There's been some confusion about Warner Bros.' upcoming 300 spinoff in recent months. The project has been referred to as both 300: Battle of Artemisia and 300: The Battle of Artemisium in the past, but is said to be currently without an official title. Similarly, some of the most recent casting updates have pegged the film as being a sequel, rather then a semi-prequel partially based on Frank Miller's Xerxes comic book mini-series (as was long thought to be the case).
Curiously enough, we've also heard little to nothing (before now) about Rodrigo Santoro, who portrayed the aforementioned Persian leader in Zack Snyder's 300 comic book movie adaptation. That finally changes today, as the Brazilian actor has confirmed that he is indeed in talks to reprise his part as Xerxes in the new 300 flick.
Santoro - who's also costarring in the upcoming Arnold Schwarzenegger comeback vehicle, The Last Stand - spoke recently to the international website UOL and revealed that he is not only in negotiations to return for the 300 spinoff, but that (according to CBM's translation) "it's not a sequel, but does not come before. It's a film that takes place at about the same time of the battle that goes on in the first film."
That gels with previous reports that the new 300 movie - which was scripted by Snyder and his 300 co-writer Kurt Johnstad, but will be directed by Noam Murro (Smart People) - focuses primarily on The Battle of Artemisium, which took place concurrently with The Battle of Thermopylae (from the first film). So, it seems as thought this new project has not been revamped as a direct followup to 300 after all.
For more about how Xerxes (Santoro), the "gold-covered maven goddess" Artemisia (Eva Green), and the Greek warrior Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton (?)) fit within the narrative cogs of the 300 spinoff, check out this detailed plot synopsis based on an earlier script draft by Snyder and Johnstad.
Since Snyder won't be directing the 300 spinoff (thanks to his helming duties on the Superman franchise reboot, Man of Steel), there's been some question as to how much the movie can successfully replicate the hyper-realistic fighting sequences and stylized digital photography - which were major selling points for its predecessor. That's assuming Murro doesn't aim for an entirely different look with his 300 flick (chances are good that he won't).
In other words: with a largely-untested cast and a director not known for his visual prowess working behind the scenes, it's hard to say just how much interest (or lack thereof) there will be for this film. Not to mention, the 300 spinoff's Xerxes-centric storyline (while intriguingly complex) isn't as easy a sell as the "noble warriors wreak bloody havoc on their enemies" logline for Snyder's original 300 movie.
We will continue to keep you up-to-date on the status of the 300 spinoff as more information is released.