Screams for Butler at '300' premiere

Category: 300 News | Posted by: maryp
Article Date: March 7, 2007 | Publication: Associated Press | Author: MICHAEL CIDONI
Publication/Article Link:KansasCity.com

LOS ANGELES - For most visitors, all it takes is a plane ticket and then a quick cab ride to reach Hollywood's Chinese Theatre. But Zack Snyder did some time-traveling to end up there on Monday night.

Snyder is director of "300," the dark, lavish, complex recreation of the 480 B.C. Battle of Thermopylae, where the King of Sparta led his army in an against-all-odds fight against advancing Persian forces.

"It's nice to (have the premiere) at the Chinese," Snyder told AP Television at the event. "But, dude, 'Star Wars' showed here ... that I have a movie that's playing here is wrong but awesome at the same time."

Awesome enough to bring out stars not directly associated with the film itself, which is a rare thing. Rosario Dawson showed up at the last minute. Two of this season's award-show regulars, Djimon Hounsou (Oscar nominee for "Blood Diamond") and Aaron Eckhart (Golden Globes nominee for "Thank You For Smoking") were fashionably early.

"The logistics, the imagination, the execution and the technical capabilities that go into making this movie are so astounding that they blow me away," noted Eckhart.

"300," which opens Friday, looks as if it's already produced a new star, as hundreds of the fans who lined Hollywood Boulevard screamed for leading man Gerard Butler, perhaps best known so far for heading up the widely panned screen adaptation of the Broadway musical "The Phantom of the Opera."

On this night, the Scottish Butler seemed barely able to contain his glee, sounding like an actor on the brink of having a long-overdue hit on his hands.

"I don't know if it's lucky or it's meant but (the movie) kind of works on all levels," Butler said. "It gets you, the adrenaline and just testosterone, it has all of that. But it's also beautiful and emotional and kind of inspiring and political."

And sexy, too.

"You start off by putting 300 very sort of fit, buff guys in codpieces, throw them up on screen, already there's an energy behind that," noted one of Butler's co-stars, David Wenham. "Then you throw into the mix a gorgeous, gorgeous actress like Lena Headey and there's going to be obviously ... some sort of fireworks and energy."

Working alongside all those half-naked hunks "got a little boring, honestly, after the first week," joked Headey. "No, it was fabulous," she continued. "But they had no shame, they showed off, and quite rightly."

With all of its discussions of wars that can't be won and battles that shouldn't be fought, "300" may be read as an allegory for modern-day global politics. But this cast and crew is leaving the reading to the viewers.

Actor Rodrigo Santoro instead began paraphrasing a recent article about the film in the New York Times: "The guy wrote ... 'So what's the real message of the '300'? It could be: Buy a ticket.'"