Hercules: Joe Russo Teases Live-Action Remake’s Franchise Potential
In a recent interview with Lights, Camera, Barstool podcast, Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo has finally shared a new development update on Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of 1997’s iconic animated film Hercules. He revealed that project is still in early development stages with writer Dave Callaham’s potentially first draft of script set to be completed soon.
Russo also went on to explain that they’re taking their time in building the film’s story due to the importance and influence of the original animated film to so many people. He confirmed that they’re trying to create a story that would be able to expand within its universe as Disney thinks that the live-action Hercules has potential to become a franchise.
“The script’s about to come in in a week,” Russo said. “We’ve taken a lot of time and care with it. It’s a movie that was really important to me and my kids, something that they watched when they were young, and so we’ve got a strong emotional connection to it. Our intention is to look at everything we do and think about how can we build it out, what can you do with this that expands it, gives you different opportunities for storytelling in it. So we’re going through that same exercise with Hercules, is can we build it out, can we build a world out of this and that extends beyond it and would be compelling, and I think that’s what audiences are craving, right? They want to see something really cool that they wanna get lost in it for a decade, so that’s our mission is to provide them with that experience. It’s still early!”
The original film, which starred Tate Donovan (Rocketman) in the titular role, was a musical retelling of the iconic Hercules legend in which the son of Zeus is stripped of his immortality by Hades in an effort to ensure he would be able to conquer Mount Olympus in 18 years’ time. His plans don’t go as successfully as he intended as Hercules is left with his superhuman strength intact and the hero goes on a journey to protect his home along with humanity.
The animated film is notable for going through constant retooling over the many years of development, with 18 credited writers contributing to the final product and Ron Clements and Jon Muker directing. The cast for the original film also included Danny DeVito (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), James Woods (Videodrome) and Susan Egan (Steven Universe).
Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo are attached to the upcoming remake to produce via their AGBO banner but not direct, with the new film being in early development and not having any other producers or directors attached at this time.
There have been casting rumors in recent weeks regarding the project, somewhat inspired by Ariana Grande’s performance of “I Won’t Say I’m In Love” from the film in The Disney Family Singalong, which sparked the creation of a petition on Change.Org. Other names being thrown into contention by fans and enthusiasts of the project include Idris Elba (Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw) and Ryan Gosling (The Nice Guys) as well as for Danny DeVito to reprise his role as satyr hero trainer Philoctetes or Phil.
Hercules joins a growing list of animated films from the Disney catalog to be getting the live-action treatment from the studio, including the upcoming Mulan, which is currently slated for a July 24 release. Last year saw two box office smash adaptations in Aladdin and The Lion King, with sequel and spin-off projects currently in development on the former.