Saturday, December 31, 2005

Blog Number 110 - Tyler Bates, Composer & lyricist for Frank Miller's '300'

I received a nice e-mail from Tyler Bates who is the composer for Frank Miller's '300' and he said that it was his 'intention to transform a couple of the score cues into lyric driven songs, for the end credits'.

As far as I'm concerned, the music which accompanies a movie is a vital part and important to the visual element. To illustrate this, if your TV or entertainment system has the capability, try close-captioning with the volume turned off. You will be able to now read the dialogue without any sound and then when you turn it back on you will notice how much the music impacted the scene. It is a very powerful medium which does much to enhance the storyline and which I hope to hear more of Tyler Bates score before '300' is released.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Blog Number 109 - Composer Tyler Bates' 'The Stand' in Frank Miller's '300'

Tyler Bates, the composer of the score for Frank Miller's '300' has introduced a snippet of music on his website which will be used in the movie entitled 'The Stand'.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Blog Number 108 - History of Ice Storm Studios in Frank Miller's '300'

In January 2002, the Toronto-based Moliflex-White Group purchased the Ice Storm Studios located in the former Angus shipyards in north-central Montreal. These facilities had been used for various shoots, including 'The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne'.

In late 2003, Ice Storm Studios had been placed under bankruptcy protection with the deal brokered by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which acted as the court-appointed receiver. Mel's Cite du Cinema then acquired Ice Storm Studios with Pricewaterhouse Coopers acting as the intermediary in the sale.

All of this brings us to the current location of the shooting of '300'. It's off the beaten path, however, they are filming it at Ice Storm!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Blog Number 107 - Spartans in Frank Miller's '300'

There was never any doubt in my mind that the Persian army would be duplicated via computer generated imagery since it would have been impracticable to hire so many extras. It is apparent from the Zack Snyder Video Journal that not only will the Persian army be duplicated en masse with the use of CGI, the 300 Spartans will also.

From what I have seen of the journal there appear to be about 20+ Spartans in the sequences, therefore, those numbers will have to be increased exponentially.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Blog Number 106 - Molon Labe in '300'

Here's a plaque of the immortal words spoken by King Leonidas at Thermopylae which I mentioned in Blog Number 29. In Zack Snyder's Video Journal, Gerry Butler who plays Leonidas is seen giving a speech to his warriors before the battle. Unfortunately, we don't hear this phrase in the clip presented, therefore, we'll have to wait for the movie to be released.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Blog Number 105 - 'R' rating for Frank Miller's '300'?

I had a chance to pore through the images on Zack Snyder's 'Production Blog' and am pretty convinced that this movie will be 'R' rated. A 'PG' rating would make it more accessible to a larger audience, however, after viewing the image of a sword through the mid-section of a mannequin, this reinforces my belief that Frank Miller's '300' won't be a movie for the younger crowd.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Blog Number 104 - Video Journal from Frank Miller's '300'

Here's a link to the Video Journal which is narrated by Zack Snyder, the director of Frank Miller's '300'. Very interesting!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Blog Number 103 - Concept art from Frank Miller's '300'

Here are one of the images from the Concept Art section from the '300' movie website. As can be seen, the pass of Thermopylae will be depicted as a narrow passage between two mountains.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Blog Number 102 - Aussie David Wenham as Dilios will survive the Battle of Thermopylae in '300'

After seeing the images from Zack Snyder's production blog, it seems as if the look of the '300' will mirror the illustrations from Frank Miller comics. The question which still remains is, will the storyline follow the book's narrative?

For example, in chapter one of the '300' comics, the character Dilios is shown telling his tale of King Leonidas' youth to the Spartan warriors who sit gathered around the campfire before the battle at Thermopylae.

In chapter five, at the battlefield of Plataea, Dilios who is wearing an eyepatch this time, sits around a campfire with a newly assembled group of Spartiates. It is at this gathering that he tells his the story of their fellow countrymen who valiantly died at Thermopylae.

Therefore, we can assume that since Dilios is shown in the last chapter, he has survived the wounds that were inflicted upon him by the Persians at Thermopylae.

I for one feel that with a little tweak here and there, the story will capture the essence of Frank Miller's '300'. The question is, will this revisionism deter those who want to see a more historically accurate retelling of the battle?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Blog Number 101 - '300' Production blog

Finally, a website from Warner Bros! One of the features is a production blog written by Zack Snyder, the director of '300'. According to the website there will be more updates to follow, however, for the time being feast your eyes on the 'Concept Art'.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Blog Number 100 - Location of Frank Miller's '300' filming revealed

As I mentioned before, I've been fortunate to have several readers of my web log who have provided me with some real nuggets of information. Therefore, what better way is there than to celebrate the milestone of my 100th blog by announcing the location of the filming of Frank Miller's '300'. Can I have a drum roll, please???

The location is: Icestorm Digital Studio Inc. in
Montreal, Quebec.
Much, much more to follow!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Blog Number 99 - The top 10 items that a Frank Miller '300' enthusiast should own

Tomorrow will be my 100th blog and what better way to celebrate than to announce the exact location of the filming of Frank Miller's '300' in Montreal, Canada.

Here is a list (subjective, of course) of what every '300' fan should own! Get your pocketbooks ready, since some of these items are rare, rare, rare and even more expensive, expensive, expensive!!!

1) Frank Miller '300' signed limited edition lithograph
2) Frank Miller '300' promo poster
3) '300' lapel pin
4) '300' bookmark
5) '300' promo card
6) '300' hardcover - English
7) '300' hardcover - Greek
8) '300' hardcover - Spanish
9) '300' hardcover - Italian
10) '300' softcover - comics

Monday, December 19, 2005

Blog Number 98 - Map of the Persian invasion of Greece

Here is a map which shows the route of Xerxes' army which is highlighted in red. It was quite an accomplishment amassing such a large group of warriors along with logistics of food, water, etc. which are even more mind-boggling.

To view an enlarged version of the map, please click the image.

Thanks Sadieanne!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Blog Number 97 - The death of King Leonidas in Frank Miller's '300'

In Blog Number 78, I included an illustration by Peter Connolly of the last day of fighting at Thermopylae. This image shows the remaining Greek warriors who stood in the widest part of the pass which would allow them to inflict the greatest amount of casualties.

In the first two days, the Greek army was constricted by the width of the pass, however, in a wider part of the battlefield which they occupied on the last day, they were able to spread their lines so that they could face more of the enemy at a given time. King Leonidas knew that it would only be a short period of before they would be surrounded.

It was during this part of the battle that the Spartan king died. Two of Xerxes' brothers died along with many other Persians who tried in vain several times to seize the body of Leonidas before the remaining Spartans were finally able to deny them.

One of the most memorable scenes in 'The 300 Spartans' is when the Persian envoy asks for the body of Leonidas in return for their lives. The Spartan Pentheus replies, 'We stay with our king' and it was then that the remaining Greeks were killed by the arrows 'which blot out the sun'.

The death of King Leonidas will be the most powerful part of the '300' and I wonder if Gerard Butler will say his final words as written by Frank Miller; 'My queen. My wife. My love. Be strong. Good-bye.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Blog Number 96 - Dominic West cast as Theron in Frank Miller's '300'

Dominic West has been cast as Theron in Frank Miller's '300' which is another interesting part since there wasn't any such character in the comics. Now the question to be answered: Is Theron a Spartan or is he a leader of one of the other Greek cities that fought with the Spartans at Thermopylae?

For my 100th blog, I hope to divulge the exact location of the filming of '300' in Montreal!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Blog Number 95 - Aussie David Wenham cast as Dilios in Frank Miller's '300'

It has been confirmed that David Wenham from 'the land down under' has been cast as the storyteller Dilios in Frank Miller's '300'.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Blog Number 94 - Montaigne's essay about King Leonidas and the '300' Spartans

Michel de Montaigne, the French Renaissance thinker wrote one of the most eloquent essays about King Leonidas and the Battle of Thermopylae.

Here is the translation by Donald M. Frame:

The most valiant are sometimes the most unfortunate. Thus there are triumphant defeats that rival victories. Nor did those four sister victories, the fairest that the sun ever set eyes on - Salamis, Plataea, Mycale, and Sicily - ever dare match all their combined glory against the glory of the annihilation of King Leonidas and his men at the pass of Thermopylae.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Blog Number 93 - The 1962 & 2006 King Leonidas of the '300' Spartans

Here are images of King Leonidas as portrayed by Richard Egan in 1962's 'The 300 Spartans' and a photo of Gerard Butler who will be the new King Leonidas in Frank Miller's '300' which is tentatively scheduled to premier in 2006.

Thanks to Tamara & for the photo of Gerry Butler!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Blog Number 92 - Bust of King Leonidas of the '300' Spartans

Of all the different statues that I have collected of King Leonidas, this one would have to be one of my favorites. It is also one of the rarest as it was acquired in Greece several years ago.

I believe this is how Gerry Butler will look with this Corinthian type helmet and breastplate. Even though Frank Miller had illustrated the Spartans without much armor, if '300' is to retain some credibility with the audience, protective devices such as the cuirass (breastplate) will have to be worn by the Greek warriors.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Blog Number 91 - Epitaph for the '300' Spartans

Here is a plaque of the translated epitaph for the fallen 300 Spartiates of Thermopylae. The image is based on the fallen Greek warrior statue in Blog Number 90.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Blog Number 90 - Dying Greek warrior

Whenever I see this sculpture of the dying Greek warrior, I always think of the fallen heroes of Thermopylae. This image is of the warrior from the East pediment of the temple of Aphaia at Aegina from the beginning of the 5th Century B.C.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Blog Number 89 - Herodotus - The first author of '300'

Here's an image of a nice set of books of Herodotus' 'Histories' which are around 50 years old. While Frank Miller's '300' is an entertaining account of the Battle of Thermopylae, I feel that one must read Book 7 of Herodotus' work since his is the original account of the battle.

By reading this version by the 'Father of History', one can develop a more accurate understanding of the reasons for the battle and its aftermath.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Blog Number 88 - Another statue of King Leonidas of the '300' Spartans

Here's another statue of King Leonidas that I have collected over the years and what I have found most interesting is that all the statues show this most famous of Spartan warriors without his armor.

Is this why Frank Miller has portrayed the Spartans without armor in the '300' comics???

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Blog Number 87 - Statue of King Leonidas of the '300' Spartans

Here's an image of one of the statues of King Leonidas of Sparta that I have collected over the years. This one was purchased in Greece and is one of my favorites.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Blog Number 86 - Frank Miller '300' signed limited edition lithograph

Here is the 'creme de la creme' of my Frank Miller '300' collection; the Dark Horse limited edition lithograph of King Leonidas of Sparta signed by both the author Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, who colored the illustrations. This is a true rarity since only 300 were individually signed and numbered by Miller and Varley.

It measures 30 inches horizontally, by 23 inches vertically and since Miller & Varley don't sell their original artwork, this lithograph has become a prized collectible. The way I look at is, if the '300' movie is a smash, which I believe it will be, these lithographs will appreciate even more in value.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Blog Number 85 - King Leonidas' personal bodyguard, the '300' Spartans

When King Leonidas and his personal bodyguard marched to Thermopylae in 480 B.C., he would have 'under normal circumstances' been accompanied by the Hippeis. However, since these 300 Spartans had to have a male heir, the royal bodyguard of King Leonidas that fought and died at Thermopylae must have consisted of a combination of Hippeis and other Spartan hoplites since not all the Hippeis had produced a male heir.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Blog Number 84 - Hippeis - The '300' finest of Sparta

Since all Spartan males served in the military, there was no higher honor than to be a part of the elite unit known as the Hippeis, which was the King of Sparta's personal bodyguard. This unit was comprised of the 300 best Spartiati warriors who were held in the highest esteem, which probably would be the equivalent today to the SAS of Australia, the Delta Force of the USA, etc.

According to Plutarch, when the Spartan hoplite Paedaretus wasn't chosen as a member of the Hippeis, he left cheerfully remarking that he was glad that Sparta had 300 warriors better than himself.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Blog Number 83 - Australian reenactment group of the '300' Spartans

Here is a fantastic image of an Australian reenactment group from Melbourne, Victoria named 'The Ancient Hoplitikon of Melbourne'. This close-up photo shows what the Persian army will encounter in Frank Miller's '300'; an impenetrable phalanx of crimson-cloaked 300 Spartan warriors with their Corinthian helmets and 8 foot spears.

I have included several other images of the group headed by one of my fellow Greek-Australian mates Athanasios Porporis. I hope you like this image and the others on my other blog as it is very accurate as to the appearance of the Greek warriors that the Persians faced at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.

Since the Melbourne hoplites don't have a website, I will forwarding feedback to them from this blog and the King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans of Thermopylae blog.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Blog Number 82 - Advantages & disadvantages of the '300' Spartans' helmets

While this image is not of the Battle of Thermopylae, it does show the phalanx which is the formation that would have been used by King Leonidas and the 300 Spartiates in this battle. Of particular interest is the piper, who set the cadence for the intricate manuevers that were used by the Spartans.

The advantage of the Corinthian style helmet was that it completely enclosed the head, while the disadvantage was that it resulted in the hoplite's vision and hearing being restricted. Therefore, the piercing notes of the pipe were used to instruct the Spartans into the formation and the tactics that were to be employed.

Thanks to Miyuki & Sadieanne!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Blog Number 81 - The site of the final stand of the '300' Spartans & 700 Thespians

Here is an image from the Peter Connolly book, entitled 'Greece and Rome at War' which shows the site of the last stand of the Spartan and Thespian defenders.

After King Leonidas was killed, the remaining Greek defenders were able to extricate his body from the Persians after very heavy fighting. With the Spartan king's body in their possession, the remaining hoplites withdrew to this hillock where they were eventually overwhelmed by the Persian archers. This hillock was identified as the site of the last stand when hundreds of arrows were recovered during an archaeological expedition before World War II.

In Blog Number 77, the image which was included was that of the battlefield taken from the vantage point of the last stand. The site of the last stand which is pictured above was to the south of the fighting which took place in the previous two days.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Blog Number 80 - Creature Effects, Inc. to supply FX for '300'

I was able to confirm yesterday that Mark Rappaport's company, Creature Effects, Inc. will be creating the special effects for the Frank Miller, Battle of Thermopylae film '300'. After looking at the pages on the aforementioned website, especially the make-up page, I was amazed at how an actor can be transformed into his/her alter ego.

The metamorphosis of Andrew Tiernan into the character Ephialtes will be the most interesting, especially when you see how he appears in Blog Number 73.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Blog Number 79 - King Leonidas' Corinthian helmet in Frank Miller's '300'?

Here I go again, going out on a limb again because there is so little information coming out of the '300' camp. For example, as of this day we still don't know the roles that David Wenham and Dominic West will be playing and they were named to the cast months ago! Occasionally, someone involved in the movie in some capacity will anonymously leave a comment for which I am extremely grateful.

The only analogy I can use is, I've got the borders of the jigsaw puzzle completed, however, I'm missing the majority of the pieces and once in a while I'll find one here and there. To illustrate this point, several weeks ago, a source let me know that the Spartans wouldn't have crests on their helmets as illustrated in the Frank Miller comics. He hadn't seen Gerry Butler in his helmet, therefore, he couldn't let me know if there would be a crest on the helmet of King Leonidas.

I know, I know, what's the big deal, right? Well, one of the criticisms of 'The 300 Spartans' was why did Richard Egan and the cast of the Spartans that had speaking roles have different helmets than the rest of the extras that had non-speaking parts? The answer is: how were you going to identify the stars if they weren't easily recognizable? This brings us to '300' and why I believe that King Leonidas (Gerry Butler) and several of his subordinates will be wearing a helmet which is different than the rest of the cast.

Where is the Cobra when you need him???

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Blog Number 78 - An illustration of the final day of the '300' Spartans

This is a fantastic illustration from Peter Connolly's book 'Greece and Rome at War' which shows the start of battle on the final day of Thermopylae. When it became apparent to King Leonidas that the Greek forces would be surrounded, he led the remaining troops to the widest part of the pass so that he could inflict the greatest amount of casualties. It was during this part of the battle that he ended dying and for which both the Greeks and Persians fought bitterly to take possession of his body.

There will be many memorable scenes in this movie and I believe that the final day of Thermopylae will be one of Gerry Butler's shining moments in '300'.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Blog Number 77 - The present day Thermopylae of Frank Miller's '300'

Here is an image from Peter Connolly's book 'Greece and Rome at War' which shows how Thermopylae looks today and how it has changed dramatically. According to Herodotus, the ancient coastline would have been to the right of the modern road, which have made the pass about 50 feet wide.

For comparative purposes, I reference the painting by Stanley Meltzoff included in Blog Number 24 as the reason for being a proponent of CGI. If you look to the background of the Meltzoff image, it will illustrate how narrow the pass of Thermopylae was and how few men could actually traverse the pass at a given time. Therefore, Zack Snyder and the technicians involved will be able to recreate the battlefield so that it resembles the terrain as how it appeared in 480 B.C. which will be one of the benefits of computer-generated imagery.

Thanks Sadieanne!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Blog Number 76 - Pronunciation of Xerxes' name in Frank Miller's '300'

Since my last several blogs have been about Xerxes, the King of Persia, I thought it would be appropriate to list his name phonetically for those who haven't seen 'The 300 Spartans'. While the aforementioned movie had several different pronunciations of King Leonidas' name, Xerxes' name was pronounced consistently throughout.

Phonetically, the pronunciation is Zer-xees and as I mentioned in my last blogs, the Persian king will be portrayed by Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro.

Thanks, Lori

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Blog Number 75 - Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro as Xerxes in Frank Miller's '300'

Once Scottish actor Gerard Butler was announced as having been chosen to play King Leonidas in Frank Miller's '300', I wondered what actor would portray his nemesis, King Xerxes of Persia. I had read a Zack Snyder interview where he said that they had worked on a model of Ephialtes that conformed to the comic book version, which meant that if they stayed consistent, the appearance of the characters would conform to Frank Miller's illustrations.

Which brings us to the character of King Xerxes! One of the interesting names that I had seen being thrown around by the Frank Miller fans as to whom they wanted to play Xerxes was that of Laurence Fishburne who played Morpheus in the Matrix trilogy and who did resemble the Miller illustration. Another choice mentioned was that of Obed Fehr who played Ardeth Bey in 1999's 'The Mummy', however, in my opinion, he looked more like David Farrar's Xerxes in 'The 300 Spartans'.

Then out of nowhere came the announcement that Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro had been cast as Xerxes. If you had noticed the announcements so far, each of the actors had either an English/Scottish/Irish/Australian accent. However, for those who have reservations about Santoro, his accent in 'Love Actually' should dispel any qualms about whether or not he will be able speak like the rest of the cast.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Blog Number 74 - Xerxes in Frank Miller's '300'

The character in Frank Miller's '300' that I found the most intriguing next to Ephialtes was that of Xerxes, the king of Persia. It wasn't King Leonidas for the reason that Frank Miller's version of the King of Sparta encompassed all the virtues that I had seen in 'The 300 Spartans' and in all of the books that I had read. Specifically, it was the illustrations of Xerxes which made me take notice and while they weren't as startling as the appearance of Ephialtes, they differed greatly from the images of the Persian king that I had seen.

It was a combination of the shaved head, body piercings and the Nubian-like appearance which seemed so enthralling. Once again, I was perplexed as to why Frank Miller had taken a character so deeply ingrained in the psyche of those of us who had seen the movie 'The 300 Spartans' and radically altered his appearance.

The only theory that I could come up with was that since Xerxes led an army comprised of 46 nations spread over three continents, his appearance was a composite of the multicultural forces that he commanded.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Blog Number 73 - Ephialtes in Frank Miller's '300'

It was reported several weeks ago that the role of Ephialtes would be played by British actor Andrew Tiernan. Zack Snyder who is the director of '300' said in an interview last year that they had worked on a maquette that looked exactly like the character as illustrated by Frank Miller. Therefore, we can only assume that Ephialtes will appear as he does in this image and that Andrew Tiernan will have to endure hours sitting in a chair while they prep him for all the prosthetics and makeup.

Let's not forget the artists whose skills prepare the actor so that they appear according to the director's vision. Even the most subtle application of sweat, dirt, blood, etc. provides the realism which is needed. It is almost too easy to see the character as a 'finished product' and to forget the hundreds of hours that are spent getting the characters ready for how they will appear on camera.

I tip my hat off to the artists behind the scenes and hope that some of their magic is made available as extras on the DVD!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Blog Number 72 - An illustration of the '300' Spartans at Thermopylae

Here is an image of the Battle of Thermopylae by the renowned illustrator J. Steeple Davis. This illustration reflects the vantage point of the Persian army and while the landscape depicted is incorrect, it does provide that claustrophobic feeling that must have been prevalent amongst the warriors on both sides. The Pass of Thermopylae was chosen as the battlefield by Greece because according to Herodotus it was approximately 50 feet wide in 480 B.C., which would have reduced the effectiveness of the much larger enemy force.

With CGI, the landscape of the battlefied at Thermopylae can be duplicated so that it looks like it did 2,500 years ago which would be phenomenal!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Blog Number 71 - A different illustration of death of the Persian messengers in Frank Miller's '300'

Here is an image of a print illustrated by J. Steeple Davis which is similar to Frank Miller's version from Blog Number 70. While they are depicting the same event, it is difficult to say which one I prefer. Is it the b&w Davis illustration or the Frank Miller version which was colored by Lynn Varley and included in the previous blog?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Blog Number 70 - Death of the Persian messengers in Frank Miller's '300'

In Blog Number 55, Frank Miller talked about how even though he took some creative liberties when writing '300', part of it was based on fact. To illustrate this point, here is the image of the Persian ambassador being thrown into the well by King Leonidas. This was the response by the Spartan king in '300' when he was asked for earth and water which were symbols of submission.

According to Herodotus, heralds were not sent to Sparta and Athens by Xerxes as was the case a decade earlier. When Xerxes' father Darius had sent his emissaries to Sparta and Athens before the invasion of Marathon in 490 B.C. they had been thrown into a well by the Spartans and a pit by the Athenians.

I wonder if this is the derivation of 'Don't kill the messenger', probably not, though!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Blog Number 69 - Unconfirmed report on the filming location of Frank Miller's '300'

One of the nice features of Blogger is that it allows readers to leave comments which I always appreciate since it invariably provides me with an idea or two for my next blog. I've also received comments from others who have let me know before it was announced that Andrew Pleavin would be portraying Daxos (the leader of the Arkadians) and that the Spartans would be portrayed without crests on their helmets, etc.

Several weeks ago, I received an anonymous comment which an individual left on Blog Number 49 which stated that '300' would be filmed at Mel's Cité du Cinéma. It was extensively reported by the Canadian media and other outlets that Ben Stiller's 'Night at the Museum' was to be filmed in Montreal at Mel's, however, that never came to fruition because Stiller's filming location changed to Vancouver. This could also account for the initial reports which turned out to be erroneous that '300' was to be filmed in Vancouver, however, it was later learned that '300' began filming in Montreal. Could this have been a classic case of mistaken locations? '300' went from being filmed in Vancouver to Montreal and 'Night at the Museum' from Montreal to Vancouver. Very interesting!!!

A search revealed that Mel's is a sprawling complex of studios and facilities spread out over different locations. Therefore, in all probability, director Zack Snyder, Gerry Butler and all those involved in the filming of Frank Miller's '300' could still be in one of the Mel's locations. Of course the $64,000 question is 'Which one?'

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Blog Number 68 - The '300' Spartans and the 700 Thespians

The military precision and effectiveness of the Spartan phalanx combined with the tenacity of the Spartan warriors which had been instilled since their youth, made Sparta the preeminent warrior state in Ancient Greece. It was this reputation that preceded the 300 Spartans before they arrived at Thermopylae and which together with their heroic self-sacrifice in 480 B.C. became part of the Spartan legend.

In '300', Frank Miller mentions the Thespian warriors and other Greek hoplites that fought at Thermopylae and while the Thespian contribution to Thermopylae has not been totally overlooked, it has been easier to minimize because of the overwhelming Spartan superiority as described above.

What should be known is that the city of Thespiae sent the majority of her army which was comprised of 700 hoplites and who together with the remaining Spartans fought to the bitter end at Thermopylae. For this action, the city of Thespiae received the same fate as the city of Athens by being burned to the ground.

Therefore, my belief is that the Thespians should be held in the highest esteem as the Spartan fallen. After all, they were given an opportunity to leave, however, they distinguished themselves by remaining to fight and die with the remaining Spartan heroes.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Blog Number 67 - Another image of armor worn by the '300' Spartans

Here is another fantastic illustration from John Warry's book entitled 'Warfare in the Classical World'. This warrior has a transverse crest on his helmet which was believed to signify that the hoplite was either a king or an officer of the Spartiates.

When I read first '300', what struck me was that only King Leonidas' helmet had a crest and the other Spartans didn't. It was confirmed by COBRA that the Spartans in the cast will not have a crest on theirs! I'm still waiting for those photos mate (! Cheers!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Blog Number 66 - CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) in Frank Miller's '300'

I recently read that the budget for Frank Miller's '300' is $70 million instead of the $60 million which had been originally reported. Was Zack Snyder provided an additional $10 million to the budget, or does he still only have the $60 million that he had been allotted? Either way, since the stylized 'Sin City' was in the $40 million range, it boggles the mind to think what can be done with $60 million, let alone $70 million!

There can be no replacement for filming at the actual location of Thermopylae, however, this is unfeasible now because the landscape has changed so much in over 2,500 years. It would also be impracticable to feed and to provide uniforms to a thousand, let alone, hundreds of thousands of extras. The logistics and cost alone would rival those of the Persian army amassed by Xerxes in 480 B.C.

Therefore, I believe that CGI is the solution to the aforementioned dilemma. All the artists and technicians involved will be able to duplicate the landscape and the huge Persian army with no problem whatsoever!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Blog Number 65 - Filming dates for Frank Miller's '300'

According to the Montreal Film Resources, the filming dates for Frank Miller's '300' are from October 17, 2005 through January 25, 2006 and will be shot mainly in CGI.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Blog Number 64 - The Stax Report's review of Michael Gordon's draft of Frank Miller's '300'

The last four blogs that I have posted have all made reference to Stax's review of the Michael Gordon adaptation of Frank Miller's '300'. While I have commented on several of the scenarios which appeared in the draft and which I hope come to fruition, the truth of the matter is that they probably won't see the light of day. Here's to wishful thinking, since as Stax mentioned to me the other day, Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad had written a new script which is being used for the movie.

I thought that I should provide the link to Stax's review so that you could see that Michael Gordon had some pretty good ideas. I still feel that because of the genesis of several characters and scenes that at least some part of Gordon's draft has been encompassed within the Snyder/Johnstad framework.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Blog Number 63 - Zack Snyder's script for Frank Miller's '300'

When Zack Snyder was interviewed last year he said that '300' would have more 'girl-power'. On the surface, this seemed to detract from Frank Miller's version of the events on the Battle of Thermopylae, however, this only reinforces my opinion that the story will encompass much more than 300 Spartan warriors fighting against the Persian army.

Let us go under the assumption that Michael Gordon's second draft as reviewed in the Stax Report is indicative of the role that Lena Headey will assume as Gorgo, the Queen of Sparta. It will differ greatly from the part played by the Greek actress Anna Synodinou in 'The 300 Spartans' who even though majestic in her appearance, was relegated to few lines of dialogue.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Blog Number 62 - More thoughts on Michael Gordon's draft of Frank Miller's '300'

Last year, the Stax Report posted a review of Michael Gordon’s draft which was based on the Frank Miller Battle of Thermopylae comic book series ‘300’. This draft was superceded by director Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad’s version, however, since credit is still being given to the author of the original draft, I believe that Snyder & Johnstad probably retained the integrity of several of the passages along with the development of several of the characters as first written by Gordon.

In the original draft, Artemis who is the ‘Captain’, is the father of the young Spartan warrior Stelios (Stumblios) and the brother to King Leonidas. Therefore, as I mentioned in my previous post, there are several nuances which I hope they keep for the following reason.

According to Herodotus, there were two Spartan warriors who survived the Battle of Thermopylae. Also, in the 1962 movie, ‘The 300 Spartans’ the Spartan warrior Phylon who is the fiancé of King Leonidas’ niece Ellas, is the sole survivor of the battle since he is ordered to carry a message back to Sparta.

I know I’m taking a chance here, however, as an homage to the movie ‘The 300 Spartans’ which was the inspiration for Frank Miller’s ‘300’, I believe that Michael Fassbender who plays Stelios will be the one Spartan warrior who survives the battle. It will befitting as a conclusion to the movie, to show the battle hardened Stelios leading other Spartiates at Plataea and avenging his father and uncle’s death.

Do you think any of the 300 Spartans will survive?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Blog Number 61 - Michael Gordon's characterization of Stelios & the 'Captain'

According to the Stax Report, Michael Gordon's draft of Frank Miller's '300' which was dated May 22, 2003 had several major differences from the novel. The one which I will explore today is that the 'Captain' as written in Gordon's draft was the father of the young warrior Stelios.

Stelios if you haven't read '300' is nicknamed 'Stumblios' because he falls (stumbles) on his way to the battlefield of Thermopylae. For this 'misstep', he is severely disciplined almost to the point of death by the Spartan officer 'Captain' before he is is rescued by King Leonidas who will be portrayed by Scotsman Gerry Butler.

As I mentioned, the most interesting part of Gordon's '300' draft, was that the 'Captain' was Stelios' father. If this familial bond is kept intact in the movie, this would emphatically make the point that there wasn't any nepotism in the Spartiati ranks and which would only serve to reinforce the renowned Spartan toughness.

The role of the 'Captain' & 'Stelios', will be played by Vincent Regan and Michael Fassbender, respectively and I for one hope that this is one part of Gordon's draft which remains untouched for the aforementioned reason.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Blog Number 60 - Michael Gordon's screenplay for Frank Miller's '300'

In 2003, Michael Gordon had written a draft for Frank Miller's '300', which in February 2004, reviewer extraodinaire Stax had written a column about for IGN Entertainment. When the news was confirmed that '300' would begin filming, it was publicized that Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad had adapted their screenplay from Miller's graphic novel. However, according to IMDB, Snyder, Johnstad, Frank Miller and interestingly enough Michael Gordon have received writing credits.

So, here's my take on what has happened, therefore, I could be way off base! Even though Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad have used their script for the filming of '300', evidently there are elements of Michael Gordon's draft that are incorporated into their script. Then again, it is possible that there are re-writes still occurring as we speak, which can sometimes go on even until the 11th hour. However, I believe that there are several elements in Gordon's draft which must have been too good not to include.
The questions which beckon are, was it a new character that was introduced who was not in Frank Miller's '300', was it an existing character who was developed more completely, or was it the battle scenes which were more fully realized?

I would love to read Gordon's original draft and even the script which has superceded it to make that comparison!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Blog Number 59 - More casting news in Frank Miller's '300'

Even more casting news from IMDB in that Englishman Dennis St. John will portray 'The Spartan Baby Inspector' and local Canadian Maurizio Terrazzano has been cast as the 'Sentry' in Frank Miller's '300'.

In my opinion, the casting of these roles offers one of the most encouraging signs to date, since it now appears that this movie will introduce characters and incorporate elements not included in the '300' book. Of course, there is always the possibility that the scenes involving the aformentioned characters could wind up on the cutting room floor, however, that appears unlikely.

One of the criticisms that had been voiced is that due to the length of the 5-part comics, it was believed that if the movie mirrored Miller's comics there wouldn't be enough content to make an entertaining movie of any length. However, that criticism seems to be unjustified since new characters have been introduced, with the possibility of more, which is a significant development.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Blog Number 58 - Andrew Tiernan cast as Ephialtes in Frank Miller's '300'

The latest news according to IMDB has British actor Andrew Tiernan assuming the role of Frank Miller's hunchback Ephialtes in '300'. What is interesting is that even though Dominic West and David Wenham's announcement to the cast of '300' has preceded that of Andrew Tiernan's inclusion by several weeks, their roles haven't been revealed as of yet, which has created even more speculation as to whom that they will be portraying.

It seems that now since the role of Ephialtes has been cast, the only other character from '300' who has yet to be named is Dilios the storyteller, which seems to be tailor-made for the Aussie Wenham.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Blog Number 57 - Dark Horse Comics - History of the Greek-Persian Wars - Part III of III - Frank Miller's '300'

There was a synopsis of the the second invasion of the Greek-Persian Wars which appeared in 1998 on the Dark Horse Comics website. Interspersed within was a Frank Miller interview which was conducted to publicize the release of the '300' comic book series. Due to the length of the article, I took the liberty of breaking it down into three segments.

Below is Part III of III:

In mid-August of the same year, at a time when most Greek city-states were withdrawing from their holding positions for religious observation of the Carneia and for Olympic competitions, a small force of 300 Spartans, led by King Leonidas, marched north to Thermopylae to fortify that important pass. This force was reinforced by factions from neighboring cities, but the total number of Greeks involved never topped seven thousand.

While the Persian navy was suffering formidable losses at sea due to a terrible storm and the subsequent attack of the Athenian navy, Xerxes ordered his land troops forward to attack the Spartan's defense of the Hot Gates at Thermopylae. For the first two days of the battle at Thermopylae, the Persians were badly defeated by the steadfast Spartan-led troops, but on the third day, Xerxes' imperial guard found access to a previously undiscovered pass (revealed to them by a turn-coat Greek) that allowed them to outflank Leonidas' guard. Xerxes ordered yet another frontal attack -- of the same caliber that had been defeated the previous two days -- but this time, he also commanded a second attack from the rear mountain pass. Leonidas and his Spartans were defeated after two glorious days of battle, and Xerxes' troops eventually advanced into Southern Greece, despite the heavy losses dealt by the 300 Spartans.
The following year was tumultuous for the allied Greek states, as the invaders took Attica, and the Acropolis at Athens fell to Persian troops. Nevertheless, Greece managed to prevail over the tiring Persians in key battles, and by late 479, a fortified alliance between the remaining Spartan forces and Athens proved formidable enough to reclaim the lost Greek territories and defeat Persia.

Revisit this most remarkable and under-reported battle of the Persian invasion of Greece with Frank Miller's latest Dark Horse series, 300.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Blog Number 56 - Dark Horse Comics - History of the Greek-Persian Wars - Part II of III - Frank Miller's '300'

There was a synopsis of the the second invasion of the Greek-Persian Wars which appeared in 1998 on the Dark Horse Comics website. Interspersed within was a Frank Miller interview which was conducted to publicize the release of the '300' comic book series. Due to the length of the article, I took the liberty of breaking it down into three segments.

Below is Part II of III:

An early history of the rise of Persia and its great King Xerxes reveals a relatively rapid growth of the Persian empire. The empire was founded around 550 B.C. by Cyrus the Elder, who in a very short time managed to incorporate Babylon, Syria, Phoenicia, and every other land adjacent to Persia into the growing nation. Within twenty years, Cambyses, who succeeded Cyrus in Persia's rule, incorporated Egypt into the empire, and with another twenty years, then-Persian leader Darius established a firm bridge-head into Greece by conquering and claiming both Scythia and Thrace. By the time the great Xerxes took reign of Persia, some sixty-five years after its founding by Cyrus, Greece had already defeated the expanding empire during one attempted invasion, and was steeling itself against any further attacks. And further attacks were a guaranteed prospect, given the Persian army's unprecedented numbers.

Despite the strength of the individual Greek societies at this time, there was not yet any notion of there being a Greek nation. Athens was inarguably the most sophisticated of the city-states, but Sparta, with its almost primal customs and infused warrior mentality acted as a great potential threat against the advancing Persians. In the face of the imminent Persian invasion, a makeshift alliance grew between the Greek states, loosely uniting the strong Athenian navy, the vicious Spartans, who knew the intimidating Greek terrain better than anyone else, and various factions from smaller cities.

Still, problems arose between the more academic and civilized Athenians and their Spartan counterparts. Since Athens had by far contributed the most troops to the confrontation, Athenians understandably wanted their leader Themosticles named commander-in-chief. Sparta, on the other hand, claimed superior knowledge of battle and warfare, therefore its preferred leader was the Spartan Eurybiades. An informal resolution named Eurybiades admiral, despite the widely recognized fact that Themosticles made most of the pertinent decisions.

When Xerxes initiated the Persian offense from Susa in 481 (BC), he sent forth messengers with demands for submission from all the Greek states, including Sparta, and his messengers were met with resounding refusals to comply. By the spring of 480, smallish advance forces were being deployed by numerous Greek states, including Sparta, in efforts to thwart the imminent invasion of the Persian army.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Blog Number 55 - Dark Horse Comics - History of the Greek-Persian Wars - Part I of III - Frank Miller's '300'

There was a synopsis of the the second invasion of the Greek-Persian Wars which appeared in 1998 on the Dark Horse Comics website. Interspersed within was a Frank Miller interview which was conducted to publicize the release of the '300' comic book series. Due to the length of the article, I took the liberty of breaking it down into three segments.

Below is Part I of III:

The Persian-Greco war

Frank Miller's latest adventure series is a riveting story of one of the most under-reported and glorious battles of the Persian-Greco war. While Miller has taken substantial creative liberties in reporting the details of his version of the Spartan King Leonidas and his army of 300 valiant soldiers, the events he describes are remarkably accurate.

"There's a scene where the Persian ambassador asks for a token gift of land and water, and a Spartan leads him to a well, and shoves him in, to his death. Like so much that is in this book, that actually came from reality," Miller attests, laughing. "I mean, I moved it around. I take all the liberties any fiction maker does, but the Spartans actually did treat tyrants that way."

Most comics readers, being literate and generally interested in adventurous stuff, probably have some background in Greek history, and might even know something about the Persian invasion of Greece. Still, not much is known on a general level about the specific battle depicted in 300, so we thought it might be a good idea to provide a simplified timeline of sorts for readers who are interested in learning more about the history behind what Miller calls "the best damn story I've ever gotten my hands on."

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Blog Number 54 - The Persian army in Frank Miller's '300'

Here is an image, once again from John Warry's book 'Warfare in the Classical World'. The warrior depicted is one of Xerxes' Immortals, who were the elite of the Persian army. The illustrations in '300' seem to be more accurate relative to the depiction of the Persian warriors than the Greek, with the exception of the Persian king Xerxes.

Thanks again Patti.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Blog Number 53 - Armor worn by the '300' Spartans at Thermopylae

One can't help but notice that the Spartan warriors as depicted in Frank Miller's '300' are devoid of most of the armor that they would have worn during the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. Therefore, to clarify any misconceptions about their armor, here is an illustration in John Warry's book entitled 'Warfare in the Classical World' which shows how a Greek hoplite would have been armed when meeting the Persian army.

When you factor in the opressive heat of the Greek summer in August 480 B.C. along with the weight of the armor, one must marvel at the condition of these warriors. Even more astonishing is that King Leonidas was in his 50's, which would have been considerably older than the Spartiates that he was leading!

If you would like to see other illustrations like this one, please let me know.

Many thanks to Patti, Dotty & Jane. Cheers!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Blog Number 52 - Is Zeus the inspiration behind the illustration of King Leonidas in Frank Miller's '300'?

In one of my blogs that I posted last week, I wondered who Frank Miller used as an inspiration for his illustration of King Leonidas. Several days later I received a comment from Kryptes who mentioned that F.M.'s illustration of the leader of the 300 Spartans bore an uncanny resemblance to a statue of Zeus. After making a side-by-side comparison, I would have to agree that there is a huge similarity!

Therefore, it could be easy to draw a conclusion that the statue of Zeus is the basis for the illustration. I know I'm reaching here, however, a parallel can also be drawn, since Zeus was the king of the gods in Greek mythology and Leonidas was the king of Sparta.

Does it seem as if the illustration of King Leonidas could have been inspired by the statue of Zeus or is it a coincidence?

This only reinforces why I encourage comments since it can be illuminating as it was in this instance and it can provide ideas for many blogs to come.

Gracias to Kryptes!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Blog Number 51 - Ephialtes and eugenics in Frank Miller's '300'

The historical accounts of Sparta have recorded that a newly born child was shown to the city elders who determined if the infant was healthy or unfit to live. If not, the male children were thrown into a gorge on Mount Taygetos called the Apothetae which was known as the 'place of rejection'. The girls on the other hand were left in a basket so that there was a chance that a shepherd or anyone strolling by would take the child in.

Ephialtes (pronounced Ef-ee-ul-tez), the traitor of Thermopylae as depicted by Frank Miller in '300', is a Spartan by birth who because of his deformity was whisked away by his parents so that he wouldn't be left to his fate as the other 'sickly' Spartan children were.

Since Herodotus wrote that Ephialtes was from Malis, not Sparta and that there wasn't any mention that he was a hunchback as depicted in '300', this condundrum was most perplexing since I tried to reconcile Miller's Ephialtes as being Spartan instead of Malian. After giving it some thought, I wrote Blog Number 18 which I tried to my explain why F.M. portrayed him with the aforementioned characteristics.

Thanks to Lynne & Jane!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Blog Number 50 - More cast members named in Frank Miller's '300'

A couple of months ago, when I started thinking about what would be a catchy title for this web log, I had some reservations about naming it "300 blogs about Frank Miller's '300'". I really did!!! I thought to myself, how would I be able to come up with the content that would allow me to post something 300 times without being repititious?

Well, here I am today with a milestone of sorts, writing my 50th blog and going strong! It seems as if every week there is some news filtering out of Montreal, Canada about actors named and the roles that they will be playing in '300'.

According to the IMDB, the latest news is that Englishman Tom Wisdom will be playing Astinos and stuntman David Leitch, the Hero Spartan. At some point in time, hopefully in the near future, these roles will be more defined since they don't appear as characters in '300'.

Then again, you could say that there were at least '300' Hero Spartans!!!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Blog Number 49 - Andrew Pleavin to play Daxos in Frank Miller's '300'

Several weeks ago, a reader left a comment for me on the September 30th blog, which stated that Englishman Andrew Pleavin had been cast in Frank Miller's '300'. According to the IMDB, it has now been confirmed that Pleavin will portray Daxos, the leader of the Arcadians.

Coincidentally, Andrew Pleavin played the part of Orestes in 'Atilla', which starred Gerard Butler who will be occupying the role of King Leonidas of Sparta.

I am grateful to the individual (anonymous) who left the comment for me and would like to thank him/her once again! Cheers mate!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Blog Number 48 - The battle formation of the '300' Spartans

Here is another illustration from Frank Miller's '300', of which this one shows the phalanx, which was the military formation used by the 300 Spartans. If you haven't had a chance to see the comics, there are hundreds of images with such detail that I've wondered how long it took Frank Miller & Lynn Varley to complete all the illustrations.

Inasmuch as there are so many to choose from, my favorite illustrations are the ones which focus on the Battle of Thermopylae.

What would be some of the other images that you would like to see from '300'?

Thanks Ebwhite!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Blog Number 47 - The typical meal of the '300' Spartans

Every morning, I like to read the comments that readers have left so that I can respond to them and perhaps get an idea or two for the next blog. In addition, I've have had a chance to read some of the questions that were asked from Gerard that prompted me to write about the foods that the Spartans ate.

If there is one meal that has been equated with ancient Spartan cuisine it would have to be the infamous 'black broth' which consisted of pork, blood, salt and vinegar. To those outside of Sparta who sampled this meal, it was definitely not one which would be called a gastronomical delight, which prompted one visiting Greek guest to remark afterwards: 'Now I understand why the Spartans do not fear death.'

The remark was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, however, it said something about Spartan toughness and resiliency!

After looking at the ingredients, it's not what one would consider a tasteful meal, right?

Thanks Miyuki!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Blog Number 46 - The translation of the name of the leader of the '300' Spartans, King Leonidas

The legend of King Leonidas it seems has grown exponentially since his death at Thermopylae in 480 B.C. Herodotus' account of the self-sacrifice of Leonidas & the '300' along with the warriors of Thespiae led Hollywood to make a movie which premiered in 1962 entitled 'The 300 Spartans'. With a tentative release date in 2006, this theme will be revisited with Frank Miller's '300' which is currently being directed by Zack Snyder in Montreal, Canada.

More is known about King Leonidas' exploits on the battlefied of Thermopylae than what occurred during his lifetime. What is known is that Leonidas' name loosely translated means 'he with the spirit of a lion' and that he was born into the royal house of the Agiads around 540 B.C., perhaps a little later. The Agiads claimed descent from Heracles (Latin - Hercules), the mythological Greek strongman who killed a lion with his bare hands. Therefore, what better name was there to bestow on the male child who would become a future royal of the militaristic city-state of Sparta?

As a testament to his bravery, a stone lion was soon erected after the Battle of Thermopylae marking the place where Leonidas was to have fallen.

Thanks Elisa & Efharisto Maria!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Blog Number 45 - Portrait of King Leonidas of the '300' Spartans

This plaque which measures 8 inches horizontally and 10 inches vertically, commemorates the Spartan king Leonidas who died with his 300 Spartiates at the battlefield of Thermopylae (Hot Gates). This image is of the statue of King Leonidas which currently is exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Sparta.

Would you like to see more images of King Leonidas and I'm curious as to hear what you think of this one?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Blog Number 44 - The helmet of King Leonidas in Frank Miller's '300'

I received a comment yesterday from an actor who is appearing in Frank Miller's '300' as one of the 300 Spartans. One of the questions that I had was whether or not the Spartans would have a crest on their helmets since they didn't have them in the comics. The actor was able to confirm that the 300 Spartiates wouldn't, however, as he hadn't seen Gerry Butler (King Leonidas) he couldn't say whether or not he would have a crest on his.

Since the illustrations from the book show King Leonidas with a crest and the '300' without one, I would have to assume that he will, therefore, it will be one way of distinguishing the King of Sparta from the rest of his troops.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Blog Number 43 - The last breakfast in Frank Miller's '300'

According to the historian Herodotus, King Leonidas had heard from the seer Megistias that the omens foresaw that 'death was coming with dawn'. Another historian Ephorus, wrote that an Ionian Greek by the name of Tyrrhastiadas of Cyme had delivered the fateful news to the leader of Sparta.

After receiving the news that the Greek forces would soon be surrounded, King Leonidas said to the remaining Spartiates: 'Have a good breakfest, men, for we dine in Hades!' In '300', Frank Miller also wrote, 'Spartans. Ready your breakfast and eat hearty..For tonight we dine in hell!' In 480 B.C. the Greeks were polytheistic and Hades in mythology was believed to be the underworld; in other words, what the ancients believed to be hell.

The Spartans and other Greeks that fought that last day, knew of their impending deaths and rather than surrendering fought to the end. It was their self-sacrifice which became part of the Thermopylae legend and is the reason why their story continues unabated after 2,500 years.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Blog Number 42 - Frank Miller's '300' Corinthian helmet

The cover of the 5th comic book in the Frank Miller's '300' series shows a battered Corinthian-type helmet worn by one of the 300 Spartiates. To the right of the comic is one of the helmets in my collection which I purchased several years ago and which most closely resembles the helmet which was illustrated by Lynn Varley.

The distinction made between King Leonidas & the other Spartan warriors is that his helmet is the only one with the horse-hair crest.

Do you think that only King Leonidas will have a crest on his helmet, or do you think the other Spartiates will as they did in the movie 'The 300 Spartans'?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Blog Number 41 - The age of King Leonidas in Frank Miller's '300'

In Chapter 2, Frank Miller writes about King Leonidas, 'All his fifty years have been a straight road to this one gleaming moment of destiny.'

While it has been established that King Leonidas of Sparta died at the battle of Thermopylae in August, 480 B.C., very little is known about the year of his birth, or for that matter, his formative years. Paul Cartledge, the distinguished scholar and historian who has written countless volumes relative to the Spartans, has narrowed the date of the birth of King Leonidas to around 540 B.C. Therefore, if we go under the assumption that Leonidas was born anywhere in the years subsequent to 540 B.C., this would have placed him in the 50+ year old range.

Since we can't say with absolute certainty what the age of King Leonidas was when he fought at Thermopylae, the age attributed to him has come under scrutiny. To the naysayers, it might sound improbable (not impossible, mind you) especially in this day and age for a man in his 50's to have endured the rigors of ancient warfare for several days. When you factor in the stifling heat and humidity of Greece in August, along with the heaviness of his armor which probably would have comprised about half of his body weight, then I believe you must arrive at the conclusion that this was an extraordinary individual whose presence on the battlefield inspired his 300 Spartan warriors and the other Greek allies to heroic lengths.

What age range do you think King Leonidas as portrayed by Gerard Butler will be in '300'; his thirties, forties, or fifties?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Blog Number 40 - Painting of King Leonidas and the '300' Spartans by Jacques-Louis David

The most famous painting of King Leonidas is unquestionably Jacques-Louis David's 'Leonidas at Thermopylae' which David began painting in 1798 and which took a very long time to complete since it took over a decade before it was first exhibited in 1814. King Leonidas of Sparta is depicted in the foreground and seems to be highlighted by bright light while the warriors around him are smaller and a shade darker emphasizing the heroic qualities of the central character in the painting.

What is noticable is that many of the poses and figures used by David referred to classical prototypes which depicted classical warriors in the nude. This became a source of debate during David's time because Leonidas, his 300 Spartiates and the other Greek warriors were clad in armor during the Battle of Thermopylae.

The original painting currently hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris which is befitting since the artist was of French extraction.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Blog Number 39 - The British Commonwealth of Nations to be well represented in Frank Miller's '300'

After having read that fellow Aussie David Wenham would be in Frank Miller's '300', I noticed that the cast would be comprised of a who's who of British Commonwealth nations.

First off to lead the pack was American born, English raised Sienna Miller who was offered the Queen of Sparta role only to turn it down and have it accepted several months later by countrywoman Lena Headey. Then came the biggest announcement that Scotsman Gerard Butler had accepted the key role as the heroic King Leonidas of the 300 Spartans.

Announcements followed weeks later that the rest of the cast would include Irishman Michael Fassbender, Wales born and Irish raised Vincent Regan, United Kingdom's Dominic West and the aforementioned David Wenham from the 'Land down under'.

Do you think that the '300' should have more of an American flavor, or do you like the fact that the cast will be made up mostly of actors from the U.K.?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Blog Number 38 - Actor from Oz, David Wenham to star in Frank Miller's '300'

It was recently confirmed that Aussie David Wenham will be part of the cast of Frank Miller's '300' tale of the Battle of Thermopylae. However, unbeknownst at this time is the role that he will be playing along with several others who have been announced as being part of the cast. Filming started on Monday October 17th, therefore, word should be arriving pretty shortly as to whom the actors will be portraying.

Do we have any guesses who D.H. will be playing?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Blog Number 37 - Rodrigo Santoro to play Xerxes in Frank Miller's '300'

It was recently announced that several actors had been named to be part of the cast of Frank Miller's '300'. Of these which included Dominic West and David Wenham, the only actor mentioned in a specific role is Rodrigo Santoro who will be playing the part of the King of Persia, Xerxes.

Rodgrigo Santoro's part hasn't been confirmed by the studio, therefore there is always the possibility that this part will be played by somone else. Several months ago Sienna Miller was mentioned as portraying Gorgo, the queen of Sparta, however, that role is now being played by Lena Headey.

Has Santoro's role been confirmed or is this idle chatter?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Blog Number 36 - Why Greece chose Thermopylae as the battlefield in Frank Miller's '300'

In Frank Miller's '300', very little is mentioned as to why the united Greek army spearheaded (no pun intended) by King Leonidas & the 300 Spartans chose to met the Persian army at Thermopylae. Since the Persian army which numbered in the hundreds of thousands entered Northern Greece and traveled southward with the Persian navy providing support along the coastline, it was decided that Thermopylae would be the best line of defense since it was only 50 feet wide at the time in 480 B.C. and therefore could neutralize Xerxes' much larger army.

I have posted an image from 'Blog Number 24' of the Battle of Thermopylae by Stanley Meltzoff and if you would like to see others relative to the battle, please let me know.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Blog Number 35 - My introduction to Frank Miller's '300' comics

I'll never forget the first time I came across Frank Miller's comic book series, '300'. In the late 90's, while surfing the internet to see what information was available about the movie, 'The 300 Spartans', I came across the website which was selling the 5-part series. I had read quite a few books about King Leonidas and the Battle of Thermopylae, therefore, I had to see how it was depicted in comic book form. When I received the comics several days later, I couldn't wait to see if this was an historically accurate re-enactment of the battle. Even though it wasn't, I really enjoyed Frank Miller's version and especially the illustrations by Lynne Varley. I guess the irony is that I never purchased a comic book when I was younger and here I was in my 30's buying my first ones. I guess better late than never!

I'm curious, how old were you when you bought or read them?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Blog Number 34 - '300' Thermopylai (Greek), Thermopylae (Latin)

Occasionally, when readers have delved into the different books relative to King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, there has been some confusion over the variations in the spelling of the Battle of Thermopylae (Thermopylai). Thermopylai is the Greek transliteration while Thermopylae is the more familiar Latinized version.

The translation of this book in Greek reads 'From Marathon to Thermopylae' and the warrior in the foreground is none other than King Leonidas of Sparta.

Since there aren't that many illustrations of King Leonidas, would there be interest in seeing more?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Blog Number 33 - Frank Miller '300' promo poster

This image is of the '300' promo poster which measures 17 inches x 11 inches and was used to advertise the Frank Miller '300' comic books. It took quite a long time to locate this rarity, however, it was well worth the wait. The one observation that I've made in collecting all these items is, the longer it takes to locate, the rarer it is! Rare = $$$ spent

Now for the question; have you seen anything rare relative to Frank Miller's '300'?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Blog Number 32 - Stelios in Frank Miller's '300'

It seems as if in several instances, there have been characters who have provided some type of comic relief to counteract the drama of war. Who can forget 'Private Pyle' in 'Full Metal Jacket', 'Corporal Upham' in 'Saving Private Ryan, etc., etc., etc.? Frank Miller has continued the tradition in '300' where we are introduced to the Spartan warrior 'Stelios'.

While marching from Sparta to Thermopylae, the young Spartan hoplite stumbles while marching in formation. For this transgression, he is almost beaten to within an inch of his life by his captain before he is saved by King Leonidas who will be played by Gerry Butler. It seems that the price that this young warrior has to pay for his ineptitude is being referred to occasionally as 'Stumblios'. However, after his brief admonishment, he once again becomes an integral part of the famed Spartan phalanx. As part of his redemption, Stelios is called upon by Leonidas to deliver the first fatal blow to a Persian officer in the final battle. Since 'Braveheart' and 'Gladiator' were successful and had a few moments of levity, perhaps Zack Snyder will incorporate some humor into '300'.

Having read '300', which character if any, do you think will be dispensing the one-liners?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Blog Number 31 - Greek '300' version - MOLON LABE!!!

Here is the Greek version of Frank Miller's '300' in which King Leonidas utters the laconic phrase in Greek which means 'Come and get them'. This is a close-up which focuses on the King of Sparta who will be portrayed by Gerry Butler.

Is this your favorite line from '300' or is it something else?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Blog Number 30 - '300' final stand illustration

This is my second favorite page in the '300' comics by Frank Miller. The illustrations by Lynn Varley are phenomenal and this one in particular shows a resolute Leonidas and the 300 Spartans in a battle formation before their final stand.

If you ever have a chance to see 'The 300 Spartans', you'll see this scene depicted with Richard Egan as the heroic King Leonidas of Sparta. Here is the King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans of Thermopylae 2/3/05 blog which includes the lobby card from the movie to see how it was captured in 1962.

In my opinion, this scene will require the greatest range of acting since a myriad of emotions will have to be displayed such as courage, fearlessness, anxiety, etc.

Can Gerard Butler do it? I'm betting he can! What do you think?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Blog Number 29 - '300', Come and get it!!!

Without a doubt, this is my favorite page in the '300' comics where King Leonidas readies his 300 Spartans against the Persian advance by telling the Persians to 'Come and get it'. In Greek, the words were MOLON LABE, which phonetically sounds like MO-LON LA-VEH. This laconic phrase which has become synonymous with the battle of Thermopylae replicates the famous words of defiance spoken by King Leonidas of Sparta. If you ever have a chance to see 'The 300 Spartans' with Richard Egan as King Leonidas, you'll hear how it sounds. Great stuff!!!

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this phrase will be spoken by Gerard Butler in the '300'. I am more certain of this than the sun coming up tomorrow, that's how sure I am! The only question is, will be it be spoken in English or in the archaic Spartan dialect as in 'The 300 Spartans'.

I would be interested in what you think, Greek or English with a Scottish accent?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Blog Number 28 - King Leonidas of '300' - Gerard Butler website

For all of the Frank Miller '300' readers who may wish to learn more about Scotsman Gerard Butler who will star as King Leonidas of Sparta, there is a website which will illuminate you with everything you wanted to know about G.B. and more.

The website is administered by Tamara Halstead and has a loyal and thriving international membership dedicated to G.B. You've got to love those 'tarts'!!!

Btw, if you want to want to know what a Scottish brogue sounds like, click the title to the blog and voila, you'll hear Gerry.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Blog Number 27 - Warner Bros. $60 million gamble on Frank Miller's '300'

Here is a link to an article which appeared this morning relative to Frank Miller's '300' movie from Rather than being redundant, please access the following link to hear the latest about '300'.

If you double click the title of this blog, the link will forward you directly to the article.

I would like to hear what you have to say about the other movies such as the 'Gates of Fire' by Steven Pressfield or the proposed 'The 300 Spartans' remake @ the 300 Spartan Warriors google group. Do you think this movie is a $60 million gamble?

Many thanks to Alex, good on ya mate!!!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Blog Number 26 - Casting call for Pleistarchos, son of King Leonidas in Frank Miller's '300'

Superhero Hype! has noted that a casting call is in place for a child ages 6-8 to play Pleistarchos, the son of King Leonidas in Frank Miller's '300'.

Pleistarchos eventually succeeded his father after the Battle of Thermopylae and reigned during the years 480-459 B.C. as one of Sparta's two kings.

Since this child will be a relative novice to the movies, do you think this will be his first role or do you think that he has had some experience in the industry?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Blog Number 25 - Lena Headey as the Queen of Sparta in Frank Miller's '300'

According to, British actress Lena Headey will be portray Gorgo, the Queen of Sparta. Headey will play opposite Gerard Butler who has been cast as King Leonidas, leader of the 300 Spartans who fought at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.

It was originally reported several months ago that Sienna Miller was to have played the role of Queen Gorgo, however, the role has now been filled by Headey.

Do you think this will be the Lena Headey breakout role?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Blog Number 24 - Frank Miller 's '300' - The battlefield of Thermopylae

In Blog Number 11 dated September 23rd, I mentioned the artwork of Stanley Meltzoff who in my opinion painted one of the greatest images of the Battle of Thermopylae. Here is the 2-page layout that appeared in a 1963 issue of Life magazine, which according to the historian Herodotus, shows how the battlefield would have appeared in 480 B.C.

Do you think that they will show an accurate looking battlefield via computer graphics or do you think it will reflect the look of the comics?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Blog Number 23 - Frank Miller 's '300' casting for 'Oracle girl'

According to Superhero Hype! once again, there is a casting call for a woman aged 18-24 to play the 'Oracle girl'. The oracles of Delphi had an influence on the events of the Greco-Persian Wars, therefore, how this character plays out in the movie, could lend a touch of authenticity to the film. This role could go a long way in pacifying those who are not enamored with '300' being made into a movie in lieu of 'Gates of Fire'.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Blog number 22 - Casting call for young Leonidas in Frank Miller's '300'

According to Superhero Hype! there is a casting call for males of various ages to portray King Leonidas of Sparta during different phases of his life. The ages that are being cast are 3-5, 7-8 and 11-12 and since these are non-speaking roles, I would have to assume that most likely the scenes of young Leonidas will be used in flashbacks.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Blog number 21 - Vincent Regan to portray the 'Captain' in Frank Miller's '300'

More news from IMDB that Welsh actor Vincent Regan has been chosen to portray the 'Captain' in Frank Miller's '300'. Recently Regan played Eudoros, one of Achilles' warriors who were named the Myrmidons because they had taken their name from the ancient Thessalian king Myrmidon.

While Regan played a minor role opposite Brad Pitt's Achilles, this character is one of the major roles in Frank Miller's '300'. However, the key role in the '300' movie will be played by Scotsman Gerard Butler as King Leonidas of the 300 Spartans.

Here's one for you to ponder! Do you think the 'Captain' will be as sadistic as he is in the comics?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Blog Number 20 - Michael Fassbender to play 'Stelios' in Frank Miller's '300' movie

According to IMDB, Irishman Michael Fassbender will play the role of 'Stelios' in Frank Miller's '300'. Fassbender is best known in the States as playing 'Sgt. Burton 'Pat' Christens' in the HBO series, 'Band of Brothers'.

However, for Aussies like me, you've got to like an actor who played Guy Fawkes in 'Gunpowder, Treason & Plot'.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Blog Number 19 - Frank Miller '300' press release

Here's a press release which was distributed to coincide with the hardcover release of Frank Miller's '300' in which F.M. says about the 300 Spartans, 'This is the best damn story I've ever gotten my hands on'.

I couldn't agree more!!!

If you were to choose between the hardcover and the softcover and price wasn't a factor, which one would you choose and for what reason?

Friday, September 30, 2005

Blog Number 18 - The hunchback Ephialtes in Frank Miller's '300'

The '300' series based on the battle of Thermopylae was received positively in comic book circles, especially by the legion of Frank Miller fans of whom there are quite a few. However, the series has endured some subtle criticism amongst the devotees of the movie 'The 300 Spartans' and scholars familiar with the works of Herodotus.

The depiction of the Frank Miller comic book character that has probably been the focal point of most of the criticism would have to be that of Ephialtes. It was not so much that Miller portrayed him as a hunchback, it was that he was a Spartan by birth, which had stirred the emotions of the Spartan cognoscenti. According to the historian, Herodotus, Ephialtes was from Malis not Sparta. Therefore, I believe that Miller wanted to show Ephialtes as the antithesis of the heroic Spartan warrior, in every which way possible.

For example, the Spartans hoplites lived and trained in their homeland and were grouped together since their induction as young boys into the military system. They had that 'esprit de corps', while Ephialtes, who because of his deformity was living in exile brought upon by his parents. In essence, he was a loner and outsider, since his parents had left Sparta so that he could live rather than perish on Mount Taygetus. Spartan soldiers were in excellent physical condition with a straight spine perfected by their military posture, while Ephialtes was a hunchback whose curvature of the spine was analogous to being the spineless cowering traitor that he would eventually become.

There are several other 'inaccuracies' in '300', however, Frank Miller & Lynn Varley have to be commended. There are many more people that have become familiar with the legendary battle of Thermopylae through their comics. If the movie based on '300' does eventually get released, there will be even more people that will know the story of the 300 Spartans and that is good!

Do you think the actor that portrays Ephialtes in '300' should be deformed like he was in the comic book, or not?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Blog Number 17 - Spanish version of Frank Miller's '300'

All the illustrations are the same in all of the Frank Miller international '300' comics, irrespective of language; the only differences are that everything has been translated. The images from the Spanish version (above) and the Greek version (previous blog) are from Chapter 4 'COMBAT'.

If you are of Spanish descent, please let me know and I can post more of the book in your native language.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Blog Number 16 - Greek version of Frank Miller's '300'

While on my search to locate all items relative to Frank Miller's '300', I located a store that purportedly had a Greek version of the '300' compilation. During one of my conversations with Mimi at Night Flight Comics, Mimi let me know that she also had a Spanish version of the '300' book in her inventory.

Being the completist when it comes to anything to do with Frank Miller's '300', not only did I purchase the Greek hardcover, I also had to buy the Spanish one. Now if I could only get my hands on that Italian version! If anyone knows where one is or if you want to sell yours, please let me know.

Here's a copy of the Greek version, Chapter 4.

Since this movie is about Greek warriors, would you like to see a phrase or two spoken in Greek?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Blog Number 15 - Gerard Butler photo - King Leonidas of Sparta in Frank Millers '300' movie

Here's a photo of Gerard Butler who is going to portray King Leonidas of Sparta in Frank Miller's '300'. This photo was taken recently at the Toronto International Film Festival and since '300' will start shooting very soon, it seems as if King Leonidas will have a beard which is different than Richard Egan's portrayal of Leonidas in 1962's, 'The 300 Spartans'.

Thanks to Joyce and JunieMoon for the photo.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Blog Number 14 - Thoughts on Frank Miller's '300' interview

When I read the Frank Miller interview about his 5-part comic book series '300', he reflected on the impact that the 1962 movie 'The 300 Spartans' had on him when he saw it as a child. Coincidentally, I was the same age, living in Australia when I saw the movie and it impacted me similarly (King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans of Thermopylae 9/15/04 blog). It's my favorite movie, therefore, I'm waiting to see how Frank Miller's comic book version is translated to the big screen by Zack Snyder and company.

If you saw 'The 300 Spartans' how old were you when you first saw it?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Blog Number 13 - Frank Miller interview for '300'

With all the publicity surrounding the production of '300', I thought I would include the interview in this posting that Shawna Ervin-Gore conducted with Frank Miller. The interview took place in 1998, shortly after the release of the '300' comics and the rare Frank Miller signed limited edition lithograph . I would like to thank Dark Horse Comics for granting me permission to use this interview.

Did the F.M. interview shed more light on the inspiration for '300'?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Blog Number 12 - Gerald Butler to portray King Leonidas in '300' movie

'' announced recently that Scotsman Gerard Butler will appear in Frank Miller's '300' which has been scheduled to begin shooting in Montreal on October 17th. Butler has been chosen to portray King Leonidas, leader of the 300 Spartans and supreme commander of the united Greek forces which fought at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.

Will Gerard Butler and the cast of '300' achieve more success than 'The Phantom of the Opera'?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Blog Number 11 - Budget for '300' movie, $60 million

The latest word is that filming will begin on Frank Miller's '300' on October 17th, 2005 in Montreal with a budget of $60 million. The movie, according to 'The Hollywood Reporter' will incorporate the use of 'green screen technology' similar to what director Robert Rodriguez used for another Frank Miller movie, 'Sin City'.

Since '300' will be shot using this format, the background scenery which will be added later could be accurately recreated to portray the battlefield of Thermopylae as it appeared in 480 B.C. In one of the next several posts, I will show the artist Stanley Meltzoff's depiction of the battlefield of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. so that it can be seen why this battlefield was chosen by the Greek forces to meet the numerically superior Persian army.

Do you think $60 million will be enough to make this film appealing?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Blog Number 10 - '300' movie in Canada, 'The 300 Spartans' in Greece

I was disappointed when I first heard that Frank Miller's '300' would be filmed completely in-studio in Canada. 20th Century Fox's 'The 300 Spartans' was filmed in Greece which I felt lent a nice touch of realism to the 1962 movie version of the Battle of Thermopylae. Even if the clashes between the Greeks and Persians aren't filmed at the actual battlefield, I was hoping that most of '300' would be shot in Greece as its predecessor. I thought perhaps some of the exterior shots could be filmed in Sparta or near other Greek locales that are intrinsic to this heroic story, however, according to the latest news that doesn't seem like it will be happening.

As far as filming at present day Thermopylae is concerned, over the millenia the landscape has changed drastically, rendering it unrecognizable to those who have read Herodotus or other authors' accounts of this battle. One positive note to be gained out of filming it in-studio is that it will be possible with the aid of computer imagery to replicate the terrain so as to provide a reasonable facsimile of how the battlefield looked in 480 B.C.

Anyone interested in this genre of movies only has to look at 'Gladiator' to know that much is possible with today's computer enhancements. That being said, I would rather have an accurate looking battlefield which is integral to the story of the Battle of Thermopylae than having it filmed in Greece. I'll still be disappointed about not having it filmed in the land where these heroic warriors fought and died, however, all will be forgotten by the critics and masses, myself included, if the finished product is somewhat true to the essence of the story. Remember, this is Hollywood that we are speaking about!!!

I don't expect a 'factual' account of the battle, especially since this movie will be an adaptation of Frank Miller's '300' comics and not the works of Herodotus. Then again, 'The 300 Spartans' had several inaccuracies, however, for the most part, the underlying theme of the movie was the bravery and self-sacrifice of the Spartan warriors and that is what meant the most to me.

If this movie version which is scheduled to be released in 2006 conforms to Frank Miller's '300' comics, this theme will be visited once again. '300' will attract a new audience that might not be as familiar with events of 480 B.C. and undoubtedly will be viewed by many of the devotees of the original movie and the works of Herodotus.

Do you believe that they should have filmed most, if not all of '300' in Greece or does it not matter? I'm curious about this one!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Blog Number 9 - Filming location for '300' movie; it's not Thermopylae

When it was first reported, Frank Miller's Battle of Thermopylae saga, '300', was to have been shot entirely in-studio in Vancouver, Canada. The latest news from 'The Hollywood Reporter' reports that instead of being filmed in Vancouver, it has now changed to Montreal.

Well at least the location of the filming is headed in the right direction; EASTWARD!! If they keep moving in this direction, by the time they start filming the movie in October, perhaps they'll end up shooting it in Greece, or at least part of it.

How do you feel about the movie being filmed in Canada as opposed to Greece?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Blog Number 8 - Sienna Miller as Queen Gorgo in '300' movie???

As reported initially by 'The Daily Mirror', Sienna Miller was cast as Queen Gorgo, the wife of King Leonidas of Sparta in Frank Miller's '300'. However, it seems that Sienna Miller (no relation to Frank) won't be playing the role as originally reported. This was the first major cast announcement, which just goes to show how volatile the movie industry is and how things can change so quickly. I for one and I'm sure many others are hoping that the 2006 premier will still hold true!

Incidentally, the role of Queen Gorgo in 1962's 'The 300 Spartans' was played by the Greek actress, Anna Synodinou.

The role of Queen Gorgo in 'The 300 Spartans' was a minor one. Do you think that the role will be more significant in '300'?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Blog Number 7 - Warner Bros. '300' movie screen test

According to an interview which appeared at, Tyler Bates who is the composer of '300' said that the screen shot that was submitted to Warner Bros. by Zack Snyder was a single unedited shot which was over a minute and a half in length.

Bates also said: 'We see a line of the Spartans line up against the army of 10,000 Persians ready to invade. It was really fantastic. I was really blown away and, like I said, there were no edits in the whole shot, so it was really cool.'

After reading this part of the interview, the screen shot which was submitted seems to be the clash between the 300 Spartans and the 10,000 Persians known as 'The Immortals.' This was also a pretty memorable seen in 'The 300 Spartans' when the elite of the Persian army met up with the elite of the Greek army.

The battle between the 'Immortals' was the highlight of 'The 300 Spartans'. Do you think it will be once again?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Blog Number 6 - Tyler Bates, Composer for '300' movie

It was confirmed recently that Tyler Bates who was the composer for Zack Snyder's remake of the 'Dawn of the Dead' will handle the same responsibilities for Frank Miller's '300'. I'm curious if  the Snyder/Bates collaboration attains the same type of success in this movie about the Battle of Thermopylae as other movie-making tandems such as Robert De Niro/Martin Scorsese, Johnny Depp/Tim Burton, Denzel Washington/Spike Lee and let's not forget Woody Allen/Woody Allen.

Will the Tyler Bates soundtrack be as memorable as the music to 'The 300 Spartans'?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Blog Number 5 - Zack Snyder '300' movie interview

According to a November 2004 undergroundonline (UGO) interview, Zack Snyder who will be directing Frank Miller's '300' had this to say about the movie; 'We are about to shoot a test for Warner Brothers because they want to see how the comic book comes to life and what it looks like.' Hopefully, the execs like it which I'm sure they will (HOW CAN THEY NOT!).

The last time a movie based on the battle of Thermopylae was released was in 1962, therefore, this is a long time coming. Hopefully this rendition of the brave 300 Spartan warriors and the other Greek hoplites comes to fruition and if it does, I'm very curious as to who will be chosen to portray some of the major characters.

Are you happy with the cast of actors that have been chosen so far?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Blog Number 4 - '300' movie vs. 'The 300 Spartans'

I was looking through the Frank Miller '300' hardcover recently and thinking about how his rendition of the Battle of Thermopylae will be perceived by the viewers who have seen the movie 'The 300 Spartans'.

Let's suppose that with Zack Snyder's direction, '300' conforms to Miller's version as depicted in the 5-part comic book series. Much has changed over the years in the way war has been presented on film and in my opinion there is no better way to illustrate these differences than to compare 'The Longest Day' with 'Saving Private Ryan'.

The 'Longest Day' which coincidentally was released in 1962 as was 'The 300 Spartans' was filmed in black and white and was based on the true story of the D-Day invasion during WWII. Now we fast-forward to several decades later and we have 'Saving Private Ryan' which is a fictional account of the D-Day invasion, loosely based on the Sullivan brothers who perished during WWII while serving in the Navy. Much of the movie was filmed with muted tones, perhaps to minimize the impact of seeing all the blood and limbs strewn over the Omaha beach head, however, it was still an extremely graphic movie, especially the first several minutes.

The 'Longest Day' and 'The 300 Spartans' were sterilized accounts of the battles of D-Day and Thermopylae, respectively. In keeping with the times, the wounded and dead were shown in sanitized versions, without any limb dismemberments, nor with any blood spewing from wounds. In other words, these visuals were conforming to the standards that had been set by the motion picture industry for the early 1960's.

'Saving Private Ryan' which premiered in 1998, on the other hand, showed several of the GI's with ghastly wounds and other horrific scenes with which I had never seen in other WWII movies. It also showed the aftermath of the battle which for several seconds focused on the bloody tide gently cascading over the American dead. In other words, the battle scenes were very realistic and extremely explicit even in these times of relaxed movie standards.

Therefore, I believe that the movie '300' will parallel and perhaps surpass 'Saving Private Ryan' in its depiction of the brutality of war. 'Braveheart' and the 'Gladiator' are other examples that show how gruesome war can be, so I suspect that based on Zack Snyder's track record, '300' will be as bloody, if not bloodier.

Would you rather see an accurate depiction of the battle, or would you rather see a movie with very little blood and gore?