By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist March 23, 2011 at 1:23AM
'Eastern Promises' Scribe Steven Knight Rewrote Script, Gemma Arterton Nowhere To Be Seen
It's almost exactly a year since "Clash of the Titans" opened, overcoming some tough competition, a beyond-shoddy 3D conversion and terrible reviews to pick up a hugely impressive half-billion dollars worldwide. While filming has been underway for a few weeks in the U.K. on the yet-to-be-officially-titled sequel ("Wrath of the Titans" has been bandied about, but never confirmed), Warner Bros has sent out a press release to officially announce the start of principle photography, and it's confirmed a few cast members, as well as giving the first detailed description of the plot.
Sam Worthington was known to be returning in the lead role, and new additions Edgar Ramirez, Toby Kebbell and Rosamund Pike had all joined the film in the past few months, but the press release (via Coming Soon) has concrete word, although long expected, that Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes would be returning as Gods Zeus and Hades. Less certain, considering that the sequel has already proven happy to recast roles (Pike and Ramirez take over roles played in the original by Alexa Davalos and Tamer Hassan), and given his very brief appearance in the final cut of the first film, was the presence of Danny Huston as Poseidon, but he's confirmed to be coming back for the sequel, in what's presumably a more central role -- his character is the father of Kebbell's, a thief who teams up with Perseus on his quest.
The release also officially announces the involvement of Bill Nighy, who was said to be the top choice for the role of Hephaestus, the deformed blacksmith God, which is at least good news -- more Nighy is generally a good thing. Notable in particular is one absence; that of Gemma Arterton, who played the ostensible female lead in the original. The character died in early cuts of the first film, but was revived via reshoots, and it was widely expected that Arterton would be returning. However, considering how redundant the character was in the first film, and the fact that even Arterton was expecting a much smaller role, it's not entirely surprising that the actress seems to be absent this time around, particularly with filming on "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters," with Jeremy Renner, already underway, in a direct clash with the 'Clash' sequel.
Indeed, a look at the official plot synopsis, which reveals that Perseus is now "the sole parent" to a 10-year-old son (what we like to call "Superman Returns" syndrome), suggests that things don't look good for Arterton's character, who walked off into the sunset with the hero at the first film. Read the full synopsis below:
A decade after his heroic defeat of the monstrous Kraken, Perseus—the demigod son of Zeus—is attempting to live a quieter life as a village fisherman and the sole parent to his 10-year old son, Helius.
Meanwhile, a struggle for supremacy rages between the gods and the Titans. Dangerously weakened by humanity's lack of devotion, the gods are losing control of the imprisoned Titans and their ferocious leader, Kronos, father of the long-ruling brothers Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. The triumvirate had overthrown their powerful father long ago, leaving him to rot in the gloomy abyss of Tartarus, a dungeon that lies deep within the cavernous underworld.
Perseus cannot ignore his true calling when Hades, along with Zeus' godly son, Ares (Edgar Ramírez), switch loyalty and make a deal with Kronos to capture Zeus. The Titans' strength grows stronger as Zeus' remaining godly powers are siphoned, and hell is unleashed on earth.
Enlisting the help of the warrior Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), Poseidon's demigod son, Argenor (Toby Kebbell), and fallen god Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), Perseus bravely embarks on a treacherous quest into the underworld to rescue Zeus, overthrow the Titans and save mankind.
Obviously, there's one more key missing piece of the puzzle here: Kronos, the father of Zeus & co, for which no casting has yet been announced. It's possible it'll be a CGI creature of some kind, although Greek myth always portrayed him as a humanoid -- but either way, expect a further announcement to come, but it'll be tricky shoes to fill, seeing as they'll need to play father to heavyweights like Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. Our suggestion: Kirk Douglas.
In happier news, the press release also reveals that the script, originally by Dan Mazeau ("The Flash," Doug Liman's "Moon" project) and David Leslie Johnson ("Red Riding Hood," "Orphan") has received a polish from Steven Knight, the writer of "Dirty Pretty Things" and "Eastern Promises," which definitely marks a step up. But considering that "Battle: Los Angeles" director Jonathan Liebesman is at the helm, we're still not expecting great things here. The "Clash of the Titans" sequel will open, whatever it ends up being called, on March 30th, 2012.