The former wrestler will head to New Zealand in October to begin work on the film, which is based on Steve Moore’s 2008 graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars. The comic is set in barbarian Thrace, and plays down many of the character’s mythological traits to present a more human figure.
Hercules has been presented numerous times on the big screen, notably in Disney’s 1997 animation and 1969′s Hercules in New York, which starred a young, heavily dubbed, Schwarzenegger, when he was billed as Arnold Strong. Ratner’s most recent film, Tower Heist, his first feature in four years, was a minor critical and commercial success. Johnson has also proven to be a box-office draw, both in last year’s Fast & Furious Five and last month’s Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, the sequel to 2008′s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, in which he replaced Brendan Fraser in the lead role. He will also star in GI Joe: Retaliation later this year and has been cast as a bodybuilder in Michael Bay’s long-gestating black comedy Pain and Gain.