Zack Snyder Fully Intends to Direct Xerxes, Reveals Plot Details
For the past six months we've had intermittent updates on Frank Miller's prequel to his epic graphic novel 300. Titled Xerxes, the story focuses on The Battle of Marathon in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece which was fought between the citizens of Athens and a Persian force commanded by both Datis & Artaphernes. We also heard that Zack Snyder was optimistically waiting for Miller to finish the novel and already presuming to direct the project. Now Hero Complex is reporting that Snyder has definitely declared intent to direct the film which is currently being written, however the studio hasn't made an official deal yet.
Snyder says: "We closed the writing deal on Xerxes. We started writing about a week ago. It's really going to depend on what the studio wants to do and what we do when we finish; I don't have a directing deal in place but we are writing it, so call it intent. If there was a crime they could probably convict me." We got a first look at the art for Xerxes earlier this year, and it's a lot more of the same (which is not bad). Surely Snyder bringing his stylized visuals and slow motion action back to this will be highly anticipated after the success of 300, the breakthrough film in his career which made the Watchmen movie possible (for better or worse).
Interestingly enough, though Xerxes is typically referred to as a prequel to 300 (even by us), apparently it's not exactly fitting of that classification. Snyder explains:
"This movie follows Themistocles and the Battle of Artemisium, which coincidentally happens on the exact same three days as the Battle of Thermopylae [which was the basis of 300]. This one starts off with a quick retelling of the why of the Persian wars. It starts off at the Battle of Marathon and then it goes back to Themistocles finding out that Persians are invading again. and off we go over to learn a little bit about why Xerxes is the way he is."
Though fans will surely be looking forward to Snyder's return to the epic battlefield, don't expect a simple re-hashing of all the action and intensity that made 300 a flick for the man's man. Snyder continues and elaborates on the differences between 300 and Xerxes:
"What I said to the studio is that 300 gave everyone a chance to fight alongside a super warrior, a chance to fight alongside these Spartan warriors that you could never fight against; but Themistocles is different, he is us. It's much more about the everyman. Themistocles is kind of the father of democracy. It's much more about these guys choosing. The Spartans are, 'We fight, we die,' so that's an easy choice for them, there's no surrender. The cool thing about Themistocles and his gang is that it's way more difficult. Things aren't as clear or unchallenged. He has to be more political to get everyone to agree. It's political, in the soap-opera sense of the word. There's a relationship with Leonidas and well, we'll see where it all goes."
So it sounds like there's a chance Gerard Butler could even return for a cameo, but Snyder says he hasn't contacted him about the flick yet. Either way, Xerxes sounds like it will have much of what everyone loved about 300, with a bit of a twist that makes the characters a little less hyperbolic in their heroic battles. We'll be looking forward to more details and an official announcement of a directing deal from Snyder (if he does decide to direct) and production commencement sometime down the road, so stay tuned. For now, I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about the graphic novel and its debut before we hear any more about the movie.