Inside the 'Immortals' Premiere: Director Tarsem Laments '300' Comparisons

Tarsem Singh Headshot - P 2011
<p>Tarsem Singh Headshot - P 2011</p>   |   Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

It was a little too chilly for togas, but Relativity threw a Greek-themed bash for the premiere of its epic fantasy Immortals.

Held at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live with a party on top of a nearby parking structure, the stars came out: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans and Isabel Lucas were among those who held court not far from hearty Greek food and a photo station whose high-end props vied with Cavill for the evening's most popular attraction.

PHOTOS: 'Immortals' Premiere Red Carpet Arrivals

Watching it all unfold was Ryan Kavanaugh, whose Relativity bankrolled the lavish telling of Theseus’ battles with a vicious king. Relativity recently turned from a studio co-financier to producer and distributor. Immortals marks a new high for the company because of the scope and budget.

"It’s a big tentpole movie, and I think it’s important to show we can open a tentpole movie," Kavanaugh said inside the party.

The movie’s budget is reportedly in the $90 million range, and the company, due to foreign pre-sales, isn’t on the hook for the entire project. “Because of the way our structure is set up, we don’t need to hit a home-run on every movie to make it, and we’ll never be in a position where one movie can take us down,” said Kavanaugh.

The movie has been compared in the geek community to 300, Zack Snyder’s FX-heavy 2006 hit adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novel, and the marketing material has even stressed that the same producers are behind both.

VIDEO: 'Immortals': Stephen Dorff Says He’s the Han Solo of the Greek God Tale

But the movie’s director, Tarsem Singh, isn’t happy that the two are being stacked up against each other, nor was he happy 300 was mentioned on the one-sheets.

“I had a big fight early on, and I had to let it go. Not too many people will show up if you say ‘From the director of The Fall,’” he said, referring to his last film, released in 2006 and which grossed only $3.6 million worldwide.

Singh says studios are making comic strip films (he doesn’t call them comic book films) and said he wanted to make a painting strip film. “It’s not true to the Greek times but I thought it would be interesting in how someone from the Renaissance would paint the Greeks,” he said. “So the composition is quite old school but the action is quite contemporary.” He recalled his pitch involving the words “Caravaggio meets the school of Fight Club.”

Of course, one of the reasons so many are talking about the movie is Cavill, the British actor who plays Theseus and who is currently shooting the new Superman movie, Man of Steel.

VIDEO: 'Immortals' Producer: Tarsem Singh Needs to Understand 'Collaborating'

Singh said he cast Cavill before there was a script (at that point, the character of Theseus was imagined as being the son of a king as opposed to the son of a peasant woman) resisting pressure to cast a known star.

“When we started shooting, people started saying all this A Star Is Born crap” Singh said.

Cavill, for his part, deflected fans’ Superman questions but told THR that one reason he liked the movie was its theme of having a legacy. “That’s a regular message in any ancient historical tale,” he said. “Life was so short and all you had to make [yourself] truly immortal was your progeny. And that’s something that’s been a strong theme for me anyway because I’m from a family of six men.”

Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com
Twitter: @Borys_Kit