Many Disney fans would argue that it is not just the blockbuster animations that show how amazing Disney is, but that sometimes, the underrated hidden jewel animation truly represents the studio’s creativity.
This can arguably be the case of the 1997 animated film “Hercules,” which told the story of the half-mortal god Hercules who lost his power due to minions sent by Hades, the evil brother of his father, Zeus.
Upon losing his power to Pain and Panic (Hades’ minions), Hercules is given one opportunity by his father to regain his immortality by performing an act of true heroism. Despite his best attempts, it wasn’t until Hercules selflessly rescued the soul of the Theban princess Megara by jumping into the River Styx that his immortality was returned to him.
Despite being a great film for fans of Greek god mythology and Disney animations, Hercules fell short of the projections for its performance at the box office.
It has also been a major film of reference ever since its release, and this can be largely attributed to its star-studded cast. So who are the cast that lent their voices to the characters in “Hercules”? Read on to find out.
Tate Donovan Voiced Adult Hercules
Tate Donovan became popular for his roles in several movies and sitcoms such as “Friends,” “No Ordinary Family,” “Mister Sterling,” and more. When the actor voiced Hercules, he had no prior experience in voice-over work, yet, he was willing to learn.
According to IMDb, when the supervising director of the film met Donovan, he liked his innocent and charming personality. He believed that he was the right voice to portray Hercules’s strong and naive nature.
However, Donovan was just the speaking voice of the adult Hercules, and other actors were brought in to voice teenage Hercules and perform his singing portion of the film.
Josh Keaton, popular for his role in the animated series “Voltron: Legendary Defender, was the voice behind teenage Hercules, while Roger Bart, known for his role on “The Stepford Wives,” was behind the character’s singing voice.
Danny DeVito Voiced Philoctetes
The character of Philoctetes was a tough and old satyr, an expert hero trainer who was burned by several hero wannabes and had to be coerced into training Hercules to find his inner strength, become the best hero ever, and regain his immortality.
This Philoctetes character was created by the film’s animators who borrowed inspiration from the character of Grumpy in “Snow White,” the centaur Chiron from the original Hercules mythology, and Fantasia’s Bacchus.
They added the different mouth shapes of his voice actor, Danny DeVito, to make his character as real as could be.
DeVito is known for his performance in the television show “Taxi,” which got him several award nominations and a Golden Globe. He has also featured in several hit films, such as “Matilda” and “Jumanji.”
James Woods Voiced The Villain Hades
The original idea that producers and animators had for Hades was a villain with a slow and menacing voice.
However, when voice actor James Woods took on the role, his unique, fast-paced style of talking, which had a car salesman-like quality, changed their perspective on the voice and personality of Hades.
Woods has an extensive and very impressive acting career. He has featured in many hit series and movies, such as “True Crime,” “White House Down,” “The Specialist,” and many other film projects.
He has played a personal character in the animated film series “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons.” He also worked on and won an award for the animated “Hercules” series that aired in 2000.
Megara Was Voiced By Susan Egan
The character of Megara in the film was a sarcastic and beautiful woman that was commissioned by Hades to help his minions kill Hercules.
Luckily, she fell in love with him (Hercules), and they formed a close bond, which helped him discover more about himself.
Eventually, after she failed to kill Hercules, Hades revealed a double agent and orchestrated her death. Hercules tried to save her and failed, but that pure act of heroism was enough to earn back his lost immortality.
Actress Susan Egan was the perfect voice behind Megara. The film’s producers wanted someone who could act and sing to perform both positions for Megara, and Egan delivered beautifully.
She also has an extensive portfolio of work on Broadway, acting as several Disney princesses. She played the character of Belle in the stage play “Beauty and the Beast.” She was also featured in the hit movie “13 Going On 30.”