argument about whether Brad Pitt “looked like Ancient Greek” and if he was a right choice to play a Greek character. Race was also an issue there. It was very interesting to hear his opinion, so I’m asking for more.

What do you think, what kind of look (you can read that as “race”) is required to realistically portray an Ancient Greek character?

Our models are:

Brad Pitt Gerard Butler Djimon Hounsou

So, all things being equal (acting talent, paycheck, personal sympathies), who do you find the most appropriate to play an Ancient Greek?

We all have our ideas about ancient societies. What is yours? You may use any source to base your opinion (Greek pottery, written sources, what you learned in school, etc).

Note: This is not a trick question… more or less. So yes, I am asking for your opinion. (But I won’t deny I already have an answer and I think I am sure is the right one :D).

10 thoughts on “Who should play an Ancient Greek? (Vote!)

  1. Mariana

    Brad Pitt DEFINITELY doesn’t looked like an Ancient Greek in Troy.

    I’m not sure, but I think that Djimon Hounsou wasn’t playing a Greek in Gladiator.

    And, remember, I’m not saying that 300 is an historical movie, you can’t say that it’s intention was to be faithful to history, but when I see images like this one I believe that Gerard Butler LOOKS LIKE an Ancient Greek better.


  2. Sigg3

    Sure, why not?
    Jesus has been German-looking for about a thousand years.

    This is just another example of history being rewritten. And it is more often than not written by the ones in power.

    The North Korean version will star Kim Jong-Il, of course:)

  3. Mira

    Before I post my “real” answer…


    I didn’t put Djimon Hounsou because of “Gladiator”, but because he was rumoured to play Kratos in “God of War” movie. Now, I couldn’t remember any other black actor playing a Greek, so I put him on the list. Any other ideas?


    And your vote goes to… ?

    Oh, and sorry for not including any Asian models.

  4. Alex

    Not sure, not sure. I think i’ll vote for Gerard. He does look like an ancient Greek to me.

    I have nothing against African-American actors playing Greeks, i think it’s interesting.

  5. Mariana

    I didn’t know that he was rumoured to play Kratos! *suddently excited GoW is my fave PS2 game*

    I don’t have any other idea. But I believe that one thing must be considered. I don’t know if I’m wrong -and I might be- but if you think on Ancient Greek concept of Greek there were no black greek. I mean, to be a greek citizen in most of the polei, you should be son of greeks (mother and father) and you shouldn’t be a slave (most slaves weren’t Greek after all and certanly not black). The thing in Sparta was a bit more “harsh” that’s why I believe that an African American playing Katros sound a bit odd to me. But, I have read somewhere in my 1st year of university that some spartan “slaves” (slave isn’t the right word but I don’t know it in English) fought in the Spartan army, probably during the Pelopponesian war. Still they weren’t considered Spartans.

    Before someone get me wrong here. Most people is used to associate the words Africa/Afrian to slavery because of the colonial slavery in America but most of Greek slaves weren’t African.

  6. Mira

    Sorry for my late, laaate reply, people!

    Zek was closest to the “correct” answer (if there’s a such thing as a correct answer here). Only a Greek actor- or, should I say, a native speaker of Greek language- can play an Ancient Greek realistically.

    Because language was what Greeks found the most important, and that’s how they made the division between “us” and “them”. That was one of the most important points of their identity, something that separated people (Greeks) and barbarians. One can argue it was how they made division into “races”. It certainly had nothing to do with skin colour.

    All in all, NONE of our models is particularly good candidate. That being said, all of them are equally “bad”, so it really doesn’t matter whether he’s black or white with blue eyes and blond hair.

    That being said, I do think Ancient Greeks were darker than Brad and lighter than Djimon Hounsou, but that’s another story.

  7. Eurasian Sensation

    It’s gotta be Gerard, I guess. Of course, it would be great to have an actual Greek person. I had the misfortune to watch “Clash of the Titans” and found it funny that everyone spoke with an English accent (except Sam Worthington, who spoke with an Australian one).

    Djimon is looking fly in that photo, I have to say.

  8. Mira


    I must admit I don’t find any of them THAT hot. If I’d had to choose, it would probably be Djimon, then Gerard and Brad on the last place. Gerard is fine, but slightly overhyped, while Brad is WAY too overhyped and he’s not that hot. Just my opinion.

    BTW, Gerard is in Serbia these days, filming a Ralph Fiennes’ “Coriolanus” and there are many women who tried to to sneak into filming locations. Or so I heard. :D

    @Eurasian Sensation

    Thanks for commenting!

    Yes, all in all, Gerard might pass for ancient Greek, I suppose, until he starts speaking! Now, I am not sure about his eye colour: I don’t know if blue/green eyes were popular (frequent) back then.

    In any case, the point is, Ancient Greeks would never consider any of these actors as “one of their own”, and the fact one of them is black would be of little interest to them- they would find Brad and Gerard equally wrong like Djimon.

    Now, about “Clash of the Titans”… I must admit it sounds really trashy and CGI and I don’t have any wish to see it, shirtless men or not.

    On the other hand, Sam Worthinton’s deep voice was the only positive thing about “Avatar”, and I do love Australian accent(s)… but hearing him speak can hardly be enough of a motive to watch this movie.

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