A few hours before he made his grand entrance and energizing introduction at Paramount's CinemaCon presentation Monday, Dwayne Johnson sat down with a group of reporters to talk about and unveil the teaser trailer for his upcoming passion project "Hercules." Before we get to the meat of that lengthy conversation, here's a rundown of what you see in the new footage.
Unsurprisingly, the trailer has Johnson and his headline-making Yak hair beard front and center. We see Hercules battling through a few of his mythic Twelve Labors in which he faces off against the likes of the Nemean lion, the Hydra and the great boar Eurystheus. This Hercules seems to be a broken man who is out for blood, and we see flashes of sadness in the mighty hero. There is an epic feel to the film, with sweeping landscapes, battle scenes, and a voiceover by Ian McShane. The tone is that of a full-on warrior film with a twist, which is what Johnson wants.
"The tone is a nice, even balance," said Johnson, who arrived in our Las Vegas suite interview location fresh from a workout, with a protein drink in hand. "I think of 'Gladiator' and '300.' There's also personality in the movie. There's fun. There's some wink in the movie in a way that makes the audience feel good."
Johnson's ten-year labor of love began with his connection to the story and character from the graphic novel by Steve Moore, but also in making sure to tell a fresh tale.
"The idea was to take the spirit of the graphic novel, which we liked, and then create a script and a story based on that that still gave a very unique twist on the story of Hercules," Johnson explained of the film's backstory. "When we first meet this version of Hercules, he's gone through a tremendous amount of trauma and anguish over the fact that he'd murdered his family. So when we see him and he's introduced in this story, he doesn't care about his faith, and he doesn't care about who he is."
[Related: The Rock Wears Beard Made of Real Yak Hair, Transforms Into ‘Hercules’]
Identity crisis or not, we know who Hercules is in the hands of Johnson. He is serious, muscle-bound and bearded. Speaking of the beard, it is a serious and previously secretive subject. One that resulted in many many people getting fired.
Dwayne Johnson in 'Hercules' (Paramount Pictures)
"The beard that I had was the full beard and a lot of times in Hollywood, as you guys know, it's a lace beard that we put on, and they take 30-45 minutes, an hour tops," Johnson said, explaining why he decided to wait so long to reveal the final look. This took two-and-a-half hours-to-three hours, because we had very long strips of yak hair — really, yak hair — and they would cut them up probably and inch long and a quarter inch wide, and the process was, they would lay these on my face piece by piece by piece by piece. It was a very, very long process. But in that, what you get is something that is really spectacular.