It's long been said that comic books serve as modern mythology, but if Hollywood's recent fascination with Hercules is any indication, traditional mythology may be making a full-on comeback.
We've known for a while that directors Brett Ratner (X-men: The Last Stand) and Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2) are both delivering their own versions of the Greek demigod. Ratner's film – based on the Hercules: The Thracian War comic book – has undoubtedly received more attention, given the notoriety of star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
However, Harlin's film, dubbed Hercules 3D, has slowly picked up steam. That project recently secured Twilight star Kellan Lutz as its lead, and now – speaking to Crave Online – Lutz discusses how his take on the iconic character will differ from Johnson's version. Here's what Lutz said:
"I wish them the best. They have a great cast, but the story is completely different. [Johnson's Hercules] is much older and our Hercules is the man’s journey from him being a boy to a man, and it’s very real and human. Our character goes through being lovestruck and then heartbroken and then anguish and loneliness, sadness and remorse. It’s really a story about a man, a man and the journey to get back to his love. So it’s not a man with super-powers. A man not understanding the strengths that he does have and he’s in denial because he doesn’t believe in gods at first and doesn’t believe that he’s the son of Zeus and just really feels rejected by who he thinks is his father. It’s just really going through the story of what a normal boy would go through and the situation that he’s forced into."
In many iterations, Hercules is depicted as a fearsome warrior and – thanks to his godlike strength – something of a superhuman. However, by the sounds of it, Harlin's Hercules film will be more angst-ridden and likely targeting a similar audience to the Twilight Saga. To that end, Lutz said that his version will be more grounded than many other incarnations of the character.
"Well, even Renny [Harlin] himself, he’s like, “Kellan, I don’t want you getting bigger. Just get your abs to pop more.” I’m like, “All right, cool.” And I like being bigger. Even I saw Hercules as this giant guy, but the powers that he harnesses, it’s not like he’s throwing bears into the sky or really fighting off any of the monsters like Clash of the Titans or anything like that. It’s really just Gladiator pretty much."
Even the design of the character will be a departure from the look that Hercules is traditionally known for, Lutz said.
"You know what, I wish I had the long blonde locks. I was really fighting for that just because I always envisioned Hercules as that, but we have so many fight scenes that are beyond epic. And riding a horse, if it’s not your natural hair, it’d be a lot of work and we don’t have time for that. So my look’s just, I have short hair in this. It’s very cropped and manly."
Initial reaction to two Hercules films on their way to theaters may be skeptical, but it does seem like the two films will be vastly different as far as tone. Ratner and Johnson's film – especially being based on a comic book – will likely feature more supernatural elements and a grander scale more akin to something like Marvel's Thor films, whereas Harlin and Lutz's version appears to be more of an origin story regarding Hercules coming to grips with his true parentage and emerging into the hero he would later become.
Undoubtedly, there is enough mass appeal for the character of Hercules for both films to succeed at the box office, and the fact that the Harlin/Lutz film appears to be targeting a more specific demographic can only enhance its chances at achieving a profit. However, Johnson has been riding high on the success of G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Pain & Gain - and with Fast & Furious 6 and several other high-profile releases still on the horizon before Hercules hits theaters, expect that momentum to carry over.
Hercules 3D is targeting a March 2014 release, while Ratner's Hercules opens July 25, 2014.
Source: Crave Online