Sean Astin has been a staple on the big screen since the 80s and made his unlikely video game debut in 2002’s Kingdom Hearts as the voice of Hercules. This was a surprise one-off appearance as Hercules for Astin, as Tate Donovan (The O.C.) had voiced him in the Disney film and in subsequent games, but it’s become a beloved rendition of the character nonetheless.
“Tate Donovan did it originally. He and I worked together on Memphis Belle and I got this call saying, ‘Hey, Tate Donovan’s unavailable. Can you do it?’ So when I showed up, I was trying to do an impression of Tate. I was trying to sound as much like Tate as I could, and that was great,” Astin told ComingSoon of how he wound up playing the character. “I mean, people love that version, and I hear about it all the time. So, it was one of the first ones I ever did. I was so glad to finally get a job in that space. When Lord of the Rings came out, I did a whole bunch of video games, so that further opened up the world [of voice acting] to me. But Herc was pretty, you know, what can I say? You’re lucky when you get something like that.”
While Astin did a memorable job as Hercules, Donovan has since returned to voice Hercules in Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, and Kingdom Hearts III.
Disney’s animated film version of the Greek hero Heracles was released in 1997 to critical acclaim. Donovan would also voice the character in the sequel Hercules: Zero to Hero and the animated series on Disney Channel. The film received a video game adaptation in the form of 1998’s Disney’s Hades Challenge.