Deadline Comic-Con film correspondent Luke Y Thompson files:
Director Tarsem Singh (THE CELL) presented his latest visual overload with a mythological Greek setting, as 300 producers Mark Canton and Gianni Nunnari insisted that this project stands on its own and should not be considered a 300 knock-off. Singh said the film is a little bit darker than the trailers indicate. Greek gods are depicted as “young and pissed!” according to Nunnari. “If you were immortal, what would you rather look like?” asks Tarsem.
Freida Pinto, Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans, Kellan Lutz, and Henry Cavill are also here. No Mickey Rourke, unfortunately.
Though some of the fights shown echo 300 a bit – slo-mo in some scenes involves characters moving so fast they leave a blurry light trail – the color palette is more varied, and the scale epic, with Tarsem’s surreal aesthetic dominating any scenes that involve the gods and their enemies the titans. There’s a minotaur, a giant tidal wave, and Mickey Rourke in a Dracula-like mask setting somebody on fire, as John Hurt’s narration informs us that Rourke’s King Hyperion plans to unleash the titans from Mount Tartarus and beat the gods. Lots of bodies being slammed into walls and blood splattering like paint thrown from a can. It may not be a direct 300 copy, but the footage inspires and fires up the audience similarly, hitting the same buttons.
Lutz laughingly called his character Poseidon, “the god of wetness and moisture,” and claimed he got into character by watching THE LITTLE MERMAID over and over. Evans plays a much younger Zeus than usually depicted; Dorff plays a slave who joins up with Theseus.
Canton and Nunnari said they always look for the next thing; aren’t surprised that big-budget franchises have snapped up most of these actors.
Singh, an atheist, was inspired when his mother said: “How do you think you’re as successful as you are without all my praying?”
Some surprisingly spoiler-heavy footage was also shown, in 2D for now, which emphasizes the blood-splatterings, impalings, beheadings, hammer-throwing – all look designed for 3D. Major characters appear to die. Zeus pulls on some gold chains to bring down giant statues and collapse Mt. Tartarus from the inside. Total eye-candy, with the gods’ gold armor laced with crimson by the end.
A lot more of the sets are practical than in 300 – Singh didn’t have a comic book to fall back on, so he had to be able to see the aesthetic practically. Admits that he normally doesn’t start with a good script, and that he knows critics spit on him for that. He starts with an image in his mind. His style is “static” – doesn’t like shaky-cam stuff. As for his 3D aesthetic: “It works right now, it’ll probably date, but hey, such is life”
For Cavill, maintaining the physique was the hardest part of filming. Pinto’s first scene was a sex scene, which Tarsem found embarrassing to shoot, but calls it “gorgeous.” She loved watching the men “bare it all.”
All Cavill will say about Zack Snyder’s SUPERMAN is that it’s one of the best scripts he’s ever read.
Panel closes with the fight scene shown again, which the fans heartily applaud.