COMIC-CON 2010: Zack Snyder’s ‘Sucker Punch’ goes for grrrl power

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Zack Snyder, perhaps best known as the director of the musclebound movie “300,” is getting in touch with his feminine side with “Sucker Punch.”

The movie, due out in March, is based on an original script that Snyder co-wrote with Steve Shibuya. The concept, which had been germinating for eight years, involves five girls who use their imaginations to escape an insane asylum, Snyder told the audience Saturday afternoon at Comic-Con.

As with “300,” the movie features hyper-stylized fighting sequences in which the female characters -- Baby Doll, Amber, Sweetpea, Rocket and Blondie -- slash, hack and kick their way past horrific monsters and lecherous men. Snyder drenches the movie in a sepia tone similar to “300,” but adds a splash of the burlesque, a dose of steampunk and a whiff of Nazi Germany to the movie’s fantastical settings.

“Women are always looking for multiple layers because women are very complex creatures,” said Carla Gugino, who plays Mrs. Schulz, the asylum psychiatrist. “You’ll see a strength and a triumph in every one of these characters.”

The film’s heroines are played by Emily Browning (“Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”), Jena Malone ( “The Soloist”), Jamie Chung ( “Sorority Row”), Vanessa Hudgens (“High School Musical 2") and Abbie Cornish (“Bright Star”).

Snyder, who set the film world’s testosterone standard to a new high with a ripped cast in “300,” said his all-female lineup in “Sucker Punch” was “amazing.”

“They never flinched, never blinked at anything I asked them to do,” Snyder said.

After Gugino mentioned that Snyder “likes women,” he half-jokingly confirmed the statement.

“I do like women,” the 44-year-old director said. “After ‘300' people were saying I didn’t. But, yes, I do like women.”