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 […]
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 […]
June 01, 2010 | 1:02 p.m.

Frank Miller returns to the ‘300’ battlefield with ‘Xerxes’: ‘I make no apologies whatsoever’

EXCLUSIVE This is a longer version of my Calendar cover story on Wednesday in the Los Angeles Times. Frank Miller and the filmmakers behind “300“ are looking for a return to the battlefields of antiquity — and, no doubt, to the arenas of pop-culture controversy. Three years ago, the sword-and-sandal adventure “300” became a surprise sensation with moviegoers — it set box-office records for a March release and became the highest-grossing R-rated film of 2007 — and delivered career breakthroughs for actor Gerard Butler and director Zack Snyder. But the movie, which was based on the comic books written and drawn by Miller, also triggered an unlikely international incident with its portrayal of the Persian leader Xerxes the bloody Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bitterly denounced the film and the Iranian Academy of the Arts filed a formal complaint through the United Nations […]
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