Kellan Lutz leaves 'Twilight' to explore 'Legend of Hercules'
By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Kellan Lutz is shedding the vampire teeth to don the breastplate of Greek demigod Hercules in his newest film, as he leaves the "Twilight" franchise behind to embrace the action genre.
"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 told Reuters.
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.
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