Dawn of the Dead redirector Zach Snyder has been struggling like a Spartan to get an adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel 300 into production ever since zombies stormed the local mall on fleet undead feet, but now the charge has begun.

Miller’s story is a vividly brutal dramatization of the legendary Battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Greek soldiers fought the entire Persian army to a near-standstill at a mountain pass.  Och, the Spartans will be led by a Scotsman – Gerard Butler will star in the film as King Leonidas, who rallies his hardy troops against Xerxes and his invading hordes.

After making his “breakthrough” as the titular bloodsucker of Dracula 2000, Butler has been spending most of his days in other time periods – as everyone’s favorite Hun in the TV miniseries Attila, as Christian Bale’s bestest chum in the post-apocalyptic future of Reign of Fire, and several historical moments he wishes he could get back in Timeline.  And he recently finished playing the fabled beast-battler in Beowulf & Grendel.

Snyder (who’s also been attached to the Rainbow Six flick) plans to shoot most of 300 on Montreal soundstages and fill in the blanks with super-stylized CGI.

Fight like Val Kilmer on our message boards!