300 Sequel – Small Roles For Butler & Headey12.09.11 # Sequel # No Comment
Man, for all its many, much-publicised outbursts of largesse, Hollywood is still pretty darn cheap. Exhibit A: the producers of Battle of Artemisia, the follow-up to action blockbuster 300, are looking for unknowns to star in the new film, with the old guard of Gerard Butler and Lena Headey only likely to return for cameos at most.
Producer Bernie Goldmann, who is helping to oversee 300: Battle of Artemisia, just as he did its predecessor, has been talking a little bit about the approach to casting likely to be taken on the project, with him strongly suggesting that A-listers need not hang on for a call from him or any of his collaborators.
“When you make a period movie like [Battle of Artemisia], it’s great not to know the actors. For me, as an audience, it always brings me into the movie more. You can’t see Tom Cruise in a historical movie.”
Oh really, Bernie? Never heard of the cinematic gem that is Far and Away? One for the rental list. Anyway, here’s what Goldmann had to say about casting relatively little-known actors in the Zack Snyder-directed first film:
“We went and tried to get all these stars in it and nobody believed in the movie. We didn’t have the money to pay anybody so we had to cast all these unkowns.”
300 was a huge financial success for backers Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, and it also gave career boosts to its ensemble cast. And while Goldmann suggests that two members of that ensemble, Gerard Butler and Lena Headey, could have roles to play in Battle of Artemisia, they will not be headlining this time around.
“[The new movie] is a different story [to 300]. However there’s a small part for Lena. There’s a small part for Gerry.”
The return of Gerard Butler as Spartan leader Leonidas is facilitated by the fact that Battle of Artemisia is a prequel story, based on the new Xerxes comic book by Frank Miller, creator of the 300 source strip. Xerxes is the name of the Persian regent who features in the first film, and it was also the title the big screen follow-up was going under back when Snyder was slated to direct it. He, however, soon enough departed for new Superman movie, Man of Steel (also for the Warners/Legendary axis of power), thereby sparking a game of blockbuster musical chairs.
Noam Murro and Jaume Collet-Serra were both linked to Battle of Artemisia, before the latter signed on to helm the live-action Akira movie, leaving the path clear for the former. That meant that Murro was suddenly out of the running to call the shots on Die Hard 5, a gig which duly went to John Moore. Now hopefully all those aforementioned movies will come out on the same sunny day sometime in 2013 or so, and the cycle will be complete, the universe will implode, and we can all go and get an ice-cream or something.