Gerard Butler (pictured) will star in Warner Bros'adaptation of 300, a graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City) that recounts one ofancient Greece's best-known military battles.

Warner, returning to the sword-and-sandal action-adventure genre thatyielded blockbuster results at the global box office with Troy but more mixed fortunes with Alexander, plans to begin principal photography in Montrealon Oct 17. The studio will distribute 300worldwide.

Zack Snyder, who recently remade George A Romero's seminalzombie picture Dawn Of The Dead, willdirect.

300 is the true story of how an elite unit ofSpartan warriors thwarted the massive Persian army at the battle of Thermopylaein 480 B.C. Butler will play the Spartan king Leonidas as he takes on thePersian "god-king" Xerxes.

In Miller's blood-spattered interpretation thestory culminates with Leonidas, riddled with arrows, exacting revenge on Xerxeswith his final dying breath.

Snyder and his writing partner Kurt Johnstadadapted the screenplay, based on a previous draft by Michael Gordon.

Gianni Nunnari is producing the project forHollywood Gang Productions, along with Mark Canton for Atmosphere Pictures,Bernie Goldmann and Jeffrey Silver. Miller, Deborah Snyder and Craig J Floresare serving as executive producers.

Senior vice president of production Greg Silvermanand creative executive Geoff Shaevitz will oversee the production for thestudio.

"[Zack's] innovative, energetic vision, combined with hisSpartan-like determination to get the picture made, will undoubtedly result ina cool, contemporary depiction of Miller's novel images," Nunnari said.

"We arepleased to be doing this extraordinary project with [president and chiefoperating officer] Alan Horn, Jeff Robinov [president of production] and theircolleagues at Warner Bros Pictures," Canton said.

"The combination of Frank Miller's trademarkstyle, Zack Snyder's creative vision and our international ensemble cast,headed by Gerry Butler, will make this movie exciting for audiences of all agesall over the world, as it is the most entertaining way to tell the story of the300 Spartans."

"AsFrank Miller did with his stunning graphic novel Sin City, we endeavour tore-invent the sword and sandal genre," Goldmann said.

SinCity,which Miller adapted for the screen and co-directed with Robert Rodriguez, hasso far taken $126m at the worldwide box office for Miramax and itsinternational partners. A sequel has already been greenlit.