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Category: 300 News
Article Date: February 19, 2007 | Publication: CIAK (Italy) | Author: CLAUDIO MASENZA

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True men - The Thermopili battle according to "300", the innovative kolossal movie based on Frank Miller's comic book.

The sacrifice of the spartans that immolate themselves to the Persian army of king Serse, it's an historical episode that inflamed the souls of many highschool students. Zack Snyder tells us how he transformed it into an epic pulp movie.

"English actors don't find elegant having cured, muscled body" and for the american director of "300" it was a consistent problem.
In the furious reconstruction of the battle,where 300 Spartans marched towards sure death in the attempt to stop the powerful Persian army, ranks of soldiers were facing one another dressed up only with an elm and loincloth.

"Even when the faces were hidden, I wanted that the bodies were those of my actors, as much as their ability to fight in an exausting shooting sequence".

"300" is the faithful transcription of the homonyn comic book by Frank Miller and it had preserved its barbaric spendour.

"I chose to follow the path of the cinematographic version of "SIN CITY", Miller's most popular work, says Snyder, " and to make the movie entirely on the set, with green screens where, afterwards, I would add luxurious senaires, but intentionally fake. The result is astonishing."

Q. So how di it go with the actors?
A. The English actors accepted to bear the hard trainings and to have depilation. Greek statues are like this and I intended to respect their iconography.

The australian actor David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings) knew that we would shoot in Canada and when he saw the piece of textile he was going to wear, he was really worried abut getting pneumonia. I had to assure him that he would have never leave the set.

Gerard Butler, the Scottish actor from "The Phantom of the Opera" is the Leonidas king of Sparta. He wanted the role so badly. We met in a pub in Hollywood and he took off his shirt, jumped on a table miming fighting moves. I was surprised as all the people there was, but Gerard got the role.

What he wasn't aware of, was that a 3 months of hard training was expecting him.

Q. Did you training with them?
A. Yes, I did. While "putting together" the cast, I sometimes looked myself in the mirror and ask "What would I miss to....?" Just kidding! Acting is not for me.

Forty years old, four children from his first marriage and a new wife with whom he owns a company with a weird name: CRUEL AND UNUSUAL FILMS, Zack is very well known in the advertising and videoclip environment.

"I worked a lot in Italy" he remembers " and when I made the first of my two movies, I thought that it was important to move away from the advertising style. My producers were disappointed at first: why hiring a famous spot director if his artistic roots are not visible? But I convinced them that it was the right thing.

Q. Why so much attention to the male body?

A. Let's say there is the beautiful role of queen Gorgo , played by Lena Headey, also. But it is true that my sensitivity and my esthetic taste are the same of a fifteen years old and "300" reflects an adolescential fantasy of an extreme viril power and violence. There is not a political reading, the Persians are not the modern invaders.

Nowadays any movie can be read under a political point of view but I have to say that there were more evident metaphores in L'ALBA DEI MORTI VIVENTI. The Persians are judged throught the hatring eyes of Spartans and their king Serse is a sort of superman, of about 3 meters tall. But the same Spartans werent' an example of virtue and moderation, longing for an honorable death in battle.
It would be interesting to tell the same story form the "enemy" point of view.

Thanks to Susanna for the scan and translation and to Lilyrose for helping with the translation!


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