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Myth Congeniality

Rose Byrne puts up with the advances of Brad Pitt and the entireGreek army on the road to Troy

HOMER, EROTIC In Troy, this month’smega-budget adaptation of The Iliad,ingenue Rose Byrne has perhaps the most enviable role in the film-asBrad Pitt’s sex slave. “Isn’t the term ‘Brad Pitt’s sex slave’ kind ofan oxymoron?” asks the 24-year-old Australian, who fondly refers to hercharacter, Briseis, as “a whore.” In fact, Briseis is an abductedprincess offered to Greek warrior Achilles (Pitt), but she’s nostrumpet. “She doesn’t come out in leather chaps or anything,” saysByrne. “She wears just one dress, a high-waisted, floaty thing-verycomfortable, actually.”

GREECE IS THE WORD Standing in for the ancient worldin Wolfgang Petersen’s $150 million epic are Baja, Mexico, and theisland of Malta, where Byrne was treated like royalty-except duringshooting breaks, when she became just another commoner in a nearbyhotel. “When we did Hector’s funeral, there were 1,500 extras incostumes, with horses, around a huge funeral pyre,” says Byrne. “I feltlike Cleopatra. Then at the hotel, you’d watch MTV or look at peoplesunbathing. It was sort of like Groundhog Day.”

TROJAN HORSEPLAY As one of only three female stars in a cast that includes The Lord of the Rings‘ Orlando Bloom and The Hulk‘sEric Bana, Byrne couldn’t keep away from the warfare taking place on-and off-camera: “Garrett [Hedlund, who plays Achilles’ kinsmanPatroclus] put bacon in air conditioners,” says Byrne. “People wouldcome back to their hotel rooms and find all the furniture was gone.”The levity was a much-appreciated distraction from the grim set, whereByrne was typically preparing “for a scene where I’m watching someoneget killed, or running from a burning city,” she says. “All the stakeswere life or death-or just death, really. There’s not much comedy inthe Greeks.”