New Interview: Kellan Talks about Stunts, Scars and Working Out
In the epic origin story THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, Kellan Lutz stars as the mythical Greek hero – the son of Zeus, a half-god, half-man blessed with extraordinary strength. Recently, WAMG sat down with Lutz in a roundtable discussion about the film, keeping in shape, and yes kids… he does mention TWILIGHT. Check it out below.
Betrayed by his stepfather, the King, and exiled and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love, Hercules must use his formidable powers to fight his way back to his rightful kingdom. Through harrowing battles and gladiator-arena death matches, Hercules embarks on a legendary odyssey to overthrow the King and restore peace to the land.
Are you losing your voice from talking so much?
KL: No. I did four days – 2 full days of the movie that you guys saw – of ADR, because we’re on horses, leading a fight in the rain, so the sound quality wasn’t good. So, I had to re-do the whole movie, and then, of course, the battle screams – you’re just, like, gone.
So, let me just remind you that after IMMORTALS I told you that you would be resurrected, and be immortal again.
KL: And look, here I am as another god.
See, I told you.
KL: I want to do a sequel to that movie, though. I loved working with that cast.
You go from one god, to being another god, and you’re an Expendable in between. Have you been able to distinguish all of the scars and injuries yet on your body?
KL: I do. I do. They are my tattoos. I have no tattoos. I view my scars as my memories. I’m not a journalist, but my body tells a story. As people ask “Where is that from?”, there is a good story with it. So, yes. I can distinguish my scars from what project.
What is your best scar from this project?
KL: Uh… [Laughs] You had to go there. [Laughs] Riding a horse, you get a lot of chaffing, which I learned, and it’s not quite fun when you’re wearing a skirt, and you don’t have jeans on. So, I have, on my ass, two lines of scars [laughs] that I had to put a lot of bio-oil on to heal as fast as I could. So, there’s my most iconic scars.
Could you talk about… you have a really nice body – [laughs]
KL: Stop it… [laughs] I thought you were going to say boobs there for a second. “Your boobs are very nice!”
You work out a lot, so what was going through your mind, to push yourself, when you were working out for this film?
KL: Thank you. I live an active lifestyle. I really enjoy being outdoors, and I’d rather play basketball, or snowboard… I have fun in the gym. I get creative. I compete against myself. Whenever it feels like work… I call it “funning out”, not “working out”,as soon as it feels like work – I don’t like working. That’s why I choose these projects that are fun to me – that my heart’s invested in.
Preparing for the role of Hercules, I always felt like… Look, as a little kid I had middle child syndrome. I grew up on a lot of land, with a lot of farm animals, and I had a lot of alone time. I was able to use my imagination, and create the world of Tarzan, of He-Man, of Hercules, of Ninja Turtles. I was playing by myself, and a lot of times my mom would come out and see the animals with paint on them, [laughs] or things tied to them, or with crazy spikes on them, like dinosaurs… and I’d always light fires, and I’d always be the hero who blew the fires out. It was a lonely time that I filled up with my fantasy world.
Hercules was always that original hero for me, and now that I’m an actor – I never had the dream to be an actor – I found this passion that I get to re-live, and fulfill this childhood dream of bringing this character to the big screen. I was very well prepared for it, because of my education, and my knowledge of greek mythology. I had already studied a lot of it, because I enjoyed it. I really loved ‘The Iliad’ and ‘The Odyssey’. I had read those before they were mandatory in school. That fantasy world was just amazing to me because they’re all myths, and much like the story of Hercules, it’s one of the tales. There’s a plethora of tales that you could bring to life about Hercules. That’s why every story can, and should be different about Hercules. There’s no right or wrong answer. That’s why if people are going to judge it, be like ”What? What? Do you know the truth behind Hercules? Because there is none!”. It’s telephone. It’s everyone’s hearsay. That’s the beauty of it. We can make it our own. That’s what we did with ours, and in the preparation that I had, and I built my own backstory, and built my own character development, and relationships that we shared. With preparing to ride the horse, and the sword fighting, I had Liam McIntyre, as was my brother in arms, who played Spartacus. I love that show. To work with him, he could have been… I knew he was a good guy because Renny had great discernment with who to cast. Everyone that I worked with on this film was family. Really, from day one it was very easy going. We all had the same motive, to make the best movie possible, and it was amazing. I’m proud of everyone’s hard work. But Liam, being the fighter that he is – I came to him as humbly as I could, and I was like “Look. I don’t have time to really learn. Will you help me?” and he was like “Yeah brother!”. You know, he’s Australian, and he’s all happy… “Come here!”. We would just battle each other, and then he taught me in the Miramont Place to just draw eight lines, and then just stand there in front of it like and act like I’m the bad guy. He’s like “You get the head shot. You’d get the head shot. You’d get the body shot”… just to make it fluid. The funny thing, also, is that he taught me what to do with my other hand. So, as you’re stabbing people, as you’re killing people, you don’t think about this other hand. Most of the time it looks like spirit fingers [Kellan demonstrates and the room laughs]. You’re killing someone and you’re like “Ahhhh!” [Wiggles fingers behind himself]. It’s not a good look, cause you watch the playback, and you’re like “What do I do?”, so we would break off – we had a little piece of metal that we would hold in our hands like that [shows us a clenched fist, as if holding on to something], cause it’s kind of hard to remember to hold your hand like that, because it happens, and your body just naturally swings, and your hand turns up… but if you are holding on to something that no one else can see, then you get these strong strikes. That was a really great secret. He really helped make me Hercules, but to answer your question I was very well prepared. I didn’t feel any pressure. I was living my childhood dream. I fully embraced it.
This is the most diverse, physically, that you’ve done in terms of the disciplines, with the battle sequences and the horse riding. How much did you work with your stunt coordinator, with Raleigh (?) in terms of training for the individual disciplines?
KL: God, that man… he’s like Indiana Jones. He’s our main stunt coordinator, and just such a great lad. You can either have a stunt coordinator who knows his stuff, but doesn’t know how to work with actors, much like directors, and I was blessed on this movie because Renny is such a visually stunning director who knows how to work with actors. Raleigh is the same way. He’s done James Bond. He’s done all of these amazing movies. He did ALEXANDER and was telling me stories about him riding a horse, and he lost control of the horse and had to bail, and flew right into a tree, and how he’s like “Brother, I’ve never been more scared!”. He, bless his heart, the rigorous hours that I had to learn how to ride a horse, as fast as I did within the scenes… He made me feel like an allstar! Towards the end of the movie, he was like “I don’t know how you did it!”. He really built me up. I think that’s all it takes, especially for, like, any father to son… It’s like if a kid falls, you don’t go “Oh…blah, blah blah”, you don’t react, you go “It’s all right. Get back up”. He waits for you, to see if you are being emotional. Raleigh was just very encouraging. I get in my head a lot, because I’m a perfectionist, and if I’m told to correct five different things at once, then I can’t do it. But, if he encourages me… and a lot of times I’m working out, and my body gets stiff, so I’ll do this [pretends to ride a horse in a stiff fashion], and you really have to be loose to grind the horse [laughs as he demonstrates], grind – shag the horse… Raleigh just really encouraged me, and built me up by telling me “Good job”, and making sure I was loose. Mentally, I knew that if I could correct that one thing, then I could correct the next thing. He really knew how to speak to me, and to actors, and the stunts that he built… Hats off to him, because I’ll push myself, and I wanted one more take with the horse, in that scene where we’re fighting the guys on the horse, and he was like “No. We’re cutting it. The horse is done.” and Ari got bucked off, and he was like “No. The horse is past his due time. It’s bed time for him.” He’s verry wise, and of course producers are like “Just one more?” and Raleigh’s like “No. There’s too many people around… for the safety.” It only takes that one mishap.
How many of the stunts did you actually get to do yourself? Or did you have a stuntman do them for you?
KL: Yeah. I had a stuntman named Danko that looked like me, and had the most boring time on the set because I did everything. There were a few times when, due to my rigorous schedule I had my horse rider, and Danko, who was my fight double – I was working double units, 6 day weeks – whenever I couldn’t work they would step in, because I was in every single shot, which I loved. A big difference from TWILIGHT days where I wanted more, but script wise, this was all I was doing. I love working, I love being on set, and time goes by the fastest when you’re on set. It’s when you’re sitting in your trailer, like on TWILIGHT, when you kind of loose your brain sometimes. I did ninety nine percent of the stunts. I wanted to make sure that I would, and the producers loved that I would… but there were times when Danko would fill in when we had to catch up on a shot, or my horse rider. There were moments when those horses – they were finicky, and I’m such an animal lover, I didn’t want to smack them with my sword, and get them in line. They’re beautiful animals, so he’d get on there and do the rehearsals and get them ingrained with what they needed to do.
Considering you said that this was never a dream, but here you are. You’re leading this film. Not just any old character, but Hercules, and presumably you’ve gotten to see some of the film. What is it like for you watching, like “That’s me playing this character”?
KL: I’ve never felt such a sense of accomplishment. I’m so proud of the work that I did, and for me, for the inner child that’s always in all of us, you know, we should still stay youthful. I’m just… I’m proud. I’m just really proud, especially because I’m drawn to this script, and what we have. I’m a man of faith, and to be a part of a script that I got teary-eyed reading, especially the part where Hercules is being crucified, and reaches out for the strength of his father for strength. I was just so connected to this movie. There’s a lot of biblical references, that… I just felt it. I’m very proud of the hard work that everyone put into it. Of course I want it to do well. I want it to allow me to do the sequel, but that won’t deter the personal feeling that I have for all of my hard work, and that’s all I can do. I give myself, and that’s how I sleep good at night. I sleep great!