Ancient history

Zack Snyder’s gay “love story” sequel to 300 was rejected by Warner Bros.

Gerard Butler played King Leonidas in the original 300
Gerard Butler played King Leonidas in the original 300 (Warner Bros.)

Director and screenwriter Zack Snyder has revealed he wrote a third installment of the 300 movies, and it centered on a same-sex love story. Sadly, the studio that owns the rights to the movies, Warner Bros. passed on it.

The first 300 movie, directed by Snyder, came out in 2006. It starred Gerald Butler and re-told a legendary tale of 300 Spartans who fought the armies of the King of Persia in 480 BC. It was based on a 1998 comic series of the same name. The movie version was noted for its stylized cinematography… while some viewers just reveled in its homoeroticism.

Snyder, 56, co-wrote and produced the sequel, 300: Rise of an Empire, in 2014. Although it didn’t repeat the success of the first movie, it appears Warner Bros. was interested in making a third and final installment.

Snyder reveals this week on The Fourth Wall podcast that the studio asked him if he could come up with a script. He set about writing it last year during lockdown.

However, he says “I just couldn’t really get my teeth into it”, and instead came up with an idea a little different than that originally discussed with the studio.

“Over the pandemic, I had a deal with Warner Brothers and I wrote what was essentially going to be the final chapter in 300.

“When I sat down to write it, I actually wrote a different movie,” he said. “I was writing this thing about Alexander the Great, and it just turned into a movie about the relationship between Hephaestion and Alexander. It turned out to be a love story.”

Snyder continued, “There was that concept, and it came out really great. It’s called Blood and Ashes, and it’s a beautiful love story, really, with warfare. I would love to do it, [Warner Bros.] said no … you know, they’re not huge fans of mine. It is what it is.”

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Hephaestion was Alexander The Great’s closest confidant. Part of his personal bodyguard security, Hephaestion was described by the Roman historian Curtius as “by far the dearest of all the king’s friends; he had been brought up with Alexander and shared all his secrets.”

Snyder enjoyed a productive 15-year relationship with Warner Bros, making such movies as Justice League and Man of Steel.

Snyder famously stepped down from Justice League during its production in 2017 to mourn the death of his daughter, Autumn, and Joss Whedon took over the reins as director. Whedon made significant changes to the movie. This led to an unprecedented fan campaign for Warner Bros. to release the Synder version – which it did in March to HBO Max.

Following his spell with Warner, Snyder recently moved over to Netflix for his most recent movie, the zombie horror, Army of the Dead.

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