Now playing in theaters is director Noam Murro’s 300: Rise of an Empire. In the sequel to Zack Snyder’s 300, Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god, Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemisia (Eva Green), the vengeful commander of the Persian navy. The film also stars Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, David Wenham, Igal Nao, Callan Mulvey, Jack O’Connell, and Andrew Tiernan. I’ve seen the film twice now and am happy to report the sequel kicks ass. The fight scenes are extremely well done, the 3D actually adds to the story, and Eva Green’s performance is worth the price of admission. It also might have the best sex scene of 2014, and it’s only February. While many might have wondered if we needed a sequel to 300, I’m very happy they made it.
At the Los Angeles press day I landed an exclusive video interview with producer Mark Canton. He talked about working with Harold Ramis early in his career, making Rise of an Empire, the use of 3D, more sequels, Eva Green’s amazing performance, the sex scene, and future projects like Power (which will air on Starz), The Last Witch Hunter with Vin Diesel, the possibility of a sequel to Immortals (they’re trying to find the right story), a trilogy of films about a young Julius Caesar, and more. Hit the jump to watch.
The Cannes Film Festival, like most major film festivals, is where studios deal behind the scenes to acquire films, although Cannes has the added touch of also packaging movies (which is why we’ve seen so many casting stories) and selling existing properties to foreign buyers. Lionsgate managed to sell nine of their movies, and their press release contains brief synopses for each of the films. Some confirm what we already know, some provide new information, and some are Step Up 5 (“Fifth installment of Summit Entertainment’s successful STEP UP franchise”).
Hit the jump for the synopses as well as the cast and above-the-line crew.
Hot on the heels of the first trailer for the significantly delayed genre pic Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, a witch hunting film of a different sort may have found its lead. The Wrap reports that Vin Diesel is in talks to star in The Crazies director Breck Eisner’s The Last Witch Hunter. Diesel would play one of the last remaining witch hunters who is tasked with “discouraging a group of witches and warlocks from reproducing.” Vin Diesel: Cock Blocker was previously set up as a directing vehicle for Wanted’s Timur Bekmambetov, but he’s now only onboard in a producer role. The script for the Lionsgate/Summit film was written by Cory Goodman (Priest).
Diesel is currently in London filming the Justin Lin-helmed sequel Fast & Furious 6, and he recently wrapped the third installment in his Chronicles of Riddick series, Riddick. The actor is also attached to star in the Iron Giant-esque possible franchise-starter The Machine, in which he’ll play a government-created machine that must protect the family who’s harboring him.
Breck Eisner (The Crazies) is in early talks to direct The Last Witch Hunter for Summit Entertainment. (Not to be confused with Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.) The Last Witch Hunter centers on one of the last remaining witch hunters charged with the population control of witches and warlocks. The magical breed is about to proliferate in “a major way” unless our protagonist can stop them.
According to Deadline, Cory Goodman (Priest) wrote the screenplay; Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) will produce. Eisner was mentioned in connection with the Ouija movie before McG landed the gig, and dropped out of the remake of The Brood late last year. However, Eisner is still attached to remakes of Flash Gordon and Escape from New York, so The Last Witch Hunter has some competition on the way to becoming the director’s next film.