March 07, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.

‘300: Rise of an Empire’ director Noam Murro talks operatic approach

Noam Murro had one question when he was asked to direct the follow-up to 2007’s bloody swords-and-sandals action film “300”: How do you make a sequel to a movie in which everyone died? The answer, in short: You don’t. Zack Snyder’s “300” concluded with [spoiler alert!] Sparta’s King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his few, proud soldiers being gloriously slain while making a heroic stand against the overwhelming forces of Persian god-king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). The new “300: Rise of an Empire” uses that Leonidas-vs.-Xerxes narrative as a crucial plot point. In essence, the new film wraps its story around the earlier movie’s action to function as something more like a companion piece than a reboot. “What do you call it? A prequel? A sequel?” says Murro, 52. “It’s an equal, hopefully. It’s a different perspective of the same time. Thematically, […]
Jan. 20, 2014 | 11:50 a.m.

‘300: Rise of an Empire’ trailer teases vengeance, bloodshed, war

Lena Headey’s Queen Gorgo seeks vengeance for the events of “300” in a new trailer for “300: Rise of an Empire.” Directed by TV commercial ace Noam Murro and produced by Zack Snyder, “Rise of an Empire” is not a sequel or a prequel but a free-standing tale set in the same world and taking place before, during and after the events of “300.” The story is based on Frank Miller’s “Xerxes” (“300″ was based on Miller’s landmark graphic novel of the same name) and the historical Battle of Artemisium, a naval engagement concurrent with “300′s” battle at Thermopylae. “If you took ‘300’ and you zoomed out, that’s what this movie is all about,” Murro said at Comic-Con International in San Diego last summer. “It takes place at about the same time as ‘300.’ It’s just bigger and it gives […]
Dec. 04, 2013 | 1:34 p.m.

‘300: Rise of an Empire’ trailer spotlights Eva Green’s Artemisia

The Greek and Persian warriors from Zack Snyder’s “300” take to the sea in a new trailer for the film’s follow-up, “300: Rise of an Empire.” The trailer, released Wednesday, begins with scenes of violence and destruction on the water, with a voice-over from Lena Headey’s Queen Gorgo. “The oracle’s words stand as a warning,” she says. “Sparta will fall. All of Greece will fall. And only stout, wooden ships can save them. Wooden ships and a tidal wave of heroes’ blood.” Directed by TV commercial ace Noam Murro and produced by Snyder, “Rise of an Empire” is not a sequel or a prequel but its own free-standing thing, set in the same world and taking place before, during and after the events of “300.” The story is based on Frank Miller’s “Xerxes” (“300” was based on Miller’s landmark graphic […]
July 20, 2013 | 7:29 p.m.

Comic-Con 2013: ‘Godzilla,’ ‘300’ follow-up storm Legendary panel

“Godzilla” was king during Legendary Pictures’ panel presentation in Comic-Con’s Hall H on Saturday. Fans in the 6,500-member audience cheered during the bass-pounding “Godzilla” preview footage, which, in addition to showing off its titular kaiju, revealed a first glimpse of a winged monster that could be Mothra. The panel also featured presentations for “300: Rise of an Empire” and “Seventh Son.” FULL COVERAGE: San Diego Comic-Con 2013 “Godzilla” is directed by Gareth Edwards, whose ambitious independent film “Monsters” garnered critical praise for its mashup of big visual effects and small art-house atmosphere. It’s exactly what attracted “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston to the project. “It was fantastic because he was able to make a monster movie also into a character-driven component where you really felt for these people,” Cranston said of “Monsters.” “And that’s what he transformed this ‘Godzilla’ into.” […]
June 12, 2013 | 10:38 p.m.

‘300: Rise of Empire’ trailer: Swords, sandals, the sea and Xerxes

A new trailer for “300: Rise of an Empire” offers the same sort of swords-and-sandals splendor that made filmmaker Zack Snyder’s visually arresting 2006 adaptation of the landmark Frank Miller graphic novel such a hit. “Rise of an Empire” is not a sequel or a prequel but its own free-standing thing, taking place before, during and after the events of “300.” Directed by TV commercial ace Noam Murro and produced by Snyder, the film sees Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro reprise his role as Xerxes, the nefarious 9-foot-tall antagonist. “The movie looks cool. It’s beautiful,” Santoro told Hero Complex in an interview this year. “It’s like ‘300’ but there are fresh things in there. It’s a smart way to do a sequel. The fans are going to be pleased.” More of the Persian “God King’s” back story will be revealed in […]
Jan. 18, 2013 | 4:34 p.m.

‘300’: Rodrigo Santoro talks Xerxes’ return in ‘Rise of an Empire’

To reprise the character of Xerxes, the nefarious 9-foot tall antagonist he portrays in director Zack Snyder’s breakthrough swords and sandals blockbuster “300,” for the highly anticipated August spinoff  “300: Rise of an Empire,” Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro learned the true meaning of no pain, no gain. The role demanded that Santoro rebuild the same rippling musculature he shows off to impressive effect in the 2006 historical thriller (based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller) – a truly Herculean effort that involved three months of grueling gym workouts to build biceps and add bulk to Santoro’s slight surfer’s frame. “It was intense,” the actor said during an interview to promote his turn in the new Arnold Schwarzenegger action vehicle “The Last Stand,” directed by revered South Korean filmmaker Kim Jee-Woon. “It was a very specific physique that character has. […]
June 30, 2011 | 8:01 a.m.

Frank Miller brings ‘Holy Terror’ to 9/11 anniversary: ‘I hope it shakes people up’

For the better part of a decade, Frank Miller has been talking about a graphic novel on terrorism called “Holy Terror,” but it was only this week that he could say the one sentence everyone was waiting to hear. “I’m done,” Miller said. “It was eight years in the making, but I’m done.” The 120-page book will hit the shelves right after the 1oth anniversary of 9/11 and Miller — the 54-year-old creator of “”The Dark Knight Returns,” “”300” and “Sin City” — promises that the tale and imagery will be “pretty rough,” which is saying something given his history of scorching political rhetoric and ultra-violent artwork. For many followers of Miller’s career, though, the biggest shock of “Holy Terror” is the fact that it’s actually reaching stores. Miller is arguably the most important comic book artist of the last three decades  but […]
Dec. 16, 2010 | 12:40 p.m.

Frank Miller’s Christmas wish…

I sent a note to Frank Miller asking if he had a moment to draw a holiday greeting for Hero Complex readers. I wasn’t sure what to expect. A “Sin City” Santa? A “Xerxes” Xmas? Here’s what I got back: “Christmas 2010,” Frank Miller — Geoff Boucher RECENT AND RELATED: Miller returns to “300″ without apology Zack Snyder: “Xerxes” script underway ESSAY: An Iranian-American wrestles with”300’s” message Miller searches for “The Spirit” of Eisner Miller: Imagine Sly in “Dark Knight Returns” Miller drops “terrible, glorious” F-bombs
Sept. 28, 2010 | 9:39 a.m.

GUEST ESSAY: One Iranian American wrestles with ‘Xerxes’ and ‘300’

As reported at Hero Complex, Frank Miller is well underway with “Xerxes,”  a follow-up to the graphic novel “300,” and filmmaker Zack Snyder is also laboring on a screen adaptation that would take moviegoers back to the battlefields of antiquity shown in the 2007 surprise Warner Bros. hit. That first film touched off international debate: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bitterly denounced it, and the Iranian Academy of the Arts filed a formal complaint through the United Nations that framed the movie as nothing less than an attack on the historical identity of a nation — especially with its portrayal of Xerxes (portrayed by Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro) as leering and androgynous and the Persian army as a demonic horde. Now, with a looming companion comics series and probable feature film on the horizon, are we ready for another round of the East-versus-West […]
July 29, 2010 | 3:18 p.m.

Frank Miller’s ‘Holy Terror’ leaves Gotham: ‘I’ve taken Batman as far as he can go’

For years, Frank Miller spoke of a Gotham City graphic novel that would be like no other — for the 120 bone-crunching pages of “Holy Terror, Batman!” Miller — arguably the most important comic book artist of the last 30 years — envisioned a story in which the Caped Crusader went on a blood quest against Al Qaeda. Earlier this week, sitting over coffee at the U.S. Grant Hotel in San Diego, Miller said the elusive project is finally close to completion but that the name and central character have changed and that DC Comics won’t be the publisher. Miller frames all of this as a decision that was driven by the work itself and not dictated by a DC leadership that, according to insiders, has long been leery of the politically charged concept. “It’s almost done; I should be […]
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