Queen Gorgo takes up arms in “300: Rise of an Empire,” but returning franchise star Lena Headey said that behind the scenes, she had a little trouble with fight training.
“They teach you very basic moves, so you get these two big sticks like you’re a 4-year-old boy and then, if you don’t hurt anyone, they give you a plastic sword and you feel like you’ve passed a test,” Lena told Access Hollywood.
And yes, the Spartan Queen did pass the test, but with mixed results.
“I made it to the plastic, and then I hit a couple of guys in the nuts,” Lena laughed. “Yeah… and I went back to sticks. I was downgraded.”
The new “300” film follows the story of the Greeks, led by Sullivan Stapleton’s Themistocles, as they take up arms to fight Persian god/King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his general/adopted sister, Artemisia, played by Eva Green. But when Lena first got the call to return to the “300” fold, she wasn’t sure what producers envisioned seeing, as her husband, Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his men, perished in the 2006 box office smash.
“At first I thought they’re mental, ‘cause everyone’s dead, so I don’t know what they’re going to do. Is it gonna be a rom-com? Um… I meet a new Spartan,” Lena laughed.
Once she found out that the new film would have a strong connection with the first, she was intrigued.
“I found it interesting two fold, ‘cause I thought it’d be cool to see Gorgo from a different point of view and see what happens to her when Leonidas dies, which you didn’t see in the first movie. It just kind of brushes over that in terms of her point of view, and also I get to wield a sword, which I was quite happy about,” she said.
Also wielding a sword is Eva’s Artemisia, who fights for the opposing Persians.
“It’s such an awesome character,” Lena said of Artemisia. “[She’s] just visually iconic and she plays it beautifully.”
While on opposing sides and of different motivations, Lena has respect for Artemisia – at least off screen.
“[She is] badass and mental in the best way, so I think you have these two extremes of women. She’s the bad guy who is morally questionable… whereas you have Gorgo who is a mother and a wife and is morally very black and white, and lives for honor,” Lena told Access.
“300: Rise of an Empire” opens this Friday in theaters.
-- Jolie Lash