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?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Blog Number 3 - Zack Snyder '300' movie & the 'Dawn of the Dead'

Zack Snyder will be at the helm for Frank Miller's '300' and since I was unfamiliar with his work, I had had to check out what other movies he's directed. I learned that he had directed the 2004 remake of the cult classic 'Dawn of the Dead' which I hadn't seen and according to the reviews, had more than its fair share of gore and violence.

There will always be the inevitable comparisons made between an original and the remake(s) that follow(s), and of course, 'Dawn of the Dead' is no exception. According to the majority of the critics and viewers, it seems as if Zack Snyder did a pretty credible job which bodes well for those who are fans of the '300' comics. I believe that with Snyder directing, his adaptation of Miller & Varley's '300' will be brought to the big screen with the same amount of graphic detail as the comics.

If you've seen 'Dawn of the Dead', do you think '300' will be a R-rated movie for the depiction of the battle?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Blog Number 2 - Zack Snyder to direct 'Frank Miller's '300' movie

Several months ago, I read that Zack Snyder would be directing '300' which would be based on Frank Miller & Lynn Varley's 5-part eponymous comic book series. Since '300' is based on the Battle of Thermopylae, I was very much elated, to say the least.

After being disappointed numerous times about the constant speculation surrounding Steven Pressfield's excellent book 'Gates of Fire', it was terrific to hear that a movie would be made once again about the 300 Spartans. The way I looked at it was, whether or not a movie about the 300 Spartans was based on fact or fiction, it didn't concern me as long as it brought the story of the heroic Spartan warriors to the big screen.

If you've read Frank Miller's '300' would you rather have it stay truthful to the author's version, or would you rather see a historically accurate movie of the battle?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Blog Number 1 - The '300' Spartans

Exactly one year ago today, I started a web log about my favorite movie 'The 300 Spartans' entitled 'King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans of Thermopylae'. This movie had such an impact on me when I first saw it in Australia as a six year old, that as I grew older I started buying books, art, statues, basically anything that I could find about King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans of Thermopylae. I also started collecting memorabilia from the movie which I had posted on the aforementioned web log so that others who share the same passion could see what is available. Did this collecting turn into an expensive habit? YOU BET!!!

Then along came Frank Miller's '300' ............. and the resumption of spending more money, which culminated in the purchase of the rare signed Frank Miller & Lynn Varley limited edition lithograph!!!

When I started my web log back in September of last year, I started posting twice every week about the legendary warriors known collectively as the 300 Spartans. However, with all the news regarding Frank Miller's '300' movie, I found that I was blogging much more frequently. In addition, I was occasionally posting about Steven Pressfield's excellent book on the Battle of Thermopylae, 'Gates of Fire'.

Therefore, I thought I would start new web logs which would focus only on matters relative to Frank Miller's '300' & Steven Pressfield's 'Gates of Fire' while still continuing to post about the movie 'The 300 Spartans' on my other blog.

With that being said, you have just read my 1st blog of 300!