Despite the financial success of last year's Clash of the Titans remake, even that film's star has admitted there's room for improvement in the sequel, Wrath of the Titans. Jonathan Liebesman will take over the directorial reigns from Titans helmer Louis Letterier, and he's opened up a bit about just what his plans are for the new battle between mortals and gods.
Liebesman's Battle: Los Angeles hits theaters in about two weeks time, but he'll begin shooting Wrath of the Titans around England and Wales in ten days - and as it turns out, he won't be shooting using 3D technology.
Sony held a press junket for Battle:LA yesterday, where Liebesman discussed his plans to make Clash of the Titans 2 more realistic in terms of lighting, atmosphere, costumes, etc. He specifically cited Ridley Scott's Oscar-winning epic Gladiator (multiple times, at that) as a model he's following to make Wrath look and feel more naturalistic - even with giant CGI monsters running amuck.
While Liebesman hopes that Wrath will have some "real grit to it" (no true grit, sadly), he remains aware of the fact that he's still making a fantastical adventure film for the masses. As he put it:
"I'm gonna tone it down from 'Battle: LA'. Cause [that movie] is much more like Iraq war footage... I think ['Wrath of the Titans'] is more something in line with say 'Gladiator', where there are aspects of that grounded filmmaking but I don't wanna take it too far."
While the Titans remake was mostly just a mindless bit of blockbuster ham, Warner Bros. infamously rushed the post-conversion 3D process, despite the film having been conceived and shot in two dimensions. The result was a poorly proportioned and headache-inducing mess for those that plucked on glasses to watch Titans in the extra dimension - enough so that some theaters actually put up signs warning people in advance that the 3D movie was not produced using the appropriate technology, a la Avatar.
It turns out that Wrath of the Titans won't actually be shot using 3D camera technology either. However, Liebesman will alter the film's aspect ratio (to 1.8:5, for you tech buffs out there), along with "the sets [and] the way I'm going to shoot the choreography of the shots... instead of say 4 shots we're gonna do 1."
Post-production conversion to 3D has earned a bad (but unfortunately deserved) rep for yielding only decent to poor results in comparison to actually shooting with 3D camera rigs. Liebesman appears to be quite sensitive to that, and says he actually spoke with James Cameron in depth about the proper aspect ratio and scope for 3D pictures. The director is also claiming that he'll have 3D technicians on the Wrath of the Titans set to advise him as well.
Here's what it boiled down to for Liebesman:
"I did a bunch of tests with different digital cameras... and the one thing that was very difficult for me was, I felt for a Greek epic I wanted to shoot on film to get that texture that I was looking for with that motion blur... I would always prefer to shoot native, I just feel like film is the way to go with a Greek epic. Especially the way I wanna shoot it, which is more old school."
At the end of the day, most everyone is just hoping that Wrath of the Titans will deliver loads of fun action involving clashing swords and giant beasts - and perhaps have some better dialogue, interesting characters, and a decently structured plot to boot. So long as Liebesman creates an enjoyable popcorn flick that doesn't make your brain hurt too much, he should be fine.
Wrath of the Titans will be shot over a period of 78 days and is aiming to reach theaters by March 23rd, 2012. That's the same day The Hunger Games is scheduled to arrive, so don't be surprised if one or the other changes dates in the future.