Ten years ago this week (March 9th, 2007) a sweeping epic full of half-naked men, slow-motion choreography, and meme-worthy dialogue known as 300 was released into theaters. Adapted from Frank Miller’s graphic novel as a special-effects extravaganza, the action-packed flick retold the Battle of Thermopylae and the events leading up to it.
The film headlined Gerard Butler as King Leonidas, who led his loyal 300 Spartans into battle against Persian "god-King" Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). The re-imagining of the ancient battle lit up the box office, the internet, and the careers that made the film possible. Sit back and dine in hell as we take a look at where the director and cast of 300 are today.
Since his directorial debut in 2004 with the remake to George A. Romero's 1978 classic horror Dawn of the Dead, Snyder has drawn heated debates among geeks, comic book lovers and critics. In the years following all things Sparta, he’s become synonymous with bringing superheroes and antiheroes to the big screen.
From adapting another Frank Miller graphic novel Watchmen to re-incarnating Superman in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, his time donning capes and saving the world (figuratively speaking) doesn’t look to be up anytime soon. If Snyder isn’t serving as a director of #DC Comics films, he has served/will serve as a producer and writer. His current slate includes Wonder Woman, Justice League, Aquaman, and The Flash.
Off the heels of 300’s massive success, the native Scot’s performance as the shouty King Leonidas spawned memes quoting his character's best gems. Being one to laugh at himself, Butler parodied the character during his hosting stint on Saturday Night Live soon after the movie became a mega-hit.
His filmography skyrocketed in a variety of directions, from romantic comedies like P.S. I Love You to animated films How To Train Your Dragon to action like Law Abiding Citizen. Ten years later, kicking ass and taking names is still his cinematic claim to fame. His blockbusters include gunning down terrorists and protecting the president in the Olympus Has Fallen duology. Future projects cite Butler hunting down climate-controlling satellites and a Russian President in Geostorm and Hunter Killer, respectively.
Lena Headey as Leonidas’s wife Gorgo wouldn’t be the first time the British actress takes the throne as queen. Following 300, she starred in mostly independent films, kicked off The Purge franchise in its first installment, and played a zombie-slayer in the adaptation Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. She carried the torch and memorable battle cries in the sequel 300: Rise of an Empire opposite Eva Green.
Headey later struck gold in HBO’s epic series Game of Thrones. Based off George R. R. Martin's fantasy novels, her character is none other than the cutthroat schemer and Queen Mother of Westeros, Cersei Lannister. Her current work as one of the most love-to-hate characters on TV earned her countless nominations including: Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globes and Emmy.
With a ripped bod and jet-black hair, Michael Fassbender’s first film screen credit is actually Stelios, one of Leonidas’s most trusted soldiers. That sharkish smile and intense dedication to his craft would be put to good use in a range of performances, including Bobby Sands in the political film Hunger, Edward Rochester in an adaptation of Jane Eyre, and Magneto in the #XMen franchise alongside James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence. The Irish actor has been nominated for two Academy Awards — Best Supporting Actor in 12 Years a Slave (2013) and Best Actor in Steve Jobs (2015). In summer 2017, he’ll reprise his role as a robot David in Alien: Covenant.
While King Leonidas and his men are on the battlefield, trouble brews at home from a corrupt Spartan politician named Theron, played by Dominic West. Though his character is not featured in the comic book or is a major player in history, West made the most of this villainesque presence. He starred in the critically panned John Carter and voiced Rudder in Pixar’s Finding Dory. He currently stars in on Showtime’s hit The Affair, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe. In 2018, West will be joining Alicia Vikander in the remake of a video game heroine, #LaraCroft.
At Leonidas’ side throughout the entire war, and narrating the entire events spanning 300, David Wenham played Spartan soldier Dilios. Like his co-stars Lena Headey and Rodrigo Santoro, he reprised his role in the film’s sequel. Outside of his work in 300, Wenham previously garnered notoriety as Faramir in the Lord of the Rings films directed by Peter Jackson, and films Australia and Public Enemies. He also co-starred in the Academy-Award nominated film Lion, and will be seen as Scarfield in the fifth installment of #PiratesoftheCaribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in May 2017.
Before the bald look, facial piercings and gigantic stature, fans of a popular 2003 Christmas flick will recognize Santoro as the shy, handsome co-worker who Laura Linney’s character swoons over in Love Actually. A few years later in 2007, Santoro would become the towering, powerful Persian “god-king” Xerxes to face off against Leonidas before reprising his role in the follow-up.
Santoro has added countless titles to his career, starring alongside Jim Carrey and Matt Damon in I Love You Phillip Morris, to voicing Túlio in the animated film Rio and Rio 2. Most recently, he starred in the 2016 remake Ben-Hur, and fans can catch him as Hector Escaton in HBO’s popular series #Westworld.
Which of these actors do you think have developed most in their careers?