Brett Ratner's Hercules adaptation (based on the "Hercules: The Thracian Wars" comic book) is coming together this year, with (former) Scorpion King Dwayne Johnson starring. The project was stalled in early development for a while, before Ratner skipped out on directing the Conan the Barbarian reboot and picked up this mythological ancient world blockbuster instead.
Back in 2012, reports began circulating that Paramount and MGM want Hercules to begin lensing this year. The studios has pencilled in a Summer 2014 release date, confirming the Johnson vehicle will come right after the five movies featuring 'The Rock' hitting theaters this year.
Hercules opens on August 8th, 2014, exactly one week after Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy hits the scene. As for 2013: Johnson returns in next month's crime tale Snitch, followed by G.I. Joe: Retaliation in March and Michael Bay's Pain & Gain this April. Once the summer blockbuster season gets underway, he'll appear in Fast and the Furious 6 and show up again with Hunger Games' Liam Hemsworth in Empire State during the second half of this year.
Here is a description of "The Thracian Wars" comic book:
Fourteen-hundred years ago, a tormented soul walked the Earth that was neither man nor god. Hercules, powerful son of the god king Zeus, received nothing but suffering his entire life. After twelve arduous labors and the loss of his family, this dark, world-weary soul turned his back on the gods, finding his only solace in bloody battle. Over the years he warmed to the company of six similar souls, their only bond being their love of fighting and the presence of death. These men and woman never question where, why, or whom they go to fight; only how much they will be paid.
Knowing this, the King of Thrace has hired these mercenaries to train his men to become the greatest army of all time. Hercules begins to question King Cotys' motives when he takes his army out to battle and sees them practice on innocent men, women, and children of their neighbors. Deep in his soul something stirs, but is it enough to stop a mad king and his army of the damned from marching across Greece - or even Olympus itself?!
An early Hercules script draft was penned by Sean Hood (co-writer on the Conan reboot), but the current screenplay is credited to Ryan Condal. The screenwriter worked on Alex Proyas' Paradise Lost adaptation, before that project plummeted into development hell (no pun intended).
The Scorpion King isn't exactly what you would call a fan-favorite movie (though, it has inspired multiple direct-to-DVD sequels), so many cinephiles see Hercules as a chance for Johnson to "redeem" himself in the swords-and-sandals sub-genre. Of course, that task's easier said than done, especially when you have Ratner - who people love-to-hate, after stuff like X-Men: The Last Stand - in the director's chair.
Say what you will about Ratner: he at least knows how to make a movie look slick, professional and sophisticated. Success (or lack thereof) is more dependent on the strengths of the scripts, which is why a Ratner action-comedy like Tower Heist was given a warmer reception than Rush Hour 3 (and accounts for Red Dragon being as good as it is). For my money, Johnson as the son of Zeus is good casting; now, it remains to be seen if Condol's script is also up to snuff.
Are you looking forward to seeing Dwayne Johnson in Hercules?
Hercules opens on August 8th, 2014.
Source: Paramount Pictures/MGM