300: Battle of Artemisia edged closer to production in July when Noam Murro, director of 2008 rom-com Smart People and the recent Halo video game campaign, was hired by Warner Bros. to direct.
The next stage (presumably) will be to get a cast together, and producer Bernie Goldmann revealed that we may see some familiar faces return. They’re in the script, anyway.
“It’s a different story,” he said. “[However] there’s a small part for Lena [Headey]. There’s a small part for Gerry [Butler].”
Would Gerard be willing to endure the famous ‘300 workout’ again just for a small part? I suppose that will depend on his availability (or how much they pay him), but seeing King Leonidas and Queen Gorgo again would be cool.
Goldmann didn’t say anything about who would be joining the film, but said he prefers casting unknowns.
When you make a period movie like that, it’s great not to know the actors,” Goldmann explained. “For me, as an audience, it always brings me into the movie more. You can’t see Tom Cruise in a historical movie. You go, ‘That’s Tom Cruise!’”
As for snagging actors like Butler and Headey for the original, Goldmann recalled, “That was everybody not believing that the movie would be successful that allowed us to cast those actors.” He added, “We went and tried to get all these stars in it and nobody believed in the movie, we didn’t have all the money to pay anybody so we had to cast all these unknowns.”
While unknowns at the time, Gerard Butler, Lena Headey and Michael Fassbender have all gone on to great things post-300 (if you ignore Butler’s rom-coms). The success of 300 will probably attract some names for the prequel, but I wouldn’t have a problem if they cast a bunch of unknowns again.
300: Battle of Artemisia is based on Frank Miller’s upcoming graphic novel that takes Xerxes, the Persian leader who is an antagonist in 300, and turns him into more of a pivotal figure. He’s a man in search of godhood after the death of his father, battling an Athenian warlord named Themistocles. The story takes place over the course of several years, but the focal point is the battle of Artemisium, which occured in 480 BC.