Barrel-chested UK actor Mark Addy admits he’s not the first – or even the last – person he would have thought of to play Hercules.
This is an actor whose more recent credits had included Friar Tuck in Robin Hood, the heavy set King Robert Baratheon in Game Of Thrones and Mr Pumblechook in Great Expectations.
The 50-year-old is also remembered for his break-out role in the hit comedy movie The Full Monty as the overweight Dave Horsefall.
So when he was asked to play the muscle-bound son of Zeus for the Fox8 fantasy series which starts on Sunday he wasn’t sure if there had been a mistake.
But then he read the script and realised the creators of the hit UK TV series Merlin had taken the same light-hearted approach with Atlantis in reimagining of ancient Greek myths and legends.
“I thought they made a mistake when the idea first came through,” Addy told AAP during a phone interview from London.
“The way the guys who created Merlin work, is they take a story and give it a twist.
“What they have done with Atlantis, is they have a whole gamut of Greek mythology at their finger tips and they are doing the same thing and putting their own spin on it.”
Addy said he didn’t have to lift a weight or flex a bicep for the role.
He said Hercules may be a hero and strongman to many, but in Atlantis he’s more talk than tough.
“Hercules is thought of as a strong guy … in Atlantis he is his own spin doctor,” Addy said.
“If he tells people he wrestled a lion for long enough some people will believe him.
“He’s a loyal friend but he’s also a braggart, a drinker and womaniser and he picks himself up the whole time, and it’s much more fun to play than the Hercules the muscle man.”
Addy will probably be the most recognisable of the cast for Australian viewers, which includes Jack Donnelly (Jason), Robert Emms (Pythagoras) and Jemima Rooper (Medusa).
The series starts in the present day with Jason setting out to find his father but finding himself washed up in ancient land.
Addy, who has three children, says this is one show he can sit down with his family and watch, and that’s one of the most appealing aspects of the series.
“It’s great to be in a show that I can sit and watch with my kids,” he said.
“There aren’t may of those Saturday dramas you can sit and watch with your kids and your grandparents.
“There is nothing that will offend anyone, really, you can sit and enjoy the roller-coaster ride and you know ultimately they are going to find a way out of whatever perilous situation they are in.”
* Atlantis (season 1) premieres on Sunday, May 4 at 6.30pm on Fox8.