Comic Book Resources spoke with Santoro while he was promoting his new movie "The Last Stand," and talked to him about the planned "300" spinoff. Though even he joked about the film's constantly changing title, he was happy to pronounce, "It's coming out."
Once titled "Xerxes" (and then later "300: Battle for Artemisium"), the project was originally supposed to focus on the god-king Xerxes in the time prior to the events in "300." Santoro confirmed that the plot has now evolved and will focus simultaneously on his character and those played by Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green.
"It would be about Xerxes at first, but then they changed the whole thing," he said. "I would say that you get to know a little bit about [Xerxes'] backstory, which I thought is pretty cool."
Santoro continued, "It's more like you have the new Athenian, Sullivan. You have Eva Green's character, which is a commander, a naval commander, my naval commander, and you have Xerxes. It gravitates between all three, what's going on."
Earlier in our interview Santoro had lamented the fact that he didn't have any big action scenes in "300," despite being the movie's primary villain. He said that's mostly the case in "Rise of an Empire," but that he does get in on the action at least once.
"I have a little, sort of. I do, I do, I do. I can't say it, but I have a little bit," Santoro said. "I did a little bit of action, but ['Rise of an Empire'] takes place a little bit before ['300']. You'll understand when you watch it, but I did have to do a little bit of action. A little bit."
"300: Rise of an Empire" is being directed by Noam Murro off of a script written by Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad. Despite having a new man in charge, Santoro said you can very much feel Snyder's touch on this project.
"I think it will match, because the idea is matching -- characters and style and all that. Especially because they're calling it like a spinoff, you get bits of the first movie. There's a place where they meet, the first movie and the second movie, but it's a different director," Santoro said. "I didn't see the movie yet, the final result, but the experience -- I mean, Zack was pretty much involved because he wrote it and he's producing it. His hands are there, but Noam will have his own take on directing it. I think it's going to be pretty awesome, and the fans are going to be pleased."
"300: Rise of an Empire" is set to be released on Aug. 2, 2013.