Henry Cavill refused all assistance from the make-up and visual effects departments to achieve his eight-pack for the movie. He told them, "I do not want you to draw abs on me." Cavill said it was "a pride thing" for him, and he "actually wanted to have that body for real, and show it in the film."
Henry Cavill did not do any weight training for his preparation for this film. His physique was achieved through a tabata-style training regiment, consisting of only body weight exercises. This training methodology was chosen, because the goal was to not put on much mass, but to develop a very lean, highly defined physique.
Henry Cavill noted that there was a healthy competition on-set among all the male actors, as all of them had to appear shirtless, and all wanted to look their best in front of the camera. He said that they would have friendly "best abs contests" to determine "who had the best abs". Luke Evans said that Henry Cavill was definitely the one to beat.
When the project was set up, the financing was still being negotiated, even though filming was set to begin just six months down the line. Henry Cavill began his intense training regimen for the film right away, even though the producers said that they did not have money for the trainers yet. Cavill elected to pay the trainers out of his own pocket, until funding could be acquired, and he continued training. Six months later, as the filming date approached, the producers told him the financing had fallen through, and he should stop training, so Cavill stopped his physical prep then. Another six months later, the producers told him they had now acquired alternate financing and he should start training again, and so Cavill set out to achieve the required physique for the character a second time, only for the financing to fell through yet again. The producers again asked him to stop for the moment. After some time, the producers finally acquired concrete financing, and when they called Cavill the third time to tell him to start his training, they realized that he had not stopped since the last time. He had maintained his physique and was already ready to start filming. They said that Cavill effectively ended up building his body three times over three separate six month periods for this role before filming finally began, and they saw this as the best demonstration of his commitment to the role and the movie.
Director Tarsem Singh told Henry Cavill after their first meeting that if he got the role of Theseus, he would have to develop an "eight pack", not a "six pack". He could have very little body fat on his body because his wardrobe would be very revealing. Cavill trained for six months and developed his abdominal muscles into a full "eight pack", which was then displayed throughout the movie in numerous shirtless scenes. He brought down his body fat percentage to six percent, which he subsequently maintained throughout the shoot.
Henry Cavill said he felt very stressed out leading up to the filming of his shirtless scenes for the movie. He would wake up every morning and look into the mirror and think "Can I still see the veins in my abs?" He said he did look good enough but felt a lot of pressure because he wanted to completely deliver on the shape Tarsem Singh had asked for (a full eight-pack of abs).
The filmmakers stated that they chose to change many aspects of the ancient Greek stories to reflect the fact that the Greeks themselves often revised their mythology to conform to new ideas and knowledge. One aspect of this film, which is specifically addressed in the special features, is having Zeus and Poseidon appear as young men rather than old men.
During the final meeting of Theseus and Hyperion, Theseus does the Mixed Martial Arts maneuver known as a "Superman Punch". Henry Cavill (Theseus) played Superman in Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and Justice League (2017).
When he was editing the film, Tarsem Singh would set his action to a guide track from the television miniseries The Pillars of the Earth (2010). He felt that that score seemed to blend in very well with his vision, so when it came to choosing a composer for Immortals (2011), Trevor Morris was the natural choice.
In one scene, Theseus consecutively fires four arrows, which then go on to hit their respective targets simultaneously. This is a one-to-one re-creation of a scene in the Chinese wuxia-movie House of Flying Daggers (2004), directed by Zhang Yimou.
The castration of Lysander was not meant purely for shock or even dark humor, but to symbolize his lack of courage and virility. Hyperion chastises Lysander for being a coward and decides to make it as literal as possible by taking away his ability to procreate, thus further reinforcing that he is not a real man.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The story is very loosely based on Greek mythology, combining elements of various myths. In the myths, Theseus was King of Athens (the capital of Greece) and (in some versions) a son of Poseidon (Greek god of sea and Zeus' brother), although his legal father was King Aegeus of Athens (namesake of the Aegean Sea). Theseus killed the Minotaur (a creature with the body of a man and a head of a bull imprisoned in a labyrinth, depicted here as a man with a helmet made of wires and horns) with the help of Princess Ariadne, whom he later married. Hyperion is from a different myth, and was the name of one of the twelve Titans. There were only twelve Titans in the myths, and they were immortal and unkillable. There was a war in the heavens, and the Titans lost. Zeus then threw them into Tartarus, which is represented as a mountain in the movie, but in the old myths, was a cave at the center of the Earth with minor similarities to Hell, to be imprisoned for all eternity. Epirus Bow doesn't exist in any mythology, but it might be inspired by the bow of Heracles, a.k.a. Hercules, which was used by the Greeks to defeat Troy in the great war. (Epirus was a Greek kingdom in what is now Albania, and was home to King Pyrrhus of "pyrrhic victory" fame.) The movie's version of Theseus might be partially inspired by Heracles, a.k.a. Hercules, a son of Zeus who was the only hero to ascend to Olympus to rule with the Gods. Phaedra was the sister of Princess Ariadne, and the second wife to Theseus. She was not a seer. Acamas was the son of Phaedra and Theseus, but wasn't a seer either. Theseus was murdered in his old age, but not in a battle, and he did not ascend. Hoplite was the ancient Greek title for soldiers in ancient Greek states. Heraklion is a capital of the Greek island of Crete, and there were never any military formations with that title. In the Theseus story, Crete had its capital at Knossos, and its ruler was cruel King Minos (father of Ariadne and Phaedra), who was the basis for the movie's Hyperion. Sibyl was the ancient Roman title for prophetesses. There were twelve Olympian gods and goddesses, and they were immortal and unkillable as well.
When Theseus touches Epirus Bow pretending to shoot an arrow, can be seen a light arrow appearing magically. It's a nod for Dungeons & Dragons (1983). In it, Hank was turned in the archer by Dungeon Master, giving him an arrow which shots light arrows that appear magically as times as the archer wants.