Dwayne Johnson reportedly in talks to play 'Hercules' for MGM and Ratner

Could this finally be the franchise fit the actor's looking for?

<p>'YOU&nbsp;CAN'T&nbsp;EMBARGO&nbsp;THE&nbsp;ROCK!' Dwayne Johnson uses Twitter like a blunt instrument and seems to be winning social media in general these days.</p>

'YOU CAN'T EMBARGO THE ROCK!' Dwayne Johnson uses Twitter like a blunt instrument and seems to be winning social media in general these days.

Credit: Dwayne Johnson/Twitter

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I'm going to post that new "Wrath Of The Titans" trailer in a few, but it's interesting that this would show up on the same day that Variety breaks the news that Dwayne Johnson is going to star in "Big Duh: The Motion Picture."  Wait… sorry… it's "Hercules."  That's what he's starring in. That's what he was genetically created to do, truth be told, so it's good that MGM and Brett Ratner are figuring his deal out.

That's a great break for Ratner, and I think he's going to probably be a good collaborator for Johnson, whose "Team Bring It" attitude travels from set to set with him.  I've seen him work on what must be four or five films in a row now, and he sets a certain energy that everyone else keys in on.  Dwayne Johnson is a major asset to a franchise if the franchise has any juice at all.  He is a big part of what went right with "Fast Five," and he's absolutely at the heart of the "G.I. Joe" reboot. 

Even "Journey 2" gets what little mileage it gets out of him, because he's always working when he's in a scene, always trying to find something to make it work.  He's as dedicated to the little stuff as he is to the big stunt work.  He's an old-fashioned movie star who understands his own image, and he's been very canny so far about how he's played with his iconography.

It's little wonder people want to tackle material like Hercules and Greek mythology right now.  FX are at a point where the wondrous is commonplace (a cultural issue we're going to have to deal with at some point) and these are characters and stories that belong to the public domain, but that carry a huge cumulative recognition factor.  This is why we've got two "Snow White" movies this year.  This is why we'll see "Jack The Giant Killer" and "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" and any number of other fairy tale spins.  You can keep bending these archetypes any number of different ways, and it's interesting and exciting because of people's familiarity with the thing.

This particular take is said to be based on the Radical Comics series "Hercules: The Thracian Wars," with Ryan Condal adapting Steve Moore's book.  It's much more "300" than "The Scorpion King," and I'm not surprised to see that this sort of approach is what Johnson would want to do.  He's been trying on all these different franchises because he still hasn't found the one that's the perfect fit.  He's trying a lot of different things with a lot of different filmmakers right now.  I'm fascinated by Michael Bay's "Pain and Gain," which is sure to be different than anything else in the director's filmography, and I look forward to seeing what they do with him and Vin Diesel and that huge rolling ensemble for "Fast Six," or whatever they finally call it.

We'll see how fast this comes together.  Obviously, Johnson's a busy guy, but since he seems to always be on the move, this could turn out to be one of the 86 different feature films he makes this year.

We'll keep you posted.

Drew-mcweeny-sm
Drew McWeeny
Film Editor
A respected critic and commentator for fifteen years, Drew McWeeny helped create the online film community as "Moriarty" at Ain't It Cool News, and now proudly leads two budding Film Nerds in their ongoing movie education.
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