By Gabe Toro | The Playlist July 16, 2011 at 4:32AM
Celebrate, ye lovers of bald naked chests and heaving male crotches! A spinoff to "300" awaits, and Warner Bros. has selected a man to captain this sweaty, homoerotic ship. Mr. Noam Murro, who previously helmed an indie called "Smart People" that few saw but all confirmed featured no shirtless men, has jumped aboard "300: Battle of Artemisia." While the film is set to focus on the villainous Dhalsim-like Xerxes of "300," Murro is being hired to mimic Zack Snyder's style from that picture -- that was really all that film had going for it. Oh, and glistening naked chests.
Murro has been highly sought after in Hollywood, directing a series of award-winning commercials before being hired, then leaving, "The Ring." A flirtation with the world of video games led to his involvement in advertising "Halo" before being linked to "Die Hard 5." Now, it's expected that an offer will be put out to Murro next week, though he was previously said to be vying for the gig with Jaume Collet-Serra, who the WB has asked to direct the significantly less-sexy "Akira" instead.
Based on a yet-to-be-released graphic novel from Frank Miller, 'Artemisia' concerns Xerxes' struggle with potential godhood in the wake of his father's passing, as well as a rivalry with Athenian warlord Themistocles. The time period will be in the area of 480 BC, which will allow Murro and screenwriters Snyder and Kurt Johnstad the opportunity to pretend to be historically accurate. Rodrigo Santoro played the oily villain in the original film, but can he really carry a tentpole or semi-tentpole? And can you really start a franchise with a title like "300," particularly considering the actual number has little relevance to the subject matter this time around?
Murro signing onto this project doesn't necessarily take him off the incredibly needless "Die Hard 5." Bruce Willis already has five roles in the can for 2012, with a sixth being his mooted involvement in a sequel to "The Expendables." It's possible Murro jumps on board that film in 2012 as Fox remains hungry for potential franchise pictures, but with a couple of collaborations with 50 Cent completed, no one really knows what Willis is doing with his career anyway.