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ML: You've mentioned your love of mythology. Why are myths important?

Russell Crowe in Gladiator.

KL: It's the origin of faith. It's pre-Christ, pre-Biblical times. It's the telling of a tale time and time again. It's the core of faith — just being able to believe. People need something to believe in; they need to believe in a higher power in times of desolation and destruction and injustice. They need a stronger power to believe in, to make them better. In our movie, when I save the villagers from the soldiers, they ask me, "Is it true that you are the son of Zeus?" And I say, "No, I am just a man." I love that. I'm saying, "I'm just like you; and we can all do this together."

ML: Do you have any favorite sword-and-sandal pictures from your own childhood?

Kevin Sorbo as Hercules.

KL: Ben-Hur is probably one of my favorites, and then Gladiator. That's what really drew me to our script, because it's quite similar: the story of having his family taken away, being enslaved, being forced to fight in the arenas. It's the hero's journey. Everything, character-wise, really connected. I also watched all the Hercules movies; to this day, the animated one from Disney is probably my favorite. But I grew up watching Kevin Sorbo on the Hercules TV show, and he is Hercules in my eyes.

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Scott Marks Jan. 10, 2014 @ 5:32 a.m.

Sword and sandal?! I thought "Ben-Hur" came under the heading of laughs and lepers.


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