Brett Ratner introduces upcoming release Hercules 3D with his cast
The mythical-saga-based-on-a-graphic-novel genre is in full swing once again with Hercules, Brett Ratner’s take on the Greek demigod. We attended a Q and A with the director and cast, and saw some preview footage.
“When I was a kid, I dreamed of making a sword and sandals” – Ratner’s enthusiasm for the film is infectious. For him the film is a “demystification,” of the legend: with his Labours complete, Hercules now lives as a sword for hire. In the main role is Dwayne Johnson and, based on the footage of him on Wednesday, his current physique isn’t far off Herculean. As Ratner pointed out: “For this generation, Dwayne is the ultimate Hercules.”
“This was my most physically demanding role,” explained Johnson, and for him to make such a claim is noteworthy indeed. From his early days as “The Rock” (a moniker he’s slowly managing to escape), the ex-wrestler has been no stranger to maintaining a high standard of physical fitness, but this new role makes his early days look positively doughy.
The footage we saw was a battle scene that took place at the beginning of shooting, in which Hercules and his band of fellow mercenaries must protect Cotys (John Hurt) from an attacking horde. It’s hard to tell from the ten-minute clip, but so far, the action looks frenetic while being reasonably grounded in reality. Hercules is strong, but he’s not quite superman, which seems to go along with Ratner’s demystification of the role. He’s also not a one-man army, and his teammates get almost as much time on screen as he does.
To those who’ve seen modern cult classic Headhunters, Aksel Hennie will be familiar, but his character in Hercules is a far cry from his role as a smooth-talking art thief. Playing a scarred and silent warrior named Tydeus, Ratner informs us that Hennie was offered any role he liked (except Hercules himself of course), but that in the end he chose the mute mercenary as he felt it provided the most “challenge.” Alongside Hennie is Ian McShane as Amphiaraus, an equally deadly, if a little less toned, “seer,” character. It’s clear that McShane’s portrayal will be less about brute strength than the others, but what else he’ll bring to the table is anyone’s guess. McShane’s not alone on his field trip from Blighty however, as Reece Ritchie also waves the flag for British actors as Iolaus.
Rounding off the fighting five is possibly the most interesting of Hercules’s companions: Ingrid Bolsø Berdal plays Atalanta, a ferocious Amazonian warrior with a deadly bow and incredible agility. When asked about the role, Berdal says she was drawn to the double-sided nature of the Amazons – “destruction,” and “femininity” – and from the footage, it seems like she has the destruction part down to a tee. But Atalanta isn’t the only female in the film, and when it came time to cast Hercules’s wife, Ratner knew he needed someone with beauty, and poise.
“I feel like they hired me to be naked in this movie,” jokes Irina Shayk, who plays Megara in the movie; “I was either dead or naked.” The Russian actress is best known for her work as a Sports Illustrated model, but is trying her hand at acting here – though judging by the trailer, her career might not be a long one.
It’s difficult to tell whether Hercules will be a lighthearted and entertaining romp, or an overly serious two-hour trudge, but, with the number horses Hercules is confirmed to have flipped currently standing at one, here’s hoping for the former. As long as it doesn’t end up taking itself too seriously, the film has potential to be entertaining at the very least. If not, it could end up being yet another of Hercules’ labours.
Joe Manners Lewis
Hercules is released nationwide on 25th July 2014.
Watch the trailer for Hercules here: