Tarsem's 'Immortals' Unleashed at WonderCon with a Badass Trailer
by Alex Billington
April 3, 2011
"My mark will be left on this world forever." One presentation I was anxiously awaiting at WonderCon was Tarsem Singh's new film Immortals. Despite shooting early last year up Montreal, we haven't seen a single frame of footage yet, only a few photos. The producers, director, and most of the stars of the movie, including our new Superman - Henry Cavill, who plays Theseus - showed up to premiere the trailer and holy sh*t does it look badass. I will definitely say Immortals has now shot to nearly the top of my most anticipated of 2011, because it looks like 300 meets Clash of the Titans, but with Tarsem's stunning visuals.
It's hard to describe all of the footage and I'm sure the trailer we saw will be out very soon, but it looked like a visually astounding and completely badass new take on Greek mythology. There were epic battles that, using CGI, looked to have the scope and scale of Return of the King's Minas Tirith battle, with thousands upon thousands of troops lined up outside of a massive mountain fortress. Mickey Rourke, who plays the main villain King Hyperion (Cavill described him as a "scary dude"), looks insanely brutal and intimidating, wearing a helmet with sharp metal spikes that encircled his entire head. There were tons of stylized slow-mo fight scenes and Luke Evans playing Zeus swinging a whip made entirely of fire. It. Looks. AWESOME!
Okay, maybe I'm being a bit sensational, but that's because this was everything that I love seeing in epic "sword and sandal" movies and more. There were some great battle scenes and slow motion shots of gods and mortals flying through the air while fighting. It looks like Tarsem took the fighting style of 300 and applied his own "DNA" to it (as he stated many times during the Q&A) and mashed it up with Greek mythology. At one point, Theseus starts shooting arrows from a bow and white, transparent arrows appear instantly, almost evoking a Legend of Zelda-like feeling. It reminded me of scenes from Lord of the Rings where Legolas is firing his arrows, but if he had a magical bow from the gods that fired unlimited magical ammunition. The camera follows the arrows all the way across a huge cliff right to their targets.
Tarsem explained that his very original concept for Immortals was essentially Caravaggio meets Fight Club. "I laid down the rules of physics that would be more like Fight Club or Old Boy," he said. But, "if it does look like that, [I've failed]," Singh explained. Everything evolves and changes while shooting it, he says, and he wants it to be his own unique creation in the end. His overall inspiration was: "How can I put my DNA on a [genre] that right now is on the pulse of pop culture."
Of course the gods themselves are much more powerful and while they can't fly, they can't leap thousands of feet without so much as flinching (we didn't really see that in the trailer). Evans explained that he still added depth to his character of Zeus, mentioning that he played "a god that has flaws, insecurities, he loves and cares… somebody that has a lot of other layers." Even Henry Cavill, which every girl in attendance was pining over, said his character (photo above) isn't just a rugged mortal hero, he has layers, too. "The tricky thing was giving the softer side to Theseus. In every man there is a softer side, it's just how it manifests."
"If there is one human who could lead them against Hyperion, it would be Theseus…"
"The Gods chose well."
Immortals is, indeed, being presented in 3D but is being post-converted and not shot in 3D. At one point, Tarsem was asked about this and his thoughts on 3D. "It's a tool," he said. He doesn't want to poke anyone's eye out with it, and "if I did, I would probably make Piranha 3DD." Ouch… but on that statement alone my respect for Tarsem tripled. He knows that handy cam and "shaky cam" cinematography isn't meant for 3D, but what he shoots naturally works great with 3D anyway. "I embraced it and loved it." Producer Mark Canton added that because the movie is going to be "quite a ride, a real popcorn badass movie, it's going to be a lot of fun in 3D." But, he added, the "collector's version" of this will definitely be in 2D. Erm - okay?
For something that I had no expectations for a mere 24 hours ago, I'm blown away by how excited I now am for Immortals. Yes, I'm admittedly easily excitable, but I loved the teaser trailer, I loved the presentation and panel, and Tarsem Singh seems like an incredibly cool, down to earth guy as well. Everything about the Immortals panel totally won me over. Tarsem says this may be his most "highly accessible" movie, but it still has "enough of [his] DNA" and more than anything I can't wait to see all the beautiful visuals he's come up with for an epic mythological story like this. I'll definitely let you know when the Immortals trailer hits!
Reader Feedback - 29 Comments
Whens the trailer going to be released?
Dave on Apr 3, 2011
When will we be able to see the trailer?
Andy on Apr 3, 2011
Tarsem Singh's visuals and style never disappoints. And you kept comparing it to all my favorite movies...I am really excited now! Can't wait for a trailer/ the movie!
Ron on Apr 3, 2011
I want to see this so bad. 😀 You gave me hope with your descriptions.
Jordie on Apr 3, 2011
It was converted to 3D.
Neo-3 on Apr 3, 2011
Wonderful news! It was to be expected though. The comparisons to "300" and "Clash of the Titans" never fail to annoy on account that they are mentioned here because all films happen to be in the same genre and consequently share some formal characteristics. I find such comparisons reductive and in some cases off-putting (if I didn't respect Tarsem the comparison with "300" would reduce my interest in "Immortals" considerably). If Tarsem is inspired by anyone it's some more obscure artists that he mentions in interviews and quotes visually from time to time (Jodorovsky, Paradjanov come to mind). If you look at the director's on-set diary his approach to divine brawls will be less in slo-mo vein and more in a messy-fast-improvised style. Luckily he's no Zack Snyder. I have a feeling he'll give us an insane visual poem that will stand proudly alongside this year's feasts of cinematic splendor: "The Tree of Life" and "Tin Tin". Roll on the trailer! P.S. I believe Tarsem should have been given the directing gig on "LOTR" films.
Marty on Apr 3, 2011
Late2theparty on Apr 3, 2011
some1 get this guy a piece of bread or somethin, looks like he hasn't eaten in weeks
Mideon on Apr 3, 2011
Apparently you don't know what toned and muscular means lol
Neoslyfer on Apr 3, 2011
So skinny You can see a mans ribs?
Iremyrasta on Apr 4, 2011
Lol. Not ribs. You mean so fit that he has muscles showing that you clearly do not. google: obliques. http://www.musclein.com/images/obliques.jpg
cofo on Apr 5, 2011
Geoffrey Shauger on Apr 3, 2011
He mention that he was inpsired by Old Boy. That, in itself, is enough for me to go watch this movie.
Guest on Apr 3, 2011
Will this PG-13? Please, Gods, make it R.
Eronius on Apr 3, 2011
i saw the film a couple weeks ago. -it's going to converted to 3D, and absolutely shouldn't -it's a HARD R. seriously, the violence is pretty outrageous. like, notches up from 300 -the script is weak -the visuals were mostly unfinished, but some were there and you tell the design of them. so it's a complete visual feast, with some great action and some remarkable visuals -this is pure Tarsem. it won't be anyone's favorite of the year, but it looks phenomenal
lane on Apr 3, 2011
how did you get to see the movie before we even see the trailer?
Quynh Truong on Apr 4, 2011
test screenings. they do it for every movie. no trailer yet because not a single fx shot was completely done. i can guarantee one thing: the images they cut for the trailer will have people here going INSANE
lane on Apr 5, 2011
what can you tell us about the story? and why do you say the script is weak? dialogue or plot?
Gunslinger818 on Apr 24, 2011
Holy shit, havent heard of this until now....fuckin love me some greek mythology omg cant wait for the trailer.
Cody W. on Apr 3, 2011
The Fall is pretty much the most visually beautiful movie ever made so if nothing else, I'm sure this will look amazing.
Jake on Apr 3, 2011
I've been waiting forever for a trailer, I was starting to think the movie was a figment of my imagination.
Nicolefair1222 on Apr 3, 2011
Are there greek creatures and monsters in this movie?
jah p on Apr 4, 2011
"He knows that handy cam and "shaky cam" cinematography isn't meant for 3D, but what he shoots naturally works great with 3D anyway" The film sounds interesting but the talk of shaky cam unnerves me. I know Alex likes to think that any director or DoP that shakes the camera around so you can't see what's going on is "directing the sh1t out of it" but I just find the technique intrusive and pretensious.
Payne by name on Apr 4, 2011
Looking forward to a trailer for this (that doesn't show the entire movie in 2 mins). "Epic" battles featuring thousands of CG warriors don't impress these days... a tight script and interesting characters are what's needed so we care about what happens during the action. Henry Cavill will make a good Superman, too.
trollface on Apr 4, 2011
The trailer for Clash of the Titans looked pretty epic. Hope this doesnt follow the same path....
Vvcengineering on Apr 5, 2011
Wahooo!! This is awesome news indeed. I've been waiting for this movie for nearly two years and also been championing for Henry for a while. I do hope that the movie will be as good or even better than the trailer, as someone already said, 'Clash of the Titans' had an amazing trailer too, but look how it turned out. I'm hopeful for Tarsem though, The Fall was quite a visual feast!
rtm on Apr 5, 2011
Sorry, no commenting is allowed at this time.