It was just a few years ago that the world was introduced to Zack Snyder‘s hyper-action, blood soaked style in 300, which turned the movie and the budding filmmaker into superstars. Snyder’s career path became filled with possibilities, but he never forgot about the film that catapulted him on to the A list. So he helped co-write the semi-sequel, though he handed the directing reigns over on 300: Rise of an Empire to Noam Murro.
After the film spent some time in pre-production limbo, 300: Rise of an Empire is now finished and out in theaters for the world to see. We got the chance to speak with Zack Snyder about letting Noam Murro take over the directing spot and his thoughts on the new movie.
Zack, what was it about Noam’s directorial background that drew you to him as your successor?
Zack Snyder: We had the script, and we knew that I was going to go do Man of Steel and there was no way, honestly, I was going to be able to do anything. It was a big decision to say “Oh, well maybe we should get another director to direct the movie”. So, we started to talk about directors, and Debbie [Snyder] had worked with Noam on a TV commercial back in Toronto, and we talked. She had been a big fan of Noam’s, and still is of course – and now in this new incarnation. That originally initiated the idea that we might work with him, and then he came and told us a little about what he wanted to do with the movie… Frankly, it was a lot of the things that I had said to these guys all those years ago when I was pitching the original movie. What I felt was a symmetry in the full circle aspect of it. Then he did this cool presentation, and then we felt like he had the, sort of, vocabulary to make something cool, and he has. That’s how we came to it.
I really enjoyed the family relationships. Not only between father and son, but everyone else… They had their motivations on things that had happened to their families, and defending family. Can you talk about the element of protecting, and defending your family, and having the honor with the defense theme?
Zack Snyder: I think what Kurt [Johnstad] and I were talking about when we originally started talking about how we would incorporate the different characters, and make them do what they were going to do in the movie. I think it’s always like “Oh, the dad, the wife, the mother… “, those are strong things that we always talk about. For us, it’s just sort of talking about the origins of the story – that these guys go into battle for their families, or their children. It made it’s way into the story pretty easily.
Any final thoughts on 300: Rise of an Empire for those who are anticipating the film?
Zack Snyder: We have an amazing cast and you can see that they’re funny and smart and physical and amazing actors. We have an awesome director who made I think a picture that, it is true that when we made 300, in truth, a lot of the movie was also created with economic restrictions. We had this idea of the style of the movie we wanted to make, and we knew it was a boutique-y movie; we thought it was a movie for kind of a small audience that would be into this kind of crazy, comic-booky sword and sandals movie. It was kind of a genre that didn’t exist. There are sword and sandals movies and comic book movies, but there wasn’t the rules of mashing those things up wasn’t really around. And Frank [Miller] had done it in the comic book, and to me when I read the comic book, it was oh, this is an amazing comic book, and the cool thing about what these guys have done and the movie has done is that it took that language without a comic book, because Frank hasn’t finished it, but sort of with Frank’s inspiration flowing across.
When we finished 300, they all died, so I guess that’s it. We didn’t really think there could be another movie. B ut I think when Frank came and said this other thing happened on the same three days as Thermopylae, we were like, what? That’s cool. And actually it’s really fun for me to see these two movies kind of exist now next to each other. We were talking about how you could cut them together if you were ambitious, and maybe some fans will do that. But it’s really satisfying for me because in a way it’s come full circle for me.
300: Rise of an Empire is out in theaters now.