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Questions still linger about 300: Battle of Artemisia, the follow-up to Zack Snyder’s hit 2006 adaptation of the Frank Miller miniseries. Initially characterized as a prequel based on Miller’s upcoming Dark Horse comic Xerxes, the film has since been described in more nebulous terms, with the action expected to be set during the Battle of Artemisium, a series of naval engagements that took place simultaneously with the more famous Battle of Thermopylae.
Speaking with Collider, Rodrigo Santoro, who’ll reprise his role as the Persian god-king Xerxes, confirmed the setting of director Noam Murro’s film, saying the script is being completed, with shooting to begin in July.
“I think they’re calling it a spin-off because it’s not exactly a prequel, it’s not a sequel,” he said. “It takes place in the same time, you start a little earlier but then you see that it’s like a different point of view, a different camera, a different angle. While that battle was happening, the one that you saw in 300, there was another battle happening next to it and you will have a chance to see all of that happening and how they interact. I don’t want to ruin it.”
The new film will also dig into Xerxes’ past to some extent, although it doesn’t sound like all the details have quite been ironed out. “They are working on, right now, trying to explain it, I think they will try to do a little backstory on Xerxes and they will explain how he became ‘the God King,’ which I’m excited about,” Santoro said. “I don’t know what it’s going to be. I’ve never played a character twice. It’s interesting. I think the challenging thing for me now will be to try to bring something new for the fans, for the audience and for myself just to make it interesting to play it again.”
The actor also spoke about some of the more taxing elements that come into play when playing a king who spends much of his time on screen nearly naked.
“I’ve got to be honest, it’s a real hard process to get there, not only working out like crazy, [but also] shaving,” Santoro said. “I’ve got to shave all over my body. It’s a really intense, bizarre character, so it’s a lot of work to get there. Make-up: like five or six hours of make-up every day. When you see it, it looks cool, but there’s a lot of work behind it. That’s all very challenging and I’m looking forward to it. I hope it’s going to be great.”