The first images from director Noam Murro’s 300: Rise of an Empire are now available. We get a close-up of Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom) who stars as Themistocles, a Greek general who battles against the invading Persian army. The sequel to Zack Snyder’s 300 takes place at roughly the same time but will visit a variety of different locations (including the sea) and showcase appropriate tactics as the outnumbered Greeks attempt to defend their homeland.
Also starring Rodrigo Santoro, Eva Green and Lena Headey, 300: Rise of an Empire opens August 2nd. Hit the jump to check out the pictures and quotes.
The official Facebook page of the comic book sequel 300: Rise of an Empire was updated with a new image showcasing the film’s title in typical Spartan fashion. The title image shares many similarities with its predecessor, the Gerald Butler blockbuster 300, but fails to offer any new information aside from indicating that they intend to stick to this title (the follow-up was previously called 300: Battle of Artemisia). 300: Rise of an Empire is set to hit theaters August 2nd 2013 and stars Rodrigo Santoro, Eva Green and Sullivan Stapleton, and is loosely based on the comic ”Xeres” by Frank Miller. Hit the jump for the full res image and for more information on the spin-off/sequel.
Let’s get to a bit of casting news today:
- Dennis Haysbert (24) will join Sin City: A Dame to Kill For as a replacement for Michael Clarke Duncan, who sadly passed away this past September. The sequel, directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, also stars Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Jaime King, Rosario Dawson and Jamie Chung.
- Timothy Olyphant (Justified) will join the horror-Western Bone Tomahawk, the directorial debut of S. Craig Zahler that already stars Kurt Russell, Peter Sarsgaard, Richard Jenkins and Jennifer Carpenter.
- Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom) and Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) will join the Australian production of the thriller Cut Snake, also starring Rachael Taylor (Transformers).
Hit the jump for more on each picture.
While rumors continue to swirl around Disney’s Star Wars, Marvel is busy looking for their Star-Lord. A shortlist of actors is reportedly being tested for the lead role in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn (Super). Included on that list are Joel Edgerton (Warrior), Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire), Jim Sturgess (Cloud Atlas), Lee Pace (Lincoln) and Eddie Redmayne (My Week with Marilyn). The leader of the Guardians, Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, was born of a human mother and alien father. He’s a master strategist and combat expert who wears an ability-enhancing suit and pilots a psychically-linked ship. Sounds like a fun role for any one of these guys to make their own, but there have been even more names thrown into the competition. Hit the jump to check them out.
Because it would be silly and confusing to name the sequel to Zack Snyder’s 300, 301 or 300: 2, the follow-up has now been given the official title of 300: Rise of an Empire. Previously, the Noam Murro sequel/spin-off was titled 300: Battle of Artemisia, but perhaps that was too confusing and so we’re now left with this generic title that continues the theme of recent movies (The Dark Knight Rises, Rise of the Guardians, etc). Deadline reports that the Legendary Pictures film will keep its release date of August 2nd, 2013 intact. 300: Rise of an Empire stars Eva Green, Rodrigo Santoro, Sullivan Stapleton and Andrew Tiernan in a story based off of a Frank Miller comic. Be sure to catch up with all of our previous coverage on the 300 spin-off here.
The 300 sequel, 300: Battle of Artemisia has finally cast its first male lead in the form of Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom). Stapleton will star opposite Eva Green (Casino Royale), who was in recent talks to play Artemisia, the “ruthless, gold-covered goddess who persuades Xerxes to amass his army and helps lead them into battle.” There is currently some confusion as to whether Stapleton will be cast as Xerxes (portrayed in the original 300 by Rodrigo Santoro) or if he will be portraying the lead role of Themistocles, the leader of the Greek forces who oppose the Persian army.
Directed by Noam Murro (Smart People) and written/produced by 300 director Zack Snyder, 300: Battle of Artemisia takes place in a similar time as the original but will have a new setting and cast of characters. Hit the jump for more.
Animal Kingdom features an outstanding ensemble cast portraying characters that run the gamut of the moral compass from Australian acting icon, Jacki Weaver, who plays Smurf, the deceptively sunny matriarch of the family, to international screen star, Guy Pearce, who plays an honest detective seeking justice for a cold blooded murder, to 17-year-old James Frecheville making his big screen debut as “J,” the naïve young nephew who moves in with his estranged family and finds himself in a world that is far larger and more menacing than he could ever imagine.
We sat down with Jacki recently at a roundtable interview to talk about her villainous performance in Animal Kingdom. A highly respected stage and screen actor with a slew of industry awards, she has been at the forefront of the Australian entertainment industry for over four decades, both on screen and on stage, and has starred in many seminal Australian films including Picnic at Hanging Rock. Jacki talked to us about why the moral ambiguity of her character makes it such an interesting story, what it was like working with David Michod, and how she kept it real, shifting effortlessly between normal, sweet and lovable one moment to monstrously cold and callous the next.
Welcome to the Melbourne underworld, where tensions are building between dangerous criminals and equally dangerous police. In Animal Kingdom, a menacing character-driven crime drama written and directed by David Michod, the Wild West is being played out on the city’s streets in a modern version of gangsters versus renegade cops. Following the death of his mother, 17-year-old Joshua “J” Cody (James Frecheville) goes to live with his estranged family – a deceptively sunny grandmother, Smurf (Jacki Weaver), her hardened criminal sons, Pope (Ben Mendelsohn), Craig (Sullivan Stapleton) and Darren (Luke Ford), and Pope’s business partner, Barry ‘Baz’ Brown (Joel Edgerton). Before long, he finds himself naively navigating his way through this criminal world caught between family loyalties and the police who want his uncles dead or alive, including a senior cop (Guy Pearce) who attempts to lure “J” into the police fold.
We sat down with James and Sullivan to talk about their new film. James told us what it was like playing the young and impressionable “J” and to be cast opposite such an established Australian cast for his feature film debut. Sullivan, who plays the speed-addicted and volatile Craig Cody, described how he was attracted to the project by the caliber of script and cast and how he collaborated with Michod and his fellow actors to work out the unusual family dynamics and idiosyncratic behavior of his character.
Animal Kingdom evolved over a nine-year period inspired by writer/director David Michod’s fascination with the colorful, criminal landscape of Melbourne and a strong desire to film the city in a way that it’s rarely viewed. The film tells the story of 17-year-old Joshua “J” Cody (James Frecheville) who, following the death of his mother, must navigate his survival between a violent criminal family (Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, Jacki Weaver, Sullivan Stapleton) and the detective (Guy Pearce) who thinks he can save him.
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, Animal Kingdom is smartly written, confidently directed, and features an outstanding ensemble cast. We sat down with David to talk about his new movie. He told us what inspired him to write the sprawling, multi-layered Australian crime story, how he assembled such a top-notch cast, and why it was important to make a crime film that took itself seriously and had a genuine and palpable sense of menace running through it.