Joe Russo says Disney's live-action Hercules movie will be for audiences 'trained by TikTok'

Joe Russo says Disney's live-action Hercules movie will be for audiences 'trained by TikTok'

We're not entirely sure this idea can go the distance...

In a Variety cover story, directors and producers Joe and Anthony Russo opened up about their involvement with Disney and a live-action version of the 1997 animated tale of the Greek hero Hercules...and it's apparently going to be inspired by TikTok?


The new version will be a musical (unlike the live-action take on Mulan), but it probably won't look or sound anything like the animated film. "There are questions about how you translate it as a musical," Joe Russo said. "Audiences today have been trained by TikTok, right? What is their expectation of what that musical looks like and feels like? That can be a lot of fun and help us push the boundaries a little bit on how you execute a modern musical."

We're not entirely sure what that means — but there have been some successful musical concepts spawned on TikTok, most notably a fan-created, crowdsourced musical inspired by Pixar's Ratatouille and the Grammy-winning unofficial Bridgerton musical.

The original animated film featured original songs by Alan Menken and David Zippel, two frequent Disney collaborators. It diverged almost entirely from the Greek myth of Hercules (Tate Donovan), instead telling the story of the Greek hero as a skinny nobody who rises to fame through some training with Phil (Danny DeVito) and his god-like strength. When he falls in love with Meg (Susan Egan), his true godliness is put to the test as Hades (James Woods) seeks to use Hercules as a pawn in his ongoing plots against Zeus (Rip Torn).

The Russos, through their independent studio AGBO, are producing Hercules for Disney with Guy Ritchie (Aladdin, Snatch) set to direct. ""We have an amazing relationship with them that we've built over a decade," Russo said of Disney. "I think we have a point of view on how they can stretch the limits of their IP moving forward, rather than playing IP management."


Everett Collection Joe Russo says Disney's live-action 'Hercules' movie will be for audiences 'trained by TikTok'

Russo called the approach "a little bit more experimental in tone, a little bit more experimental in execution." While many of the live-action Disney remakes have come under fire for hewing too closely to their source material (sometimes shot-for-shot), Hercules appears to be taking the opposite tact (though the 'shake things up' approach didn't work for Mulan, which was hampered by lackluster reviews and a pandemic release).

"I think they're excited to see what we can all bring to it in a way that isn't just a reinterpretation of the animated film," Russo noted. "Guy [Ritchie] is perfect for it because he has penchant for experimentation."

Ritchie and David Callaham (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) are currently working on a script.

Further details including potential casting news (any chance of a Marvel crossover, Brett Goldstein?) are still to come.

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