300On Thursday, Feb. 20 The Source Magazine attended a VIP screening of Warner Bros. “300: Rise Of An Empire” at AMC Empire 25, which hits theaters March 7.

At special reception following the screening held at Stitch Bar & Lounge. We had the opportunity to interview photographer Clay Enos, whose work was on on display. What makes “300” so different, yet classical Zack Synder, is the use of still photography within the film to have sort of slow-motion effect where action turns into a zooming in of a photo. This works particularly well in the fast battle scenes and almost gives a surreal, high-definition feel to the movie, which is already in IMAX and thus adds to the feeling of being beside the characters. Here’s an interview with the photographer of the film, Clay Enos, who has also worked on other Synder films including “Watchmen,” “300,” “Sucker Punch” and “Man of Steel.”

What was it like on this film?

Amazing. As the still photographer, you are always a little bit in awe. You have to be in awe of everything that’s around you. There’s millions of dollars at play, everyday there’s something unfolding in front of you, there’s characters, there’s the actors, the costumes, the hair, the makeup. So like any movie, you have to sort of be enamored with the craft. And in this one in particular, because I’ve been to the set of the first 300 movie, it was the first time I’ve been on a big movie set and it was what lit the fire that maybe I could do still photography on movie sets and sure enough, here I am, on the set of a 300 movie. So it was thrilling and really satisfying having already had a few movies under my belt, I felt really comfortable to explore it, but always remembering that enthusiasm and curiosity I had from visiting the first one.

How did you meet Zack Snyder and how did he sign you on board?

Zac’s wife is a college classmate from Ithaca College and our friendship is long and strong and that’s why I was on the set of 300 – to visit Debby. And I came with friends in the excitement of a big Hollywood film and with Watchmen, the opportunity presented itself when asked. I’m a photographer, so it’s not like I came out of nowhere and they asked if I’d be interested and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. I feel like I got the first gig because of who I knew and then I get invited back because of what I do. A little bit of nepotism and then hard work.

What was your favorite scene to photograph?

There’s a lot of favorite scenes; my favorite scene that I didn’t get to photograph was probably the sex scene because it’s a new take on a sex scene. But I would say some of the stuff on “Marathon” was really satisfying because  of the real heavy muck and the stunt guys and everybody roaring and screaming and sweating – in real life, translates beautifully. The whole movie is green screen, so I have only so much to work with that. I look at the set pieces for pictures. But I would say “Marathon” and, it’s hard to distinguish a single piece, but I would say in general what I really enjoyed about this movie was just the amazing amount of craftsmanship that went into wardrobe and props and things like that that I think would translate. I get to explore the place where the making the props – that’s the stuff in the “Making of” book. And that immense amount of work is what I think makes movies great. It distinguishes a sort of crappy affair that no one cares about to one that really moves you as an audience.

Did you get any say in how the wardrobe or costume department did anything?

Oh God no! I have my artistic inclining to do the portrait work that I do and to keep that creative spark alive and everybody is accommodating to that. But it’s really important for me to stay fairly objective and focused on my efforts that are not editorial.

Anything in particular that was challenging?

Movies that have a lot of green screen is making a movie that’s independent of that green screen. So getting into a position where there’s some set behind them or some pieces for him or her. Or on “Marathon,” getting up high so the mud was the only thing you would see instead of the green screen that becomes the sky. That’s a challenge.

Any final thoughts?

I hope everyone enjoys the movie, and the book that came out to support the movie is one of my favorites. I just think it perfectly represents the particular story of 300: Rise of An Empire but it also has what it takes to make a movie and all the attention to detail. I love that.

Below are some new film stills from “300: Rise of An Empire,” which was Directed by Noam Murro, written by Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad and based on the graphic novel Xerxes by Frank Miller. The film stars: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, Rodrigo Santoro, Callan Mulvey, David Wenham, Jack O’Connell, Andrew Tiernan, Igal Naor, and Andrew Pleavin.

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300: BATTLE OF ARTEMESIUM
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300: Rise of an Empire
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300 RISE OF AN EMPIRE

-Catherina Gioino