Yeah, I had a dream once. I dreamed I was gonna train the greatest hero there ever was. So great, the gods would hang a picture of him in the stars... all across the sky... and people would say, "That's Phil's boy." That's right. Eh, but dreams are for rookies. A guy can only take a lot of disappointment.
~ Phil describing his lifelong dream, which he has given up on due to numerous disappointments.
Next time don't let your guard down 'cause a pair of big goo goo eyes!
WILL YOU FORGET THE HEAD SLICEING THING!
Two words, I AM RETIRED
I thought you gonna be all time champ, not the all time chump
Philoctetes, better known as Phil, is the tritagonist of Disney's 35th full-length animated feature film, Hercules, and the deuteragonist of its television series.
He is an old Satyr (half-man and half-goat) who was infamous for training legendary heroes who more often than not end up as failures, but he has trained Hercules to be a true hero.
Before settling into his old age and retirement, Phil was perhaps the greatest trainer in all of Greece, responsible for many legendary heroic figures in mythology, such as Odysseus, Perseus and Achilles and their beginnings. Initially, Phil's greatest dream was to be remembered as the trainer who was responsible for the greatest hero there ever was but the repeated dejection, humiliation, disappointment and wasted energy over multiple flawed prodigies caused Phil to abandon his dream and force himself to retire, which would cause him to grow pessimistic and grouchy in favour. Him giving a chance to train the young Hercules into a hero, however, may suggest some level of hopefulness on Phil's part and a desire to see his dream succeed before his death (although he was somewhat forced into the situation due to Zeus threatening him otherwise).
Although he possesses a good heart and is a genuinely loyal friend, Phil's temper and lack of patience can cause him to act harsh with others. This is shown when, while trying to inform Hercules of Megara's treachery, becomes more aggressive and loud over Hercules' inability to listen and enthusiasm over his new-founded love.
He has a very flirtatious side as well, repeatedly making suggestions to attractive women such as the Nymphs, Megara and Jasmine. But so far, the only woman who has returned his remarks is Aphrodite .
Phil has several unusual traits. For example he has a habit of announcing certain statements by saying their word count, then following with a sentence that fails to match the aforementioned count i.e. "two words; I am retired" and "two words; am-scray" (am-scray being hyphenated would class as one word). Being half-goat, he also has a condition called Pica by eating things that is not food. For example Phil eats a wooden bowl and ignores the fresh fruit within.
At the command of his father, Hercules travels to Phil's island with Pegasus to begin his training. He stumbles upon Phil watching Nymphs bathing, angering the Satyr when they flee at his arrival. Hercules introduces himself and his purpose, though Phil refuses to hear his plea, insisting he had retired with the many failures he had trained in the past. Even with a tremendous display of strength and the claim that he is the son of Zeus, Phil refuses to believe him or train him. It isn't until Zeus summons lightning bolt comically strikes Phil that he settles on taking the young teenager into his hands.
Years of training pass under Phil's counsel before he declares Hercules ready to begin his work. They begin flying to Thebes, a rough city in Greece, before being sidetracked by the cry of a damsel in distress. After Megara is rescued, Phil flirts with her but is rejected, distrusting her immediately. The trio of Pegasus, Hercules, and Phil then continue their flight to the misfortunate city, where Phil loses his patience with the disrespect shown by the citizens there. It isn't until Hercules defeats Hades' Hydra that Phil receives recognition for his efforts. From there on, Phil keeps Hercules on a strict schedule while enjoying the benefits of wealth and glory.
When Hercules goes off to train and accidentally leaves his mentor behind in a garden, Phil witnesses Meg speaking with Hades, who had Meg seduce Hercules in order to learn of a possible weakness. Phil hurries to the stadium in which Hercules is training and insists that Meg is tricking him. Hercules ignores him the first few times before becoming so overcome with anger that, to his own horror, he slaps Phil. At this, Phil gives up on Hercules and attempts to return home to his island during Hercules' most vulnerable hour. It takes Meg to convince Phil to forgive his student and help as the Titans attacked.
Hercules prevails in the end, and instead of becoming a god as he had often dreamed, he stays on Earth with Phil, Pegasus, and Meg. The gods celebrate Hercules' decision, and throw a party, during which Phil attempts to flirt with Aphrodite, whom kisses him almost immediately. He is pulled away by Hercules as they return to Earth. He is overcome by a sense of unrivaled pride when the stars form a constellation in the shape of Hercules and a man shouts, "That's Phil's boy!", giving him a true sense of fulfillment as a trainer.
Danny DeVito declined to audition for Phil, so Edward Asner (who'd eventually voice Carl Fredricksen in Disney/Pixar's Up), Ernest Borgnine, Bob Hoskins, Joe Pesci, Martin Scorsese, John Rhys Davies, Ray Winstone, Robert De Niro, Peter O'Toole, Jerry Stiller, John Cusack, Mel Brooks, Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Jason Alexander, Al Pacino, and Dick Latessa were brought in to read for the part. After Red Buttons had auditioned, he left stating "I know what you're gonna do. You're gonna give this part to Danny Devito!" Shortly after, the directors and producer Alice Dewey Goldstone approached DeVito at a pasta lunch during the filming of Matilda (1996), where DeVito signed on to the role.
Phil bears a striking resemblance to his voice actor Danny DeVito.