Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been earning his fair share of attention in recent months thanks to his starring roles in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, this summer's G.I. Joe: Retaliation and confirmation that he'll have a role in Michael Bay's Pain & Gain, while also returning for Fast and Furious 6.
If the soon-to-be-40-year-old wasn't keeping busy enough, today saw confirmations of the once undisputed WWE Champion landing starring roles in a pair of graphic novel-based action films: Hercules and Ciudad.
Ciudad marks the first feature directorial gig for Joe and Anthony Russo since 2006 when they helmed You, Me And Dupree. Since then, the brothers have work on TV shows including Community and Happy Endings. The film is based on the upcoming Oni Press graphic novel written by the brothers Russo and Ande Parks, which follows "black market mercenary who's hired by a Brazilian drug lord to rescue his kidnapped daughter."
Ciudad is being pitched as a hard-hitting, gritty action flick, something of a departure for the comedy-rooted Russos.
On the more mythical side of things, Variety has the scoop that Johnson has also signed for the upcoming Brett Ratner project Hercules, confirming early reports of Johnson being in talks for the part in February. The film is based on the Hercules: The Thracian War comics from Radical Publishing, split among two limited series, both written by Steve Moore with art by Cris Bolsin.
This take on the Greek demigod, sees Hercules under the command of the Thracian King as a leader and trainer of his armies. Moore's unique spin on the character caught the attention of Peter Berg years ago. In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Moore explains what his Hercules is all about:
"I wanted to give some idea of the brutality of ancient warfare, rather than a prettified “fantasy movie” version.
Obviously a warrior doesn’t fight alone, so my first job was to give him some companions, but only companions who would have been mythologically contemporary with him. For example, there was no point in teaming up Hercules and Achilles, because they were of different generations. So, apart from Meneus, who was invented for the series, all the other characters in Hercules’s band are actual legendary characters who would have been alive at the same time, and whose personalities are largely based on what we know of them from their original stories.
The next decision was that, to avoid the more mythological aspects, the easiest thing to do was to take Hercules and his war-band out of Greece. Since we wanted a dark, moody feel to the story, barbarian Thrace was the obvious place to set the action. And then, having gotten the basic ingredients, it was pretty much a case of letting them stew for a couple of weeks. I’m not someone who comes up with instant story notions, I was making the odd note as ideas came to me, quite often while half-awake in bed, until the whole thing just sort of grew together naturally. I used the same method on the outline for the second series, though that required a bit more research, as it is set in ancient Egypt, and I’m less familiar with that than the Greek world."
With that description, we can only hope the brothers Russo make up for the soft and cheesy Scorpion King which marked The Rock's first leading role in a feature film.
[gallery columns="2" exclude="157820"]
Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.
Sources: Variety, CBR
Cover Art by Imaginary Friends Studios, Clint Langley, J.P. Targete,