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WRATH OF THE TITANS

A Hero's Return
"Wrath of the Titans" not only reunites Perseus with his godly father, Zeus, and duplicitous uncle, Hades, it was a reunion for the trio of actors who play them as well: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes.

"I couldn't imagine anyone else in these roles, so I was thrilled that they each came back to continue the tale," Liebesman says.

Worthington says he was interested in exploring the changes in his character after a decade or so has gone by in Perseus' life. "Unlike before, he is now reluctant to join the fight. It's not an easy decision, and his hesitation really comes from trying to determine what he feels is right: does he leave his son to help his father, or stay with his son and leave his father to go it alone?"

"In Greek mythology," Liebesman notes, "the gods always neglect their human families. They're very selfish. Perseus, despite being a demigod, is trying to live a selfless life as a mortal, dedicated to raising his kid."

Perseus' initial choice seems to be an easy one: he's a parent, he's not going anywhere, no matter how badly Zeus pleads with him, no matter how many of his dreams Zeus haunts. But the decision is really taken out of his hands when the fight quite literally comes to him in the form of a terrifying, three-headed Chimera that attacks his village. Of course, by fighting the monster, it becomes clear to all-including his son-that Perseus is no ordinary fisherman.

Regardless of how badly Perseus may want things to go back to the way they were, it's clear to him that they're not going to-that Zeus was right, the world is changing. It's a message the god of thunder and lightning has been trying to convey to his brother Hades as well, but his warnings have fallen on deaf ears.

"Jonathan was very intent on redefining the relationship between the gods, particularly Hades and Zeus," says Fiennes. "They've always had a difficult history, but this time it's really coming to a head. The gods' powers are diminishing as humankind is finding its own sense of self-worth. Hades has decided that the only way to maintain any kind of power-which for him equals immortality-is to release the eternal destructive force of his father, Kronos, from where he's been imprisoned for so long. Zeus is against this as he knows it will mean mass destruction, so the brothers are at odds from the beginning."

"Zeus realizes that the gods are weaker because it is time for humans to be strong," Neeson explains. "He sees the rightness of that, he understands this new world order, and he's okay with it. Unfortunately, he's unable to convince Hades, and his benevolence toward mortals leaves him open to his brother's old tricks."

Though onscreen enemies, Neeson and Fiennes are great comrades off camera, and enjoyed working together once more. "Ralph is a very dear friend, and it was terrific to have so many scenes with him this time around."

Occasionally, though, the seriousness of their roles got to the pair. "We burst out laughing a few times," Neeson continues, "because, well, there we were again in long wigs and beards and breast plates, me with my thunderbolt and he with his pitchfork."

Fiennes adds, "Liam and I had much more interaction in this film than in the last, and some really strong scenes to play, which we loved. And to be working with a friend is always a good thing."

Several new cast members joined the production in critical roles as well. Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez took on the part of Ares, embittered son of Zeus. Resentful of the attention he feels his father has bestowed on his half-brother Perseus, the god of war is out for blood.

Ramirez relished the role. "I grew up watching fantasy movies and always had a wish to be in one," he reveals. "So to play Ares, one of the most prominent Olympian gods and, by definition, the greatest warrior ever, was a chance to fulfill that in a really fun way. Ares enjoys fighting for the sake of fighting; the heat of battle is what ignites this character. He's violent and aggressive, with a very big ego, yet fragile in a way-his pride is easily deflated by what he perceives to be Zeus' preference for Perseus, the son who never loved Zeus. Ares feels excluded, so when Hades presents him with an opportunity for revenge, he takes it."

"Edgar had an incredibly passionate take on Ares. He really delved into the jealousy and passion and anger that have built up inside the god for so long," Liebesman says.

Another slighted offspring of the gods is Agenor, Poseidon's long lost son who has turned into quite the criminal. Needing his innate expertise on the seas, Perseus seeks out Agenor, and finds him rotting in Queen Andromeda's battlefield jail.

The role of Agenor, who proves not only a surprisingly strong ally but also provides a fair amount of comic relief on the dangerous endeavor, is played by Toby Kebbell. "Toby was fantastic," his director states. "He has an edge and a real biting wit that he brought to the character, and he and Sam had a terrific banter together. Even though Agenor and Perseus had never met before our story, they almost immediately feel like family-they're cousins, after all-when we see them together."

"My character has no interest in the gods or the fact that he's a demigod," Kebbell offers. "He's been deserted by his father and so he's turned his back on that world. Perseus brings him around to realizing that it's their generation's responsibility to take care of this mess with the powers that they possess. And even though Agenor is nonchalant about it, he knows he's got an understanding of the sea, given to him by his father, Poseidon, and that Perseus will need him to win this fight. Secretly, he appreciates the respect Perseus has given him. No one else has ever given him that; everyone else just looks on him as a thief, which is fair because he is a thief."

English actress Rosamund Pike plays Agenor's captor, Queen Andromeda. The princess of Argos in the previous film, Andromeda inherited the crown after the death of her parents, the king and queen, and has since become a warrior in defense of her kingdom, even as the world collapses around her.

Producer Iwanyk felt Pike's physicality was "perfect-rough and tough, but queenly at the same time. She exuded leadership but never lost her femininity. And she could go toe-to-toe with Sam."

"I liked Andromeda because she felt like a real heroine for girls," Pike shares. "I think boys have so many action hero role models in films, and there are fewer female characters like that. But Andromeda has changed a great deal from the end of the first film, when she was helpless and needed to be rescued. Now she's Queen of her country and leading her army in war. She's a fighter, and is going to make sure she never needs to be rescued again."

Once Perseus has gathered his forces-Agenor, Queen Andromeda and a few of her soldiers-they set off at sea, under Agenor's navigation, for the remote island home of Hephaestus. As the forger of Zeus' thunderbolt, Hades' pitchfork and Poseidon's trident (collectively known as the Spear of Triam), as well as the architect of the Titans' prison, Tartarus, Hephaestus has valuable knowledge that Perseus must obtain in order to save his father and the world from the wrath of Kronos. Once married to the beautiful goddess Aphrodite, the fallen god now lives alone, with only a few giant Cyclops and mechanical owl Bubo, back in another brief but memorable cameo, for company.

Hephaestus is played with a sense of demented delight by Bill Nighy, who delved into the blacksmith's background in order to fuel his character's

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