It's barely the New Year, but the battle of the mighty gods is already upon us as The Legend of Hercules becomes the first god-centric story to christen theaters with mighty pecs and swordplay. Kellan Lutz gets an upgrade on the god scale going from a smallish role as Poseidon in Immortals to starring as the demigod Hercules, who claws his way up from slavery to overthrow a king. Lutz certainly looks the part, so which other actors fit the bill? By Tara Bennett
If your wrestling nickname is The Rock, of course you’re going to eventually play a god. Twelve years ago, he got some initial practice playing the Scorpion King, and now he’s ready to go full Hercules this summer in yet another movie based on the guy, Hercules: The Thracian Wars.
Hemsworth basically came out of nowhere to inhabit Marvel’s comic book superhero Thor of Asgard. The first film showed off his build and his comedic skills, but The Avengers cemented his dramatic possession of the role. By last year’s Thor: The Dark World, there was no question left that Chris is fit for the throne.
Playing the hunky human Theseus, who battles Titans and impresses the gods in Immortals, is what got Brit Henry Cavill the job as Superman. When you spend 90 minutes looking that good in sepia, we understand how he easily translated to comic-book god status.
We already knew Momoa was big and burly but we had no idea how much of a warrior was hiding within until he wowed us a Khal Drogo in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Built, fierce, and kind of sweet in a feral way, as Drogo, Momoa has proven his god-like potential.
Usually Hugh Jackman focuses on looking fierce to play X-Man Wolverine (again, and again, and again…). He has to get into the shape of his life to play the hellion every time the next movie comes around, so we know his body is up to godlike standards.
In the Thor films, Elba plays the mighty Heimdall who is the stern gatekeeper of the Bifröst. But if you know Elba’s other work as TV’s Luther, Stringer Bell on The Wire, or even his steely portrayal of Mandela on film last year, you know Idris is practically a god already.
Karl Urban has been rocking a variety of uniforms of late on screen (Star Trek, Judge Dredd, TV's Almost Human), but back in the day the actor was all about bone-crunching roles. As Éomer in The Lord of the Rings or Ghost in Pathfinder, Urban proved he can get quite epic when needed. (Oh, and do you remember he played a winged Cupid on the Xena series?!)
Currently tearing up the small screen as The CW's Arrow, Stephen Amell is attracting double takes weekly for his crazy fit physique and his dramatic chops. Get him out of the mask and into some leather, Hollywood.
On Starz’ Spartacus, Manu Bennett went full sword and sandal to play the burly Crixus. He looks like he walked out of a lineup of supreme beings.
Not many men can pull off baldness mixed with excessive bling and still come off looking godly. Lucky for Rodrigo Santoro he made it look easy in 300 as the villainous King Xerxes. He did it so well, he comes back again for this year’s prequel, 300: Rise of an Empire.
Tyrese gets cast mostly in contemporary projects like Transformers and Legion, but we can easily see him in a loincloth striking a sword in the near future.
Another 300 face, Michael Fassbender died quite heroically and gorgeously as Stelios in the Spartan epic. Longhaired and lethal-jawed, he looked godlike even as a mere mortal. Let’s see him try this genre again soon, yes?
Clive was properly kingly as King Arthur a few years ago, so it’s a logical step to pull back on the armor and go back in time to Grecian togas. He certainly commands respect with his blue eyes and his scary intensity so let’s see him rise to new commanding heights.
As the lean, mean vampire Eric Northman on True Blood, Alexander Skarsgård is completely convincing as the ancient undead who has navigated the centuries. He may not be as bulky as some of our other godly candidates, but Skarsgård brings a regal air and a menacing authority to the table...
and then there's THIS.
What other actors can you see playing mythological gods in movies? Tell us in the comments.