I will go to see "Troy".
One understands a lot from
watching those movies.
Jean-Luc Godard
At Cannes Film Festival 2004

Documentary survey on the experiences of the Bulgarian extras in the motion picture "Troy".
"Battles of Troy" is a film study on the making of the Warner Bros Motion Picture "Troy" (2004), and more specifically on the "secret life" of the extras in the movie.
Starting in 2003 with a budget of 185 000 000 USD, Troy is one of the most expensive productions ever made. It interprets on the screen the Homer's "Iliad".
The project is based on the fact that 300 people from the core "specialized" group of extras in "Troy" are Bulgarians. The Warner Bros project, executed by the British branch of the company, shot in UK, Malta and Mexico suddenly appeared to be in need of an elite group of extras that not only possessed the physical prowess necessary to convincingly stage the battle scenes, but also had a believably
Mediterranean look. The perfect soldiers were recruited from the Sports Academy in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. On a first sight this a producer's decision, following
pragmatic and logistic reasons. A more careful study on the other hand discovers a sophisticated grid of geographic/ political/ cultural connotations shaping a rich field
for a serious study of the word of the globalised film industry.At first place, it is interesting to map the trajectory, drawn by the production.Imagine the route: USA (producer), UK (staff), Malta (film shooting location), Turkey (the site of ancient city of Troy), Greece (Iliad as part of the Ancient Greece History), Bulgaria (source for
the extras), Mexico (film shooting location).
Imagine a group of ~300 athletes of Bulgarian origin, collected from all-over the country to be a core of the armies in the movie Troy. For most of them this is a first close contact with the cinema world. They are coming from the Fitness Halls and the National Sports Academy - large, strong, muscled, "Mediterranean-looking" guys, close to the classical parameters for a male body (assuming that were the major criteria, the Bulgarians were chosen for this task),
And now imagine all these men, flown to the Mexican coast, where they spent 3 months in training and shooting the mass battle scenes of "Troy" as background of the feats of arms of Eric Bana and Brad Pitt.
This background behind the main characters is the subject of "Battles of
These are people with professional backgrounds, quite remote from cinema. It is interesting what is the motivation, that can make these "serious" men, on a disciplined
mode of daily life and training to leave the comfort of their personal lives and
accept the risky 3-months trip to Mexico as a low-payed labor force in a film, in which they won't recognize even their silhouettes on the screen.
It is interesting what were the expectations, experiences and impressions of these people before and after the trip to the film-world.What are their desires and
dreams before, their frustrations and adventures during, and disappointments after the trip?
What type of transformations happened to each of the extras, leading may be to a point of no return. What kind of movie they saw on the set during the battles shooting,
and how much it matches the movie they saw in the film theater after the premiere?
These are some of the questions we try to investigate in our study.
Krassimir Terziev
Sofia, Oct. 2004