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!