(Photo: Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)
Who knew that comic book creator Frank Miller would have such an impact on pop culture? It took a while--many folks have long credited Miller with reinventing Batman with his Dark Knight comics. But his brushes with Hollywood had left him feeling bitter--until he came roaring back after Robert Rodriguez talked him into co-directing a slavish adaptation of his Sin City, which became a rousing success in 2005. (A sequel is in the works.) And when Zack Snyder got an early gander at what Rodriguez was doing, he decided to adopt a similar approach for 300--with stunning results all round. (For two POVs on 300's disconnects with critics, see Variety's Peter Bart and Ben Fritz.) UPDATE: Here's one response to their respective 300 takes.
I talked to a giddily happy Miller for my first Variety column on the impact of the R-rated blockbuster on the future of filmmaking. I'm betting that it will wind up as one of the highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time. The Passion of the Christ tops the list of R-rated domestic grossers at $370.8 million, followed by The Matrix Reloaded at $281 million. 300 has already passed the $100-million mark and won't fall too much this weekend (it could do more than $40 million), so it's a cinch to head toward stratospheric numbers. It's now a must-see, and thanks to the subplot with the formidable Lena Headey, could also cross over to women, despite its macho violence. And repeat business will also be a factor. Here's New York Magazine's Q & A with Miller:
Is this really the right historical moment to be releasing a movie about an army of civilized Europeans taking on invading hordes of Middle Eastern barbarians? I can‚Äôt really think that way, because I wouldn‚Äôt get any work done. I think it‚Äôs the same story it was in 480 B.C., when heroes were tested for what they are. A hero wasn‚Äôt necessarily the best-looking guy in town, or the one who got the woman or got all of Harry Potter‚Äôs schoolmates to cheer him. It was the person who did the absolute right thing, even if it meant he would die, forgotten, in disgrace.
[Originally appeared on Variety.com]