Disney’s Live-Action Hercules: A New Take on a Classic Tale
Disney has just confirmed what we’ve all been suspecting. It seems that they’re shooting to make more live-action adaptations of their animated movies, and recent reports have confirmed that Hercules will be the next movie to get the live-action treatment. We all should’ve seen this coming, but the real question is how much will it deviate from its animated counterpart? Most of the live-action adaptations have had mixed reception and it’s likely because they changed many things that made their animated counterparts incredible. It’s highly probable that the upcoming live-action Hercules movie will do the same, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be good. Maybe that’s the optimist in me talking, but I’m someone who grew up with these films. I don’t like to see something I love change, but then again, I’m open to seeing these stories told a different way.
In short, I’m excited for this movie, but I’m also a bit nervous. The animated film was perfect for me, and it’s pretty hard to improve perfection. However, if we can see these stories told in a different fashion, then that’s an interesting route to take. So what exactly kind of approach is Disney now taking for this live-action Hercules movie? Well, just take a look at who’s producing the film. It’s none other than Joe and Anthony Russo, or in other words, the brilliant minds behind Avengers: Endgame and Infinity War. So does this mean Hercules will be getting a bit of an MCU vibe? Honestly, I don’t see a problem with that. The Russo brothers made their own formula that works and if they can carry that over to Hercules, then I say go for it.
The Russo Brothers’ Magic Touch
Let’s take a look at what they’ve done outside the MCU. Before they touched any Marvel characters, they directed You, Me, and Dupree; one of their first big movies is a fine romantic-comedy, then they go to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I always thought that was a strange kind of transition, but it showed me that these guys are capable of handling more than one kind of genre. Recently, they were the producers behind two action-thriller films: the first is 21 Bridges and the most recent one is a Netflix exclusive called Extraction. They both got mixed reception, but personally, I enjoyed them. However, the kicker is that both of those films starred two prominent MCU stars. If you want to see Black Panther without his Wakandan accent, check out 21 Bridges. If you’re wondering what Thor was doing during his time on Earth, check out Extraction.
Yes, the Russo brothers made sure Chadwick Boseman and Chris Hemsworth starred in the movies they produced. Call it coincidence, but I reckon they’re going to start making a habit of this. Can we expect to see a certain MCU star play Hercules in this upcoming live-action movie? After seeing those two films, it’s certainly more than likely. This would definitely help the film get some people to fill some theater seats, but I’m having trouble choosing which MCU star would get the honor. Some fans have already speculated that Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, or Chris Evans would take the role. They certainly have the physicality and the acting chops to play Hercules, but they may be too old.
From Scrawny Teen to Greek Hero: Casting Hercules
Keep in mind that when we first saw Hercules, he was a scrawny teenager for a decent chunk of the film. After some time with Phil, he bulks up and looks like a totally different person. How will they pull this off in the live-action film? If I had to guess, I’d say they would do it like they did with Chris Evans in Captain America: The First Avenger. In the beginning, he was very scrawny, and after he was injected with the serum, he came out a hunk. The thing is, Chris Evans was already super big when they shot his earlier scenes, but through the use of CGI and a body double, they made him look like a tooth pick. No matter who they cast, they’ll already be big when they shoot the teenage Hercules scenes, and use CGI and a body double to fill in the blanks.
Now does he have to be Tom Holland’s age in order to play the teenage Hercules? Well, we’ve seen how Marvel can perfect de-aging in Captain Marvel, so it making one of the Chris’ younger shouldn’t be a problem. That being said, who else should be cast in this movie? If there’s the off chance that an MCU star doesn’t nab the Hercules role, there are other characters that particular MCU stars can play.
Who Will Play Hades and Other Iconic Characters?
The one that comes to mind is Hades. Now this is critical for the film’s success. I’m guessing they won’t call James Woods to reprise the role, so which actor can take over for him? If we’re talking about Marvel stars, I’d pick Jeff Goldblum. He can talk fast, over-explain things, and can lose his temper, but we’d still find him oddly charming. The amount of charisma and sarcasm he can bring to Hades can be hilarious and frightening simultaneously. Just look at how he played The Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok, and you’ll get an idea on what his Hades will be like.
Now if there’s one thing they shouldn’t do to Hades, it’s turning him into a stereotypical, stoic demon. He should look scary, but he’s still a very funny character. What separates him from other Disney villains is his facetious humor. He can be funny one minute, then lose his temper the next, but then he calms himself down. This makes him a more tangible character and it’s what we need to see in the live-action film. In The Lion King live-action remake, Shenzi was less humorous and more serious. In my opinion, taking Shenzi’s goofiness away was a big disservice to the character and made her less interesting. Even Scar had little to no charisma compared to his animated counterpart, which made him less compelling. These are still Disney movies, so please, keep the silly humor.
Oh, but it shouldn’t stop there. What’s a Disney villain without their lackeys? For Scar, it was the hyenas and for Hades, it was Pain and Panic. Whenever those two were on screen, I loved them. They were villains, but they were fun to watch. In the live-action Lion King remake, the role of the hyenas was significantly smaller. If you cast Keegan Michael-Key, out of all people, then give him more funny lines. Speaking of which, if you need a hilarious duo to play Pain and Panic, cast Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele. Their comedy is over-the-top and that’s why they would kill it as Pain and Panic.
Lastly, if there’s one actor from the animated film they should call back, it’s Danny DeVito. Now that is perfection that can’t be touched. If another actor can come close to playing Phil as good as he did, then I’d really like to see that.
Music in the Live-Action Hercules: A Must-Have
Let’s not forget about the music. Beauty and The Beast and Aladdin were pretty faithful to the original scores. They understandably changed some of the lyrics, but it clearly wasn’t as good as the originals. Apparently, in Mulan, no one really sings, but the film does have instrumental versions of the songs from the animated film. That’s kind of disappointing, but then again, I haven’t seen it. Which direction should the live-action Hercules movie take for the music? Personally, I’d love to see some of the songs adapted for the film. If they change some lyrics, then that’s fine, but show me some good singing. Maybe we’ll see one of the Chris’ singing, but songs are ultimately a must-have.
Anticipation for Disney’s Live-Action Hercules
Who else is excited for a live-action Hercules movie? He’s a character that we’ve seen been portrayed in a dozen different ways, but there’s always been something special about the animated version. If this live-action version can come close to that, then I’m all in.
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