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An Interview with Zack Snyder, Director of 300

If you aren't excited about the upcoming film 300, then you may want to check your pulse, because you may no longer be among the living. If you haven't heard of 300, then get out from underneath your rock, check out the trailer, see the stills, and bask in the glory of El Bicho's rave review. Now that you are prepared, we can talk some serious 300 game.

The film is based on Frank Miller's graphic novel 300, which tells the tale of 300 Spartans and their battle against a million Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C, a turning point in the early days of democracy. It stars Gerard Butler (Phantom of the Opera, Beowulf & Grendel) and is directed by Zack Snyder, who remade George Romero's Dawn of the Dead in 2004. In preperation for the film's release on March 9, I had a chance to sit down and talk with the man at the helm, director Zack Snyder, and chat about 300, how it stacks up to Sin City, and some upcoming projects that have fanboys (and fangirls) everywhere double clicking their proverbial mice:

How you feel about the film, now that it is done and ready to be released? Did it come out the way you intended?

Um… I think it did. I Actually I am very pleased with what I got. You know, I went on a long journey and when you leave you anticipate the ending. And it was only, I think, now that we’ve reached the ending that I look back and I go gosh, you know we did it. We kept our eye on the prize. And that is pretty, pretty monumental in some ways. I don’t know if I expected it to, to be honest.

You have talked about the fact that you made a movie that you’d like to see. And a lot of movies in this genre, such as Troy or Alexander seemed to be these big studio-driven flicks. How did you get Warner Brothers to sign off on you making your movie?

Ah, you know what? I don’t know what I did. But for some reason they had some confidence in me that I, uh… that I was very excited about… that they said they trusted me to make them a cool movie. And maybe it was that trust in me that made me work extra hard. They’ve been nothing but great.

One of the things that sticks out about the film is that it is almost all digital – almost completely shot in front of a bluescreen. At what point did you say “We have to do this with blue screen” instead of shooting on location?

 You know what, it happened I think early on because I knew that there was no way we could make those Frank [Miller] Frames outside. It was just going to be impossible to try and find those times of day that looked like that or that landscape that looked like that. It just didn’t exist in the real world. And so, that was really an early decision to say, “You know we’ve gotta make this this world that doesn’t exist except for in Frank’s head. So we’ve gotta go make it, we can’t find it.”

So would you say that was your goal for the film? To make Frank’s vision kind of come alive?

Yeah. Absolutely. In fact, I wanted to make Frank’s vision come alive and I feel like when I watch it that I get that. You know, after Frank saw the movie he said, “You know, it’s the movie I wanted to see when I was young. When I saw my original 300 Spartans, this is the movie I wanted to see.” So that’s cool. It made me feel good.

And the film does certainly seem to be an extension of the Frank’s novel, but what is different about the film than the graphic novel itself?

About Neil Miller

  • http://www.kaonashigasuki.com/ Kaonashi

    This film looks all sorts of bad ass. It’s also the most beautiful film I’ve ever seen (at least, looking at the trailers). I can’t wait for March 9!

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    good interview; thanks for the mention.

  • Concrete Block 15

    DOUG HUTCHISON *IS* RORSCHACH!

    People must be told. Never compromise.

  • Mike

    The film got a Standing Ovation at the sold out World Premiere at the Berlin Film Fest. 1700 seat house with lots of cheers and applause during the film. Cool, huh?

  • Camran

    Xerxes- Persian Xashayar Shah- was one of the greatest Shah of Iran-where Greeks would translate Persia. He was Shah (king) of many countries include Egypt and Babylon and today’s Turkey. In Ezra you can read more about him. He had a Jew wife; Esther. Later he was killed by his prime minster (Vazir). I don’t think his defeat means that he was a savage person. Rodrigo who carries Egyptian jewellery on himself has not any similarity with Xashayar (Xerxes)even; the kings of Iran would never stand naked!! Check his picture

    In the last 1400 years Iran suffered religious pressure from outside and then inside! Now by forging history in the shape of Alexander or 300 you’re just adding to our bad fortune. We know our history Mr. Snyder and had been long the only competitors in science and technology with Greeks and later Romans.I would kindly suggest you to look at history and do not prejudice and do not put your political hate into your work. You better leave the historical feeling of Greeks and Persians for themselves.
    Regards, Camran

  • Jim Patterson

    300 was probabely the greatest distortion of the known history. I had no idea that in our day and age where people can read about the historical facts easily from their computers someone would even attempt to make a movie like this. He could at least be a little bit more realistic. Originality and reality aside, i guess the movie was a good entertainment for teenagers.

  • Rizvi

    Great Movie with an Evil motive.
    It’s all about the number… the entire Europe & America is sensitive towards the 6 million numbers and the Holocaust. No-one is allowed to disagree with it but the same sensitive civilization has given full freedom to Zack Snyder to distort the history to suite his plot.
    Rambo was prelude to the attack on Afghanistan… 300 is the plot to justify the future attack on Iran.

  • Rizvi

    Great Movie with an Evil motive.
    It’s all about the number… the entire Europe & America is sensitive towards the 6 million numbers and the Holocaust. No-one is allowed to disagree with it but the same sensitive civilization has given full freedom to Zack Snyder to distort the history to suite his plot.
    Rambo was prelude to the attack on Afghanistan… 300 is the plot to justify the future attack on Iran.

  • Sepideh

    Well..By the look of it, sorry but it is complete rubish..
    Thanx for all the effor to make this movie..but why didn’t u put this effort to make movie which contains reality rather than a bunch of rubbish…
    Persians have had slaves from greece to build their cities …So how can they loss to 300!!!….

    OPEN YOUR EYES AND LOOK AT THE REALITY!!!

  • Cedsnyder

    Dear Foreign Friends, This is a movie to be enjoyed & obviously a lot of people did!!!!…$700M gross on a $63M operating budget..Get it?…I honestly believe you would have invested in it if you knew the Financial outcome!!!! There was nothing immoral or subversive in this movie at all!! No one came out hating the Persians or the Spartans!..It was just an enjoyable,excellent film…..Best, Ed