Do You Like Gladiator Movies?

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Way back in 1997, Disney angered the population of an entire country when it released the animated musical Hercules. The Greeks complained that the film reduced the classic mythological hero to a buffoonish caricature. Really? Where were they when handsome American body-builder and 'actor ' Steve Reeves was making his living in terrible 1960's Italian films about the same character? And where was the uproar when Austrian strongman (and future Governator) Arnold Schwarzenegger played the role for laughs in 1969's Hercules in New York? And then there was the All-American Hercules; Kevin Sorbo in Sam Raimi's sarcastically homoerotic "Hercules: The Legendary Adventures," which ran on American cable from 1995 to 1999. I don't remember any Greeks protesting that show.

So, I have to wonder: what will the Greeks think of former pro-wrestler turned family-film-star, Samoan behemoth Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as their iconic hero? Literally dozens of industry sites are reporting that Johnson - currently on screen in the critically derided 3D actioner Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - is in talks to play the Greek demigod in director Brett Ratner's adaptation of Steve Moore's darkish graphic novel, 'Hercules: The Thracian Wars.'

I like Johnson. He's personable, attractive and has a rather amazing physique. He's been in both bad (Tooth Fairy) and fairly decent (The Rundown) films. On talk shows like 'Ellen,' Johnson comes across as a bright, funny, dedicated family man who wants to make movies his kids can watch. Of course, it's going to take lots and lots of Dermablend (or very expensive CGI) to cover those traditional Samoan (and Texan) tattoos. And Uncle P (among millions of gals and guys) would certainly not kick him out of bed for eating crackers.

Of course, the Greeks have other things to worry about these days, though I can't imagine they're going to happy with a Samoan actor playing a Grecian icon, given their response to the Disney film. 

As for me, my first experience with the character was the 1960's cartoon (I'm old, remember?) "The Mighty Hercules," in which Hercules resembled Superman and his best friend was a fey satyr named Newt (no relation to the current Repugnican candidate).

Ancient Greek warriors were often paired with their male lovers; the idea being that they would look out for and protect one another. It's a strategy that worked for thousands of years. While there is nothing in classic Greek mythology to suggest Hercules had such a pairing, I certainly wouldn't mind being paired with Johnson in war or peace... I'm just saying.

More, anon.
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