Ancient legend gets Second Life

Category: 300 News | Posted by: maryp
Article Date: March 17, 2007 | Publication: Times Online | Author: DiamondDog DuCasse
Publication/Article Link:Times Online

A film press conference in Second Life is still just as unilluminating as under the plastic palm trees of a Los Angeles hotel, finds Dominic WellsDiamondDog DuCasse
A semi-naked warrior sits down next to me, unconcerned at the spear sticking through his chest. I cough and shake my crumpled wings to give him space. Another journalist, bored of waiting for the interviewees to materialise, levitates up to the ceiling. In the future, perhaps this is how all press conferences will be.

Last night 30 journalists from all around the world were gathered online in the virtual world Second Life – or rather, our “avatars” were – to mark the international launch of the film 300, which last weekend broke March box-office records in the States, due in large part to great word of mouth on the internet. It may seem an inappropriately modern way to sell an ancient legend. 300 is the story of the 300 Spartans who, at the very dawn of recorded history, held out against a vast invading army from the East.

But then, Second Life has recently been used to promote just about anything. American Apparel sells clothes at a dollar apiece; Toyota, Nissan and Pontiac have built car showrooms; upcoming bands have done gigs; and scabrous British comedian Jimmy Carr recently became the first major stand-up to perform.

In return, some of the 250,000 virtual residents are peddling revolution, last week detonating virtual bombs outside the Reebok and American Apparel stores.

So what, the film-makers and cast of 300 were asked when they finally arrived, do they make of Second Life and their avatars? “I like my hat,” offered Frank Miller, writer of the graphic novel on which the film is based. “Mine’s hot,” enthused Lena Headey, who plays the Spartan queen, more swiftly grasping Second Life’s real raison d’etre. “Large boobs, I’m happy with that.”

Revelations were few. Lena Headey let slip a few words about the pilot for a putative TV series called the Sarah Connors Chronicles – Sarah Connors, you may recall, being the mother in The Terminator films. Did she buff up for it? “Not as much as Gerry (Gerard Butler, the Scot who plays the Spartan king), that would be terrifying. Though Linda Hamilton (who played the part in the films) was insanely ripped. No, hopefully it will be a long journey, so the character needs somewhere to go.”

Gerard Butler confirmed that he was involved in a remake of Escape From New York, but said it was still at rewriting stage without a director assigned. He also displayed the interview Tourette’s from which he previously warned The Times that he suffered, frequently butting into other panellists’ interviews.

Sample:

Director Zack Snyder: “There was one sequence cut out of the film?”

Butler: “That’s of you having sex with a donkey, isn’t it?”

Snyder: “?of albino giants with elves riding on their backs – which will be on the DVD. When I saw it I thought, that’s too much, even for me that’s too much! And Frank, I’m sorry we didn’t find a part for you in the movie.”

Butler: “I thought he was the donkey.”

Your angelic correspondent’s only question – if Snyder keeps saying how great it was working closely with Frank Miller on 300, how can he take on Watchmen as his next project given that the graphic novelist Alan Moore has consistently opposed the idea of filming it? – went unasked by the moderator.

Which is why this experiment in virtual interviewing is ultimately doomed. A film press conference in cyberspace is still just as unilluminating as under the plastic palm trees of a Los Angeles hotel. I don’t think The Times will be abandoning its usual policy of one-on-one, face-to-face interviews in a hurry. If only I could work out a way to keep the wings?