UPDATE: E.W. are now reporting that Guy Ritchie has not been offered the opportunity to direct Xerxes. A Warner Bros. spokesperson says it is “an erroneous rumour”. A case of he said/she said? More news as it comes. Read the original report below.
Guy Ritchie is quickly becoming Warner Bros.’ golden boy, having directed for them the $500 million grossing Sherlock Holmes and its sequel. His reward: an offer to helm the highly-anticipated prequel to 300, titled Xerxes.
According to Vulture, WB want Ritchie to bring to the big screen Frank Miller’s graphic novel of the same name. Here is Miller’s explanation of the tale from his June 2010 interview with the L.A. Times:
“The story will be the same heft as ’300′ but it covers a much, much greater span of time — it’s 10 years, not three days…This is a more complex story. The story is so much larger. The Spartans in ’300′ were being enclosed by the page as the world got smaller. This story has truly vast subjects. The Athenian naval fleet, for instance, is a massive artistic undertaking and it dwarfed by the Persian fleet, which is also shown in this story. The story has elements of espionage, too, and it’s a sweeping tale with gods and warriors.”
300 director Zack Snyder had been developing the script, and intended to direct the project himself. However, he now has the Superman reboot occupying much of his time.
Vulture suggest there is more to Snyder being ousted from Xerxes than mere scheduling conflicts. They posit that Snyder needs to do a lot of work on the weak Superman script before it heads into production. Another theory is that W.B. is not so happy with Sucker Punch, Snyder’s upcoming action film (the first of his based on an original screenplay).
Frankly, Synder gearing up for Superman seems like a perfectly valid reason for him to be too busy to work on Xerxes, so take those other rumours with a pinch of salt. Also, considering Ritchie’s penchant for slow-mo, we can’t think of anyone better to replace Snyder..