Recent trailers promise plenty of action, romance and ripped muscles -- what else would you expect? The ridiculously jacked-up star Lutz jumped on the phone with Moviefone Canada to discuss tapping into his inner hero, transforming into a demi-god and his bucket list for future projects.
Moviefone: A lot of people flock to sword and sandal-type movies. What do you love about them?
Kellan Lutz: It's a timeless, ageless story that they tell. We're all fascinated with those warriors and that period of time. Hercules, for me, is the first superhero. We got modernized by having "Thor," "Captain America" and all these Avengers movies that Marvel makes. But, I feel like Hercules was the first one. He is the original superhero. He is born of a mortal woman and Zeus, so he is a demi-god. He's struggling with the human downfalls of doubt, self-deception, insecurities and lost hope. He also has to grab the reins of his true identity of being part god, be the saviour of his people and kick his ugly stepfather, who is not a good king, out of the kingdom and take his rightful place.
For me, I love the costumes and being able to travel to a different time period. That is very fun. I did that growing up. I have middle-child syndrome, big time. You didn't have a lot of attention growing up because the older brother was running amok. Mom was cleaning up his mess. Then your younger siblings were the babies of the family, so you were just there. I just used my own imagination everywhere I went. I'd pick heroes like Tarzan, He-Man and Hercules to bring life to my imagination. Now, here I am, an actor being able to do that for a job. It's kind of fascinating.
The trailer features plenty of running, jumping, swordplay and horseback riding. What kind of special training did you have to go through for this movie?
So much. I live an active lifestyle anyway, but I've never been trained to ride a horse or wield a sword or shoot a bow and arrow. Being a part of "Immortals," I had a lot of staff training, so it was great to take that knowledge and use that in my spear training. Then stunt and wirework, there's always something new that you get to do. They trusted me with doing most of my own stunts. I did 99.9 percent of my own stunts. It was really a blessing having Liam McIntyre on my side to fight swords with, because he was Spartacus for the TV series. He was a badass wielding a sword. To have him on my side, he showed me some of his secrets. I can't thank him enough for that. Riding a horse takes some work, but I was very excited to be a horse rider, and now I am.
Even though it's laid out on the page, were you prepared for how grueling all that action would be and what it would require of you?
No. Not at all. On the script, it says two lines. "Hercules fights six gladiators in an arena." Then you see what we're trying to shoot. Our movie is about 90 pages, with maybe 10 pages of small little lines of description. The movie we originally shot turned out to be about three hours and now it's down to about 87 minutes. It's a fast-paced movie, but our action scenes blew my mind away. I was really glad our stunt team and coordinator and director Renny Harlin let me collaborate with them in designing the moves, and what we wanted to do from stuff like the mud pit fight. I love my Superman punch I got to use in there and some of the cool sword-moving techniques.
Can you talk about how challenging it was acting in those costumes?
They aren't functional at all. They are beautiful and I really felt like Hercules. I'm glad I didn't have long hair and have to try and fight with it, especially during the rain and riding horses. But the thing I did end up loving was wearing the skirt. I felt so free to move around. It was the chest plate that was quite hard to strike with.
You went through a transformation for this movie. How difficult was it slimming down?
I've fallen in love with the story of Hercules, just him as a hero, since I was a little boy, so I already felt the part. Trimming up, being athletic and fighting the good fight ... I already felt like Hercules. So slimming down or being more cut was what Renny wanted and I was willing to do whatever it took.
Renny can be extremely energetic and animated on set. How did you find him?
That's a great way to describe him. He knows what he wants. He had a shot list ready. He had very visual sets designed, so you really immerse yourself into the movie and into the settings he creates. He was very enthusiastic and was always running around. It's really great to see a director watch playback and get excited about something he just shot, to see the magic unfold before his eyes. He drove the ship with authority, but his enthusiasm really commanded everyone's attention. Everybody loved him. I did, that's for sure.
This movie has a certain "300" feel to it, but that was all green screens and Hercules was largely filmed on location. Did that real environment help you get into character?
As great as my imagination is, when I did "Tarzan," I really had to look at the world through my own eyes and create it because it's motion-capture. For Hercules, we had practical sets. The throne room was there. The gladiator arena was there. Everything was there and they just embellished it a bit more as they magnified the situations. It was quite easy to feel the part when you are mentally and physically there. You're wearing the costumes. You feel the presence of Hercules and the dire situation as you're in these arenas and six gladiators run through the doors that you are about to battle.
In the Marvel comic books, Hercules is a bona fide member of The Avengers. Have you previously auditioned for any superhero projects?
Yeah, I auditioned for Thor and Captain America. Both Chrises are amazing. Chris Hemsworth is Thor and Chris Evans is Captain America. I loved what they did with the characters. They are amazing guys. I just knew my time would come and then Hercules came and I got that one. But I would love to do Venom from Spider-Man. I've always loved that character. I love Flash. I love Aquaman or He-Man. I would love to be He-Man. Those characters are up there for me.
Let's put it out for the studios then.
Let's do it. Let's do it.
Or perhaps you can appear in a horror film where you don't die right at the beginning like in "The Nightmare on Elm Street" remake.
Trust me. Trust me. I grew up loving horror movies. I didn't choose that. They wanted me and I had to shoot "Twilight." They were like, "Well, we'll write him in. We can kill him first." I'm like, "Do I have to?" I'd love to be in the remake of "Puppetmaster." Do a new one. Those little dolls were freaky back then.
"The Legend of Hercules" storms into theatres on January 10.