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'Hercules' trailer: Dwayne Johnson labors in a loincloth

Many fearsome beasts are on display in the new trailer for Brett Ratner's "Hercules," including the impervious Nemean lion, the multi-headed serpent the Hydra and the three-headed hellhound Cerberus.

But the most formidable of them all is the titular hero himself, played by a supremely buff Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in a loincloth, a yak-hair wig and little else.

The trailer for the 3-D action epic, which you can watch above, opens with a voice-over by Ian McShane intoning, "No matter how far you go, a man cannot escape his fate. Who are you?"

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Subsequent shots show Johnson chained to boulders, tangling with supernatural creatures, stepping over scores of fallen warriors and finally bellowing, "I am Hercules!"

In addition to Johnson and McShane, "Hercules" stars Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan and John Hurt.

The film, which Paramount Pictures will release July 25, marks the second Hercules movie this year. Renny Harlin's "The Legend of Hercules," starring Kellan Lutz, opened in January and was a critical and box-office flop.

"Hercules" could prove a test -- a labor, if you will -- of whether Johnson can anchor a new action franchise on his own, after giving a shot in the arm to the "Fast and Furious" and "G.I. Joe" series.

He previously toplined his own action movie with "The Scorpion King" in 2002, but that was a spin-off of "The Mummy" franchise and more than a decade ago.

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In preparation for "Hercules," Johnson trained for eight months to transform himself into the ancient hero. And then there was that yak wig, which he talked to The Times about at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on Monday.

"Generally in Hollywood, they use lace [wigs] and it takes 20 minutes to put on," he said. "But for this character, we needed a coarseness. So we had long strips of yak hair that they put on my face, cutting it strip-by-strip. I sat there for 3½ hours every day."


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