In the second installment of a series of films that were discussed by the filmmakers at San Diego Comic Con, Warner Bros. hosted the director and cast of 300: Rise of an Empire that included director Noam Murro, Rodrigo Santoro, Eva Green, and Sullivan Stapleton
Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel Xerxes, 300: Rise of an Empire will feature a sea battle between the Persians and the Greeks that preceded the events of the original 300. In the film, Greek general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. 300: Rise of an Empire pits Themistocles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemesia (Eva Green), vengeful commander of the Persian navy. The film was originally titled 300: Battle of Artemisium but was changed to 300: Rise of an Empire during pre-production.
Before production began on the film, Zack Snyder was initially scheduled to direct this sequel, but his duties on Warner Brothers’ highly anticipated Man of Steel kept him away from the project. Noam Murro took over directing duties, and worked off a script written by Snyder and Kurt Johnstad (Act of Valor).
One of the challenges Director Noam Murro was working on sequel (or prequel) to a very well-known film. He wanted to keep the first film’s DNA and thread it through the film so that there was cohesion between the two films. The most obvious element that created the look and feel of 300, said Murro, was the CG. Like the first movie, the entire set was green.
“What I really enjoyed about making this film was working with CG,” said Murro. “It allowed me to create new world that’s very hard to accomplish with sets.”
Murro said working with Zack Snyder was a dream and really helpful, but Snyder also stepped away and allowed him do what he does. He says it was the best relationship he could have asked for.
Although the harsh environments of 300: Rise of an Empire were created after principal photography was completed, Eva Green stated working on the film was a demanding role.
“This was her first action film where I could pick up a sword and slice characters in half,” said Green. “The role was very physical but I enjoyed the challenges. In the film, she is the only female commander in the Persian fleet.” She added, “My character is thirsty for vengeance and almost sees the character as a Joan of Arc type of character. It’s cool to play strong, crazy women on screen.”
In response to Green’s statement, Murro stated that “Men don’t have to apologize for being ruthless…but women do.”
Rodrigo Santoro reprises his role as King Xerxes, the antagonist of the first film. “What made working on the sequel interesting was the concept of creating a humanity to Xerxes’ character that wasn’t present in the first film,” said Santoro. “Although the film focuses on the Battle of Artemisium, it will also act as a prequel to the original 300, and establish the character of Xerxes before he becomes the self-proclaimed god-King.”
It was noted by Murro that Frank Miller was not on the set during principal photography.
The cast includes Sullivan Stapleton as Themistocles, Eva Green as Artemisia, Rodrigo Santoro as King Xerxes, Achaemenid King of Persia, Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo of Sparta, Hans Matheson as Aeskylos, Andrew Pleavin as Daxos, Callan Mulvey as Scyllias, David Wenham as Dilios, Jack O’Connell as Calisto, Andrew Tiernan as Ephialtes, and Yigal Naor as Darius
300: Rise of an Empire will hit theaters March 7, 2014.
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