So who makes for the better Hercules: A former WWE champion or a former Cullen from "Twilight"?
In keeping with the tradition of having two different productions exploring the same subject matter in production simultaneously, Hollywood will soon be presenting us with dueling adaptations of the story of Hercules, the mighty Greek hero born of the immortal Zeus and the mortal Alcmene.
The one that's gotten the most attention to date is "Hercules: The Thracian Wars," starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and directed by Brett Ratner. However, "Hercules: The Legend Begins," directed by Renny Harlin, took a little bit more of the spotlight today as star Kellan Lutz introduced a 36-second teaser.
We've seen pics of Johnson doing his 'Hercules workout,' and now we've seen Lutz slicing and dicing his way through an arena full of unworthy opponents. So who better embodies this mythic muscle man? Let's break it down.
The Rock has been making quite an impression on the big screen lately as he's been looking even bigger than usual, particularly in "Pain & Gain" and "Furious 6," both of which had us wondering how he fit through any doorframe as he's so ... well, wide. Johnson looks to be toning down the mass just a hair and going for a more athletic physique for his turn as Hercules. He's still bigger than the state of Texas, but Hercules isn't so much a bodybuilder as he is a warrior who needs to be light on his feet when need be.
Johnson is also donning a wig for the role, going for the long locks that remind one of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the "Conan" movies. There's nothing like long hair flowing dramatically in the wind for an action movie, as Brad Pitt recently demonstrated in "World War Z."
Lutz's physique, while impressive in the "Hercules: The Legend Begins" trailer, is much slimmer and less dramatic. In fact, while Dwayne Johnson works out for about six hours a day for his Herculean body, director Renny Harlin wanted Lutz to spend a minimal amount of time in the gym.
"[Harlin's] like, 'Kellan, I don’t want you getting bigger. Just get your abs to pop more,'" said Lutz in an interview with CraveOnline. "It's really just 'Gladiator' pretty much."
Lutz's Hercules also has much shorter hair, which the actor describes as "cropped and manly." Overall, it reminds one of Lutz's other godly turn in 2011's "Immortals."
Winner: Dwayne Johnson. We like our Hercules looking like the demigod he is, not Bruce Wayne.
"Hercules: The Thracian Wars" (Dwayne Johnson)
Brett Ratner's film introduces us to an embittered Hercules who has turned his back on the gods after enduring his infamous 12 Labors, brooding his way through life as a mortal mercenary. He gets a chance at redemption when he's called upon by the King of Thrace to train his army to fight against a brutal warlord.
"Hercules: The Legend Begins" (Kellan Lutz)
The other "Hercules" is quite different, as it serves mostly as an origin story, as described by the star himself:
"[Johnson's Hercules] is much older and our Hercules is the man's journey from him being a boy to a man, and it's very real and human," said Lutz to CraveOnline. "Our character goes through being lovestruck and then heartbroken and then anguish and loneliness, sadness and remorse. It's really a story about a man, a man and the journey to get back to his love. So it's not a man with superpowers."
Winner: Dwayne Johnson, 'cause we're a sucker for brooding middle-aged warriors with godlike abilities.
Dwayne Johnson is 41 and Kellan Lutz is 28.
Johnson's older age will lend the character some experience and gravitas, as well as a sense of familiarity — we've seen The Rock in this kind of role before, and we know he can bring it. Lutz, on the other hand, is right on the verge of a breakout role, and his 'fresher face' gives his "Hercules" a completely different vibe — one that's appropriate for a "Begins" kind of yarn.
Winner: Tie. Both ages work for the character in their respective stories.
Kellan Lutz has yet to prove himself as a box office draw, as most of his hits have been ensemble pieces. His biggest hits to date have been the "Twilight" movies, which have made between $192 million and $300 million at the domestic box office. "Immortals" did a respectable $83 million, and the 2010 reboot of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" managed to scare up $63 million.
Lutz's Average Gross Total to date is $129.5 million (according to Box Office Mojo).
However, Dwayne Johnson has yet to prove himself as a stand-alone box office draw as well, as he's played a supporting character in his biggest hits to date: "Furious 6" ($238 million), "Fast Five" ($209 million) and "The Mummy Returns" ($202 million). Starring vehicles such as "Snitch" ($42 million) and "Gridiron Gang" ($38 million) have fizzled.
Johnson's Average Gross Total to date is $82.4 million (according to Box Office Mojo).
Winner: Kellan Lutz, but only 'cause he was a Cullen.
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Winner: Johnson, who apparently has the greater army of mere mortals ready to buy a movie ticket.
The Better Hercules: Dwayne Johnson. But you knew that without even reading this, didn't you?
Appropriately enough (at least in terms of a chronological timeline), "Hercules: The Legend Begins" will hit theaters first in March 2014, followed by "Hercules: The Thracian Wars" on July 25.