"The Legend of Hercules," in theaters on Friday, will see
Lutz exploring the hero's origins. A second film, "Hercules,"
starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, will focus on the hero later
in life, after he completes the legendary 12 labors.
Born to a mortal woman and Zeus, king of the Gods, Lutz's
Hercules faces challenges early on in his life from his human
father King Amphitryon, who never accepts him as a true son, and
his half brother Iphicles, who is jealous of his super strength.
Hercules finds himself torn away from his love, Hebe, and sent
to war, only to be sold into slavery.
"It's the hero's journey — you have the wizard, you have the
antagonist, that's the king, and you have the different missions
he has to go through and the love interest in Princess Hebe.
Story-wise, it's all there, that's what drew me to it," Lutz
Not that playing a superhero is unfamiliar territory for
28-year-old Lutz, who played Greek god Poseidon in 2011's
mythological action film "Immortals" and has been drawn to the
larger-than-life heroes from childhood.
"I knew when I saw the superheroes that I wanted to fight
against injustice. So from a young age, I always wanted to make
the world a better place like Captain Planet would do, or
He-Man, or Tarzan or Hercules," the actor said.
"The Legend of Hercules," showing in both 3D and 2D and
distributed by Lions Gate's Summit Entertainment, was made for
an estimated budget of $70 million, according to film website
IMDB.com. It is expected to earn $7 million at the box office
this weekend, according to film tracking site Boxoffice.com.
BREAKING OUT OF THE BEEFCAKE MOLD
Lutz rose to prominence as the hunky vampire Emmett Cullen in
the "Twilight" film franchise, based on the young adult novels
by Stephenie Meyer about a teen romance between a human girl and
vampire boy, which has grossed more than $3 billion at the
worldwide box office.
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As well as playing "Hercules," Lutz will be starring in this
year's action extravaganza "The Expendables 3" alongside
Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Harrison Ford.
The actor also has a long list of varied roles he'd
like to play, from villain Venom in Spider-Man to secret agent
MacGyver, animated hero Jonny Quest and of course, the
"If everyone saw me as an action guy and gave me action movie after
action movie, I'd be fine with it, it's one of those great genres
that you always have fun doing," Lutz said.
"I don't care to win an Oscar or anything like that. ... I love
doing action movies. I love doing comedies and dramas," the actor
added, saying he aspired to a career like Matt Damon's, who has
flitted between drama, action and comedy on both independent and
But while Lutz is building a portfolio of roles that capitalize on
his model good looks and muscular physique — he was part of a 2010
Calvin Klein underwear campaign — the actor said he wants to be
taken seriously as a filmmaker as well, writing and producing
scripts for upcoming projects.
"I'm a very intelligent man. I went to college for chemical
engineering," the actor said.
"A lot of roles have shown off one of my other strengths, my
physique, but now that I'm a producer, I can create my own material,
so a lot of the books I'm going after, you probably won't even see
me topless. ... I don't get offended if people call me a beefcake,
they just don't know me."
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; editing by
Patricia Reaney and Jonathan Oatis)
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