Perhaps the most indelible face in Warner Bros.’ graphic 300: Rise of an Empire movie trailer is a weeping, young girl. That actor, 9-year-old Caitlin Carmichael, also appears in one of the most gruesome and horrific scenes in the blockbuster movie, begging the question: who is protecting child actors from today’s widespread film violence?
In this case, the answer is simple and to be applauded: Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. went to considerable lengths to keep Ms. Carmichael, who plays 8- year-old Artemisia in the film, unaffected by the mature subject matter and the bloody scenes in which she appeared. By design, Warner Bros. enlisted Red Studios in Hollywood to produce her entire scene and portions of the trailer – all on green screen. There was no bloodshed, no haunting imagery, and no other actors present. Just Ms. Carmichael and the daunting task of acting and reacting to scenes that weren’t there.
In a hand-made costume, Roman sandals and dyed hair, Caitlin tirelessly worked with writer Zack Snyder to get her reactions to fit the beats of her scene. In front of a large crew and a giant fan to gently blow her hair, Caitlin reacted to situations called out by Snyder such as, “your house is burning down... your parents are being hurt... you are scared... a soldier is coming to get you!”
To Warner Bros. credit, it was just Caitlin and a giant green screen. To Caitlin’s credit, her acting ability made the horrific scene – and trailer – come powerfully to life.
“It was a fun shoot and exciting to see how they took my green screen parts and made it so real in the film,” Caitlin said.
In addition to the green screen shoot, Warner Bros. also made the right decision when they enforced a strict policy of no minors at the premiere, held at Mann’s Chinese Theatre March 4. The studio once again took the extra steps to shield the young actor from the violence and mature subject matter in the film.
With a beautiful custom, Roman style dress made by designer Wanda Beauchamp of Puerto Rico, Caitlin posed for these publicity photos to portray not only her excitement with the film’s release but her joy and innocence of being a kid.
The photos were fabulous, Caitlin’s scene in the 300: Rise of an Empire a big hit, and a young actor successfully safeguarded from a violent film geared for mature audiences.
*Special Thanks to Dan Dieffenbach for his contribution to this article.