Butler, Wenham on Bringing 300 to Life

Category: 300 News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: August 23, 2006 | Publication: Now Playing Magazine | Author: Cindy White
Publication/Article Link:http://www.nowplayingmag.com

Like Sin City before it, The 300 will bring the work of graphic-novel writer and artist Frank Miller to the screen using live actors against a computer-generated background. Shot entirely on a soundstage in Montreal, the film centers on the ancient battle of Thermopylae, in which 300 Spartan soldiers attempted to hold off an invasion by a massive Persian army. For stars Gerard Butler (The Phantom of the Opera) and David Wenham (the last two Lord of the Rings films), the process was a little disorienting, but worth it in the end.

“I’m not going to lie,” Butler tells Now Playing. “It takes a little bit of the joy out of it, and it also makes it more challenging in different ways. I wasn’t used to it, so it took a bit of getting used to. But I always try to look at the positive side of things and that was, ‘What can I learn from having to act in this kind of environment?’ I think you’re initial reaction is to overdue things and overreact to the environment that you’re pretending to have. Whereas what I did was really try to play against that, because at the end of the day it’s about people speaking to people, and it’s about attitudes and values.”

Butler plays King Leonidas, the leader of the Spartans, who makes the decision to take his men into battle despite the overwhelming odds against them. Wenham is the narrator, Delios, a friend of Leonidas and a survivor of the battle, who retells the story to inspire the Greeks to defeat the Persians once and for all.

Having already worked on Lord of the Rings, Wenham was no stranger to special-effects epics, but he had even less to work with on this film. “I’ve got to say, for me it wasn’t a problem because it wasn’t as though we were imagining creatures that weren’t there or people that weren’t there,” Wenham says. “All the people that I had dialogue with or fight sequences with were physically there. I spoke with them, I fought with them, I killed them — they were there. It’s just the geography of the space that was dropped in afterward.”

The 300 is in the midst of a long and arduous post-production phase before opening in March of next year.