In anticipation of the nationwide theatrical release of Neil Marshall’s latest thriller, Centurion, Magnolia Pictures has tapped renowned British comic artist Simon Bisley to create a one of a kind poster featuring the film’s main characters played by Michael Fassbender and Olga Kurylenko! In addition, inside you’ll also find our exclusive interview with Marshall, along with two brand new blood-soaked clips. The action- thriller is now available On Demand, Xbox and Amazon. Let’s just refer to today as “Centurion Day.”
Neil Marshall isn’t new to bloodshed. He thrives on it. Over the past decade, from DOG SOLDIERS to THE DESCENT and DOOMSDAY, Marshall has perfected his own brand of gritty ultra-violence. When the director decided to tackle the mysterious disappearance of the Roman Ninth Legion, it was only natural that he take the same approach.
Historical battle epics might bring to mind three-hour running times, detailed character development, slow motion and stylized action like that seen in 300. Coming in at a breezy and bloody 97 minutes, Marshall’s CENTURION is none of that.
Set in AD 117, General Virilus (Dominic West) leads the Roman Ninth Legion along with a fleet of soldiers including Quintus (Michael Fassbender), Macros (Noel Clarke) and Bothos (David Morrissey) under orders to wipe out the mysterious and savages Picts tribe. Lead by the beautiful and deadly Etain, hellbent on her own brand of bloodthirsty revenge, the Picts will defend their freedom at any cost. Based partially on historical events, no one really knows what happened to the Ninth Legion. Marshall also wrote the script, offering his own theory on the ultimate fate of the legendary Ninth.
BLOODY-DISGUSTING spoke with Marshall about the action-intensive, violent-as-hell CENTURION, an epic in the form of a streamlined, unapologetic action flick.
Originally released in the U.K., Marshall had a surprisingly easy time bringing the release stateside, without so much as a murmur from the historically unpredictable MPAA. “I haven’t had any problems at all with it,” Marshall tells BD. “Who I was making it for, they never questioned the blood and guts. It was always going to be blood and guts. If anything I kind of enhanced that along the way and added in some extra stuff in the edit. When Magnolia picked it up, it was the same thing. They showed it to the MPAA and we haven’t had any bother with it. Maybe I’ve become immune to it, but I don’t really see it as being as ultra-violent as it probably is.”
Although Marshall has become known for the level of violence in his films, the director says he’s never had a ratings issue. And while battle epics are traditionally steeped in violence, Marshall truly takes it to a whole new level. “In any other film, a brief incident might just be somebody gets punched in the face or whatever,” says Marshall. “But in this film somebody gets a knife stuck through their arm and then they get their head smashed against a table or their throat slashed. There are lots of moments of extreme violence.”
As Marshall stated above, he did add a bit of blood in post, although his preference was to spread the red practically on set. “ Of the gore effects, there’s only line five or ten percent that is CG-enhanced. The rest is practical on set. There was lots of blood around. I just wanted to have it on standby. Quite a lot of it gets used not just during the battle, but after the battle where we’re literally going around with buckets throwing them over the bodies and drenching the whole place in blood. It’s also used for squibs and blood knives and other forms of gratuitous violence.”
Marshall hits you over the head with the violence from the opening moments. These battles are fast and brutal. Limbs are lost, heads are lopped off and swords are pierced through bodies, coming out the other side with a slice and a splatter. “When you’re going after each other with spears and swords, there’s no nice way of killing somebody with those weapons,” says the writer/director. “It’s a battle for survival as far as the Picts are concerned. They’re fighting for their land and their existence and their lives. So yeah, they’re going to go all the way. It’s brutal times and if you read about it, there is far worse stuff than what we put in the movie. It was commonplace.”
CENTURION debuted on VOD July 23rd. It will open in a limited theatrical release on August 27th, 2010.