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Sometimes special moments strike like
Zeus' thunderbolts on a movie set.
For Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, a massive jolt came on the set of Hercules (out July 25) during a scene when his Greek hero was chained to stone pillars.
"It's when Hercules breaks through the chains and becomes the demi-god he was born to be," says Johnson. "I was actually yelling with all the power I could muster, 'I am Hercules!' I gave it my all and made myself pass out every time we did it. But I honestly felt in that moment that I was born to play this role."
Even as a child, Johnson, 41, idolized the Herculean legend — "He was the first superhero." But with his 6-foot-5 frame and his famously heroic stature, Johnson is one of the few actors who could legitimately portray his hero onscreen.
The effort has taken a decade, and came into focus when director
Brett Ratner came onboard four years ago. Johnson took eight months to sculpt his body to demi-god status and maintained it during the taxing shoot in Hungary.
...He's confident moviegoers will accept his "passion-driven" project based on the graphic novel
Hercules: The Thracian Wars.
"Green screen and effects can be fantastic. But when you have real men, real sweat and even real blood, it's very gratifying," says Johnson. "You feel the substance."
After he was done with some serious clubbing, Johnson would recover in modern Hercules style.