Why am I not surprised.
In the spirit of brand name recognition, the prequel to Zack Snyder’s successful historical action fantasy “300″ has been given a new title. The prequel was called “Xerxes”, after the Persian King who conquered much of the ancient world.
Yesterday, Deadline reported that the new title would be “300: Battle Of Artemisia”. Which is misleading for two reasons. One, it completely omits the person that the movie is about. Two, Artemisia is actually a person, not a place. She was the only female commander in King Xerxes’ army, and a highly respected counsellor for royal affairs. The so-called “battle” the title is referring to is the Battle of Salamis (405BC), an attack on the Greeks which Artemisia had advised Xerxes against. Her strategy was instead to take on the Greek fleet where they least expected it and cause them to scatter, leaving them vulnerable to the full force of the Persian ground troops. Xerxes being the hubristic bastard that he was, took on a fully-prepared Greek army, and lost. Based on that historical event, the tone of the prequel is obviously once again focused on showing how badass the Spartans were (they were part of the Greek nation). And once again setting up Xerxes to look like a pansy.
Snyder is no longer in the director’s chair, as previously rumoured. Now, the job will go to either one of these shortlisted guys: Noam Murro, who is tipped to helm “Die Hard 5″, and Spaniard Jaume Collet-Serra (“Unknown”).
Rodrigo Santoro is apparently a lock to reprise Xerxes, gold body piercings and all. And as the events of the prequel are set about 10 years before “300″, there is room to feature Spartan King Leonidas. So we may get to see Gerard Butler in his signature role again. Personally, I think that’s a force-fit, but hey, that’s Hollywood for you…