Dwayne Johnson in Talks to Star in Brett Ratner's Hercules
02.24.12 by BJSprecher
"Do You Smell What Hercules is Cooking?"
The big screen adaptation of Steve Moore's Radical Publishing graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian War that was once set up at Universal with Peter Berg (upcoming Battleship) attached to direct, is back off the shelf and being cooked up over at MGM as the next directing project for Brett Ratner. Who will Ratner get to play the demigod son of Zeus? According to Variety, Ratner is interested in Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, whose career is white-hot right now, with one movie currently in theaters (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island), another due this summer (G.I. Joe Retaliation) and yet another about to go into production (Michael Bay's Pain and Gain).
The screenplay for Ratner's Hercules was written by Ryan Condal, whose recent work includes polishing up the script for director Alex Proyas' (I, Robot) ill-fated Paradise Lost adapation. No synopsis of the movie has been released at this time, so there's no telling how closely it will stick to Moore's graphic novel. But, since that's all we have to go on right now, check out the synopsis for Hercules: The Thracian War from its listing on Amazon:
Nearly 3,200 years ago, a tormented soul walked the Earth as neither man nor god: Hercules, powerful son of the god-king Zeus, and for this he received nothing but suffering. After 12 arduous labors and the loss of his family, this dark, world-weary soul turned his back on the gods, finding solace only in bloody battle. Over the years, he warmed to the company of six similar souls, bonded by their love of fighting and the presence of death never questioning where they go or who they fight, just how much they will be paid. Now the King of Thrace has hired these mercenaries to turn his men into the greatest army of all time, which means training them to be as bloodthirsty and ruthless as their own reputation. It is time for this band of lost souls to finally have their eyes opened to how far they have fallen and the narrow, perilous path to their own redemption.
Ratner could definitely use a hit right now — and some positive press. After taking a four-year hiatus from directing following Rush Hour 3 (2007), Ratner's comeback movie, Tower Heist, failed to impress moviegoers. Then, Ratner made a series of public faux pas, and ended up stepping down as producer of this year's Oscars before the Academy could fire him. Wrangling a popular actor like Johnson for the lead in his sword-and-sandals epic could be just what Ratner needs to get people to forget his past troubles and focus on his future as a director.