Wrath of the Titans: Making of Sequel

“Wrath of the Titans” brings back the mythical land of gods and monsters in a fight that’s bigger and bolder than ever before. And for the hero, Perseus, played by Sam Worthington, this time it’s personal.

“It’s an amazing adventure that takes Perseus to places no mortal has been before and pits him against enemies the likes of which no man has ever faced,” states director Jonathan Liebesman, who embraced the opportunity to work in one of his favorite genres while telling a story about facing your destiny. That is something, he says, “We all have to do eventually, if not quite as heroically, as Perseus. The reason Greek mythology is so timeless is because it’s full of classic archetypes, as well as tragedy, comedy, betrayal, revenge. It’s got it all and it is part of our collective culture. Everyone knows Zeus and Hades; everyone knows what the Underworld is.”

Having survived his first encounter with the Underworld in Medusa’s lair ten years earlier, Perseus has tried to forget the demons of the past and live a tranquil fisherman’s life with his son. But he’s given no choice when the war comes to him, and despite trying to hide his demigod identity for years, he can no longer deny his birthright…or his place on the battlefield.

“On his first quest, Perseus had lost everyone that mattered to him and was out for revenge, so on some level it probably didn’t matter to him if he lived or died,” Sam Worthington, who once again plays him, recalls. “But now he’s matured, has a kid he loves dearly, and is content with his life. He sees the world differently; he doesn’t want that world to change.”

But change it will, due to his sense of obligation to his father, the king of the gods, Zeus. Liam Neeson, who returns to the role, says he was eager for the chance to explore in greater depth the bond between fathers and sons, and also brothers. “Jonathan and the writers wanted to mine the difficult relationships between Zeus and his sons, Perseus and Ares, and his complex history with Hades and their own father, Kronos,” the actor notes. “That appealed to me greatly—the realism within a fantasy, the very human emotions driving this story that takes place in a fabled world.”

Ralph Fiennes, who reprises the role of Hades, adds, “I’ve always thought of the Greek gods as projections of human appetites and desires, especially when you think of our desire for immortality, eternal strength, eternal beauty and power. We can’t have those things, so we create these larger-than-life characters and fantastical stories.”

Also back on board for the epic adventure is producer Basil Iwanyk, who was thrilled to take on another mythological epic with new, even bigger beasts, with director Jonathan Liebesman at the helm. “Jonathan loved the material as much as I did and, like I did, he also thought it was really fun to run around Tenerife and Wales and the UK, staging full-scale battles and fighting monsters,” Iwanyk smiles. “His enthusiasm was infectious, and he really empowered the people around him, which brought out the best in everybody, cast and crew alike.”

Before a single sword could be raised, however, the script had to be penned. Iwanyk and fellow producer Polly Johnsen turned to scribes Dan Mazeau, David Leslie Johnson and Greg Berlanti to devise a death-defying quest for Perseus that would not just measure up to, but even exceed, his last one.

Mazeau says, “It was a really fun, collaborative process. Dave, Greg and I would sit down together for several hours a day, going through the research and figuring out what we would want to see on screen, because we’re all fans of that kind of material ourselves.”

According to Johnson, “In the mythology, Perseus’ greatest adventures come to an end after he saves Andromeda, which happened in the first film. We had to imagine what he did next, to invent a new adventure for him, in essence creating a ‘lost myth’ that feels as though it should be part of his mythos.”

“Ancient myths feel familiar and are relatable to all of us, which is why they last throughout the centuries,” producer Polly Johnsen observes. “The writers came up with one that fits right in—a relevant, relatable story that delves into the universal themes of love and hate between fathers and sons, and sibling rivalry. Then Jonathan brought his gritty, realistic take to it which, combined with the huge fantastical elements, I think makes for the best of both worlds.”

“We tried to make an epic film in every sense of the word—an inspiring story with powerful themes, massive creatures, kinetic action sequences, spectacular settings and iconic characters played by an incredibly talented cast,” Liebesman says.