The
1,000 IDEAS
e-Book

Breaking News English

HOME  |   DONATE  |  000s MORE FREE LESSONS
 
 

 

E-mail this lesson to someone who would like to use it in classroom or study with it.

Follow this site on Facebook.

 

000's more free lessons.

   

 


 
 

Tuesday November 23, 2005

Pre-Intermediate +

THE ARTICLE

Greek lawyers are threatening to sue director Oliver Stone over his latest epic, Alexander, unless a note is added in the movie credits stating Alexander the Great was heterosexual. Spokesman Yannis Varnakos, brushing aside accusations of homophobia, said, “We are not saying that we are against gays, we are saying that [Stone] should make it clear to the audience that this film is pure fiction and not a true depiction of the life of Alexander.” He stated that although Stone has a right to free expression, cinemagoers have a right to know Stone is “tampering with history” and that Alexander was not bisexual. American conservatives are also angered at the movie’s bisexual nature, which might spoil their thanksgiving Turkey.

Colin Farrell, who plays the legendary Greek leader, has affairs with women and men, which the movie’s historian claims is a true representation of Alexander’s times, three-hundred years before Christ, in which homosexuality wasn’t the ‘sin’ it is today. Farrell said: "Ambivalent sexuality was something of the times and part of the character". The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) have welcomed the film, saying it breaks new ground for historical blockbusters, showing a man as the love of Alexander's life. Many in the movie industry believe the court action is part of a long history of Hollywood’s dislike for movies with gay content, no matter how peripheral to the main story. The movie opens across America today.


 
 

POSSIBLE WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about gays, bisexuality, homophobia, Alexander the Great, freedom of expression in America…

2. ALEXANDER: Brainstorm facts, knowledge of Alexander.

3. OLIVER: Talk about his movies (Natural Born Killers, JFK, Nixon, Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, The Doors, Wall Street, Salvador …)

4. HOMOPHOBIA: “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals”. Students talk about this or other phobias: - Ablutophobia- Fear of washing or bathing, Algophobia- Fear of pain, Androphobia- Fear of men, Anglophobia- Fear of England or English culture, Anuptaphobia- Fear of staying single, Arachibutyrophobia- Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth, Arachnophobia- Fear of spiders, Arithmophobia- Fear of numbers, Atychiphobia- Fear of failure, Autodysomophobia- Fear of one that has a vile odor, Autophobia- Fear of being alone or of oneself.

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. SEX: Look in the dictionary to find the word family of the word ‘sex’. Talk about sex and sexuality in movies.

2. DEFINITIONS: Students match the following words with the most likely definitions:

1.

sue

(a) a girl’s name
(b) to take legal action against a person, company, government …

2.

epic

(a) a long, big-story, big-scale expensive movie – like Ben Hur or Titanic.
(b) something to remove cookie crumbs from your computer keyboard

3.

credits

(a) people who have no idea about money
(b) the list of names at the beginning (opening credits) and end (closing credits) of a movie

4.

homophobia

(a) discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals
(b) a fear of staying at home alone

5.

tampering

(a) a hip-hop style dance performed upside down
(b) to change something that might cause harm to others

6.

affairs

(a) pretending to have good manners when you don’t
(b) a short (?) romantic and sexual relationship between two (married?) people who are not married to each other

7.

sin

(a) eating a chocolate brownie with extra maple syrup and double cream
(b) something described as being very wrong in the Bible, and by George W. Bush

8.

defamation

(a) to make someone ‘unfamous’
(b) to say something wrong about a person that injures their reputation

9.

blockbuster

(a) a hugely popular movie that makes huge amounts of money
(b) a big hammer

10.

peripheral

(a) something of minor relevance or importance to something else
(b) an addition to your computer,  like a mouse or keyboard

3. TRUE/FALSE: Students predict whether they believe the following statements about the article are true or false:
(a)  Papua New Guinean lawyers are threatening to sue director Oliver Stone.  T / F
(b)  Alexander the Great was from Greek / Macedonian.  T / F
(c)  Lawyers say Alexander the Great was not bisexual.  T / F
(d)  American conservatives love the movie.  T / F
(e)  Alexander was a legendary leader.  T / F
(f)  Homosexuality is a sin.  T / F
(g)  The movie is groundbreaking because it shows bisexuality. T / F
(h)  Hollywood loves making movies about homosexual people.  T / F

4. DISCUSSION: Students discuss the following themes from the article:
(a)  Even if Alexander was straight, it is wrong to suggest in a movie he was bisexual.
(b)  Movie directors must always show the truth.
(c)  Movies often show a false picture of the truth.
(d)  Homosexual scenes should never be shown in Hollywood movies.
(e)  A man kissing another man, or a woman kissing another woman should not be shown in movies.
(f)  Leonardo da Vinci was gay. Would it be wrong to make a movie about his love life?
(g)  Cinemagoers / moviegoers should be told before a movie starts about what is true and what is not true.
(h)  American conservatives should never have their Thanksgiving turkey spoiled by movies about homosexuals.
(i)  Homosexuality is a sin.
(j)  Hollywood is too conservative, much more so than European films.
Teachers own ideas for their classrooms / students.

5. PHRASE MATCH: Students match the following phrases based on the article:

1.

threaten to

clear

2.

movie

blockbuster

3.

make it

ground

4.

brushing aside

sue

5.

pure

credits

6.

free

fiction

7.

breaks new

action

8.

historical

industry

9.

movie

expression

10.

court

accusations

 .


 
 

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP-FILL:  Put the missing words under each paragraph into the gaps.

Gay Alexander angers Greeks

Greek lawyers are threatening to ________ director Oliver Stone over his latest epic, Alexander, unless a note is added in the movie ________ stating Alexander the Great was heterosexual. Spokesman Yannis Varnakos, brushing aside ________ of homophobia, said, “We are not saying that we are against gays, we are saying that [Stone] should make it clear to the audience that this film is pure fiction and not a true ________ of the life of Alexander.” He stated that although Stone has a right to free ________, cinemagoers have a right to know Stone is “tampering with history” and that Alexander was not bisexual. American conservatives are also ________ at the movie’s bisexual nature, which might spoil their thanksgiving Turkey.
 

 

depiction
credits
angered
sue
expression
accusations

Colin Farrell, who ________ the legendary Greek leader, has affairs with women and men, which the movie’s historian ________ is a true representation of Alexander’s ________, three-hundred years before Christ, in which homosexuality wasn’t the ‘sin’ it is today. Farrell said: "Ambivalent sexuality was something of the times and part of the character". The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against ________ (GLAAD) have welcomed the film, saying it ________ new ground for historical blockbusters, showing a man as the love of Alexander's life. Many in the movie industry believe the court action is part of a long history of Hollywood’s dislike for movies with gay ________, no matter how peripheral to the main story. The movie opens across America tomorrow.

 

defamation
plays
content
times
claims
breaks

2. TRUE/FALSE:  Students check their answers to the T/F exercise.

3. DEFINITIONS: Students check their answers to the definitions exercise.

4. PHRASE MATCH: Students check their answers to the word match exercise.

5. WOW: Students circle anything in the text they went ‘wow’ about.

6. QUESTIONS: Students make notes for questions they would like to ask the class about the article.

7. VOCABULARY:  Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.

POST READING IDEAS

1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.

2. QUESTIONS:  Students ask the questions they thought of above to their partner / group / class.

3. WOW: Students tell each other about the things they circled.

4. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

5. WOW:  Students tell each other about the things they circled. Introduce the following language
I thought / think it’s amazing / unreal / incredible / awesome … that …
I can’t believe   …
Wow, Oliver Stone / that Greek lawyer …
It’s [totally] [utterly] [completely] [totally, utterly and completely] ridiculous that …
I’m [shocked] [amazed] [not surprised] that …
[Opportunity to focus on emotional reactions / opinions]

6. STUDENT-GENERATED SURVEY: Pairs/Groups write down 3 questions based on the article and/or bisexuality. Conduct their surveys alone. Report back to partners to compare answers. Report to other groups / the whole class.

7. OUT OF THE CLOSET: In pairs students talk about how they would react if [their mother, father, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, child, best friend, teacher …] came out of the closet (explained to people they were homosexual or bisexual).

8. ROLE PLAY 1: Role play any of the scenarios in #7 above.

9. ROLE PLAY 2: Students brainstorm ideas together for a role play on censoring the movie Alexander. Roles include Oliver Stone, George W. Bush, the Greek lawyer, Alexander’s homophobic great, great, great… grandson, Alexander’s bisexual lover’s great, great, great… grandson, an American conservative trying to enjoy his/her Thanksgiving turkey, any other character the teacher feels would add zip to the role play.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or the Google search field to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on Alexander the Great. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. LETTER FROM ALEXANDER: Write an imaginary letter from the straight / bisexual Alexander outlining your story and clearing the matter up once and for all.

4. CENSOR: Write a brief report on what can and cannot be shown in movies, and from what ages.

5. ALEXANDER OR OLIVER: Write a short biography on one of these greats.

ANSWERS

DEFINITIONS:
1. b
2. a
3. b
4. a
5. b
6. b
7. b
8. b
9. a
10. a

TRUE/FALSE:
(a)  Papua New Guinean lawyers are threatening to sue director Oliver Stone.  F
(b)  Alexander the Great was from Greek / Macedonian.  T
(c)  Lawyers say Alexander the Great was not bisexual.  T
(d)  American conservatives love the movie.  F
(e)  Alexander was a legendary leader.  T
(f)  Homosexuality is a sin.  T
(g)  The movie is groundbreaking because it shows bisexuality. T
(h)  Hollywood loves making movies about homosexual people.  F

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

threaten to

sue

2.

movie

credits

3.

make it

clear

4.

brushing aside

accusations 

5.

pure

fiction 

6.

free

expression

7.

breaks new

ground 

8.

historical

blockbuster

9.

movie

credits 

10.

court

action 

 

GAP FILL:

FULL TEXT

Greek lawyers are threatening to sue director Oliver Stone over his latest epic, Alexander, unless a note is added in the movie credits stating Alexander the Great was heterosexual. Spokesman Yannis Varnakos, brushing aside accusations of homophobia, said, “We are not saying that we are against gays, we are saying that [Stone] should make it clear to the audience that this film is pure fiction and not a true depiction of the life of Alexander.” He stated that although Stone has a right to free expression, cinemagoers have a right to know Stone is “tampering with history” and that Alexander was not bisexual. American conservatives are also angered at the movie’s bisexual nature, which might spoil their thanksgiving Turkey.

Colin Farrell, who plays the legendary Greek leader, has affairs with women and men, which the movie’s historian claims is a true representation of Alexander’s times, three-hundred years before Christ, in which homosexuality wasn’t the ‘sin’ it is today. Farrell said: "Ambivalent sexuality was something of the times and part of the character". The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) have welcomed the film, saying it breaks new ground for historical blockbusters, showing a man as the love of Alexander's life. Many in the movie industry believe the court action is part of a long history of Hollywood’s dislike for movies with gay content, no matter how peripheral to the main story. The movie opens across America today.

Help Support This Web Site

Sean Banville's Book



 
 


 
 

Copyright © 2004 by Sean Banville | Links | About | Privacy Policy