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MONDAY, MARCH 5, 2007

WONDER CON: 300 PANEL

SAN FRANCISCO -- The King and Queen of Wonder Con held court on Saturday.

Gerard Butler and Lena Headey, stars of Warner Bros.' upcoming 300, as well as director Zack Snyder were featured in a lively panel for the March 9-debuting movie.

The film -- based on Frank Miller's graphic novel from Dark Horse Comics -- has generated quite a buzz, which wasn't hurt with the clip shown at Wonder Con. The initial battle between the invading Persians and the Spartans spotlighted a lengthy and bloody attack by Butler's King Leonidas that had the audience howling in approval, particularly when he shears off a Persian's leg.

Even those involved with the film are acknowledging they might be on to something special.

"I'm so glad that I've teamed up at a perfect point in my life with somebody else at a perfect point in his career," Butler said of Snyder. "Everything about this film feels right. This does feel like it's going to fly."

Butler went so far as to say he thinks 300 will stand the test of time. "I think it's going to work for many years," he said.

Snyder said that he's pleasantly surprised by the range of appeal 300 has generated through early screenings.

"I'm glad it's work and there's something for everybody," he said. "I didn't know it would be so widely received."

Other highlights from the panel:

* Snyder showed a video message from Miller, who is still recuperating from a broken hip:

Said Miller "Every culture worth a damn has its own Thermopylae. The Romans have their Horatio at the bridge. The Japanese have the feudal self-sacrifice of the 47 Ronin. My country has its Alamo. These battles are diamonds scattered glimmering against the dark tapestry of war. Each demonstrates the astonishing strength of the few, free and brave. Outnumbered an incomprehensible 100,000 to one, our heroes held their own.

"I've loved the story of the 300 since I was five years old. I drew it and wrote it as a comic book. As I watched from the bleachers and watched Zack Snyder work his magic, all I could do was cheer."

Miller said he couldn't wait to join the 300 party: "It is amazing. You've never seen anything like it."

* Asked about impending stardom, Butler said he first and foremost wanted the film to succeed. "And that should be good for me," he said.

* Snyder was asked about Watchmen, which is supposed to be his next film.

"I want to make a movie, the studio wants to make a movie and we're going to try to make a movie," he said. "We're talking about shooting it at the end of the summer.

"It's a process. The studio says, 'You want to make an R-rated super-hero movie?'"

* Heady said she liked the Spartan themes of the film. "The whole movie has a big, strong heart to it and it's all based in that emotion," she said.

* Butler noted 300 "is not the most complicated story on the planet."

"There's no in between with him," he said of Leonidas. "There's black, there's white."

* Snyder on adaptating the graphic novel: "You have the script, and you have the graphic novel and then you have to squish them together. If you look at Frank's panels, they tend to be these tableaus. He's not concerned with the linear progression of time that you experience when you see a movie."

Snyder said he concentrated on included the more iconic images from the graphic novel into the film to accentuate Miller's vision.




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