Roadshow de '300' (Frank Miller, Zack Snyder)

Category: 300 News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: October 2, 2006 | Publication: CINeol | Author: Irulan
Publication/Article Link:http://www.cineol.net

Normalmente sucede en los festivales. Es raro que una ciudad como Madrid acoja un acto como éste, donde aparecen director, productora y muchos ejecutivos trajeados cuya misión no es otra que presentar a la prensa una de las superproducciones más esperadas del próximo año. Nervios y media hora de imágenes impresionantes son dos expresiones con las que bien se podría definir la que fue presentación de 300 en la capital española.

Se notaba que aquello era especial: entradas físicas enviadas a casa junto a la novela gráfica de Frank Miller (archi-conocido gracias a su Sin City), puntualidad británica, medidas de seguridad, prohibición de hacer fotos, la sala más grande de un enorme cine, cabina para el traductor, catering y hasta regalos (una sudadera). Todo ello para contentar a la prensa patria y hacernos ver que, el próximo año, 300 quiere ir a por todas. Que será tan “cañera” que es necesario hacerse a ella con antelación.


Y ahora, tras prolegómenos y antecedentes, sentémonos en la butaca y esperemos a que la jefa del departamento de marketing de Warner Films nos presente a Zack Snyder, director del film. Lo que nadie se esperaba fue que el tal Snyder pareciera un chaval de veinte años (aunque más tarde el IMDB confirmara que ya es cuarentón). Pantalones vaqueros raídos, camiseta blanca, sudadera fashion de marca y corte de pelo estiloso para un tipo moderno, simpático y hasta atractivo que se mostró visiblemente nervioso. Defender tu película ante la prensa extranjera tampoco debe ser muy fácil.

Durante casi media hora, Snyder relató cómo llegó el proyecto a sus manos y cómo se había llevado a cabo. Su carrera se forjó en la publicidad y sólo tiene un film anterior (Dawn Of The Dead), película que dirigió estando 300 ya en su mente. Frank Miller es un autor bastante excéntrico que no cede sus derechos con facilidad, y así fue bastante el tiempo que se tardó en obtenerlos. A esto se debieron sumar bastantes negativas de la productora (que en esos momentos estaba inmersa en Troya) que retrasaron durante años el rodaje de la cinta. Sin embargo, por fin llegó el día, Snyder podía hacer una película sobre un tema que le gustaba (se declaró fan del mundo del cómic y la novela gráfica, y nosotros nos lo creemos) y además huir de lo excesivamente tradicional.

Tras la presentación, llegó el momento más esperado por todos, la posibilidad de ver 30 minutos de imágenes del film. Snyder recalcó que la mayoría de ellas estaban todavía sin terminar (casi todas al 80-90%, algunas menos), y que lo que íbamos a ver era meramente orientativo. Para ser orientativo, vimos unas cuantas cosas realmente increíbles. Snyder presentó y contextualizó cada una de las seis escenas que tuvimos el placer que ver, y que aquí os comentamos para que os muráis un poco de envidia (lo sabemos, es inevitable):

-Montajes: La proyección comenzó y terminó con dos montajes cual teaser trailers donde una tras otra veíamos pequeñas escenas de la película que nos hicieron comprender que, a pesar de haber visto más que nadie, no habíamos visto nada. 300 es una película rodada con los últimos medios (actores y pantallas azules) y que parece seguir el modus operandi de Sin City, en cuanto a que lo que veremos en pantalla grande serán las viñetas de la novela gráfica. La historia se centra en la Batalla de las Termópilas, que enfrentó a espartanos (los protagonistas de la historia, con el rey Leónidas a la cabeza, y caracterizados por un carácter fuerte y bastante brutal) y a persas (guiados por el rey dios Jerjes y algo más “sofisticados”). El protagonista absoluto del film, Gerard Butler (El Fantasma de la Ópera) da el pego como pocos, y se va a convertir en una estrella. Junto a él, rostros desconocidos pero habituales en el cine épico.

-Escena 1: Qué mejor que comenzar por el principio, el arranque de la película. Nos encontramos con un soldado espartano, narrador de la cinta y con el rostro –y el corte de pelo, que se debe mencionar- de David Wenham (Faramir en El Señor de los Anillos). Este hombre nos cuenta la heroica vida (nacimiento, juventud) del que es su rey, Leónidas. Le vemos enfrentarse a una bestia siendo un adolescente, y en apenas 10 minutos es imposible rendirse ante la fidelidad de la adaptación.

-Escena 2: cambiamos de tercio y vamos a la intimidad. Leónidas está en sus aposentos con su mujer Gorgo (muy guapa Lena Headey). Él habla de sus dudas, ella le reconforma y vemos el inicio de una escena de cama.

-Escena 3: una de las más cortas, apenas vemos a un ejército de espartanos que observa cómo una tormenta acaba con los barcos de los persas, que se aproximan a sus costas. Aun así, es sobrecogedora.

-Escena 4: un emisario de Jerjes acude a Esparta. Busca la rendición de Leónidas y los suyos. Sin embargo el código de los espartanos se rige por leyes muy estrictas, y así el emisario (y sus acompañantes) sólo reciben muerte. Vemos también parte de la primera batalla de la cinta, la brutalidad de los espartanos y bastante violencia. Vemos cómo la sangre parece flotar en el aire como pequeñas partículas condensadas en lo que es un efecto original y chulísimo (no se puede definir de otra forma). Vemos un ralentizado impresionante de Leónidas combatiendo. Para este punto, estamos atrapados y nos morimos de ganas de ver el film terminado.

-Escena 5: tras la primera batalla (a favor de los espartanos), Jerjes visita a Leónidas. El actor Rodrigo Santoro está irreconocible por el maquillaje y las ropas, así como por sus dimensiones. Su voz es extraña, está modulada e impresiona bastante. Jerjes se muestra admirado por las proezas de los espartanos y le ofrece a Leónidas un lugar a su lado (o más bien un poquito por debajo), pero el rey es orgulloso y jamás se arrodillará. Él lucha por la libertad y prefiere morir a ser esclavo.

-Escena 6: tras el encuentro anterior, Jerjes envía contra los espartanos a sus más feroces guerreros, los Inmortales, que ataviados con aires orientales (parecen samuráis) comienzan a hacer dudar del poder de los espartanos en la batalla. Es ésta la escena (de todas las que vemos) menos desarrollada, y aun así sigue impactando.

Finalmente, tras la proyección, hubo una pequeña ronda de Q&A (preguntas y respuestas) donde se habló de temas varios pero bastante obvios. Desde la violencia de la cinta (Snyder dejó bastante claro que lo que opinen en Hollywood del film le importa bastante poco), el rodaje (corto -60 días- y muy intenso, muy duro, muy físico), la influencia cada vez mayor del mundo del cómic en el cine (como fan que es, Snyder está contentísimo, y dijo que le encantaba el hecho de que actualmente una novela gráfica esté tan bien considerada como una novela “a secas” a la hora de adaptar), la implicación de Frank Miller en el proyecto (menor a la de Sin City, aquí se limitó a visitar el rodaje o diseñar algunos elementos, como las espadas) o el reparto. Snyder afirmó que para él lo primordial había sido evitar a los actores norteamericanos por cuestiones de acento, y que su prioridad fueron los británicos. Del mismo modo, también contó algunas anécdotas del casting (entre ellas la cara que se les quedaba a los posibles actores al saber que pasarían casi todo el film semi-desnudos). En general, no se aportó mucho más a lo dicho anteriormente por el director, aunque supuso un buen cierre para la interesante jornada.

Y con esto termina la crónica de una mañana atípica para quien escribe y de una experiencia nueva en este mundo del cine. Lo malo es que ahora falte tanto para el estreno del film… Pero ya sabéis, como siempre, aquí os mantendremos informados.

ENGLIGH TRANSLATION (thanks to Curious Kitty):
Road show of "300" (Frank Miller, Zack Snyder).

Rarely does a city like Madrid get the chance to host such an event. Normally, directors, producers and executives, start promoting their new productions at Film Festivals exclusively. Hitting the circuits heavily months in advance, showing their films to the international press and possible distributors, desperately trying to sell their products, and get them in the cinemas for public consumption within the following year. What we just experienced, at the preview of "300", in the Spanish capitol, could be described in so many ways, lets try this: half an hour of intense energy, filled with extremely impressive images.

Arriving there, we could quickly come to the conclusion that we were about to experience something special: right next to the entrance, a huge display of Frank Miller's graphic novel "300", which the movie is based on, was in full view (Miller already being well known, thanks to "Sin City"). Security was extremely tight, of British Intelligence magnitude. Many safety measures were used to prevent people from taking photographs or capturing film. The movie was presented in the biggest cinema room, even a cabine for a translator was provided. The services of a food caterer and a kiosk of promotional material (for exemple souvenir t-shirts) were made available to all the attendies. All stops were pulled to show us how strongly and aggressively they were willing to promote "300", therefore, making sure that everyone would rush to go see it next year (2007), which is why they included our mother country on their itinerary. They believe in it's success so much, that they felt it was necessary to start the promoting process now, and in this particular manner.

After going through many preliminaries, background checks and verifications, we finally were greenlighted to our seats in the projection room. A woman, one of the marketing department leaders at Warner, introduced Zack Snyder to us, the director of the movie. Nobody expected Snyder to look so young, like a man in his twenties (later on, we had a look at his IMDB profile, and realized that he already is an established director). He was wearing worn jeans, a white t-shirt, with a sweater-vest over it, sporting a fashionable haircut, looking very casual and likeable, and adorably nervous. Who could blame him, justifying the merits of your film (end product of your blood, sweat and tears), to the foreign press, has to be very intimidating.

For almost half an hour, Snyder explained how the project ended up on his lap, and how it was carried out. He has one feature film under his belt, he directed "Dawn of the Dead", and even before he finished filming it, the seed of "300" was already germinating in his mind. Frank Miller is quite an eccentric author, who does not yield his creations easily to just anyone, and Snyder had to prove himself to gain his trust. The producer (who was already immersed in "Troy" at the time) received so many refusals from Miller, at the very least, as far as choices of directors are concerned, that it delayed production for years, before they could actually start filming. Finally, the day arrived, and Snyder was finally able to work on a project he believed in, about a subject he is really passionate about (he is a self-proclaimed huge fan of the "Graphic Novel" and "Comic" genre, and their creators), and he welcomed the chance of creating something as far away from the traditional movie format as possible.

It was now time to view "300", the moment everyone anticipated so much, the possibility of seeing 30 minutes of the best moments of the film. Snyder stressed the fact that the movie wasn't completely finished, only up to 80 or 90% (more or less), and that what we were about to see was a general idea of the desired effects. Well, the general effect was "astonishment"! We saw the most amazing images. Snyder explained in great details, each of the six scenes we were priviledged enough to watch, even describing each frame, and the concept behind them. By the way, please forgive us for torturing you with our enthusiasm and giddy comments, in this case, we're afraid it is inevitable, we are all still under the charm:

-The show: The projection began and ended with a showing of the teaser trailer, and the 6 extended scenes in between, to give a taste of the whole film. Even though we only got to see 30 minutes of it, it gave us a real feel for the movie and left us wanting so much more. "300" was not a film made in haste or with poor means. All the actors were filmed in front of blue and green screens, same process as for "Sin City". The final product will be a 3 dimentional, moving replica of the graphic novel, on the big screen. The story centers on the Historical Battle of Thermopylae, facing the Spartans, (the heroes of the story, led by King Leonidas, a strong and quite brutal character) and the Persians, (led by King XerXes, reveared as a God by his people). Gerard Butler (The Phantom of the Opera), as King Leonidas, carries the whole film on his heroic shoulders. He gives such a powerful performance, that this role will certainly permanently put him on the map, and make him a huge star. He will not remain an unrecognisable face in the world of cinema much longer and his name will be known by all.

-Scene 1: The beginning of the movie, what better way to start. One Spartan soldier speaks, his voice will narrate the whole story throughout the film, incarnated by non other than David Wenham (Faramir, to fans of Lord of the Ring). He tells the tale of a hero's life (from birth to manhood), the life of King Leonidas. We see him face a beast in his adolescence, harldy 10 minutes into the film, we find it impossible to detach our attention from the screen, realizing that we are witnessing each and every drawing of the graphic novel coming to life right before our eyes.

-Scene 2: We are now in King Leonidas's private chambers. He expresses his doubts and concerns to his wife Gorgo (the very beautiful Lena Heady). She comforts and reassures him, and we than see glimses of very passionate and intimate moments, (of a sexual nature), between the two of them (I'm trying to be as respectful as possible here).

-Scene 3: A short scene now. The Spartan army observes, in secret, Persian ships being destroyed on the coast by a powerful storm, while trying to invade their territory, too many Persians still manage to make it to the shore.

-Scene 4: An emissary of Xerxes goes to Sparta. He asked King Leonidas, and his countrymen, to surrender, or face extermination. However, since the Spartans live by an unbreakable code, governed by strict laws, "never retreat, never surrender, fight to the death in the names of our beliefs...", the emissary (and his companion) are executed. We also see part of the first battle in the film, the raw brutality and strength of the Spartans, a lot of violence. Blood from the wounds seems to float in the air in condensed forms, as any liquid would in space (the only way we can describe it really). Then we get to see King Leonidas's impressive fighting moves in slow-motion. From that moment on, we are so taken, we can't help wishing we could see the entire finished film right away.

-Scene 5: After the first battle (finding the Spartans triumphant), Xerxes comes to meet with Leonidas. Actor Rodrigo Santoro as Xerxes, is totally unrecognizable, due to the heavy make-up, costumes, and massive quantities of gold jewelry, not to mention that they project him as being abnormally tall. His voice is strange, and makes enough of an impression.

The Spartans admire Xerxes for his leadership and military skills, therefore, he is granted a seat right next to Leonidas during their meeting, (but they seat him just a bit lower, to prove a point). Xerxes is so proud, he refuses to kneel down in front of Leonidas. All of them fight in the name of freedom, and would rather die than become slaves.

-Scene 6: After their first encounter, Xerxes sends his most ferocious soldiers against the Spartans, the Immortals, all dressed in asian influenced attire (they look like Samurais), they are so strong, we start doubting the fighting power of the Spartans in that battle. The scene (of all of those we got to see), is the least visually completed one, and still so powerful, it totally drives the message accross.

Finally, after the projection, we were treated to a short Q&A (questions and answers) session, many topics surfaced, including several obvious ones, especially about the violence in the film (by the way, Snyder made it clear that what Hollywood will think of the film matters very little to him). They shot the film in 60 days, quite a short period, but a very intense, hard, and physical one. The world of comics and graphic novels, seems to be influencing the world of cinema more and more. So many films are being produced based on the most popular ones. As a fan of the genre, Snyder admits that he is very proud of his creation, extremely content and satisfied. He welcomed the challenge of making the graphic novel come to life on the big screen with opened arms. He even considers it a real novel in it's own right. Having Frank Miller's direct involvement in the project was a gift (although he was even more involved in the production of "Sin City"). For "300", he helped design weaponry, such as swords, and was on the set often to witness a lot of the scenes being shot. He helped in recreating some of the battle scenes, even helped with the casting. Snyder admitted that it was fundamentally important for the film, that all the actors should speak with a British accent, it was a priority. A North American accent would not have been as credible. He even had some juicy casting anecdotes for us. Among them, the one about the priceless facial expressions and reactions of some of the actors, as soon as they found out that they would have to remain more than half naked throughout the whole film, and the whole shoot. Along with the very though, harsh and intense physical training they would have to endure and commit to, before and during filming, and the religious discipline that it would require. Such interesting last comments from a more than gracious, generous and immensely talented young director. And that concluded our much too short Q&A session with the whole travelling "300" team. It was time to say goodbye.

These were the chronicles of a very unsual morning in this writer's life, and sadly at the same time, the ending of an amazingly refreshing experience, through the medium of the ever changing and evolving world of the cinema. The worst part is, having to wait to see the whole film. I will count the days till the official opening... And remember to come back and visit the site often, we all promise to keep you up to date and informed, as always, until then.