Here's why Alan Moore really doesn't want you to see Brett Ratner's Hercules movie

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Feb 23, 2021, 5:50 PM EST (Updated)

Before you march into the theater, there's some things you ought to know about this latest Hercules picture. 

If you didn't know that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's latest movie, Hercules, was based on a comic series by veteran (and recently deceased) writer Steve Moore, we wouldn't blame you. When the film was first being promoted, there was no mention of Steve.

Why? Well, like many comic writers before him, he was not being paid for the adaptation of his hard work (even though he claimed he was told he'd get $15,000 should the story be optioned), and so, naturally, he didn't want his name attached. In fact, he apparently referred to the film as "idiotic $#!@."

But despite all that, apparently shortly after his death in March of this year, Steve's name did begin to appear in marketing here and there.

Enter Alan Moore, who was a bit of a protege of Steve's. They also wound up working together quite a lot over the years. So, as you can imagine, Moore, lord high curmudgeon, is not terribly pleased with what's happening with that Hercules movie. And he wants you to know about it. To wit: Alan Moore sees the use of Steve Moore's name as an affront to the man's legacy, and he wants you to boycott the movie. He explains the situation this way.

"It was a little bit of free advertizing. The publicity surrounding a man’s death. Now I’d have to look at my thesaurus and see if there are any words other than 'vile' which I could use for that. But even in the low estimation in which I hold the greater part of the comic industry, that is a new low. Now, I know that when before I have suggested that the comics industry may have treated Steve Moore less than fairly, or even less than humanely in the past, this has excited a flurry of complaints that I am surely old, paranoid, and crazy, which I may well be.

However, in this instance, I suggest that people simply look at the publicity for this film before and after Steve Moore’s death. I would also ask that anybody out there who gives a damn about Steve Moore or his legacy not go to see this wretched film. It is the last thing that Steve would’ve wanted. And I cannot un-recommend it too highly or anybody involved in it. I think it is absolutely shameful, however, there are also more positive elements of Steve’s legacy."

There's another interesting element to this story, which is that Steve Moore was quite a historian. So when he wrote his Hercules stories, The Thracian Wars and Knives of Cush, he was painstaking in his research, so as to be as faithful to the original myths and history as he could be. The movie adaptation would be leaving out some key details, one of which Alan Moore detailed explicitly.

Steve was saying that this film sounded like it was going to be a complete abortion, that they’d dumped characters such as Hylas. That’s understandable in that Hylas was Hercules’ boyfriend. And that’s perhaps not what The Rock wants to bring to his tale of his Hercules. 

So, two things first. One, I'm not sure it's fair to blame Dwayne Johnson for that particular change. He's not a producer on the film, and, to our reckoning, he's not had a problem playing gay characters in the past. And, two, we're not all that surprised that a pumping big mainstream action movie would eschew any kind of attachment to, *gasp*,  homosexual pairings.

But that sort of outlines the point that a movie based on Steve's writings maybe shouldn't have been made in the first place. Steve Moore worked very hard to tell an accurate tale, one that included aspects of Hercules you don't normally see in adaptations. So Alan Moore is quite right, by our measure — if you're going to deny the man any money for his work, then the least you can do is leave his name off the movie he had nothing to do with making.

But what do you think? Were you planning to see Hercules? Will you still see it now?

(via Bleeding Cool)