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Disney hopes 'Hercules' will have strong appeal

Hercules June 27, 1997
Web posted at: 10:14 p.m. EDT (0214 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- It may have come to your attention that the people at the Walt Disney Co. are releasing another animated film this weekend.

It is "Hercules," another in a long line of animated films that began in the distant past with "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia" and include such recent films as "The Little Mermaid" and "Aladdin."

Disney wants to think "Hercules" can offer something to every member of the family: humor, romance, wit, music and adventure. Hercules, a hero of Greek and Roman mythology, was renown for his strength and courage.

Actor James Woods lends his voice to the villain of the film, Hades, Lord of Death, and newcomer Tate Donovan is the voice of Hercules.

Hercules movie trailer
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4.9MB/2 min. 25 sec. QuickTime movie
1.5MB/40 sec. QuickTime movie

"I had never done this kind of work before, so I had no idea what to do," Donovan admits. "But I knew I really wanted to do it, so I just came out with unbridled enthusiasm and lucked out."

There is never a Disney animated feature without a love angle, and this time it's a tough, sexy heroine named Meg, whose voice is provided by Susan Egan.

Hades

A heroine with a touch of Stanwyck

"She's that fast-talking, 1940s dame who has guys wrapped around her little finger," says Egan, who had actress Barbara Stanwyck in mind.

"She looks like Barbara Stanwyck, so she doesn't look like me," Egan says.

But her mannerisms and her facial expressions -- including the occasional arch of an eyebrow -- comes from watching tapes of the actors doing the voices and giving some of their mannerisms to the characters.

Directors, on the other hand, do something a little different.

Goldthwait

"What they do is, they don't look at you when you're recording, because they want to know if it sounds funny instead of it looks funny," says comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, whose voice is that of a character named Pain, one of Hades' lackeys.

"So you do something and wonder if it's funny, and you look back and they're like, lookin' down," Goldthwait says. "They're doin' anything but looking at you, and I go 'I must be really stinkin' up the room.'"

Goldthwait gets job playing himself

The part of Pain was written with Goldthwait in mind, although he didn't know it at the time. When he found out, he asked about the plan.

"I said, 'Why did you have me audition then?' But I don't know, if I didn't get the job due to the fact it was based on me, I would definitely have been liquored up somewhere in my underwear, going 'Uh, uh, I couldn't even get a job playing me!'"

Correspondent Bill Tush contributed to this report.

 
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