Above is the trailer for Hercules, the retelling of the Greek myth starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and directed by Brett Ratner. I had a chance to watch the trailer and then engage in a group interview with The Rock, and I thought I'd pull out some choice quotes from the man himself.
On what makes this version of Hercules unique, and how it was inspired by a graphic novel:
There had been a few iterations in the past of Hercules. The idea was to take the spirit of the graphic novel, which we liked, and then create a script and a story based on that that still gave a very unique twist on the story of Hercules. But we also pay attention, respect and homage to the mythology of Hercules as it relates to the 12 Labors and the group that Hercules had around him, the anguish that he had to go through with the death of his family and things like that. So the goal was to strike a nice balance between, again, a unique twist on the story, and yet at the same time make sure that we still paid homage to the mythology of Hercules.
Ultimately at the end, the greatest thing Hercules can accomplish is accepting his fate and his faith. His faith then becomes his most powerful asset. A lot of times in the past there was -- you know, we didn't want to rely completely on the fables and fantasy elements. We wanted to have some roots being grounded in something. We all felt, by the way, that we were able to strike the balance correctly, where we still paid homage to the Labors and the story of Hercules, but we also made sure that it was really rooted and grounded in something that was very real and something that was palpable to us, today. That palpability would be, you find great power when you have faith -- and not necessarily a religious faith, but just the faith in that things can be better.
On just how violent this version of Hercules is:
We pushed the limit. What's great I think is that when you have a project like this, where the fighting style is brutality -- and it's that fun brutality, in a way that you know that you're PG-13, so "Let's get creative." A lot of times, as you guys know, it's about how much blood you see -- and intention; the intention to brutalize is high, but we try to keep the blood as minimal as possible. I think you're going to be happy, if you have a thirst for that, like occasionally I do.
On how the long development process made this better:
I'm so grateful that I didn't make it when I first asked about it. I first asked about it when I came to Hollywood 14 years ago. I asked about Hercules and Walking Tall, but at that time I was actually shooting Scorpion King, so it was a little close. I'm happy I didn't make it back then, because I couldn't have brought I think the same weight and substance, just living as a man and having the experiences I've had today. So what I loved about this version of Hercules was that he was older, he was more experienced. When we meet him, he's going through a lot of pain, and he has no family. His family's been murdered.
And who was The Rock's Hercules?
Always Steve Reeves. When I was a kid, I was always enamored by -- I appreciated the movies, and I was able to see them on VHS when I was a kid, but I was so enamored by the one-sheets and the posters. I had them in my room when I was a kid. So yeah, it was always Steve Reeves. He's the first one, you know?