One of the original brawny man action heroes is set for a revitalizing and probably a sleek makeover.
The character made famous in modern times by, first Arnold Schwarzenegger on the big screen, then on a smaller scale by Kevin Sorbo in the hit TV show Hercules, is ready to burst back into our lives soon.
Guy Ritchie, the British director known for stylizing dialogue-driven, epitome-of-cool characters in his films, is hankering to have Hercules become more than we’ve ever known him to be.
Of course, Hercules also made a comeback for younger audience in the animated form with the Disney release back in 1997.
We know now that Ritchie’s live-action Hercules will be somewhat of a remake of that ’97 film. And that Ritchie has already meandered down this road to a very wide breadth of opinions when he took the helm of the live-action remake of Aladdin.
Even some folks that liked the remake of Aladdin have said that his directing was the worst part of the film.
Naturally, those in love with Ritchie’s style at his best are excited with the new announcement, and yet, Aladdin is still fresh in our Will Smith-imprinted blue brains, bringing fans’ hopes down. (Some are still so scarred that they don’t want Ritchie near just about anything, especially Captain Britain.)
But come on, is Ritchie really going to remake his own mistakes, and not learn from what might have gone wrong? Will he go ahead and try to play it so on-script, or will we see the best of whole new worlds?
As Disney goes through all its animated hits for live-action reboots, Hercules follows as the fourth after Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King.
The animated version of Hercules made more than $250 million at the box office.
Oh, and the live-action edition of Aladdin from 2019 made more than $1 billion worldwide, so yeah, it makes total sense that the Mouse House put Ritchie back in the director’s chair for Hercules.
We think (read: hope) he’ll get a little wily, even wacky with it, and with that, we’re left to wonder: will Ritchie dive back into his trusty Rolodex of pals to cast the film?
Or will we have some fresh blood taking on the role of Hercules and the rest of the crew? Based on Aladdin, we’ll have some fresh faces and some veteran legends alike.
Here’s who we would cast in Ritchie’s live-action Hercules remake, both someone new he’s never worked with before, along with a blast from the Ritchie past that he might slot in.
These are based most of the main characters in the 1997 animated version, and we added in who voiced the role for the animated version this is meant to based off of for good measure.
Who we want (new blood): One of the leads from Magic Mike
Who would he return to (Ritchie fave): A Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Who voiced the role previously: Tate Donovan
Tate Donovan? Even in voice form … as Hercules? What about him screams, “action star”?
Not that it matters, but it was a surprising choice.
Then, you think of the stereotype, the typecast, and who looks like a modern-day Hercules?
Think about it. Who has played several characters that are kind of versions of Hercules anyway? One of Ritchie’s former collaborators, Henry Cavill, who has already taken on the roles Superman, Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher, Sherlock Holmes in Enola Holmes, the villain in a Mission: Impossible flick, oh, and also Theseus, the mortal chosen by Zeus to fight evil in 2011’s The Immortals.
So he kinda fits the bill, obviously, but is it a bit too on the nose for Ritchie to turn here? Would Cavill even want yet another role like this?
Still, we think the most obvious way to go here would be casting either one of the original stellar Ritchie guys from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. actually — Cavill or Armie Hammer. Hammer is one of the tallest leading men out there in Hollywood, and has shown an ability to have sly humor and wits, a boon for this role.
Hell, make one of them Hercules and the other Hades. Boom, done, let’s start filming.
Aside from that duo though, there is a short list of big dudes who make sense here, but maybe some don’t boast the star power perhaps.
Let’s have some more fun with it. If it won’t be one of the above, that’s where we queue up Joe Manganiello, Channing Tatum, and Matthew McConaughey.
Manganiello would be stellar under Ritchie’s tutelage we think. He’s shown his physical comedy abilities (Magic Mike), his range of humor (How I Met Your Mother), his ability to be an action/mythical man (Deathstroke in Justice League, True Blood) — the list of why he would be an awesome Hercules goes on and on. Yes, we want it that way. But, it could be that he’s not quite young enough.
On the flip side, Tatum has shown his comedic and brawny sides several times. His cameo role in Free Guy reminded us that he has no problem not taking himself seriously as he seriously commits to a role and bit, no matter how big (ahem, haha, Magic Mike) or small.
Goodness, from 2005 to 2019 he put up at least one movie per year, with two, three, even four in some years, and the streak was only broken because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was back in two movies in 2021 and 2022 already.
And of course, couldn’t you see McConaughey somehow looking young all over again to take on the role of Hercules? Well, maybe not, but perhaps we have a role to come for him.
Also, Manganiello’s True Blood costar Alexander Skarsgård has also shown he has the chops for such a role.
Maybe The Rock would be cool here. Oh wait, that already happened in 2014.
For sure Chris Hemsworth getting a Ritchie spin fresh off of being a lighthearted Thor under Taika Waititi’s guidance would be swell (he was already bulking up to play Hulk Hogan … wouldn’t he make an even better Hercules?).
Ooooh, what about Phil Dunster from Ted Lasso? He’s got the jawline, the comedy plus drama ability, and if he just bulked up a bit he could make a damn fine Hercules, but he might be a bit short (though that’s never mattered too much in Hollywood).
Just please not Jason Statham. We know Ritchie loves his leading man (four of his 12 movies!) but c’mon already.
Who we want (new blood): May Calamawy
Who would he return to (Ritchie fave): Michelle Dockery
Who voiced the role previously: Susan Egan
Welp, when we go through Ritchie’s 12 movies to date, there seems to be a pretty heavy slant toward predominantly male casts (U.N.C.L.E. kinda stands out here). So we’re not extremely confident here, but hopefully he isn’t doing all the casting himself. Really, look through the main cast section on any of his movie pages, and it’s a whole lotta dudes, for sure.
Michelle Dockery was excellent in The Gentlemen, but her role was criminally small for how great she was there (I mean, it was called The Gentlemen, soooo …).
If he rehires anyone, Ritchie would do well to give her another turn and an even bigger role.
Actually, reconsidering, we’d be totally stoked to see Kelly Reilly to get a shot at this role as well after working with Ritchie in both Sherlock Holmes films. Her performances in Yellowstone are a highlight of a show that continues to get better and better.
Hopefully the role of Megara gets an update or at least more to do than the previous version in the animated movie. Some cite the 2014 Hercules as the closest to portraying her as something resembling the character from mythology.
Perhaps it seems obvious coming off of Moon Knight, but immediately we believe Calamawy could be an absolute gem here that steals the show, and forces Ritchie to give her a lot more leeway in how Megara is played.
Who we want (new blood): Bruce Campbell
Who would he return to (Ritchie fave): Vinnie Jones
Who voiced the role previously: James Woods
Groovy! Bruce Campbell is down to play Hades, and we are down with that! Moving on!
No, ok ok, who else could play Hades though, if somehow we don’t get this amazing pairing of Ritchie and Pizza Poppa?
And what a redemption for Hades to have Campbell take over for Woods.
Let’s think on this. We just got a Zeus that people aren’t totally pleased with in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder. And Campbell maybe has too much slapstick in him now to take on a role like Hades … but then again, it’s a Disney live-action, so he could be perfect.
OK, hang on, we got someone better actually.
Who we want (new blood), take two: Mads Mikkelson
Hades doesn’t have to be huge, or muscle-bound.
Which is what made us think of the glorious Mads for the God of the Underworld.
The man called in to bring a little evil to roles in Casino Royale once upon a time, and most recently seen trying to lift up Fantastic Beasts 2, Mikkelson would be marvelous here and in fact, we would like to close consideration of anyone else and appoint him immediately.
Bring a little of that Another Round energy as well, and we’ve got a winner.
Although … Vinnie Jones, woo, that would be a cool one too.
Who we want (new blood): Bob Odenkirk
Who would he return to (Ritchie fave): Matthew McConaughy
Who voiced the role previously: Rip Torn
Zeus. Odin. Odenkirk. Yup, it checks out (lol).
As we wait for Nobody 2 to come out, and the second half of Better Call Saul to break our hearts, how about putting Odenkirk in a big production on the big screen, and putting his immense talents on display for all the world to enjoy.
And our old pal McConaughey is here as well, but we can’t get past how immaculate Odenkirk would be here.
Who we want (new blood): Fiona Shaw
Who would he return to (Ritchie fave): Francesca Annis
Who voiced the role previously: Samantha Eggar
Shaw would simply own this role. She might be available right now since Killing Eve has concluded, where she showed a steady ability to command and control any scene and situation.
Don’t forget her turn on Fleabag and of course, getting to play one part of the couple that holds Harry Potter back as Petunia Dursley.
We had to go a ways back to 2005’s Revolver, but we think Annis — if she’s up for it, as her last movie role was in 2018 in King of Theives, a British heist (hello!) film — could be a great addition here as well. Her role in King of Thieves is right up Ritchie’s alley. More recently she was in Home Fires and Flesh and Blood on the small screen.
Who we want (new blood): Danny DeVito
Who would he return to (Ritchie fave): Jude Law
Who voiced the role previously: Danny DeVito
Technically not new blood here, but new-to-Ritchie blood nonetheless, let’s just reprise the role with DeVito! A lot of the animation in the original for Philoctetes was based on his mannerisms and mouth movements, and who better to bring that role to life than the man who is still at it as Frank on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia?
In a pinch, though, it’s time for Ritchie to give Law a chance at redemption after King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. It’d be something completely different, but we know Law can hold his own playing just about anyone.
There are a few more characters to consider, including the Muses, Cyclops, Hermes, and more, but let’s just go ahead and concede that Ritchie will be filling those in with Hugh Grant, Statham, maybe Colin Farrell, how about some Charlie Hunnam, or even going back to another iconic historically fictional character movie from Ritchie’s past, and bringing Rachel McAdams back into the mix somehow?
Why not try and lure Schwarzenegger or Sorbo back to the realm of Hercules to play a different role, as we’ve seen in other remakes and reboots? That would be something else, and probably bring joy to more than a few fans.
Here’s hoping Hercules will be Ritchie’s best yet.