A live-action remake of Disney’s Hercules movie is happening and it has amazing potential. However, casting will be key for this movie as the characters are so quirky and unique. The original really is character-driven and since the characters in the movie are so unique and different, this is a chance for a lot of unique and different actors to shine. I really hope Disney digs deep with casting this movie as the obvious choices aren’t always the right ones. The Russo Brothers are producing this project and they do have a great eye for talent. The main choices on this list for Hercules and Megara are in their late 20s, early 30s which is Disney’s prime age range for leads. However, multiple choices will be provided in addition to our main choice. Also, I know a lot of people want Greek actors to be in this, but Emma Watson isn’t French and she played Belle, and Halle Bailey is playing a very different Ariel so changes can be made. So here are Kernel’s picks for who should be cast in Disney’s live-action Hercules movie.
Hercules – Taron Egerton
Honorable Mentions- Billy Magnussen, George MacKay, Robbie Amell, and Ben Hardy.
Not only can Taron Egerton pull off the physical look of the character, but he is also an incredibly charismatic and likable actor. Hercules would be a fantastic role for Egerton and would really do a lot for his career. Also, Egerton has already proven himself as an actor and he has a large fanbase. Even when his movies aren’t so good, Egerton still shines because he is just so likable. He could really sell Hercules’ can-do attitude but he could also excel during the emotional parts of the movie. Now even though this role would boost his reputation, Egerton already has a rather prestigious movie career so he might not want the role. Another good choice for Hercules is Ben Hardy who has had a supporting role in a number of big movies and this could be his star turn. Hardy definitely looks the part and with some help from the Russo brothers, he could do a good job acting-wise as well. If Disney wanted to go a bit older for the role Billy Magnussen would be a great choice. He as appeared in a number of Disney projects like Aladdin and Into The Woods so he is already on their radar. Also, Magnussen is just so hilarious and likable that he would really be entertaining to have in the role.
Megara – Ana De Armas
Honorable Mentions- Karen Gillan, Jurnee Smollet-Bell, Samara Weaving, Eiza Gonzalez, Aubrey Plaza, and Hailee Steinfeld.
Megara or Meg is a very important character because of how different she is. Before Hercules came out Disney leading ladies were often soft, beautiful princesses. However, Meg is a strong, independent, outsider who can stand toe to toe with Hercules with her confidence and sarcastic attitude. Now a lot of people want Ariana Grande to play Meg, but I feel that is a huge mistake. Looking at it face value Grande seems like a good fit, she can rock the ponytail, she can sing, and she has Italian heritage which is kind of close to Greek, but Grande actually represents the opposite of Meg. Grande represents more of the classic soft princesses and not the edgy, sarcastic, and tough Meg. Not to mention Grande has a pop diva attitude and is very popular, and that’s just not what Meg is about. That’s why Ana De Armas is the perfect choice for Meg. Armas already played a distant outsider in the smash hit Knives Out, and she has an edge to her that would really work for Meg. The only thing that is uncertain is her singing ability especially with her heavy accent, but she can work on that. However, just like Egerton, Ana De Armas already has a successful movie career going so she might not be interested in the role. Hailee Steinfeld, Eiza Gonzalez, and Samara Weaving would all be good choices as well. If they wanted to go a little older, Jurnee Smollet-Bell would make the role very interesting, and also Aubrey Plaza literally is Meg so she would be great. I just hope they cast someone interesting in the role who fits with Meg’s unique personality.
Hades – Jeff Goldblum
Honorable Mentions- Jim Carrey, Vince Vaughn, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, and Keegan-Michael Key.
Hades is an amazing villain and honestly, a lot of comedians could do interesting work with the character, but the choice that instantly comes to mind is Jeff Goldblum. A lot of people don’t like Goldblum because they feel he’s creepy, but that’s exactly why he would be perfect for the role. He would nail the quirky, zany, and creepy persona Hades has. Also, nowadays Goldblum is team Disney as he was a stand-out in the new Thor: Ragnarok movie and stars in his own Disney+ show which is actually very funny thanks to Goldblum. Even if he is reluctant to take the role, I would remind him that in his extensive career he has never played a villain on the level of Hades, and he is just perfect for the role. A lot of people want to see Jim Carrey in the role, and while I think he could be good, his humor doesn’t quite match the humor that Hades has. Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, and Vince Vaughn would also all do a very good job. If they wanted to go younger with the role Keegan-Michael Key would be fantastic, but he will pop up later on this list in a role that better suites him.
Phil – Danny DeVito
Honorable Mentions- None.
While the internet is divided on how to cast this new Hercules movie, there is one choice that everyone can agree on and that’s Danny DeVito as Phil. DeVito played the role in the original film back in 1997 and he’s still got it. It will be interesting to see how they realize the character in live-action, whether it’s fully CGI, a CGI hybrid, or prosthetics. The character represents DeVito so perfectly that it would just be strange to have another actor in this role. Even actors agree as Josh Gad already said he would not play the role because no one can recapture DeVito’s magic. Everyone wants him back in the role and DeVito has been working with Disney lately so I think he would also love to return.
Pain and Panic – Key and Peele
Honorable Mentions- Simon Peg and Nick Frost, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis, Patton Oswald and Steve Buscemi, and Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.
Pain and Panic are a great comedic duo that carry out Hades’ wishes with a lot of pizazz. The perfect comedic duo to portray this comedic duo is, of course, Key and Peele. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have been doing hilarious comedy sketches for quite a while and they have great chemistry together. Not only are they very funny, but they are a perfect fit with Pain and Panic. Key and Peele also supplied voices for Disney’s Toy Story 4, voicing a duo very similar to Pain and Panic. Simon Peg and Nick Forst would also do a good job as they are also a great comedic duo, but Key and Peele fit the characters more. They would bring a lot of energy to the movie and would really create a fun dynamic to watch
Zeus – Gerard Butler
Honorable Mentions- Jeff Bridges, Kurt Russell, Matt Damon, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Now Gerard Butler may not be the most prestigious actor out there and he’s not really a Disney type actor, but he is just perfect for this role. Even though he has been in a lot of not so great movies, he is actually a very solid actor especially when he embraces his fun side. Butler’s booming voice and overall personality make him perfect to portray the leader of the Gods. Also, he is a very funny actor and could really sell some of the more comedic moments of the movie. But he could sell the dramatic moments as well and make the character sympathetic and likable. Butler is a good age to play the character, especially if Disney casts a younger actor in the role of Hercules. In addition to all of that, Butler also looks a lot like Zeus and has the physical build. If Disney wanted to go older both Jeff Brides and Kurt Russel would do a great job in the role. But if Disney gives Gerard Butler a chance, I strongly feel he would surprise a lot of people.
Hera – Cate Blanchett
Honorable Mentions- Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, Catherine O’Hara, and Laura Linney.
Even though Hera doesn’t have a lot to do in the movie, she is a visually striking character and the right actor could make the most of the small role. Cate Blanchett would do a great job with the character and could definitely rock the look. She pulled off Hela’s extremely difficult outfit in Thor: Ragnarok and she was just cast in the new Borderlands movie as another visually interesting character. She matches the age of the Zeus choice Gerard Butler and the two of them would certainly make an interesting duo. Nicole Kidman and Kate Winslet would also be great choices in the age range and if they wanted to go older Catherine O’Hara and Luara Linney would work. But Blanchett would really rock the look and she would add depth to the character even if the role is small.
The Muses – Beyoncé, Janelle Monáe, Jennifer Hudson, Megan Thee Stallion, and Lizzo
Last, but certainly not least are the Muses. Now don’t underestimate the power of the Muses, because even though their roles might be small, if the right actors are cast it could really level up the film. Of course, the leader of the Muses has to be played by the queen herself, Beyoncé. Not only is Beyoncé a part of team Disney as she said during the Disney Singalong Event, but she did so much for Disney’s new Lion King movie driving intense levels of interest. Furthermore, this role would be even better than her Lion King role as Beyoncé would actually get to appear on screen with dance numbers, and Beyoncé can sure put on a show. Janelle Monáe and Jennifer Hudson are also great choices as they are singers trying to forge an acting career, and this would be a great opportunity for them. Finally, Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion should round out the Muses. They are new and exciting talent that would amp up the interest levels even more. If this Hercules movie included dance numbers featuring Beyoncé, Janelle Monáe, Jennifer Hudson, Megan Thee Stallion, and Lizzo, it would be a must-see event just for that.
Do you agree with our choices? If not, who would you like to see cast in the new Hercules movie? Let us know in the comments section of our website or on our Twitter and Instagram, and don’t forget to download the Kernel app.