'300' The Battle For The Film
Category: 300 News | Posted by: DaisyMay
Article Date: February 16, 2007 | Publication: Comics2Film | Author: Staff
"We started the fight," Gianni Nunnari says as he leans forward into the microphone as his other colleagues, the Producers of the upcoming film "300", sit back and smile. Nunnari is referring to the other two films about Sparta that were in the pipeline when he decided to option Frank Miller's graphic novel. The first film was set up at Universal with Michael Mann set to direct while the other was set up at Twentieth Century Fox.
Nunnari (who is currently nominated for an Oscar for his film The Departed) along with Producers Mark Canton, Bernie Goldmann, Jeffrey Silver and Debbie Snyder have a lot to be smiling about. Though they won't specify the exact cost of the film; they will say the price tag of the production was under 70 million, which is practically unheard of for such a massive undertaking. The epic film is based on the story of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonides (played by Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought against the God like Xerxes and his Persian army of thousands.
After such films as Troy and Alexander, Nunnari was really interested in changing the face of the sword and sandal genre. "The success of Sin City gave reference to the studio." Nunnari is referring to the look and feel of "300" compared to more recent films of the genre, which did not fair well in the box office.
In terms of the process in getting the film made, once Nunnari had secured the option to the film, a first draft was written. Nunnari joined forces with Mark Canton (Land of the Dead, Taking Lives) and then when Zack Snyder, the director, came on board. "His (Zach Snyder's) vision was exactly what Miller had created in the graphic novel," says Nunnari. "Then Zack and Kurt (Johnstad) wrote a new draft."
The film, entirely shot on location in Montreal, Canada, took about 60 days to shoot while the visual effects took about a year to create; the entire process took about a year and a half. "Montreal was just an ideal place," says Jeffrey Silver. "We had a modest budget, but the location fit the concept."
Bernie Goldmann hopes that the film shows a world that will ignite audiences, "The epic movie is dead and we wanted to reinvent it." Even though the movie is based on a 2000 year- old story, it was everyone's goal to have the film feel very contemporary. In fact, many actually compare it to what is happening today. "Well thematically it deals with freedom," comments Debbie Snyder.
Debbie, obviously the only female on the panel shares her perspective of what makes "300" unique, "There aren't usually strong female characters in action films. The female character (Queen Gorgo played by Lena Headey) is the heart of Sparta, and equals Leonides. It's refreshing. Women will like this film." Will women appreciate the graphic violence depicted? Snyder says, "The violence is very beautiful, it's beautifully depicted. The blood is its own character…it's a ballet of death, very operatic. It feels surreal. It is still a battle, which is still brutal, but it's done in such a beautiful way."
"It was a unique journey," says Canton. "What you see on screen is a direct reflection on how wonderfully everyone worked together." "We're the underdog, the little movie that could," says Bernie Goldmann half jokingly. However with a film like "300" there isn't much chance for a sequel, or is there? Canton remarks, "Fingers crossed where it goes. There could be a 301. Where there's a will there's a way."
We'll see just how well "300" does when it opens nationwide on March 9th.