Kellan Lutz Watched ‘The Passion of the Christ’ Religiously to Prep for ‘Hercules’

Summit and Millennium premiere 'The Legend of Hercules' in New York

Kellan Lutz at "The Legend of
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Sub-zero temperatures and black ice were no match for Hollywood’s demi-gods and goddesses, who turned out on Monday night for Summit Entertainment and Millennium Films’ “The Legend of Hercules” premiere at New York’s Crosby Hotel. Gathering at the Crosby’s exclusive basement bar and screening room, star Kellan Lutz and director Renny Harlin brought enough warmth for the entire press corps.

Lutz, with a sculpted physique clad head-to-toe in event sponsor Dockers, radiated convivial California vibes amidst a sea of black coats and snow boots.

“To make my way, to let people know I was coming here, I called Zeus up and had him send a little storm,” quipped Lutz, referring to last week’s aptly-named East Coast blizzard.

Asked how he prepared to play the ancient mythical warrior, the star counted — among other things — his time spent on horseback during the shoot. “Riding a horse is a great workout for your legs, and for your core. And wielding the sword — I’m topless most of the time, so I’m able to do push-ups in between takes without sweating through the costume.”

Emotionally, Lutz credits his faith with helping him to connect to Hercules during some of the film’s more difficult scenes. “There’s a scene halfway through the movie that’s the crucifixion, where I ask my father Zeus for help. I’m a man of faith, so I would just religiously watch ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ and I’d use that.”

For Harlin, the story of Hercules had always been a source of fascination. “I grew up watching movies like ‘Spartacus’ and ‘Ben Hur,’ so to be able to make a movie like this, I think it’s every director’s dream.”

“If you look at all the modern comic book movies, they come from that mythology,” Harlin added. “And Hercules is the father of all superheroes.”

After the screening, guests braved an icy four-block walk to Maison O, shook off their coats, and paid homage to the muses at the bistro’s disco-deco basement. Spotted in attendance were “Fast & Furious” star Michelle Rodriguez, Stephen Baldwin, “Broad City’s” Hannibal Buress, and celebrity DJ duo AndrewAndrew (in matching parkas, of course).