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New ‘300’ rallies troops

Legendary to develop follow-up to Miller pic

Legendary Pictures has confirmed it is developing a “300” follow-up for Warner Bros. that Frank Miller is writing and Zack Snyder is intended to direct.

Miller is writing the graphic novel the project will be based upon, although at this point it’s not clear whether it will be a prequel or spinoff. Most of the characters, including Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas, died in the original, making a follow-up tricky.

Snyder won’t officially commit until after he sees Miller’s take, but he’s definitely interested, and the prospect of his involvement already has fanboys in a tizzy.

Legendary, which also co-financed and produced Snyder’s “Watchmen” for Warners, considers the project a major priority.

“The vision of Frank Miller’s universe that Zack Snyder brought to the screen in ‘300’ is unlike anything ever seen before,” said Legendary topper Thomas Tull. “We want to be certain that the story originates with Frank and be as compelling as the first.”

Another “300” has been rumored from the start, but last week Snyder and the original producing team stoked a frenzy online when they talked about it at the Saturn Awards.

It won’t necessarily be easy for the team to repeat their success, however.

Spinoffs of bloody actioners can prove challenging, especially when the main characters kick the bucket the first time out. Warners would surely like to cash in on “I Am Legend” again, but would have to find a way to deal with the fact that star Will Smith’s character died at the end. Producers tried to figure out how to revisit “Gladiator,” but they too were hampered by the fact that the star character, played by Russell Crowe, expired in the original. A second “Wanted” could also prove tricky for Universal given the violent deaths of so many characters.

A sequel to “Sex and the City,” by contrast, is theoretically easier to conjure on a creative level, although Warners and New Line could run into talent problems similar to the ones that delayed the original bigscreen adaptation.

The “300” follow-up is one of several sword-and-sandals projects brewing.

Legendary is also developing “Clash of the Titans” for Warners, having recently signed “The Incredible Hulk” director Louis Leterrier as helmer, and Relativity is fast-tacking “War of Gods” (Daily Variety, June 27). Snyder and Miller both have busy slates. Besides “Watchmen,” Snyder is working on an adaptation of “Guardians of Ga’Hoole,” a children’s book series. Miller’s first solo helming effort, “The Spirit,” is expected later this year; he’s also aboard for sequels to “Sin City.”

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