“The creators of 300 bring you …” You could follow those words with just about anything and I’d be interested. But when the producers of the action-packed, neo-classic film 300 present viewers with a trailer like Immortals, you’ve got to be blown away.
Immortals basically looks like 300 amped up on steroids. It’s the Jose Canseco of Greek mythology. The film has armies, battles, gods, heroes and Mickey Rourke. You can’t go wrong with this picture; and the filmmakers, producers and stars sat down with us at San Diego Comic-Con 2011 to discuss what movie-goers have to look forward to at the film’s release date, November 11, 2011, or (conveniently) 11/11/11.
“The idea when you’re growing up as a boy to play a sword-wielding hero and beating up the bad guy is a fun thing,” said Henry Cavill (The Count of Monte Cristo, the upcoming Man of Steel), who stars as Theseus in Immortals.
In speaking about his attraction to the role, Cavill said, “Ultimately, it came down to [director] Tarsem [Singh]. The script had a few kinks initially, but Tarsem’s vision and passion for it was amazing. Even if Tarsem came to me with a piece of wood and pretended it was a script and told me he was very passionate about it, he could sell me on it.”
Director Tarsem Singh elaborated on how slight the original script actually was. “A few kinks is an understatement,” Singh said. “There was practically nothing there originally. All we had was one scene. But I wanted the right actor and found Henry. Whatever you changed about the script, he could act it. When we started, he was a king’s son; now he’s a peasant.”
But from these humble beginnings a huge film was made. Singh said, “The movie is not traditionally Greek. I wasn’t interested in staying with the traditional Greek. Then you’d have an exact replica of 300. I wanted to do a story based around a concept. That being: If gods exist, then why is the world as miserable as it is? But if you deal with any modern religion, you’ll get stoned in some countries, killed in others. So you pick a dead religion like the Greeks. Then you’ll just get people bitching about you on the Internet.”
Singh took this original concept and developed it into a film he describes as “fun and dark and lovely and sexy. Violent, too. It’s wild and sexy!”
Cavill (who will be playing Superman in the upcoming Man of Steel film) discussed the physical training involved with the role. He called the work “extensive and exhausting. Some days were 9 to 5.” Cavill continued, “You certainly learn a lot when you go through the process. You learn how to do it more efficiently. I’m 25 pounds heavier since going through it.”
When asked what about this film would appeal to audiences, director Singh replied with a question. “You mean this film? With a bunch of sexy gods fighting each other?”
Obviously the creators of Immortals are confident with this intense action flick they’ve created. Some of the other stars echo their comments.
Kellan Lutz (Emmett Cullen from The Twilight Saga) plays Poseidon, god of the sea. He described it as “a dream role for me.” Lutz added, “I love that Tarsem made them young gods. This way we can have more fun with it. If you’re a god, you may as well be at your peak. And [as Poseidon] I love having a trident. That’s awesome for the fight scenes.”
Playing Poseidon’s brother, Zeus, king of the gods, is Luke Evans (Clash of the Titans, Robin Hood, The Hobbit). He described the director by saying, “Tarsem has energy at full measure, and it never goes below 100 percent. And you either have to match it or go away, have a word with yourself and come back and match it. And he’s a blast to work with. I can’t fathom even having dreams as vivid as the images Tarsem creates.”.
Evans explained the gods are much more exciting in this film than many others with similar subject matters because “the gods could easily be boring if you look at them just as gods. In lots of films they sit there with big beards and look into a pool reflecting on Earth and say well send someone down to deal with this or that and don’t do anything themselves. Tarsem made them prime physical specimens who went down and did the fighting themselves.”
Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) appears as the oracle priestess Phaedra. The stunningly beautiful actress indicated that she knew the film would be unique. “I felt this film would be different by the way Tarsem presented it. The way he sold it was wonderful, and it wasn’t like a traditional Greek epic. The openness was really great and different. The attention to detail was immense.”
Experienced Hollywood actor Stephen Dorff, who appears as Stavros in the film, talks about his impression of the director, saying, “I thought he was a very talented guy.” He elaborated on his role by saying, “I liked the part of Stavros because he’s an everyman, not a god dressed in gold. But he decides to team up with the crew. I knew Tarsem had something to prove, and I thought, ‘Let’s go for this role.'”
“Visually he’s created a world we’ve never seen,” Dorff said. “It should feel original. Amped up for the 300 crowd. My character does get in some sword fights. I wanted Stavros to be someone the audience could identify with. I’m human. I’m hungry. I’m horny. I’m really attracted to The Oracle.”
Finally, film producer Mark Canton (who co-produced with Gianni Nunnari and Ryan Kavanaugh) described the film by saying, “Thematically it’s a quest to find your faith, becoming a hero and being the best version of yourself. It’s about patriotism, heroism, romance and trying to do good against a great evil.” Canton concluded, “Greek mythology was so much about moving forward. Theseus was a non-believer who becomes a believer in the greater good, and I think themes like that are important today.”
Immortals arrives on November 11. Check out all the latest info at the official Immortals website.
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