At the movies

Hercules! Hercules! Kellan Lutz talks strong-man role

Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

It’s 11 a.m., and Kellan Lutz has two simple requests: a cup of hot tea and a bowl of almonds. The actor, at the Mandarin Oriental Miami Hotel, is still a lean, mean fighting machine, despite having wrapped roles in two action movies, Expendables 3 and The Legend of Hercules, out Friday. Lutz, 28, swears by the high-protein, low-carb Paleo diet, aka the “caveman diet.” Needless to say, the blond haired, blue eyed model turned actor looks fantastic — like the big-time movie star he is becoming (even linked to Miley Cyrus). We talked to the Twilight regular, who still contends that his dream role is Jason Bourne. Watch out, Matt Damon.

How did you prepare for the role as the mythical Greek hero?

I watched epic movies like Ben Hur, Gladiator and of course Braveheart. I thought they were along the same lines as Hercules, and it was great to draw inspiration from them. I had just finished Expendables 3 and was in shape for that plus I have quite an active lifestyle. I was on the Paleo diet, and I still keep that up. I probably gained about 10 pounds of muscle.

How did you get attached to this project?

A lot of serendipitous events took place. I was trying to position myself to get the part, and the funny thing is that [director] Renny Harlin and I are neighbors. His cat would even walk into my place, and we have the same birthday, March 15. We joke around about that quite a bit. And I’m a big lover of Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger. Sylvester Stallone is such an amazing actor, and what Renny did with that — just such a fun adventure movie.

What was it like working with him?

One of the amazing things about Renny is that he is a great leader, but he was open to any suggestions and let me play around. He would pull me aside and say, ‘I really like what you did, Kellan. Let’s do this, or maybe let’s try it this way.’ Of course he is captain of the ship.

This movie has serious action and a lot of swordplay. Did you get hurt at all?

I love big challenges, and I love to push myself to the limit, but for me riding the horse...I wish I had listened. They told me to take it slow at first. I’ve never broken a bone in my body — knock on wood — but what they meant was my butt. It was raw. When we substituted fake swords with real swords...well, I have a ton of cuts all over my body. [Costar/stuntman] Scott Adkins is a ninja and good on the defense, but I think I may have hurt him.

What do you think this role is going to do for your career?

Well, obviously when you work in a franchise like the Twilight you make a name for yourself. With a movie like Hercules, all the weight falls on the actor. I told Renny, ‘I love this hero and I’ll talk the crap out of it,’ which I love to do. I’m a people person. He said, ‘Good, ’coz we need it!’

What’s next?

I don't really have too many things holding me back. My dogs now live with my mother because I travel so much. One of my passions is traveling. Filming these last two movies in Sofia, Bulgaria, allowed me to go see the Black Sea, The Greek Isles, Istanbul. I don’t like to be in one place for very long.

Madeleine Marr

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