In a shocking twist of events, Warner Bros. has offered Guy Ritchie the directors chair for the sequel to Zack Snyder's 300 film, Xerxes! I didn't see this coming at all. I figured Zack Snyder would be the director to bring Xerxes to the big screen, after all he seems to have been involved and excited for it ever since Frank Miller announced he was writing the comic.
There are two theoires behind this little director switch-a-roo. The first is that the studio wants Snyder to focus his attention on getting the Superman reboot of the ground, and they also want to get Xerxes into production as soon as they can as well. He obviously can't do both, and according to Vulture, "Insiders say the closely-guarded script for Superman suffers from major third-act problems, and the studio faces a ticking clock on that franchise, legally speaking; if a Superman film isn’t in production by 2013, Warner Bros. loses the rights to the entire Superman franchise and would have to re-license it from its original creators — the estates of Detective Comics writers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster — at great if not prohibitive expense." So it looks like Snyder has his work cut out for him.
The second theory presented is that Warner Bros. recently conducted some audience research screenings of Snyder’s Sucker Punch, and according to an insider the film tested poorly, saying, “It was bad; like, really bad. They’re [Warners brass] really not happy with it over there.” I don't know how true that is though because I know a few people who have seen it that say the movie is awesome, and if the film did test as bad as they say it was, then why is Snyder still on board to direct Superman which will be a huge film for the studio? On top of that Snyder's 300 was a pretty freakin' awesome movie, so why would the studio be affraid to bring Snyder into make a movie about a world he's already very familiar with? A movie they know he can deliver with no problems?
The second theory doesn't really make that much sense to me, so I have to go with the fact that he is going to have to focus all his attention and energy on the Superman film.
As far as Ritchie taking over the directors chair... that should be incredibly interesting to see what he could do with a movie like Xerxes. What do you all think about Ritchie taking over the directing duties for Snyder?
Here's a description of the film that Snyder previously gave,
This movie follows Themistocles and the Battle of Artemisium, which coincidentally happens on the exact same three days as the Battle of Thermopylae [which was the basis of '300'], This one starts off with a quick retelling of the why of the Persian wars. It starts off at the Battle of Marathon and then it goes back to Themistocles finding out that Persians are invading again. and off we go over to learn a little bit about why Xerxes is the way he is.
Darius [the Persian king and father of Xerxes] gets wounded at Marathon and he's super cool and like a great guy. Even the Greeks are like, 'Darius is awesome.' After Darius dies, Xerxes is so distraught, but Darius had told him, 'Don't attack the Greeks, only a god can punish the Greeks.' So that's when he calls his mystics and wizards and says, 'Make me a god so I can avenge my father.'
What I said to the studio is that '300' gave everyone a chance to fight alongside a super warrior, a chance to fight alongside these Spartan warriors that you could never fight against; but Themistocles is different, he is us, It's much more about the everyman.
Themistocles is kind of the father of democracy. It's much more about these guys choosing. The Spartans are, 'We fight, we die,' so that's an easy choice for them, there's no surrender. The cool thing about Themistocles and his gang is that it's way more difficult. Things aren't as clear or unchallenged. He has to be more political to get everyone to agree. It's political, in the soap-opera sense of the word. There's a relationship with Leonidas ... and ... well, we'll see where it all goes.