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Tonto had started simply the dumbest fashion trend.
Hercules

HERCULES

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. ANCIENT GREECE

REECE RITCHIE (V.O.)

So you think you know the story of the legendary Dwayne Jo- you know what, no. If we’re going to talk about the legendary exploits of a godlike being, “Dwayne Johnson” is just too dorky a name. For this script, you’re The Rock again.

THE ROCK

Fair enough.

REECE RITCHIE (V.O.)

So, you may think you know the story of the legendary The Rock. But we’re here to tell you the TRUE, albeit equally made up, god-and-magic-free tale behind the legend. Because Troy was such a runaway success now, wasn’t it.

THE ROCK

I am a big muscly mercenary who in this movie does nothing that Hercules did in any of the myths, and who is constantly stated as having technically not done any of the things that WERE in the myths. So basically I have about as much in common with the character of Hercules as I do with Theseus, or Conan the Barbarian, or Popeye the Sailor Man. Meet my team of equally mythical-in-name-only warriors!

IAN MCSHANE

I am Amphiaraus, king of Argos who led the Seven against Thebes a psychic dude who accurately predicts basically the whole plot of the movie, thus shooting the whole “no magic” thing in the foot right out of the gate.

INGRID BOLSO BERDAL

I am Atalanta, legendary Arcadian huntress who accompanied Jason on the Argo the girl one.

RUFUS SEWELL

I am Autolycus, presumably the one who founded Sinope, but if you want to assume I’m the demigod instead knock yourself out some wisecracking douche.

AKSEL HENNIE

I’m Tydeus? Seriously? Prince of Argos? Father of the Trojan warrior Diomedes? Are we just picking names out of a hat or something BRARGH RARFGL UURRGGGHH FFNNNRRRUUHHH!!!

REECE RITCHIE

And I am Iolaus, nephew and companion of Hercules, and holy crap that’s actually accurate.

The GREEK EXPENDABLES rattle off some half-assed INTRODUCTORY MISSION then go off DRINKING.

THE ROCK

I’ve decided our next job will be my last one. Then I’ll go and live and innocent and happy life on some secluded island somewhere, and there will be cake and butterflies and everything will be awesome.

RUFUS SEWELL

Huh? Why are you giving the “team member who dies” monologue?

THE ROCK

Did I mention I’ll take Aksel with me? The one guy on our team who can’t speak for himself?

RUFUS SEWELL

Ah. Gotcha.

BARBARA PALVIN comes up to their table.

BARBARA PALVIN

Thrace needs your help! A warlord named Tobias Santelmann has been sacking villages in a needlessly evil attempt to take over. Help us and we’ll pay you your weight in gold!

THE ROCK

Well geez, I don’t know what to make of this. “Sacking villages” makes it sound like you’re legitimately imperilled victims, but “your weight in gold” is the kind of offer employers make to movie mercenaries before framing them for regicide and/or trying to dump them into a pit of hyenas.

BARBARA PALVIN

That’s right, we’re creating synthetic unpredictability out of contradictory cliches! Now come and talk to my dad, King John Hurt, who exclusively plays either wise old mentors or cold, vicious bastards.

THE ROCK

Damnit, that doesn’t help at all!

EXT. THRACE

The ROCK BAND meet with JOHN HURT.

JOHN HURT

Welcome to Thrace. Please direct your attention towards our giant statue. We have a giant statue; that’s it there; look at it.

THE ROCK

Foreshadowing acknowledged.

JOHN HURT

Excellent. Now, Tobias has all but wiped out my army and left me with a bunch of untrained field hands. I figure having the fabled “Son of Zeus” will help give this rabble the courage to fight.

THE ROCK

Ah, so me and my small unit of rough-and-ready free-fighting mercenaries are here to be confidence-boosting showboaters on the frontlines, while your experienced general Peter Mullan will give the soldiers the disciplined military training they need? I like it.

JOHN HURT

Yes, that’s exactly the plan, except we’ll also get you guys to do that second part while Peter farts around doing basically nothing.

THE ROCK

Oh. Fine then, I’m sure we can throw together some kind of training montage.

They start TRAINING THE SOLDIERS in a kick-ass TRAINING MON-

JOHN HURT

Stop everything! Our intel says Tobias is about to destroy this one barbarian village. We must take our army of unskilled losers to defend them right away!

THE ROCK

Are you crazy? Sending them in there unmontaged? This goes against everything Hollywood’s been telling us since the eighties!

EXT. BARBARIAN VILLAGE

JOHN HURT’S “ARMY” heads into the VILLAGE to find they’re TOO LATE, it’s already been PILLAGED TO SMOLDERING ASHES.

THE ROCK

These horribly mutilated corpses are several days old. Except these other ones, the ones in identical war paint? They look pretty much pristine. Like, they haven’t been hacked up or even wounded as far as I can tell. If I didn’t know better, I’d say they were just alive dudes lying very very still.

(pause)

Yeah, there’s a reason my wrestler name was never “The Rhodes Scholar”.

The DEAD GUYS turn out to be NOT-DEAD GUYS and leap up and start attacking! Then about THREE HUNDRED MORE GUYS literally BURST OUT OF THE GROUND!

BARBARIAN

Say, if we’d all just done that to begin with instead of like a dozen of us doing the pretend corpse thing, this would have been a much more effective ambush. Oh well, RRRAAAHHHH!!!

THE ROCK

Quick, soldiers, form an impenetrable shield wall, like the three hundred Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae! Meanwhile me and my guys will run around in the open frantically swinging our weapons at anything that moves, like the three hundred Spartans in the movie 300!

JOHN HURT

You heard him, men, feats of heroism are restricted to billed actors! Everybody else stand perfectly still and be an interchangeable feature in the scenery.

The FIGHTING BEGINS! We cut wildly between random shots of frenzied yet rigorously PG-13 violence!

INGRID BOLSO BERDAL

AHA, NOW THAT THE BAD GUYS HAVE GOTTEN WITHIN PUNCHING RANGE IT IS FINALLY TIME FOR ME TO UNLOOSE MY ARROWS!

THE ROCK

I KICK AN ENTIRE WAGON AT YOU, BECAUSE I HAVE NO SUPERNATURAL ABILITIES!!

RUFUS SEWELL

CHECK OUT MY SEEMINGLY INEXHAUSTIBLE SUPPLY OF THROWING KNIVES!!!

AKSEL HENNIE

(axing heads off)

GGRRORRGRRFFRRAAFRRAAAGGLLBB!!!!

IAN MCSHANE

I SPEAR YOU WITH MY WEIRD SPEAR... TRIDENT... THING... okay seriously, does not a single one of us own a sword? That’s weird.

REECE RITCHIE

MEANWHILE I SHOUT SUPPORTIVE THINGS FROM BEHIND THE SHIELD WALL! GO TEAM GO! RA RA RA! Maaan, why the hell did I go and pick Bard?

The SHIELD WALL is BREACHED! The BATTLE takes a turn for the WORSE!

THE ROCK

Aw nuts! You know what I wish we had right about now? One of those chariots, you know, with the giant blades sticking out the side, that you can just ride around in easily cutting down bad guys like a huge lawnmower.

(pause)

(slaps forehead)

What am I talking about, we have one of those parked just up the hill there! Damn, we should have thought of that ages ago.

IAN gets in the LAWNMOWER CHARIOT and ends the battle in TWENTY SECONDS.

THE ROCK

Well, John, half your army is dead. Can we PLEASE go back and finish the Goddamn montage now?

JOHN HURT

Oh all right.

EXT. THRACE

This time the MERCENARIES actually get to do the TRAINING MONTAGE.

RUFUS SEWELL

Awright, they’ve gotten good enough that now their shield wall can withstand the ultimate test: one unarmed dude running face-first into it. Ready when you are, Tobias!

BARBARA PALVIN

Say, mercenaries, now that we’ve got a bit of down time, one thing I’ve been curious about: is it true The Rock brutally slew his own family? This is, like, the rudest thing I could possibly bring up.

RUFUS SEWELL

Ah, so you’ve heard the tale. Of how The Rock murdered his wife and children after he got back from completing his twelve labors. The twelve labors he undertook as penance for the time he murdered his wife and children.

(awkward pause)

BARBARA PALVIN

Look, I don’t think you have to worry about the audience being full of mythology nerds taking umbrage. Probably most people watching just think we’re ripping off God of War right now.

RUFUS SEWELL

Oh well, it’ll probably turn out he didn’t really do it anyway. Partly because that’d be a hell of a flaw to heap on our boringly infallible protagonist, but mostly because “stuff from the actual Hercules myth” isn’t exactly our deal.

BARBARA PALVIN

True enough. So, while we’re clearing stuff up, what was the deal with Xena and Gabrielle anyway? You know what I mean.

JOHN HURT

Hey everybody, we located Tobias! Battle time!

EXT. BATTLEFIELD

The THRACIANS gather to meet TOBIAS’ ARMY. On the crest of a hill, a herd of CENTAURS apppear!

THE ROCK

Gasp! So the tales of Tobias’s centaur army are true! I mean, the only other explanation is that they’re just dudes on horses, and every single eyewitness has just happened to see them in silhouette, from a distance, from a very specific angle while they stay perfectly still in a very specific unnatural pose, and statistically speaking that’s pretty much the more fantastical option here.

TOBIAS AND HIS MEN come down the hill and, yep, dudes on horses.

THE ROCK

Weeeeaaak.

TOBIAS SANTELMANN

If it isn’t the legendary The Rock. Since I seemingly know your heroic reputation, there are a couple of choice sentences I should say right now that could stop you from ever trying to fight me, but we’re holding off on that particular plot turn for a little while longer so I guess we’ll just have to kill each other.

TOBIAS’S ARMY starts CHARGING, but then INGRID flanks them with a SURPRISE CHARIOT!

INGRID BOLSO BERDAL

Yes, we’ve grown enough of a brain to break out the chariots right away this time! But we left the unstoppable lawnmower one at home, because we want to at least give you guys a chance to feel like you’re doing well, you know?

JOHN’S ARMY proceeds to KICK TOBIAS’S ARMY’S ASS until they FREAK OUT and RUN AWAY.

TOBIAS SANTELMANN

Fine then, I guess I’ll charge at The Rock by myself from about a football field away! I should succeed as long as they don’t send like forty dudes to mob me. Or plow me down with a chariot. Or just have the master archer pick me off. Or even the guy with the throwing knives. I really am asking them to give me quite a bit of leeway here.

As it happens they don’t do ANY OF THOSE THINGS, but then THE ROCK just PICKS UP TOBIAS’S CHARGING HORSE and SPIKES IT LIKE A FOOTBALL because NO SERIOUSLY HE’S JUST A REGULAR OLD MORTAL NO DEMIGOD POWERS HERE NOSIRREE

TOBIAS SANTELMANN

Aw shucks, you got me. Yep, you captured me fair and square, halfway through the movie, and it’s all entirely on the up-and-up. No Joker/Loki/Silva shenanigans here. Wink!

(pause)

Wait, no wink, cancel the wink, I’m actually NOT doing that, thank God. The truth is, I’m the good guy! John’s the one who’s been ravaging those villages!

THE ROCK

Pfft, nice try. I suppose that previous battle was John having his untrained farmer army and his brainwashed barbarian army kill each other, just to wipe out half his own forces for no reason at all?

TOBIAS SANTELMANN

...Okay yeah, that makes no sense, but I SWEAR he’s evil! Just watch as he immediately seals me up in the dungeon before I can tell anybody else about his various evil deeds!

JOHN HURT

Hey, let’s have a big banquet back in Thrace, and chain Tobias up out front of everybody where he can yell whatever he wants to whoever he wants!

TOBIAS SANTELMANN

Look, I said he was the bad guy, I didn’t say he was the actions follow any sort of logic guy.

That night at the banquet, THE ROCK sees BARBARA try to give the chained-up TOBIAS a cup of WATER.

THE ROCK

Wait a minute, the only reason you could possibly feel compassion for his suffering is... BASIC HUMAN DECEN- whoops, I meant, YOU KNOW HE’S NOT EVIL!

BARBARA PALVIN

It’s true! I’m sorry I tricked you into helping an evil village-burning tyrant quash the scrappy rebels who were trying to end his reign of terror, but you have to understand, he has my son!

THE ROCK

Your son? The one who’s been wandering all over the place completely free and unattended the whole movie? As have you? Lady, you’ve had like umpteen bajillion chances to get the both of you to safety AND let me know what was really going on.

BARBARA PALVIN

Maybe. But I thought the better plan was to let my dad keep murdering peasants until he conquered all Greece, then wait for him to kick the bucket so my son could seize the throne.

(pause)

Believe it or not, I’m still supposed to be completely sympathetic after this.

THE ROCK

Well enough is enough! I swear by my stupid glue-on beard that I’ll stop John! Not by using the trust and admiration I’ve gained with his people to convince them of the truth, but by staving his head in with a club. Who’s with me!

INGRID BOLSO BERDAL

We’re all with you, The Rock! Oh, except I guess one of us should temporarily chicken out in a Han Solo fashion, just in case we need to be bailed out of a jam later on.

RUFUS SEWELL

On it!

(leaves)

IAN MCSHANE

So what’s the plan?

THE ROCK

(sketches layout in dirt)

All right, so here’s the throne room, see? We go INTO the throne room... and kill John.

(pause)

That is the entire plan.

IAN MCSHANE

...So I guess Rufus was secretly the brains of the outfit, then.

They go to enact their plan, but it turns out that the KING OF THRACE happens to have GUARDS, and they get thrown into the DUNGEON.

INT. DUNGEON

JOHN comes to taunt a chained-up THE ROCK, as does JOSEPH FIENNES.

THE ROCK

Who?

JOSEPH FIENNES

Don’t you remember me from a two-minute flashback a while ago? I’m the king of Tyrins, I sent you on the lame-ass non-magical missions that got twisted by hearsay into your twelve labors. Like, the hydra was just a bunch of fighters in snake masks, that sort of thing.

THE ROCK

What the hell was the Augean stables then? Did we get latrine duty and just REALLY exaggerate?

JOSEPH FIENNES

I’m just stopping by to tell you I was the one who had your family killed. I drugged you and sent in a bunch of wolves to eat your wife and kids while you were passed out. Look, I even brought the wolves with me for illustrative purposes.

THE ROCK

Huh? I’m sorry, why are you telling me all this? There’s no reason for you to bring this up now. Especially what with the trouble and expense of transporting those wolves here from Tyrins at such short notice - I mean, were you even in Thrace, or did you come all the way here just for this? Seriously, what the hell is your deal?

JOSEPH FIENNES

“Why kill my family”, you ask? Well I had to discredit you because you were becoming dangerously popular with the citizens. They hero-worshipped you! They loved you so much that naturally when your family got murdered they assumed you must have done it.

THE ROCK

And so did I, is that what we’re saying? I passed out for a while, then when I woke up and found my family had been TORN APART BY WOLVES, the only conclusion I could draw was “Oh no, look what I did”? Man, maybe “The Rock” was too generous. Maybe my wrestler name should have been “The Intellectual Vortex from Which No Intelligent Thought Can Escape”.

JOHN HURT

Hmmm, this random asshole is coming dangerously close to swooping in and taking over as the most cartoonishly evil jerk in the whole movie. Better defend my title by having my own daughter’s head chopped off!

They haul in BARBARA and strap her to a CHOPPING BLOCK.

THE ROCK

All right, no sweat, when we were captured Barbara’s son was able to slip me a lion’s tooth, so now I’ll use it to free myself from my bonds-

BARBARA PALVIN

BO-RING. You’re Hercules, you should brute strength your way out of this like you do everything.

THE ROCK

But what about that painfully slow, hand-holding shot of me hiding the tooth up my sleeve? Are we seriously going to just plain forget that that ever-

BARBARA PALVIN

SOOO BOOORRRED.

THE ROCK

FINE. I’ll just tear my chains right out of solid rock, like we mortals are wont to do.

THE ROCK tears himself free and saves BARBARA. JOHN and JOSEPH throw the WOLVES at him and RUN AWAY. THE ROCK kills the WOLVES and goes and chases down JOSEPH, who is alone in the throne room.

JOSEPH FIENNES

Damn, I sure picked the wrong time to send all my guards on a smoke break!

(stabbed)

THE ROCK

So, yeah, I just murdered a king. People will let that slide, right? I mean, what’s a harmless bit of regicide now and then?

He then meets up with his GUYS and they all go after JOHN. They find him OUTSIDE with his ENTIRE ARMY.

JOHN HURT

Give up, The Rock. I have my army here waiting to kill you guys, and a bunch of archers ready to fire on you, and also I’m having Barbara’s son held at knifepoint because that whole “hiding the fact that I’m evil” thing was getting to be kind of a chore. Swear your allegiance to me!

THE ROCK

No chance! No way, I won’t say it, no, no. Because you see, we’ve cleverly set up a string of cliches to defeat you! Han Solo guy, save Barbara’s kid!

RUFUS SEWELL

(swoops in)

Hey there everybody!

(saves kid)

THE ROCK

Guy who dies, absorb all those arrows!

AKSEL HENNIE

BLLLUUUURRRGGGHHH!!!

(kills archers)

(dies from arrows)

THE ROCK

And as for the army, it’s time to bring out our Chekhov’s Gun, or rather our Chekhov’s Giant Statue!

He starts pushing the GIANT STATUE over onto the ARMY.

IAN MCSHANE

So, for the record, we’ve finally given up completely on the idea that you’re not a demigod, right? I mean, this is like a forty-foot tall solid marble statue. You might as well be pushing over Grauman's Chinese Theatre right now.

THE ROCK

It’s fine, any feat of strength becomes plausible with sufficient STRRRAAAAIIIINNNNIIIINNNNGGGGG!!!

The statue falls down, breaks into pieces and tumble towards the ARMY, which starts FLEEING!

JOHN HURT

What are you doing? Stand your ground, you pansies! It's just a couple hundred tonnes of rock barrelling towards us at-

(knocked off cliff by giant head)

OKAY MAYBE YOU GUYS HAD THE RIGHT IDEEEEAAAAA

Once the dust settles, whatever bits of the ARMY that THE ROCK hasn’t MURDERED all BOW TO HIM.

THE ROCK

All right, now all we need to show is Tobias taking leadership of Thrace until such time as Barbara's son comes of age.

(pause)

Come on, quick! We have to show that or something like it before the closing narration begins! If we just end with everyone bowing to me, suddenly this was a movie about how a handful of meathead fighters accidentally conquered a whole-

IAN MCSHANE (V.O.)

And that was the “true” story of Hercules! Personally, I think it’s better than the legend. Like, much, much better. Seriously, compared to this story, the LEGEND of Hercules is just a giant, festering pile of-

RENNY HARLIN

Oh shut up.

END.

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