It’s been awhile since we’ve heard anything regarding Warner Bros.’ 300 spinoff, then titled Xerxes. With 300 director Zack Snyder hard at work on Man of Steel, we learned back in February that Guy Ritchie passed on the pic and since then “mum” has been the word. All of that changes now as we finally have a couple of news bits to report from the project: 1) Warner Bros. has retitled the film 300: Battle of Artemisia and 2) Noam Murro (Smart People) and Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) are considered the top candidates to helm the film. Hit the jump for details.
Word of the title change and potential directorial candidates comes by way of Deadline. While I’m sure everyone was prepared for Warner Bros. to drape the spinoff’s promotional materials with 300 reminders, the change from Xerxes to 300: Battle of Artemisia essentially removes all doubt regarding that marketing end. Personally, I prefer the subtlety of Xerxes over the wordiness that is 300: Battle of Artemisia but that complaint may very well be less about the quality of the titles and more about my dreading the thought of typing the new title in every subsequent news post.
As for the potential directors, Jaume Collet-Serra gets the experience nod over Murro who has only one feature, 2008′s Smart People, under his belt as of now. That said, the latter is currently developing the next Die Hard installment over at 20th Century Fox so he must have some sort of action philosophy that impresses studios. Murro also has several DGA-nominations for his commercial work on products such as the Halo video game franchise meaning that he definitely has a penchant for things that “go boom.”
Over on Collet-Serra’s side of things, his attention from Warner Bros. can probably be attributed in large part to the solid box-office performance of Liam Neeson’s mystery/thriller Unknown (which he directed for the studio). He is also attached to direct the reinterpreted Bram Stoker’s Dracula pic, Harker, for WB and the Le Cercle Rouge remake, Red Circle, for Working Title and StudioCanal.
As a reminder, 300: Battle of Artemisia has a script by Snyder and 300 co-writer Kurt Johnstad. While there is no word on the condition of that script, the pic is set to touch on Xerxes’ mythology while focusing on how he became the curiously god-like being he looks to be in the 2006 predecessor. Finally, although the project has successfully laid low for quite a while before tonight, I consider these most recent reports to be a sign that more news may be developing sooner rather than later. Stay tuned.