Jonathan Liebesman On “Titans” Sequel

“Battle: Los Angeles” director Jonathan Liebesman was out doing promotion for that film and was asked about his next project “Wrath of the Titans”, the sequel to last year’s “Clash of the Titans” remake. The helmer, who was surprisingly forthcoming about the flaws of the Louis Leterrier-directed first film, tells Blackfilm that shooting on the project kicks off in less than a fortnight.

In terms of correcting the first film’s errors, Liebesman says “The story just didn’t work in the first movie. it’s a rich source material, Greek mythology obviously and you had such an amazing cast who are coming back and it just felt like a missed opportunity all around. I think what we’re doing with this one is that we’ve had fantastic writers who are just focused on the heroes journey, a much more sort of a return to just the simple joys of stuff, of why stories work. Then stylistically just ground it. Make it feel more real. Redesign the costumes so that they’re more recognizable to what you’d expect from the time and juxtapose that reality with the fantasy of Greek mythology within this reality, within real camera work and stuff. I think that’s a sort of fresh take on that genre, on the fantasy genre that we haven’t yet seen. That’s how we’re approaching it.”

Liebsman admits that while they don’t have the burden of the original 1980 film hanging over them this time, they do have “the burden to get people back who were burned by the first one [2009 film]… You’ve got some of the best fucking actors working today in Ralph [Fiennes] and Liam [Neeson] and in Sam. How do you use them this time, use their ability as opposed to… and again, I don’t know what happened on the first movie. it’s just an obvious missed opportunity.”

What about the 3D aspect? Liebesman indicates he’s shooting on film and will post-convert, but it won’t be the rush job of the first film – “The first movie was never conceived, never shot, never edited for 3-D and had six weeks where all of a sudden it was like, ‘Oh, lets just do this thing in 3-D.’ That’s obviously the worst case scenario. This movie has been conceived, everything has been designed from the sets to the storyboards, it will be edited, everything has been done with 3-D in mind. The big decision for me was, ‘Should I do digital which will enable me to go native 3-D or do I shoot film where I’ll have to convert?’ And I did a lot of tests with amazing cameras which guys are using and it just feels like for the look that I’m going for which is a gritty realism I do need to shoot on film. But because of the way that the conversion technology is today it will still look great and because the movie has been conceived in 3-D. Also, we’re doing things, like we’re shooting 1.85 which I think is a better aspect ratio for 3-D. That’s what ‘Avatar’ was shot on. So even though you think a Greek epic needs to be in widescreen I think that 185 gives you more vertical and allows you to cut less and we’ll just choreograph shots more. So everything has been thought of in that way for the movie to, obviously, counteract the fact that the first one was so bitch slapped.”

For more from the interview, click here.