Astin to Labor in Hercules for NBC

Fresh from his critically acclaimed performance in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and his starring voice role in the Cartoon Network animated feature, Party Wagon, Sean Astin is set to return to New Zealand for more magic and mythology. According to a story in today’s Hollywood Reporter, the actor will join former James Bond, Timothy Dalton (Looney Tunes: Back in Action), and Leelee Sobieski (The Glass House, Joy Ride) in Hallmark Ent.’s four-hour miniseries, Hercules, for NBC.

The film will reportedly focus on the 12 labors the half-mortal-half-god Hercules must perform as penance for murders he committed while under a spell cast by the goddess Hera. Astin will play Linus, music teacher to Hercules, who will be played by 6-foot-2 British actor Paul Tefter, who recently appeared in TNT’s TV remake of Spartacus. Sobieski will take on the role of Hercules’ second wife, Deianeira, and Dalton will portray the strongman’s stepfather, Amphitryon. Angie Harmon (Agent Cody Banks, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker) is in negotiations to play Hercules’ mother, Alcmene.

Production is expected to begin Aug. 23 in New Zealand with Roger Young (Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story) directing. Robert Halmi Sr. will serve as exec. producer.

A budget exceeding $20 million should leave plenty of room for CG effects as Hercules takes on Cerberus, the three-headed canine guardian of Hades, and tangles with a hydra, a menacing lion, a rampaging bull and a host of other obstacles sent from the gods.