Author's Note: This is a short story I wrote for my mythology class to show I'd learned something over the semester. It's a bit odd but funny. Also, I don't own Batman, "The Nanny Diaries", "Crash", "The Devil Wears Prada", "Mr. Mom" or any other things I may have mentioned. I just used them for reference and I hope no one minds. Enjoy!
Hercules Goes Hollywood
"I'm sorry, Mr. Hercules," the big Hollywood producer said, stumbling over the name and not caring. "It's a decent script but there's just no market for it right now."
Hercules was unconvinced. "But I'm the greatest hero that ever lived! Who wouldn't want to see me wrestle the Nemean Lion or bring Cerberus up from the underworld? Imagine the trailer!"
The big Hollywood producer looked unfazed. "I am, and quite frankly it's horrible."
"Big, brainless action heroes have been out since the nineties. Everyone wants the intelligent, complex, brooding characters, like Batman."
"I can brood! You want more brooding, I can add more brooding. I mean, I killed my wife and children. That's plenty of brooding material!"
"Hmm…well, maybe." The big Hollywood producer looked thoughtful. "Eh, no."
"No? Come on!"
"The anti-hero is overdone as it is, Mr. Hercules, and since this movie would be fantasy I just don't see how it could be viable. With the movie industry struggling like it is now, the only movies that are breaking even or better are adaptations and romantic comedies."
Hercules grinned. "Ooh, we could do one of those!"
The big Hollywood producer blinked and stared at the script. "How is any of this fodder for a romantic comedy? There's more pointless killing than there was in '300'."
"I don't know, but I can always make it work. I'm the greatest hero-"
"Yeah, yeah, you told me." The big Hollywood producer rubbed his face with his hands and sighed. "Whatever. If you're so willing to rework the script I'll just sit you down with my writers and see what you can come up with. No promises, though."
Hercules stood up and shook the producer's hand. Hard. The big Hollywood producer grimaced in pain as his hand was crushed but the hero didn't notice. "Oh, thanks so much. I'm sure we'll come up with the date-movie of the year!"
"Er, right. Just go talk to my secretary." The big Hollywood producer waved him out of the room with his good hand and contacted his secretary. "Set up a meeting between him and Soto's group."
"Oh, and warn them not to shake his hand."
"Oh, and June? Cancel my meetings for the rest of the day. I'm going to need a hand cast."
Hercules walked into the room with a wide grin on his face. He held out his hand. "Hello, Mr. Soto, I'm-"
"Hercules, the 'greatest hero that ever lived'," the writer drawled, ignoring the attempt at a handshake with calculated skill. "Yes, I've been told to turn this dreck you call a script into an award-winning romantic comedy."
Soto's young punk Hollywood writer minions chuckled heartily. "That's not even possible, dude," one piped up. "No one gets awards for comedy."
"And certainly not this movie," another one said, paging through Hercules' script and shaking his head. "Not with a script like this."
Scowling, Hercules put his hand at his side and sat down at the strangely-shaped metal table. The chair groaned beneath him; he glared at it and it stopped. "From what I understand, that's why we're all here today, isn't it? To make it better?"
"More to make it suck less," said Writer Minion #1. Hercules reminisced of times when he could just kill the people who annoyed him and ask a priest to forgive him. Now there were all these silly laws preventing that sort of thing and he felt very put out. People didn't know how to take a joke anymore. No idea of fun.
"Right, let's get on that, people," Soto interrupted. All the little writer minions sat up straighter in their uncomfortable metal chairs, looking to their master for guidance like so many prairie dogs. Mr. Soto closed his eyes and breathed deeply, shaking his hands dramatically to get the ideas flowing. "Alright, I'm seeing 'Mr. Mom' meets 'The Nanny Diaries'. 'The Devil Wears Prada' meets 'Crash'-"
Soto opened an eye and looked at the punk minion who dared to question him. "Yes, 'Crash'. Work with me here, people! You know, how Sandra Bullock is a bitch to that maid woman and they end up being friends at the end? Like that!"
"Oh!" The minions all nodded. "Brilliant," one added.
Hercules was beginning to think this was a bad idea. "If I may-"
"No, you may not. I'm thinking here, a process you're not involved in." Mr. Soto tossed his perfectly styled dark hair and closed his eyes again. "I'm thinking…guy loses his job and his girlfriend leaves him. He has to get a new job to win her back. He tries all these odd jobs and ends up as a nanny-"
"Are there male nannies?" The minions snickered at the thought.
"I don't know but we can figure the details out later." Soto joined them at the table. "He has many strange adventures with the kids and ends up falling for their mom, who happens to be hot, single, and rich. They all live happily ever after."
The only female minion sniffled, wiping a real tear from her eyes. "That's beautiful."
"No, that's skeletal." The big Hollywood writer held his arms wide. "Now it's your turn to figure everything out."
The room burst into an uproar; Hercules just shook his head and sat back in his chair to watch.
Minion #2, who had flipped though his script before, looked deep in thought and shouted for quiet. "This script could help a bit. The actions themselves aren't so bad. How 'bout we find real-world parallels of these weird battle things and use that?"
Hercules was interested. Real-world battles? "What do you mean?" Images of great gunfights with an updated hydra, perhaps made of metal and destroying parts of New York City or Los Angeles, filled his head.
"Take this special deer of yours. The…Ceryneian Hind," the guy read haltingly. "See, that's just a metaphor for something fast you have to have patience to catch. It'd be like chasing the kids around to get them to go to bed!"
"That's ridiculous," Hercules said, horrified at how they'd already started butchering his story.
"Perfect!" Soto exclaimed, though, and the minions all clapped. "Any other ideas?"
All the little writer minions talked amongst themselves while Hercules fumed. "What happened to my script? You're completely destroying my heroism!"
"We are simply updating your 'heroism' for the 21st century," the writer explained as though talking to a small child. "No one wants heroes who can't take care of their families. Women are an important part of our audience so we have to appeal to their tastes or fail miserably in box office sales. They like guys who aren't afraid of commitment."
"Me? I'm all about commitment! I said I'd do all those quests and things and I did!"
"I mean romantically. What's this about you sleeping with fifty different women?"
Hercules chuckled. "Yeah, those were good times."
Soto rolled his eyes. "I'm sure. But women don't like that sort of thing. They like the illusion of monogamy."
That made sense to him; he could certainly relate since Hera had always been on his case for his father's lack of discretion in that area.
"We think we've got something for you," the minions said after twenty minutes or so of whispered squabbling.
"Try me." The head writer slouched back in his chair with his feet on the table. Hercules sighed and steeled himself against the impending rape of his legendary tale.
Much to his annoyance it was Writer Minion #1 who spoke. He held up hastily sketched stick figure scenes to emphasize each point as he went along. "Okay, so we've got this guy who lost his job and his woman. He contacts an employment agency for a job. For his first job he works with an electrician as the guy's assistant and somehow manages to burn the place down. Then he gets fired again and has to work on, say, a golf course as a gardener of some sort."
"He'd have to get rid of all the weeds and they just keep coming back!" the overly emotional woman from before explained. "It'd be like that hydra's heads all coming back only with dandelions!" She giggled. Soto laughed and slapped his knee. Hercules was starting to get a headache.
"And to get rid of all the weeds he uses this weed killer on all the spots, ruining the golf course in the process," Minion #1 continued as if he hadn't been interrupted. "BAM, he's fired again and gets reassigned as this lady's nanny."
"And this lady's a real witch, too. Hot and all but she's really suspicious of him 'cause her husband just divorced her so she's sworn off men. She orders him to do all this extra stuff and he can't argue 'cause he wants to keep his job!"
Hercules didn't see how she was much of a witch. She didn't sound like Medea and he was fairly certain the kids being murdered by her would not be a plot point in a romantic comedy. She did, however, remind him of someone he'd known before. "So she's like a modern version of Omphale but making me do other things?"
"No," the minion said, looking confused. "She makes the guy do them."
Hercules was definitely getting a headache. "Fine, the guy. She's basically emasculating him?"
"Pretty much. You have experience with that sort of thing?"
"It's hardly one of the favorite parts of my life." The minions snorted and Soto covered a grin. "Anyway, what other crap, I mean, ideas did you come up with?"
"Some of the things that could go wrong would be, like I said before," Minion #2 said, "having him chase after the kids."
"And if we did that a few times it'd be like the deer thing, the boar, and the bull all in one!"
"Why would you want to do that?" Hercules asked, outraged. "Those were all very different circumstances and hard each time. Well," he added, "as hard as anything can be when you're the greatest hero-"
"-that ever lived, we know. But it all boils down to you chasing evil beasts and children are the only beasts that are still around today." The great hero imagined strangling the little writer minion just like the Nemean lion. No, he'd resist. The lion at least had been worth something. Speaking of which…
"So, where's the lion in all this?"
Minion #2 said, "Didn't we explain that? That was the house burning down."
To his relief, Hercules saw that even Soto raised an eyebrow. "I'm not seeing it."
Sweating slightly at all the angry stares and sudden attention, Minion #2 stammered, "The lion could only be skinned with its own claws, right? So the house got burned down by it's own wiring. Like that!"
Soto was silent then shrugged. "It's a stretch but we'll work on it."
Hercules tapped his fingers on the table and hoped this would be over soon. "And the rest?"
The guy, he found out, would have to outwit his Omphale-like client when she asks him to clean the house ("He can call a bunch of maids! It'd be like getting outside help like when you cheated with that river to clean the stables!" "That was not cheating!" "Yeah, sure, but you certainly didn't clean them."), save her from a bat in the house ("A bat? Really? That's the best you could come up with for the Stymphalian Birds?"), suck up by helping at her son's Boy Scout meeting gone horribly awry ("Any problems with that, Mr. Hercules?" "No, I understand; boys these days are about as man-eating as Diomedes' horses were, but who do I feed to them?" "…We'll get back to you on that."), find the expensive perfume she wanted at Victoria's Secret, round up all the kids when they go to the mall and scatter, buy the toy of the year for her son ("So Tickle-Me-Elmo is the modern equivalent of the Golden Apples? Who would have thought we'd sunk so low…"), and find the kids' dog.
"Can we at least name the dog something impressive? I, er, the guy shouldn't have to chase after some bichon frise named Snickerdoodle just to win the woman."
"That's a great idea, someone write that down," Soto directed.
Hercules sighed. "Cerberus would be ashamed." Or angry. He thought it'd be a lot of fun to bring the dog up again just to let him play with this lot.
"And in the end the woman is really impressed and they start dating. The end!" Minion #1 finished proudly; everyone but Hercules clapped.
"Great job everyone," Soto said, standing up and walking back and forth in front of them like a general surveying his troops. "I'll fix up the script and present it to the producer next week."
All the writer minions stood up as well but the woman asked, "What about the tagline?"
"How 'bout 'If Hercules had died'," the hero muttered, "'he'd be rolling in his grave.'"
"Nah, too long," Soto declared. He shrugged. "I'll come up with something." Without a glance back he said, "Nice working with you, Mr. Hercules," and walked out of the room. The minions followed, leaving Hercules alone.
"I should've just written a book."