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Hollywood Rediscovers Ancient Greek Mythology in 'Clash of the Titans'

  • Alan Silverman

Sam Worthington as Perseus in “Clash of the Titans”

Sam Worthington as Perseus in “Clash of the Titans”

Hollywood has rediscovered ancient Greek mythology with its gods and monsters, muscular men with shields and swords and the hero's quest to save humanity in the 2010 version of "Clash of the Titans:"

With Zeus and his fellow gods ruling from Mount Olympus, the ancient world should be safe and secure. But the mortals have turned their backs on their creators.

"You are provoking the gods and you act as if there will be no consequence."
"Well, what do you want? Should we be afraid? Should we be trembling in fear? The gods need us. They need our worship. What do we need of them? We are the gods now!"

Liam Neeson as Zeus in “Clash of the Titans”

Liam Neeson as Zeus in “Clash of the Titans”

This disobedience …this refusal to bow down in grateful prayer …does not sit well up on Olympus.

As the storm clouds gather for a titanic battle, a young man named Perseus is thrust into the middle. What he does not know, but is about to learn, is that he is a demi-god: the child of a human mother and a god …and not just any god.

"Is it true? Am I the son of Zeus?"
"Yes."


It is now up to Perseus to lead a battle with the monsters loosed by the gods and save the city-state of Argos from destruction.

Sam Worthington, fresh off his star-making role in the global sci-fi smash "Avatar," stars as Perseus in this remake of a 1981 hit film.

"Hopefully what we've done is ramped it up and made the themes relevant to this generation," he said. "With visual effects nowadays, you can see that it is easy to take to another level."
Director Louis Leterrier (center) on location for “Clash of the Titans”

Director Louis Leterrier (center) on location for “Clash of the Titans”

Director Louis Leterrier counts himself among fans of the original version; and the French-born action filmmaker says sought the advice of 89-year-old Ray Harryhausen, the special effects pioneer who used stop-motion animation to bring mythological creatures to life in the 1981 film.

"Obviously we are all here because we love Ray Harryhausen's work so I said before we do this I'd love to talk to him about it and ask if there was anything he didn't do in the original one that he would have always loved to do," he said. "It's funny, he didn't speak about the creatures and the visual effects; he spoke about the story and the actors. It was great …and he was not against remakes. He is a good friend with Peter Jackson and we talked about how Jackson's 'King Kong' was different than the original and how he understood that a new filmmaker's vision can take a story into another direction."
Medusa from a scene in “Clash of the Titans”

Medusa from a scene in “Clash of the Titans”

The digitally-created monsters add a modern touch to this "Clash of the Titans," but star Sam Worthington says the exploits of Perseus are firmly rooted in the ancient tales of mythological heroes.

"They are around and they stand the test of time because they can still raise questions about what we are going through today," he said. "This is a movie based on a family. It is a young, troubled teenager whose family gets wiped out. He goes - like Charles Bronson - on a revenge spree and learns to calm a bit when he finds another family. He is struggling with dilemmas of where he fits into the world, dealing with stuff to do with his dad and why he was abandoned. There are things that we can all relate to, so just because it is set in that era or in this mythological world or even a million years into the future, any movie that is worth its salt in this kind of genre should reflect issues that we deal with today. That is why they are around."

Of course, along with the issues there is the fun: loads of action with Worthington and his fellow cast members leaping, lunging and rolling around while wearing …essentially mini-skirts …very short, revealing tunics.

"I wanted to show more than I did, to be honest with you," he said. "I kept hoisting mine up, but when you've got Christmas hams like mine, mate, the other boys tended to say 'pull your skirt back down again.' That's when you know what the tone of the movie is. It's a bunch of guys in skirts with rubber swords fighting monsters. You kind of know the world we're getting into. It is not a history lesson. We've got flying horses and scorpions the size of dump trucks. You'd walk up the first day, see your mates wearing a dress, have a couple of laughs and then go and take it seriously so an audience doesn't have to."

The international cast in "Clash of the Titans" features Liam Neeson as Zeus with Ralph Fiennes as his brother god Hades. Danish screen star Mads Mikkelsen is Perseus's brother-in-arms Draco; Alexa Davalos is the good-hearted princess Andromeda and Gemma Arterton plays the guardian Io. The musical score is composed by German-born Iranian Ramin Djawadi.

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