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Over the past few years, Disney had made a habit of producing live-action remakes of its classic animated blockbusters. What started with Maleficent and Cinderella has become a trend in the House of Mouse, extending to Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin (which is getting a sequel), and Mulan. It was recently announced that a live-action Hercules is in the works next, with The Russo Brothers attached as producers. Fans were excited about this turn of events, but there's only one question on everyone's minds: will Danny DeVito reprise his role as Phil?
Danny DeVito voiced Philoctetes in 1997's Hercules, playing the title character's mentor and friend. DeVito gave a killer performance full of heart and humor, and got his own song "One Last Hope". The character's animation was based off DeVito's appearance, so it seems obvious to have the Always Sunny icon play the same role in live-action. Plenty of fans have taken to social media to make their feelings known about the actor's possible appearance in the remake. And they're not mincing words.
Well, that was honest. Because while Hercules might have a soft place in many moviegoers' hearts, there are plenty of fans who are drawing a line in the sand. Namely, that if Danny DeVito doesn't get offered his same role in the live-action adaptation, it's going to be a deal breaker. To quote Damien from Mean Girls "Danny DeVito, I love your work!"
When news about Hercules' live-action adaptation was announced, Disney fans essentially broke the internet. Moviegoers immediately began building their dream cast, especially the iconic Muses. The Muses narrate the story through their iconic songs, and the original movie assembled a killer group of women to make up the group. Plenty of names have already been tossed around, although the hardcore Danny DeVito advocates are singularly focused. As one person tweeted,
Clearly people are passionate about Danny DeVito getting to play Phil in the new version of Hercules. Any potential replacement would have some seriously big shoes to fill.... or in this case hooves. Since the character crafted around DeVito's particular appearance and talents, it's hard to imagine anyone else training the live-action Hercules to become a hero. Besides, how cool would the iconic 75 year-old actor look as a satyr with Disney's magical visual effects?
Disney fans can re-watch the original Hercules on Disney+. You can use this link for a free 7-day trial to the streaming service.
Danny DeVito has had a long a career in film, and therefore has entertained generations of moviegoers in the process. He's done a ton of iconic projects throughout the years including Matilda, Batman Returns, and his long-standing work on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Hercules isn't the only voice role that continues to have staying power in pop culture, as he also had notable roles in Space Jam and The Lorax. Given DeVito's myriad talents, there are some fans out there who are confident he could just play the entirety of Hercules' cast by himself. Now that's something I'd pay good money for.
It's unclear if Disney plans on recasting for Phil in Hercules, as the movie's announcement was only just made. The casting process will likely be a long one, so it'll take some time before we get word as to Danny DeVito's possible inclusion. In fact, Frozen actor Josh apparently came into some moviegoers' minds to play Phil in the live-action remake. But how does he feel about it?
Josh Gad previously campaigned to play Penguin in Matt Reeves' The Batman, another iconic Danny DeVito character. That role ultimately went to Colin Farrell, but would Gad be interested in playing Phil in Hercules? He recently responded to that fan casting, saying:
Well, that was pretty cut and dry. It looks like Josh Gad has no interest in playing Phil in the new Hercules movie. Namely, because he agrees with the myriad fans who are calling for Danny DeVito to reprise his role. While the fans and Gad don't actually have a say in the matter, it'll be interesting to see how Disney proceeds with casting. We all know how bad fan backlash can be.
Hercules was recently adapted into a stage musical by composer Alan Menken. With a new movie adaptation in development by the studio, it looks like we're in a bit of a Hercules renaissance. If the movie does well, it might help attract thespians to the theater if the musical version makes it onto Broadway.
You can watch Hercules on Disney+ alongside countless other animated favorites, and Mulan is currently expected to hit theaters on July 24th, 2020. Be sure to check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
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Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.