300 Prequel Xerxes Gets New Title; Two Possible Directors Could Helm
06.29.11 by Ryan
For a while, it looked like director Zack Snyder was going to follow-up this year's Sucker Punch with Xerxes, a spinoff of Snyder's 2007 hit, 300. Like 300, Xerxes is based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller. Last July, Snyder said that he and co-screenwriter Kurt Johnstad were busy writing the script, using Miller's comic book frames for reference. The script was finished earlier this year.
Yet, when Snyder was hired to direct Warner Bros.' Superman reboot, Man of Steel, producer Mark Canton was left to contrarily state in April that Snyder was "very much at the helm" of Xerxes and that he might be too "busy" to direct it as well. We know, it was confusing to us too. It's all cleared up now that the movie has a new title and two new possible directors.
Deadline reports the movie is now named 300: Battle of Artemisia and that Snyder will not direct. The replacement choice is reportedly between Noam Murro and Jaume Collet-Serra. Murro is a former commercials director who made his directorial debut with the 2008 dramedy Smart People, which landed him the director's job on the fifth Die Hard movie last year. Collet-Serra directed the thriller Unknown, which took the top spot at the box office when it opened in February.
Snyder is still involved with the project, serving as a producer and, according to the Deadline report, very active in the director selection process. The script follows the Persian leader Xerxes (played in 300 by Rodrigo Santoro) and his transformation into a god-like leader. Snyder revealed last year that the movie will follow Greek hero Themistocles and the Battle of Artemisium, which coincides with the Battle of Thermopylae, the epic battle depicted in 300. That means Gerard Butler could return as Leonidas, though that, as well as a return by Santoro as Xerxes, has yet to be confirmed.
The report claims that 300: Battle of Artemisia will be shot in the same visual style as 300, which means that an overdose of abdominal muscles is on the way.