HERCULES – The Tale of the Bull


About that bull.

King Minos’ bull was a creature sent from God, a snow white beauty that stopped all in their tracks. In fact it was so beautiful that King Minos’ wife fell in love with it… and… well, the result was the birth of the Minotaur, half man, half beast. But that’s another story…

The bull was also a symbol of Minos’ power–and he was a tyrant. Hercules, the great hero and civilizer of the ancient world was sent on a mission to wrestle and take down this huge and stunning bull. It was one of Hercules’ 12 impossible labors.

All this is great, until you need to find a snow-white and suitably godly bull to play the part. And you’re in Morocco, and it’s January (not that the month had much to do with it, but cold weather always makes everything worse).

Morocco is sheep country. In fact there is one sheep in Morocco for every 2 people. (thank you Wikipedia) And in the Atlas Mountains, where we were filming the Clash of the Gods, the sheep have to compete with the goats. There are no lush pastures, no green grasses; instead, freezing tumbleweed and wooden film sets precariously teetering and creaking in the desert wind.

Mohammed, one of our local crew, said he knew a guy who knew a guy who might have a bull. And the bull turned out to be white, amazing!…. OK, it also had some brown patches. But no problem! Let’s paint the cow!

Great idea, right?

5AM–the day of the shoot: Our team arrives on set bleary-eyed, and still wishing we were tucked safely into bed. Today is a big day. Hercules will wrestle one of the finest specimens of nature, the huge godly-white bull of Crete.

And there in the grey morning light is Mohammed–standing next to our bull and grinning with a bucket of white paint in his hand.

So we get to work. We all feel sorry for the bull, except for Tim who is, as a true DP, filming the majestic
creature with his digital camera and tittering to himself.

Jess & Jess from scrapbook

An hour later we check in on our bull. The paint has dried in large clumps on its fur. The brown patches are still visible. The bull is looking nonplused.

OK this is not working…Lets wash the bull down, get some spray paint, start this thing afresh. But the paint doesn’t come off easily. And the owner, oddly, picks this as the place to draw the line. He won’t let us spray paint his bull.

Plan Z: We shoot Hercules pretending to wrestle the bull supertight. And our actor, all the while, has to cover the bull’s very brown ears with his arms…

What’s that they say about working with animals?

–Jess Lyne de Ver
Clash of the Gods, Associate Producer

Explore posts in the same categories: history, series, shoots

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