Battle pic to start prod'n in October

Warner Bros. Pictures is set to return to ancient Greece to make war epic “300,” based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel of the same name. Pic will be directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Atmosphere Pictures MM and Hollywood Gang Prods.

Warner Bros. Pictures production prexy Jeff Robinov said lensing will begin Oct. 17 in Montreal.

Gerard Butler (“The Phantom of the Opera”) has been signed to star.

Film tells the true story of 300 elite Spartan fighters who, led by King Leonidas (Butler), fought to the death against King Xerxes’ massive Persian army during the battle of Thermopylae in 481-480 B.C. According to lore, their valor inspired all of Greece to rise up against the invading Persians, planting the seeds of democracy.

Snyder — who helmed the 2004 remake of “Dawn of the Dead” — and his writing partner, Kurt Johnstad, adapted the screenplay from Miller’s graphic novel. Michael Gordon penned a previous draft.

Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari, Atmosphere’s Mark Canton, Bernie Goldmann and Jeffrey Silver will produce. Miller, Deborah Snyder and Craig J. Flores will exec produce. Steve Barnett will co-produce.

Warner Bros. Pictures senior VP of production Greg Silverman and creative exec Geoff Shaevitz will oversee production for the studio, which will distribute the pic worldwide.

“Troy,” also released by Warner Bros. Pictures, made nearly $500 million worldwide at the box office last year.

Warners said “300″ will rely on hyper-real renderings similar to the stylized illustrations created by Miller for his book.

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