Page last updated at 08:15 GMT, Friday, 2 April 2010 09:15 UK

Clash of the Titans returns to the big screen

By Andrew Fletcher
BBC 5 Live

Sam Worthington in Clash of the Titans
Sam Worthington stars as Perseus in the remake of the 1981 fantasy

Clash of the Titans director Louis Leterrier says Avatar prevented him from filming it in 3D.

Leterrier wanted to use 3D cameras to shoot his Greek mythology epic.

But the technology was so new the only ones in existence had been booked by James Cameron for Avatar, now the biggest-grossing film to date.

Leterrier had to settle for the conversion of his movie to 3D during post-production.

"Warner Brothers came to me and said, 'We have a new technology called View D and you'll be able to convert this movie into 3D, would you like to try it?'" he says.

"I said, 'I've seen conversions before and it doesn't work, everyone looks flat.' They said, 'No, let us show you what it is,' and they converted it in 10 minutes.

"It was absolutely amazing, just the amount of detail. It doesn't look like cut-out people on flat backgrounds - everything was absolutely realistic."


Leterrier says audiences will come to expect the 3D format as standard, particularly for action movies.

Liam Neeson as Zeus
Liam Neeson stars as god Zeus, played by Laurence Olivier in the original

"There's no stopping 3D. It's one more tool to take the audience by the hand and say, 'Come on and visit our world.'

"We're heading towards a fully immersive, fully interactive experience where you won't need the screen, you won't need the audience.

"You'll just be entering a world created by a film-maker and artist and actor, and you'll be a part of it. That's what 3D is doing."

The release date of Clash of the Titans was delayed to allow work to be completed on the 3D conversion, a task which Leterrier says involved 2,000 people.

Gemma Arterton, who plays half-woman, half-god Io, thinks the success of Avatar prompted the move.

"A couple of months ago I heard they were putting it into 3D on the back of Avatar that had done so well, and I thought 'Oh gosh, does it need it?'

"Then having actually seen it in 3D, it kind of is brilliant. It adds a new dimension and gives it an even more exciting texture, so I'm really pleased that they did it," she adds.


Comparisons with Avatar will be unavoidable, not least because its star Sam Worthington plays the heroic Perseus in Clash of the Titans.

He says the success of Avatar has changed his life 100%. But he has also learned to deal with criticism of the 3D format.

"There's going to be a lot of critics because they still believe it's gimmicky," he says. "There's still an ignorance towards the use of it, but essentially it's like Dolby digital."

Gemma Arterton as Io
It was one of my favourite films when I was growing up, if not the favourite - I used to watch it over and over again
Gemma Arterton

"No one wanted surround sound originally; they were like, 'Why do I want a speaker behind me?'

"3D's just a tool to bring me into the world, but the story's got to hold up."

Worthington used elaborate props and enlisted the help of crew members to replicate monsters that would later be brought to life using CGI and motion-capture special effects.

"I learned from Avatar you can't act with nothing, it's impossible. You always try to have something there.

"So in the case of fighting a bunch of scorpions the size of dump trucks, you have a scorpion the size of a dump truck.

"They build it - it's fibreglass and you can bash it. And if I'm being chased by Medusa, I get the fastest stunt guy there is and tell him to chase me."

The snake-headed Medusa will be familiar to fans of the original 1981 version of Clash of the Titans, along with creatures such as the Kraken - a fearsome sea serpent - and the flying horse Pegasus.

Rollercoaster ride

Worthington, who first saw the cult classic on television at the age of five, says the remake has a lot to live up to.

"You've got to be very careful. People have a fondness for the original; you don't want to step on their toes and just do a carbon copy of it," he says.

Sam Worthington
Worthington hopes the film will thrill fans as much as its predecessor

"We wanted to see what we could do to improve on the original. The visual effects were ramped up to 11, the pace is a lot faster and more furious."

Arterton, who also loved the original, says she was was desperate to be involved in the new version.

"It was one of my favourite films when I was growing up, if not the favourite, and I used to watch it over and over again.

"I used to act out the parts. I was always Perseus - I always wanted to play the hero," she adds.

Worthington hopes his new film will thrill fans in the same way as the original.

"This is a fun boisterous popcorn movie. We're under no illusions, it's not a history lesson.

"It's a guy on a winged horse in a skirt with rubber swords battling monsters, and I think 3D can kind of help you.

"It can bring you in there. You should come out, throw your glasses off and realise that this is a hoot - it's a rollercoaster."

Clash of the Titans opens in the UK on 2 April.

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