Dwayne Johnson, otherwise known by many as “The Rock,” flexes his stuff in the new Hercules movie, which will make its debut in theaters on July 25. The film also features Ian McShane, Joseph Fiennes, Rufus Sewell, Aksel Hennie, Rebecca Ferguson, and John Hurt. The Rock eagerly seized the opportunity to play the Greek demigod and trained extensively for eight months in order to bulk up to the iconic role.
The former wrestler-turned actor was already extremely muscular before his training began, but needed to add even more muscle to his six-foot-five frame in order to make his character believable onscreen. The Rock is known for his humorous antics and massive build in action movies such as G.I. Joe, the Fast & Furious series, Pain & Gain, and Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Johnson’s grueling exercise routine to prepare for the movie included: running on the treadmill every morning at 3:45 a.m., working out at the gym for several hours, then to the makeup chair, and finally filming all day in under the hot sun. The Rock did this relentlessly for 90 days. He indulged so much into the role that at one point had cuts, gashes and blood covering his back after a hard day’s work. The Rock posted a photo of his injured back on Twitter for all of his fans to see.
The Rock uploaded several other pictures of himself flexing his stuff as Hercules on Twitter; showing off his impressive physique while standing next to three enormous horses in one, and viciously screaming and geared up to use his weapon during a battle scene in another photo. He even sported a beard for the film made of real yak hair. The beard reportedly took two-in-a-half-hours just to apply.
Director Brett Ratner decided to begin the Hercules’ story after the demigod had suffered through his 12 Labors. (His punishment included killing a nine-headed hydra and the Nemean lion for murdering his family during a rage of insanity.) The movie was filmed in Hungary and based off of the graphic narrative Hercules: The Thracian Wars.
Hercules wears a Nemean lion headpiece and carries a gigantic oak club into battle scenes with over 1,000 soldiers. He stated that although special effects and green screen with graphics are often really visually dynamic, there is much more substance to filming with real men, sweat, and blood. It is much more authentic and rewarding, he said.
The Rock said he felt that he was “born to play this role,” especially in the scene where Hercules breaks the chains and truly accepts his destiny as a demigod. He mentioned that he even went to extreme lengths by making himself pass out during the scene where he yells powerfully, “I am Hercules!”
Johnson stated that he looked up to Hercules even as a young boy, saying that the demigod was the first superhero.
And now, The Rock’s dream to portray his idol has finally come true. Fans of the actor and Greek mythology can look forward to the trailer below. And of course, ladies can watch The Rock flex his stuff in Hercules, as well as witness all of the passion, sweat, blood and triumph that went into making this film.
By Amy Nelson