Fan Expo Vancouver 2012: Hercules' Kevin Sorbo on Vancouver, crazed stalkers, and more
You might remember him from the film Kull the Conquerer, or TV series like The O.C. or Dharma and Greg. But most people probably remember him for his roles as either Captain Dylan Hunt on Andromeda or, of course, the title role of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
Actor Kevin Sorbo fielded questions about his career from fans at a celebrity session at Fan Expo Vancouver on April 22 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Here are a few highlights.
Sorbo is certainly no stranger to this city. He shot Andromeda here, and says the city is “near and dear” to his heart.
He also said that it was here where he learned that he got the role of Hercules. He talked about how he had gone through seven auditions over two months for the role, describing the process as “hell”.
“I was up in Vancouver doing a guest spot on The Comish with Michael Chiklis when I got the call from my agent on the set, he told me I got the part of Hercules. So you guys were here for the birth of me getting that series. And I went on the set, I looked at Michael Chiklis, and I said, ‘Dude, I want no crap from you because I am now half God.’ ”
On filming Hercules
After getting the role, he said he had to bulk up to 235 pounds, and had to wear hair extensions for the first year (“I don’t know how women do that. I hated ’em!”). He lived in New Zealand seven years during filming of Hercules (he also lived in Australia for eight months earlier in his career).
A fan asked which TV series (Hercules or Andromeda) was more challenging to shoot.
“Hercules certainly was a physically harder show to shoot [than Andromeda], with the fight scenes as well ’cause every show would have three fight scenes.
“And I was up at 4:30 in the morning and I would get home around 10, 10:30 at night. That was my day. It was like 18 hours door to door. That included the drive time, included being on the set for 12 to 14 hours and going to the gym to work out two hours every day and then getting home. And I would study my lines for the next day ’til midnight, and then go to bed and wake up at 4:30 and go do it again.
“I actually stopped dreaming. I did. I’m sure I was dreaming but I went through the last five years of that show where I’d hit the pillow—boom—the alarm would go off. Four and a half hours would go by in like seconds….Physically it was a lot harder, but I was willing to give it to them. I enjoyed it, I enjoyed being on the set.”
On women, including Xena and crazed stalkers
“I was a single guy for the first five years down there [in New Zealand while shooting Hercules]. Every two weeks, they sent a hot girl to work with me. So it was a really good dating service for me.”
“It was me bedding Xena that made her a good person, because she was a bit of an evil bitch prior to that. So it was the power of my—I dunno—erection, apparently, [laughs] that made her a good woman.”
“We passed Baywatch in 1996 as the most watched TV show in the world. We were in 176 countries….I had to hire staff because we were getting up to 1,200 letters a week coming in….I got a lot of naked photos of women. There were a few guys too….I’m an actor but I’m a flaming heterosexual. I hate to disappoint. Not that there’s anything wrong with it…..One woman—and I have no idea what the hell I was supposed to do with this—sent me her pubic hair. True story. And you’re like, ‘Really?’
“But there were seven [letter-writing fans] that ended up on the FBI watch list because of how crazy—and death threats—it became. There’s one particular woman from New York City that wrote every single week. And the first letter that came in was like, ‘Kevin, big fan. Let’s meet sometime. There’s a great bar in Soho. Please come. Blah blah blah.’ Next week: ‘Where were you? I waited…all day.’ And then it got crazier and crazier and crazier. ‘I went to the doctor. I can’t believe it. I’m pregnant with your child….The doctor said that I have a hysterical pregnancy. The doctor was cute. I wanted to sleep with him.’ ”
He added that two women actually moved to New Zealand to find him, including a woman who showed up at midnight at his house in Auckland.
On one of his favourite costars
“[New Zealand actor] Kevin Smith was the guy that I loved working with the most, who played Ares. He passed away—my gosh, it’s going on maybe 10 years ago. He died in a sort of freak accident off a scaffolding on a set in Shanghai…. And he was my golf buddy. We were adversaries on the set, in terms of Hercules and Ares fighting all the time, but he made me laugh all the time. He was an improv artist as well. He’s sorely missed, he left three boys behind, he was only 39 years old when he died. He shouldn’t have died. It was such a freakish fall. He fell three stories. It’s sad. Because he was phenomenal to work with.”
Sorbo said that he will appear in a guest spot on the sitcom Don’t Talk to the Bitch in Apartment 23 to be aired on May 2. He said that he’s completed eight movies, but has to wait to hear about specific release dates. Two, he said, will be out this summer: Shadow on the Mesa and Abel’s Field. He also just finished a movie with Matthew Perry called The Whole Banana.
You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig.