TR Interview: Noam Murro, Director of 300: Rise of an Empire

By Luke Y. Thompson in Comics, Movies
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 11:30 am

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LYT: On a very minor note, one thing I noticed - because they showed 300 the original again in Imax...

NM: Sure.

LYT: ...and I was watching it, and I could see the seams on the make-up of Ephialtes and the other giant. And on this one, the Ephialtes make-up was so much better.

NM: Yeah, we - time does wonders, and they had challenges that we could solve now, technically, and part of it was the learning curve from the original, and how complex that suit needs to be, and all that kind of stuff, so we perfected it - or tried to perfect it.

LYT: I know this may be a secret you don't want to spill, but his giant eye - was that a motion capture, or was that a practical effect? It looked really, really good.

NM: It looked really good. It is a CGI. There was one there, and then we animated it, which now you can.

LYT: How hard was it to round up all the old characters together? Was there anyone that you wanted to get from the first film that you wanted to get but couldn't? Like, maybe you wanted more Gerard Butler flashbacks?

NM: You know, I think that that was part of the design of the movie. I think that at some point there was discussion with Gerard, but I think that the architecture of the film lent itself to where it is now, and I think everybody was so excited to come back, that I didn't see any issue with that.

LYT: The scenes with Gerard in it - are they footage from the first one that's post-converted, or was anything new shot with him?

NM: Nothing shot with him new. There's a couple of shots in there that you see him, really, and that's from the first movie.

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LYT: How much of the history did you study? I know you didn't want to be bound by it, but did you read a lot of it?

NM: I've read enough to understand that you had to put it aside and just go with the good story.

LYT: I ask because one of my readers - one of my regular commenters and readers is a big history buff, and he says that there is some discussion in historical circles that the ancient Greek helmets were meant to be phallic.

NM: I wouldn't argue with that. How can you? We can do it with reality and go, "Those helmets were meant to be phallic." Sure! Sounds good.

LYT: I was talking earlier to the writer Kurt, and he mentioned that you added the rain to the marathon battle, even though it wasn't historically there, because it looked a lot cooler and made it look Shakespearean.

NM: That's right.

LYT: And we mentioned the shot of the horse rearing up and the lightning in its eye and the feet coming down on the head - that was your idea?

NM: I don't remember what came in first, but yeah - the idea of putting first experience of the marathon battle was to show a new interpretation on the land battle, that you really have not seen before, so the lightning and all that was designed from the beginning.

LYT: And who came up with the sea monsters? Those were awesome.

NM: Writers! [laughs] It was written.

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300: Rise of an Empire opens Friday.

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