Date of publishing: 9th
A native of Mound, Minnesota, Kevin Sorbo stars as
Dylan Hunt in the science-fiction/action hour sensation,
“Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda,” based
upon an idea from the late "Star Trek" creator's
archives. Kevin quickly rose to international stardom
in the title role of the hit series, “Hercules:
The Legendary Journeys.” Quickly becoming the
number one first-run program in syndication, the innovative
action hour revitalized the entire action/adventure
genre on television and prompted two spin-off series.
Kevin also directed two episodes of the show, and
co-wrote one installment. In 1997, Kevin made his
feature film debut with "Kull the Conqueror,”
a prequel to “Conan the Barbarian.” Kevin
has also appeared on several hit television shows
such as “Dharma & Greg,” “Just
Shoot Me,” “Cybill,” “The
Commish,” and “Murder, She Wrote.”
In addition to acting, Kevin is the spokesperson for
“A World Fit for Kids,” a non-profit organization
that provides gang, drug and dropout prevention programming
to kids at risk. In his role, Kevin raises awareness
of the importance of mentoring and acting as a positive
role model to the youth. Biography from www.kevinsorbo.net
Gilles Nuytens: You
are credited for a film called ‘Hunting and
Fishing’, for which I haven’t been able
to find a lot of information...
Kevin Sorbo: They’re keeping
it a little bit secret, I think.
Nuytens: Can you
give me a bit of information about that?
Kevin Sorbo: Well, it’s from
the creators of the ‘Scary Movie’ franchise.
They did the ‘Scary Movie’, 1, 2, and
3. They did a movie called ‘Epic Movie’
and ‘Date Movie’. They do spoofs on other
shows and this is going to be a spoof on the movie
Gilles Nuytens: It’s
some kind of parody of ‘300’ ...
Kevin Sorbo: Yes, that’s exactly
what it is. It was a lot of fun and was very funny.
The studio, Twentieth Century and New Regency, are
very excited for it. Probably going to air between
late December and late January.
Gilles Nuytens: Can
you speak about the role you’re going to play?
I just see that you are credited as ‘Captain’.
Kevin Sorbo: That’s all I am:
just a captain. I’m the captain, the right hand
of Leonidas. In the movie ‘300’, it’s
the guy whose son was decapitated. And in this movie
I play a similar role, but it’s all done in
a much more humorous fashion. The parody is throughout
the whole movie. It’s very funny, but I’m
not supposed to say that much about it.
Gilles Nuytens: So
you’re back in the Greek mythology... How do
you see this role versus ‘Hercules’?
Kevin Sorbo: Actually, there are
some similarities with ‘Hercules’, but
this is a far more over the top parody of that movie.
‘Hercules’ had, even though we tried to
follow the mythology that is common to most people,
we certainly threw in a lot of humorous elements with
one-liners. The fight scenes were never overly violent,
I mean some got serious, but for the most part everything
was done in a fun, easy way. I think we kind of just
stayed right along those lines.
Gilles Nuytens: You
played the main guy in two Scifi and fantasy shows
during six and five years. What did you enjoy the
most in each role, Hercules and Captain Dylan Hunt?
Kevin Sorbo: What I think I loved
about, to start with Hercules, was just the fact that
I was a fan of mythology. I grew up reading quite
a bit of it. I’ve always loved it. To actually
play somebody that was such a larger than life mythological
hero, for me, that was quite an honor. We had such
a good time doing it. I lived down in New Zealand
for almost seven years filming down there. And I had
such a great crew to work with, the cast, and everybody,
we had a lot of fun. To me, it was ridiculous: I was
getting paid to play this person. As far as Dylan
Hunt, the biggest difference I liked about playing
Captain Dylan Hunt was the fact that he was human.
This was a guy who was not infallible. With Hercules,
you knew he was going to win. I think the key element
of that series was doing it in a fun, tongue and cheek,
wink, wink, sort of way that the audience knew I was
with there and we were part of the same team in a
way. With Dylan, I think it makes it more personal.
Because here’s a guy who didn’t always
win, didn’t always get his own way. He bled.
When he got hurt, he got hurt. I think from an actor’s
standpoint, it was just fun to play a hero, no question,
but on top of a guy who had faults and had problems.
Nuytens: You have
quite a bit answered my next question. In ‘Kull
the Conqueror’, you again portray a mythological
hero. Is that a genre you enjoy doing or is it more
of an opportunity you got thanks to the success of
Kevin Sorbo: It’s certainly
a combination of both. I’ve always liked the
Fantasy/Scifi genre. I’ve just always been attracted
to that. I grew up watching the ‘Star Trek’
series, ‘Outer Limits’, the original movies,
the reruns with Steve Reeves as Hercules. It was just,
for me, that was sort of a natural progression to
be able to continue in those footsteps. But I’ve
been doing a lot more different things recently. I’m
shooting my second western right now as we speak.
‘Hunting and Fishing’ was just a chance
to do another major studio picture. To get myself
out there in a different format. I actually prefer
television. I like the routine of television. One
hour television is probably the hardest section to
work in with the hours you have to put in. Day in
and day out, year after year basis, but I like that.
I’m trying to get myself out there and do more
films. After this western, I’m going to shoot
a modern day bank robbery. About these four guys and
I’m one of the four guys that rob a bank and
all of us essentially get killed. It’s called
‘The Price’. So I’m kind of throwing
myself out there and doing other things as well.
Gilles Nuytens: What
was your best memory from ‘Kull the Conqueror’?
Kevin Sorbo: I think just the trip
itself to shoot over in Croatia and Slovakia. It was
an amazing experience. It was fun. Two countries and
two cities that I had never been to before in my life.
Just to see such a huge international squad of people
thrown together for this project for three and a half
months. There were twelve different languages on set,
so it was always a challenge to get across the proper
messages to people. And the chance to work with Raffaella
De Laurentiis. I was a big fan of ‘Conan the
Barbarian’. I’ve met Arnold Scwtwarnegger
a number times through the years. He actually held
on to that project for a long time because he was
thinking about playing his own father, since Kull
was Conan’s father. And once again, I gotta
backtrack, because I enjoy that genre. I enjoy doing
Gilles Nuytens: I
really enjoyed that movie. It was really entertaining.
My next question: did the storylines from ‘Andromeda’,
as season one progressed, meet your expectations?
Gilles Nuytens: Yeah. I thought it
was fantastic. To cut to the chase, I thought it was
a big mistake to get rid of Robert Hewitt Wolfe as
our show runner. He made a five year vision for the
show and they fired him after two years. That’s
kind of the studio’s way to sort of keep people
in their place for ego reasons, I don’t know.
I was hoping we could see his vision through. I enjoyed
the darkness of it, the unpredictability of it, and
I enjoyed the universe. Being as evil as it was, I
wanted to see how Dylan was going to work his way
through with the Magogs and the Nietzscheans, and
all the other bad people.
Nuytens: Were you
happy with the ending of the show in its final season?
Kevin Sorbo: It’s so hard to
please everybody, because everyone is going to have
their own opinion. It’s like going to soccer
game. You’re going to have half the people who
are going to hate the official and the other half
is going to love him. It’s never a win/win situation.
I liked it for the reason that I think Dylan started
to slide back into the person he was in season one.
Even though he learned from his crew to be a little
less militant and a little more carefree sort to speak,
I think he got tired of constantly talking to them
into doing basically his vision, what he had hoped
for a safer universe. And I like that he sort of became
more of a loner, that he went ‘screw you
guys, if you’re not going to be with me, fine.
I’m going to do my own thing. You guys can do
your own thing.’ I kind of like the ambiguity
of the way it ended because to me they left it open
for possibly to do a movie or something like that.
If that’ll happen, I don’t know. I’m
guessing not. The studio’s fallen apart, it’s
for sale. They also have all kind of problems internally.
Gilles Nuytens: Same
question for ‘Hercules’. Are you happy
with the first season and the final season?
Kevin Sorbo: Yeah. We started with
five two hour movies before moving to a one hour series.
So it’s really season two was the first season
of the one hour show. I liked it all throughout. The
only thing I didn’t like was the final season
of ‘Hercules’. We only did eight episodes.
I was on my way to go do ‘Andromeda’,
but we still had eight months before Andromeda even
started. So they easily could have finished up the
season. And I have since learned that the studio,
and certainly the producers, Sam Raimi, they wished
they had finished out the season. And they should
have. I think it was a knee-jerk reaction on their
part that I didn’t want to continue the show.
They offered a three year extension on my contract,
but I was actually at a burn-out phase. I said ‘look,
We’ve done this now for seven seasons and I’m
ready to go on to do something else.’ I
think that was their way of, pardon my franchise,
of saying ‘fuck you’ to me. They
were just saying, “well, fine. Let’s
do eight hours and call it quits.” I think
they rushed the ending. And they shouldn’t have
rushed the ending. We easily could have finished out
the full twenty-two episodes. And, ultimately, their
childness, I think, hurt themselves and also the fans.
That’s all that could be done. And it’s
too bad and unfortunate. It’s certainly something
I will always regret and wish we could have finished
Gilles Nuytens: After
the success of ‘Hercules’ and ‘Andromeda’,
which of these roles had the biggest impact on you?
Kevin Sorbo: Oh certainly ‘Hercules’.
That was the one that launched me. We passed ‘Baywatch’
in mid-96 I think it was as the most watched tv show
in the world. The show gave birth to ‘Xena’.
‘Xena’ would never have existed without
‘Hercules’. That show would never have
been around. And we had a Young Hercules spin-off,
too. It didn’t do very well. It got cancelled
after one year. But it began to showcase a young actor
by the name of Ryan Gosling, the one who played him.
He’s a big movie guy now.
Nuytens: I assume
you’re most recognized on the street for being
Hercules than Dylan Hunt.
Kevin Sorbo: Oh, no question. It’s
kind of maybe 65% Hercules. Even though ‘Andromeda’
has been done now for two seasons here in the States,
people are buying it on DVD, so it’s certainly
out there. It’s interesting how people react.
I just went to a convention in Atlanta, Georgia called
Dragon*Con. There were probably 50,000 people there.
I’d still say a good 40% of the photos I signed
were for Dylan Hunt.
Gilles Nuytens: About
Dragon*Con, how was it over there, that experience?
Kevin Sorbo: It’s my third
straight one I’ve been to, they keep on inviting
me back. When I get the time off, I go. I just really
enjoy it there. They invited me a lot during the Herc
years, and during ‘Andromeda’, but most
of the time I was shooting and could never make it
down there. It’s a hoot, I gotta tell you. It’s
fun. I enjoy chatting with the fans and I enjoy the
Q&A sessions we do. I have friends in Atlanta
so that certainly entices me to go down. A couple
of nice dinners with friends. Went to a baseball game.
I make it sort of a trip for myself as well. I’ll
go to more cons. I’m currently scheduled to
come out to London to do one there in late October.
There’s like a huge one there, I guess, in a
mall, with about a two-hundred thousand people. I’m
hoping I can make it over. I’ve heard another
one in Stockholm, Sweeden, but I don’t know
when that is. I’d like to come to more of these.
I’m surprised I’m not invited to more
internationally. I get invited to ones in America,
like two or three a month. I can’t go to the
majority of them, but with the success of ‘Hercules’
and ‘Andromeda’ around the world, I’m
kind of surprised I haven’t been invited to
more in other countries. I get a call from Australia
every once in a while, but that’s really about
Gilles Nuytens: In
the movie called ‘Something Beneath’,
you play a priest, but not really the usual type of
priest. What was your experience there?
Kevin Sorbo: The experience was cold.
We shot up in Winnipeg, Canada. I think the script
suffered a bit. I think David Winning, our director,
did a great job of trying to salvage something out
of it. It’s just, the story itself didn’t
work completely. I think there are some nice moments
in there. I would have liked to have more time on
the script and more time to actually shoot. We didn’t
get that long of time to film it properly, but kudos
to David Winning. I’ve worked with David before.
He directed a couple of episodes of ‘Andromeda’.
He’s very passionate, very committed to his
craft. He loves actors and wants to work with them.
I think because of him the film turned out far better
than it really read on the page.
Nuytens: What was
the difference between working with David Winning
on ‘Something Beneath’ and working with
him on ‘Andromeda’?
Kevin Sorbo: Well, I think the main
difference would have been the fact that we had more
time—I said I wished we would had more time
on ‘Something Beneath’—but we still
got longer than we would have gotten on a one hour
TV show. We did have a longer time to collaborate
and talk about the scenes, work out kinks in the script.
When you shoot a TV show, we only shot that show seven
days for each episode. So pace is far more faster
and it’s just a little more hectic, but David
is, no matter what, whether it’s a one hour
tv show or a movie, he comes in prepared. I’ve
never seen a director write out so many notes and
he gives the actor the shot list for each scene. He
already planned out exactly what he wants to do. And
he wants us to be aware of what he wants to do. So
he spends a lot of time and does his homework. I can
only say the difference is only the time element.
Other than that, he comes in the same whether it is
a seven day shoot or a twenty day shoot.
Gilles Nuytens: In
‘Avenging Angel’, you portray a priest
one more time, but again, an unusual priest. So after
great super heroes, now is it time for super priests?
Do you enjoy playing priests?
Kevin Sorbo: It’s actually
kind of funny that this whole priest thing has popped
up. I’ve done it in another movie called ‘Clipping
Adam’. I don’t know what it is with the
priest thing with me and being a super hero. I don’t
know what the correlation is, but there’s something
going on there. This part I was drawn to because I’m
a big spaghetti western fan. I love all the old westerns.
I love the Clint Eastwood movies. This movie read
just like one of the old high plains drifter movies.
Plus, I’ve also wanted to do westerns. Physically,
my look, physicality of me, would always fit well
with the westerns. And it was just so much fun. I
got to learn how to ride a horse. I mean, the clothes,
the sets we shot on, you feel it. I mean, we’re
right in the middle of a western right now and it’s
called ‘Prairie Fever’. I don’t
know when it’s going to air in the States; I’m
guessing November, December, but because of the success
of ‘Avenging Angel’—it was the third
highest movie ranked in the history of the Hallmark
Cable Channel—whether they want to give credit
to me for that or not, they are giving me some credit
and bringing me back in to probably do two or three
more westerns as the preacher. I think we should make
it into a series and call it ‘The Avenger’.
I loved the premise of it, the grittiness of it. I
love that time period in the late 1800s. I just find
it a very interesting time in the West with the early
formation of America. People have this romanticism,
this romantic ideal about that time. But you know,
you’re out there on the trail; there’s
really nothing romantic about it. It was lawless,
dirty. You got the Indians and intruding on their
territory, you got the animals, the bears and everything
else out during that time. We managed to wipe them
all off, unfortunately. You know, it’s interesting.
It was an interesting time.
Nuytens: Can you
speak a little about your experience in ‘The
Kevin Sorbo: Originally I came in
just to do two episodes. Apparently they liked my
character that they ended up putting me in all seven
of their last episodes before they cancelled the series.
When I got on the set the first day I remember Peter
Gallagher came up to me and he said, ‘you
know, they’re going to cancel the series after
this year.” I said, “really?”
He said, “Yeah, they’re just done.”
They’re ready to move on. All the producers
have other projects, things they want to do, that
they’re just going to wrap it up now. I said
“Okay.” And they kept expanding
my part, but what the funny thing is they never really
answered a lot of fans’ questions. They certainly
didn’t answer mine. I mean, I get down there
to play Ben’s father—or Ryan, I should
say. I was sort of shocked that they never had a scene
that really showed the real settlement between the
father and son. Here’s a guy that took off,
left his family behind. His kid is only ten years
old, he’s must have spent about ten years in
prison, he’s not a good guy. Initially I came
in playing this really sleazy guy and they kept on
softening my character up and I didn’t understand
that. It made no sense as to why they wanted to go
out with this Disney sort of feel. It wouldn’t
have mattered to me. I would have liked if my character
had been made to turn into a good guy, but none of
that stuff wasn’t addressed. I all of a sudden
just suddenly became a good guy. I think that’s
what happens with shows that are going to get cancelled:
writers get lazy. They just get lazy. There’s
a ‘I don’t care’ attitude
that spills over to all the other writers. They just
kind of go through the motions because they have other
things they want to do.
Gilles Nuytens: You’ve
written and directed a few episodes of ‘Hercules’
and ‘Andromeda’. Is that something you
enjoy doing and that you want to pursue?
Kevin Sorbo: Yeah, I don’t
know about the writing part. I mean, I can slam the
writers, but I think writing is a tough thing. I really
do. I think writers have the hardest part of the job.
And I did it, but I don’t claim to be a great
writer. I think I’m a good re-writer, though.
I think I can look at other’s work and I can
find the holes. What I think happens is writers get
so close to their own work and in the privacy of their
own little cubicle and computer that they lose the
voice of all the characters. When you read these things
out loud with all the other actors, it comes to light.
You can see where the problems are. I find writers
get all personal about that. It’s not a criticism,
it’s just a reality. And I have found that out
writing myself. I think it’s important for writers,
when they’re writing television or movies, whatever
it may be, that they have people look at it, friends,
people they trust, whatever, to say, ‘Look,
what are your thoughts? What do you think is good
or bad about this?’ I think that’s
the only way you can make yourself a better writer.
I just don’t have the patience for it, to look
at a blank piece of paper and make it come to life.
But as far as directing, yeah, I love that. And actually,
Hallmark now is asking if I want to throw my hat back
into the ring and start directing some more. I think
some time down the road in the next year or less I
will be directing a movie for Hallmark.
Nuytens: If you
were given the opportunity to play a character of
your choice, in a movie of your choice, what would
Kevin Sorbo: You know, I still want
to do everything. I’d love to play a villain
in the line of John Malkovich’s character from
‘In the Line of Fire’, the Clint Eastwood
movie he did. I thought he was such an amazing villain
in that. But I want to do that romantic comedy. I
want to do that ‘When Harry Met Sally’.
I want to do my own version, but not exactly that
movie, but that type of romantic comedy. I don’t
know why, but I’ve always been drawn to those.
I like the comedy element. I love the romantic element.
I still have that romantic person inside of me. I
would love to do something like that, to make that
timeless romantic comedy.
Gilles Nuytens: What
in general draws you to a certain role?
Kevin Sorbo: Believe it or not, a
lot of it has to do with my manager. I have a manager
that will obviously is trying to steer my career in
a direction that is beneficial to both of us. They
send scripts all the time. I’m pretty good at
reading scripts and seeing all the holes and stuff.
But for me, it doesn’t start with the script
as a whole, but with the character. And if this is
the type of guy I want to play. It really comes down
to as simple as that. The scripts, with rewrites can
almost always be salvaged if you got the right writers
and have the time to do it, but for the most part
it still comes down to the character that’s
been written on the page. That’s the thing that
attracts me the most. It is like you said earlier,
because of the success of something like ‘Hercules’,
because of those roles, that’s still the majority
of the roles that are coming in, but I’m really
not interested in that. There are couple of other
things that were also offered that kind of follow
that same vein, and that’s just not where I
want to go right now. If I was to stick in that sort
of fantasy world, I’d love to play a pirate
just because obviously with ‘Pirates of the
Caribbean’ has started a lot of interest in
that sort of genre as well. If something came along
in that way in a TV series, I think might be interested
in looking at it.
Gilles Nuytens: In
some tv productions, there is often a rivalry between
actors and other kinds of negative publicity that
press reports on a regular basis. What do you think
makes the bad influence on TV shows? Stories about
actors and all that.
Kevin Sorbo: I don’t get written
up that much because I think I lead far too boring
of a life for these people than most of the people
that want to write the negative stories, and the press
especially in America. And I’ve heard it’s
even worse in some place like England, where the tabloids
are even worse. It’s unfortunate if you look
at all of these stories of Lindsay Lohan and Britney
Spears, and all that kind of stuff. You chalk it up
to youth as well, but if there’s a problem with
alcohol and the drugs and that can affect anybody
and obviously the limelight on them is going to be
much bigger than it is on a person that’s not
in this industry. But it’s weird. It’s
like in America, we love to have our heroes whether
they are in movies, television, or sports, but at
the same time we love to tear them down. I think that’s
where this whole, this jealousy and envy and all that
kind of stuff kind of comes into play with people.
And the have and have nots sort of mentality. It’s
almost falling into some kind of weird communist party
where everybody is the same and people are jealous
of other people who are more successful than you.
I’ve always looked at people who are successful
as a motivating drive for me. I didn’t grow
up with any money. I didn’t grow up with things.
I got hand-me-downs from my brothers, but I looked
at people that were successful. And to me, that was
a motivation factor for me to want to be successful.
I never really had that jealously towards somebody
else that had a bigger, better career than me. To
me, I just said, ‘okay, I’m going
to work harder to get there.’ Unfortunately,
we live in a society where people view success as
great for while and then want to rip that person down
again and make them feel bad. I think it’s to
make themselves feel better about themselves.
of what we’ve already talked about, what can
we expect from you in the future?
Kevin Sorbo: Well, your guess is
probably as good as mine. Right now, things are kind
of cruising along at a nice pace and it has been a
busy year for me. I did the seven episodes of ‘The
OC’, I did the western, I did this film for
Twentieth Century Fox called ‘Hunting and Fishing’,
I got another western now. I did two ‘Walking
Tall’s as well. I don’t know if they’re
over there yet. The original movie was done back in
the 1970s called ‘Walking Tall’. The Rock
did a remake. It was supposed to be me originally
but I couldn’t do it, but then Sony Studios
came to me and I did two last summer. One came out
three months ago, did very well, called ‘Walking
Tall: The Payback’. And then, in the end of
September, ‘Walking Tall: Lone Justice’
came out on DVD. It’s straight to DVD, but they
turned out very well. It’s modern-day, an ex,
ex marine comes back to his home town. His home town
has been taken over by small time mafia type people.
His father is the sheriff and gets killed. And then
he takes the law into his own hands. So it’s
a good, modern-day action movie. I got a small thriller,
that, if we can work out the time, I’m sure
I’m going up to Chicago to shoot in a couple
weeks. It’s very low budget sort of slasher
film. I get to play a detective. I’m hoping
it works out. And there’s another one: this
movie called ‘The Price’ I told you about
where I play a bank robber and there’s a movie
in the first of the year called ‘Sleeping with
the Lion’, that I hope everything works out.
It’s a wonderful script. I play a very flawed
character in the law enforcement agency and we’ll
see what happens with that. They say they got everything
put together, but I never believe in business until
it happens. So, as for now, I’m just coasting
along and trying to have a good time.
Gilles Nuytens: Is
there an existing TV show that you’d like to
be a part of? Such as ‘Heroes’, or another
Kevin Sorbo: I don’t watch
that much TV. I watch everything once to see what’s
going on out there. Obviously ‘Heroes’
is very popular. I want to rent the first season or
buy the first season, see everything, because when
the hype is that big on something, I want to see what’s
going on. There’s a new series I really want
to be part of, but I don’t know much about other
than the pilot. It’s called ‘Journeyman’.
I think I might be perfect for that. But you can’t
get everything you want. Current television right
now, if there’s a chance to play a recurring
role, I’d love to get something on ‘Heroes’,
but certainly ‘House’. I think it’s
a great show. It’s well written, well acted.
I like the characters, like the depth of the characters
and the flaws that they have.
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