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"300" Built on Technology, Enthusiasm

Category: 300 News
Article Date: February 21, 2007 | Publication: SyFy Portal | Author: Alan Stanley Blair

Posted by: DaisyMay

Although "Troy" (starring Brad Pitt) is still a sore spot as far as the studio is concerned, Warner Brothers gave "300" the go-ahead thanks to three things: comic-book author Frank Millerís input, Director Zack Snyderís enthusiasm and of course, mixing their creative flare with advancements in computer technology.

But according to Snyder, the film is all about doing something just a little bit different.

ďI think the technology we used to make the movie existed; I think the real change was in the studio's head, kind of exhaustive shorts and sandals genre a teeny bit -- to the point where they felt like the idea of reinventing it a little bit was a thing that they could go, 'You know what, maybe that is good and that does work. Maybe people do want to see something else.'"

Scottish actor Gerard Butler however said that the technology had nothing to do with his choice for the role, and it was something he didnít really worry about during production.

"I can't worry about technology. The challenge for me is just to give the best performance that I can," he said. "You're always aware that you're working in a different environment and for me that's -- every film you do for one reason or another requires a different thought process or a different approach. And for me it's almost leaving yourself open to that in a weird way. It's not even necessarily a technique but leaving yourself open to trying to feel, almost by osmosis this different feeling that's going on there."

The actor also went on to say that the essence of it all was using his imagination to set foot into the comic-world in which the movie is set.

"It was definitely about trusting," said Butler. "Really trusting the world you were living in because I think the temptation was to force it a little because there's nothing there and yet sometimes it felt you were performing in a vacuum and in that respect, in using your imagination to create it, might push you towards more theatricality or perhaps explaining things a little more just with your voice and it was about trusting that and trusting who you're dealing with, your kind of immediate partners in crime if you like."

"300" follows the Battle of Thermopylae, where the King of Sparta led his army against the advancing Persians, however for the purpose of the story a little bit of history had to be cut. But according to Snyder, the film still contains enough of the original context to bring about a feeling of the Spartan way of life and that it was important to get some level of support from historians.

"Did Frank throw history out the window? A little bit," he said. "I feel like I have shown the movie to historians. But it was funny Bettany Hughes, who's this English historian who has done -- a Spartan specialist; I showed the first 20 minutes of the movie to her, and said, 'What do you think? Is it crazy? Am I stupid? Do I hate history? Am I a fuck up?' And it was cool, because she said, 'You know what, in a lot of ways, it's more Spartan than anything I could do.' In a sense that it is -- 'As historians, I can't be emotional with what I feel about the Spartans because I'm trying to give historical reference. But you, what you've made, feels like it was made by Spartans.'"

Snyder, who is now currently working on a movie adaptation for "Watchmen," also said that it was important to get Millerís seal of approval on the movie and that working with him is certainly an option he would consider.

"It was really great," he said. "When he saw the movie, he said to me, 'Listen, I wrote this book because I saw a movie called 300 Spartans when I was a young man. After I saw your version of my book in movie form, I realized I wished, I wished this was the movie I had seen, not the one I had seen.' I said, 'That's awesome.'"

When it came to choosing the movie over other projects, Butler also said that he was very pleased with the whole thing which is why he initially agreed to take on the role of King Leonidas.

"If I read a script where I had an interesting character but I wasn't really excited about the script then I wouldn't want to do it because that's happened before and I hated it," he said. "Likewise if it was a great script but a character that I didn't love, I wouldn't want to do it. Because I've done that before and I hated it. This film had it all. It was a character that I'd never come across before. Yes I have played similar characters but I'd never come across one that really pushed the envelope in terms of what it takes to be a hero and what it takes to be a villain."

Snyder however took on the project due to a childhood passion for comic-book violence, something that can be attributed to his mothers accidental purchase of an adult-themed comic-book.

"When I was a kid, my mother used to buy me a magazine called Heavy Metal, an adult illustrated fantasy magazine," he said. "My mother did not realize it was an adult magazine; she thought it was a cool publication that had comics in it -- and I encouraged her to keep buying it. And at the same time, she would try and buy me Wolverine or X-Men or some classic comic books as well, but there was no sex and dying in those -- not a lot anyway, not graphically. And so it really didn't hold my interest like the Heavy Metal did; and I was pretty devout.

"I'd always try and order a click, pornographic stuff and I would always get caught; my mother would be like, 'Oh, what is this?' 'I don't know, they must have just sent it for free.' But then when Dark Knight came out, and Watchmen at the same time, it sort of re-gigged me back into the graphic novel world -- I was satisfied in a way is how it happened. And so I wanted to make any Frank Miller work I could; you always say, 'I want to make 'Sin City' into a movie. Oh, they just did it.' 'I want to make Dark Knight into a movie. Oh, they're going to do that.' So '300' was basically -- we would talk about '300' as film students going, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we could do this shot? It'd be awesome!' Just basically, nothing would ever happen, we would just talk about it like it's fun."

"300" will be available in theaters on March 9.


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