No “300” film is complete without a small group of protagonists facing impossible odds and a strong uniting figure to lead them into battle. In Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “300: Rise of an Empire,” that hero is Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton (HBO’s “Strike Back”) playing the Athenian general Themistokles, who is driven to defend Greece against the powerful Persian Navy.
Previously seen on the big screen with supporting roles in “Gangster Squad,” “Animal Kingdom” and “December Boys,” Stapleton is poised to become a newly-minted leading man, thanks to “300: Rise of an Empire.”
Producer Zack Snyder comments, “Sully brought great charisma to the part and the confidence that Themistokles clearly has to have in order to persuade people that what he is saying is right and that his way is the only way. Those are pretty important qualities to have when you’re pushing people into war and trying to convince them to shed blood for a cause.”
“What drew me to Themistokles and what I liked about him was his tenacity and his drive and focus to fight the Persians and to save Greece,” Stapleton offers. “He unites all of Greece into fighting the Persians as one army. Previous to that, they fought as separate city-states and obviously smaller armies and weren’t so successful.”
Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel “Xerxes,” and told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster “300,” this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield—on the sea.
Themistokles is part soldier and part politician, using his abilities as both in the pursuit of one goal. Stapleton remarks, “Whereas Leonidas rules Sparta in a very authoritative, military style, Themistokles must be a great speaker to rally all of Greece to fight as one. He knows, even then, they may be no match for the Persians, but he loves his country and believes in this new idea of democracy. The script gave me insight into what was at stake at that time.”