300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE serves up 4 New Stills and Details through EMPIRE Magazine

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE serves up 4 New Stills and Details through EMPIRE Magazine

Plus Eva Green divulges to Total Film that they shot two versions of her graphic sex scene with co-star Sullivan Stapleton. Read on to find out which version ends up in the film!

Zack Snyder's comic book masterpiece gets its long awaited follow-up this year and with the release of the film just 3 months away, it seems the promotion is gearing up with a piece each in Empire Magazine and Total Film Magazine to promote the film. Check out the 4 magnificent stills present in Empire Magazine.

These images are courtesy of Empire Magazine

Empire has learned that the movie will take place
----before the events of 300, depicting the Battle of Marathon from 490 BC
----alongside the events of 300, depicting the Battle of Artemisium that happened simultaneously with the Battle Of Thermopylae in 480 BC
----and after the events of 300, depicting the Battle Of Salamis which took place shortly afterwards.
So that's it for you history nerds, the film will be covering 3 major historical events where the first film covered only 1. Even in that respect, it is a bigger movie than 300.

This new narrative coupled with a new director Nuam Murro means its will also result in a different kind of film while staying true to the original masterpiece. Nuom Murro says, "Everybody was after something that feels different from 300. We’re not making a duplicate. It’s the second story, and the building of that story. It’s not only a different narrative, but there’s a different aesthetic that has to come into play. It needs to be enough 300 and enough not 300."

The film is also different in the sense that it has a leading female character, even more prominent and central than Queen Gorgo who played a small but crucial role in the original film. Star Eva Green is clearly thrilled while describing her character. She says "It's cool! It was very rare in those days - even today - to have a woman commander. There was lots of testosterone around,but we are actually more virile than them. She's (Artemisia) the most ruthless character I've ever played. I always say, 'I can't go darker', but I always do! That's what I like about it. I don't like 'girlfriend roles' and all that ****." She goes on to say, "She’s (Artemisia) a very cool character. She’s very ballsy and brave, and very much ahead of her time. She’s Greek by birth but her heart is Persian. She had her whole family slaughtered before her eyes when she was a child, and King Darius (Xerxes’ father, present at Marathon, and played here by Yigal Naor) rescued her and raised her as his own ‘son’. I wouldn’t say she’s manly, but she’s very strong, very badaboom!"

Glimpses of the scene mentioned below seen in the trailers.

Artemisia is a woman who does not back down, least of all in the bed room! The film reportedly has a truly explosive sex scene between Eva Green's Artemisia and mortal enemy Themistocles (played by star Sullivan Stapleton) and test screening reactions have described the scene as 'wild' with lots of 'biting and slapping'. Spilling the beans on it, Green says, "We had two versions of the sex scene: the 'nice' one and the one they used. It's two warriors trying to dominate the other. It's more like a fight. I mean, I had bruises everywhere afterwards. Thank God Sullivan is not too bad to look at."

Stapleton, doing what any true lead of 300 would do - screaming his lungs out.

Stapleton, for his part was surprised by the fact the film required more on his part than shouting battle speeches and flexing his muscles. His acting muscles were put to equally good use he says, "It’s actually a very wordy film. When I signed up I thought it’d be just roaring like the last one, and chopping arms and legs and heads off. The studio wouldn’t let the script out for ages, and when I eventually read it I found out that I do a little bit of fighting, but a lot of talking." But for those who loved all the roaring and shouting in the first film, the trailer shows us that he does a lot of that too.

Along with shouting and roaring, another famous aspect of the original film carried forward to the follow-up is the ubiquitous six packs. The entire male cast again went through a bludgeoning training and dieting regime under the baton of Zack Snyder luminaries Gym Jones, to get their abs in shape. Describing the brutal training fourth billed British actor Hans Matheson says, "You’re aching and exhausted and they’re telling you to get up and do it more. You wonder why it has to be so brutal. You question it and you doubt yourself and wonder if you’re good enough and if they’ve cast the wrong person and you can’t make it or get to where you need to be."

Hans Matheson

Eva Green was also not spared and had her own ordeal of physical training to endure. She says, "Oh my God! It’s very physically demanding. I feel like I’m smoking too much. It’s very visceral and I’ve never done anything like it before, but I’ve always loved all those Zhang Yimou sorts of films. I’m too much in my head usually, and this is all in the body, so it’s a good experience. I’ve got a good bum now!"

You will be able to see it (and more of Green) in all its glory on the 7th of March 2014. Hang on till then!

Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel Xerxes, and told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster “300,” this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield—on the sea—as Greek general Themistokles attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war.

“300: Rise of an Empire” pits Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes, and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures present, a Cruel and Unusual Films/Mark Canton/Gianni Nunnari Production, “300: Rise of an Empire.” The action adventure stars Sullivan Stapleton (“Gangster Squad”) as Themistokles and Eva Green (“Dark Shadows,” “Casino Royale”) as Artemisia. Lena Headey reprises her starring role from “300” as the Spartan Queen, Gorgo; Hans Matheson (“Clash of the Titans”) stars as Aeskylos; David Wenham returns as Dilios, and Rodrigo Santoro stars again as the Persian King, Xerxes.

The film is directed by Noam Murro, from a screenplay by Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad, based on the graphic novel Xerxes, by Frank Miller. It is produced by Gianni Nunnari, Mark Canton, Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder and Bernie Goldmann. Thomas Tull, Frank Miller, Stephen Jones and Jon Jashni serve as executive producers.

The creative filmmaking team includes director of photography Simon Duggan, production designer Patrick Tatopoulos, editor Wyatt Smith and costume designer Alexandra Byrne. The music is composed by Junkie XL.

“300: Rise of an Empire” will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

SCREENPLAY BY: Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad
PRODUCED BY: Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Mark Canton, Gianni Nunnari & Bernie Goldmann
EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY: Frank Miller, Thomas Tull & Stephen Jones

Sullivan Stapleton as Themistocles
Eva Green as Artemisia
Rodrigo Santoro as King Xerxes
Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo of Sparta
David Wenham as Dilios
Hans Matheson as Aeskylos
Jack O'Connell as Calisto
Andrew Pleavin as Daxos
Callan Mulvey as Scyllias
Andrew Tiernan as Ephialtes
Yigal Naor as Darius

RELEASE DATE: March 7th, 2014
MPAA RATING: Rated R for strong sustained sequences of stylized bloody violence throughout, a sex scene, nudity and some language
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