While filming in Sofia, Bulgaria, Kellen Lutz and the cast of “Hercules: The Legend Begins” spent their only day off completing their 13th — and sweetest — labor by volunteering at Animal Rescue Sofia, a no-kill animal shelter that is at risk of losing their funding.
A proud owner of two rescue dogs, Kola and Kevin, Lutz has been honored in the past for his support of PETA and won the Do Something for the Animals award at the 2010 VH1 Do Something Awards. After seeing so many dogs in need, the cast of “Hercules” knew they wanted to help out and even rescued a small pup off of the streets, which they named Hercules, natch.
“We found him wandering on the street in traffic,” director Renny Harlin. “We took him home and then brought him here to Animal Rescue Sofia where he is now being brought back to life, back to health, and will find a happy home and never be abandoned again.”
The cast of the movie volunteered their time and donated money to Animal Rescue Sofia, which hopes to raise close to $300,000 by the new year to buy a new facility after losing the lease for their current location.
“It touched my heart – I love animals,” Lutz said. “The great thing about this facility is that they don’t turn any dogs away. The hard part is they are running out of funding.”
Directed by Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger), Hercules: The Legend Begins stars Twilight’s Kellan Lutz as the musclebound Greek hero and is being billed as an origin story that’s about love as well as war.
“We didn’t want to make a movie that is just this brooding guy who’s just going from fight to fight, and just being violent and brutish,” Harlin explained recently. “For us, the love story was very much the heart and key to his character and his story.”
Newcomer Gaia Weiss co-stars as Hercules’ love interest Hebe and the supporting cast includes Liam McIntyre (Spartacus), Scott Adkins (The Expendables 2) and Roxanne McKee – best known as Louise in Hollyoaks. Hercules: The Legend Continues
Meanwhile, a rival Hercules movie starring Dwayne Johnson is also due out next year and is scheduled to arrive in UK cinemas just two weeks earlier on July 25. It’s titled Hercules: The Thracian Wars and is based on a popular graphic novel of the same name.
Hercules, a mythological hero famed for his immense strength, first appeared on the big screen in a series of Italian films in the 1950s and 1960s. The character has been played by countless actors over the years. Most notably, Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in a cult 1970 film called Hercules In New York, while Tate Donovan provided his voice in a 1997 animated Disney movie.
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