By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 16, 2011 at 12:17AM
Updated: While Ritchie may have read the script and or may have thought about this for a moment. Warner Bros. tells us that the "Snatch" filmmaker is capital N, not directing "Xerxes." Case closed, however, it does appear that Zack Snyder is too busy with "Superman" to make this picture so new directors may be sought in the upcoming months.
While rumors about Guy Ritchie directing "Cannonball Run" were flying around earlier this week (more on that below) it looks like Warner Bros. have another big, meaty franchise they want their "Sherlock Holmes" director to take a stab at.
Vulture reports that the studio has evidently offered Ritchie the director's chair for "Xerxes," the sequel to "300." Hold the phone a moment -- wasn't Zack Snyder attached to this? Not anymore, he's having his own alleged issues (more on that soon), and more importantly, he's got a "Superman" film to shoot and edit which will keep him busy until December 2012.
As for the sequel, "Xerxes" comic writer Frank Miller confirmed back in June, that the film will start at the battle of Marathon a decade before Thermopylae, and “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 … so much larger.” It features gods and warriors galore (Xerxes is pursuing godhood), and Miller hinted at a potentially massive set piece involving either or both of the Athenian and Persian naval fleets. So certainly more than enough eye candy, blood and action to fill a sequel but the question remains who will tell the tale now that Snyder is presumably out.
And oh yeah, as for the rumors about a Ritchie-led remake of the '70s goofball classic, "Cannonball Run" with George Clooney? Don't bet on that one just yet, insiders at Warner Bros. tell us the project is "just an idea" and far, far from an actuality. Ritchie is not officially attached, neither is talent and WB is not even officially developing the project yet, so right now you can chalk that one up to a twinkle in a few people's eyes.
So, a "300" sequel without Zack Snyder? A definite change in direction because no matter what you think of Snyder, his imprint is all over the pic. We're sure there will be more to come on this soon.