NBC GOES FROM OLYMPICS TO OLYMPUS AS SEAN ASTIN, LEELEE SOBIESKI, TIMOTHY DALTON, ELIZABETH PERKINS AND PAUL TELFER (IN TITLE ROLE) STAR IN EPIC MINISERIES 'HERCULES'
Four-hour Production from Emmy Award-winning Robert Halmi Sr. Begins Production in New Zealand Next Week
BURBANK, Calif. -� August 23, 2004 -� Production begins today in New Zealand on NBC's four-hour epic miniseries, "Hercules," from Hallmark Entertainment starring Sean Astin ("Lord of the Rings" trilogy), Leelee Sobieski ("Uprising," 'Joan of Arc"), Elizabeth Perkins ("Big") and Timothy Dalton ("Licence to Kill") � with Paul Telfer (USA's "Spartacus") in the title role as the legendary Greek hero.
Emmy Award winner Robert Halmi Sr. ("The Odyssey," "Gulliver's Travels," "Merlin") is executive producer of the epic tale based on the spectacular exploits of Hercules, the super-strong mythological figure fathered by the supreme Greek god Zeus. The production will be filmed amid the breathtaking scenery of New Zealand and will follow Hercules who, after killing his three sons, is compelled to redeem himself by performing 12 heroic labors � including slaying the multi-headed Hydra and the dreaded Nemean lion. With groundbreaking special effects, "Hercules" is the definitive re-telling of the most famous myth of all � the story of a half-god half-man whose extraordinary feats of strength would elevate him to the status of legend on Earth and immortality in the heavens.
Astin will portray Linus, Hercules' music instructor and best friend while Sobieski will play Deianeira, Hercules' lover. Perkins will play Hercules' mother, Alcmene, and Dalton stars as the strongman's stepfather, Amphitryon.
Also joining the cast are Kim Coates ("Open Range") as the blind seer Tiresias, Australian actress Leeanna Walsman ("Star Wars: Attack of the Clones") as Megara, Hercules' first wife and archenemy, and actor/wrestler Tyler Mane ("Troy," "X-Men") who will portray Antaeus, the giant known as The Cretan Bull.
Astin � who also appeared on NBC in an episode of "Las Vegas" earlier this year -- has already amassed an impressive body of feature-film work. He gained even more attention in the last three years for his role of the devoted Sam in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy (including the Oscar �winning "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"). Earlier, he was known for his work in the title role of "Rudy," and starred in such films as 'Bulworth," "Courage Under Fire," "Memphis Belle," "Toy Soldiers," "Encino Man" and "The Goonies." In late spring, he co-starred in the film "50 First Dates" (starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore).
Sobieski first scored with audiences in the mega-hit feature "Deep Impact" and went on to star in the television miniseries "Joan of Arc." Among her other films are "Eyes Wide Shut," "Never Been Kissed," "Jungle 2 Jungle" and "Max." Her other starring miniseries roles include NBC's "Uprising" and "Les Liasons Dangereuses." Early in her career, Sobieski also starred on TV in the series "Charlie Grace."
The veteran Dalton's long and celebrated career ranges over multiple genres, beginning with his breakout role (at the suggestion of star Peter O'Toole) in the acclaimed film "The Lion in Winter." He starred in many more historical epics, including "Cromwell" and "Mary, Queen of Scots" before he became better known to American audiences in the television movie version of "Wuthering Heights" and the hit NBC miniseries "Centennial." Dalton replaced Roger Moore as the legendary James Bond in "Licence to Kill" and "The Living Daylights." He also starred as Rhett Butler in the TV miniseries 'Scarlett" and as Julius Caesar in the miniseries "Cleopatra." Dalton's other features include "Rocketeer" and "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" (voice).
Perkins received critical attention for her film debut playing the acerbic girlfriend of Demi Moore in "About Last Night" before going on to portray Tom Hanks' love interest in "Big." Her feature film credits also include "Sweet Hearts Dance" with Jeff Daniels, "Avalon," "Love at Large," "He Said, She Said" opposite Kevin Bacon, "The Doctor" with Christine Lahti and William Hurt and "The Flintstones" with John Goodman. Most recently she finished production on the upcoming feature "Fierce People" with Diane Lane and Donald Sutherland, as well as the horror sequel "The Ring 2."
Newcomer Telfer recently starred in the USA Network miniseries "Spartacus" and just wrapped production on the feature film "Alexander the Great from Macedonia."
Emmy and DGA Award winner Roger Young ("Bitter Harvest," "Murder in Mississippi") directs from a screenplay by Charles Edward Pogue ("Dragonheart"). "Hercules" is a production of Hallmark Entertainment.