No Guest Found in this category
Sometimes it’s tough to be a kid, Supa-Fans. But when you’re the forbidden son of a Greek god and a magnet for mythic monsters and fell creatures of every conceivable kind, it’s even harder. Building on a storytelling tradition almost as old as Olympus itself, this week Disney+ is set to reintroduce audiences to a bold young hero who could easily stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the mightiest figures of ancient legend.
Based on the best-selling book series from author Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a fresh retelling of the beloved fantasy tales that brings some of the world’s oldest legends into the 21st century. Ahead of Percy’s triumphant return to screens, we caught up with showrunners Dan Shotz and Jon Steinberg to talk about the latest adaptation and what audiences can expect as they return to Riordan’s Camp Half-Blood.
“My daughter really fell in love with these books,” series creator and co-showrunner Steinberg says of his first introduction to Riordan’s tales. “I had been aware of them and read them at that point and we had started our own exploration of trying to find out what was going on with these books and was somebody open to considering adapting them again.”
“It definitely came from that personal experience with kids,” Shotz adds. “When we got to launch this, it was with Rick and Becky [Riordan] and it was actually during COVID. So, there were the four of us were in this like awesome little bubble where we just got to spend the time together to dive as deep as we could into the story.”
Originally written as a bedtime story for Riordan’s own son Haley, the heart-warming origins of Riordan’s books continues to infuse the latest live-action adaptation of his characters.
“When we got to spend time with the Riordans,” Shotz elaborates, “and really understand where this comes from – a beautiful, honest place of a father telling the story to his son – it just became that much more. We became that much more connected to it.”
Of course, this is not the first time Riordan’s novels have informed a live-action adaptation, with the first two books in his series turned into 2010’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and its 2013 sequel Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Yet Shotz and Steinberg were far less concerned about the franchise’s previous big-screen adventures, and instead were intent on honoring the original books from whence they came.
“Stepping into this, you’re immediately aware that others have gone down this path, and have adapted it into a number of different mediums,” Steinberg says. “What was exciting to me about it was the book and the words on the page and Rick’s story, they came right out of his [work] and the effect that they had on such a massive audience, and being able to start from there and build our own version of it.
“So there really wasn’t much of any attention paid to choices anyone else made in their adaptations or how this might be different or the same. I think we tried to let those projects be their own thing and make this one the way we felt like was the right way to make it.”
As for Percy himself, this latest incarnation sees rising star Walker Scobell assume the titular role once played by Logan Lerman. Having only made his onscreen debut in last year’s The Adam Project as a younger version of Ryan Reynolds, a role he landed due to his uncanny ability to impersonate the Deadpool star, Percy Jackson and the Olympians continues to prove his own innate star power and acting prowess.
“It is a lot to ask of a 13-year-old, to be to be number one on the call sheet and have to lead this project, and he did it so amazingly well,” Shotz says of Scobell’s time on set. “I think it takes a certain kind of person, a certain kind of determination, a certain strength. But he just he came in with such a good attitude every day and brought such a depth to the character that I think just his work alone is what impressed everybody on the crew.”
“I mean, he worked 160 straight days essentially,” he continues. “And that is a lot for a 13-year-old who also has to go to school and do homework and everything else. And he just brought his A game every single day. I’m still in awe of him.”
With Riordan’s Camp Half-Blood novels now spanning multiple books, the showrunners are hopeful there will be more adventures in store for Scobell’s Percy after season 1 is released.
“I think the hope is we would be to continue to make these,” Schotz says. “But right now, we’re just enjoying the fact that this four-year saga for us – a really beautiful, challenging, wonderful one – is now just coming out to the world. It’s really been such a pleasure to make.”
Gather your armour and prepare for a quest of truly mythic proportions, Percy Jackson and the Olympians is available only on Disney+ December 20.