Feb 3, 2018

The Legend of the Heterosexual Hercules

The ancient Greek hero Heracles (Hercules in Latin) was half-god, super-strong, and gay.  He had female lovers, too, but myth and epic laud the male:

Iolaus, his charioteer.  The three great gay couples of the ancient world were David and Jonathan, Damon and Pythias, and Heracles and Iolaus.  Edward Carpenter named his anthology of gay verse Iolaus.

Nireus, the most beautiful man in the world.  It was quite a coups for Heracles to win him.

Iphitos, whom Heracles won in an archery contest in lieu of a princess. 

Hylas, whom Heracles won by saving the king from a barbarian invasion.

The list goes on and on. 

So what do contemporary filmmakers do with the ancient hero?


In the post-peplum era:

The Adventures of Hercules (1985) stars Lou Ferrigno romancing someone named Urania. 

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995-99) sends surprisingly un-buffed Kevin Sorbo out with Iolaus.  But don't get excited: they're explicitly just friends and intensely hetero-horny.

Young Hercules (1998-99) sends Ryan Gosling as a teenage Kevin Sorbo to a hero academy, where he hooks up with Iolaus, Jason, and Lilith (from Jewish folklore?).  Guess which one he romances.

The Legend of Hercules (2014) stars Kellan Lutz as a shirtless gladiator Hercules trying to "win the woman he loves."  The whole plot involves hetero-romance.  Iphitos appears as Iphicles, his brother, who betrays him.

Hercules (2014) stars Dwayne Johnson as a mercenary leader who wins a princess.  Iolaus appears as his nephew.

1 comment:

  1. Wait, did they have iPods in ancient Greece?

    Kevin Sorbo's also a fundie. And more than most. Most fundies aren't openly anti-Semitic these days: Sorbo is. Can you imagine how he'd react to his character being gay? That's before factoring in allegations that a photographer sexually assaulted him.


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