Good morning everyone.
My latest project is the first episode of a three-movie series, Mythica: A Quest For Heroes, premiering TODAY, March 31. You can check out the first installment of Mythica exclusively here: http://www.contv.com/
And if you’d like to help support the second part of the Mythica Saga, please check out our campaign.
Victoria’s helping me out via phone. For those of you up early enough to ask questions – ask away!
Photo proof: http://imgur.com/bpYev5V
Can you explain the whole “DISAPPOINTED!” thing?
Yes. There was an episode of HERCULES where I played “the Sovereign,” and he’s sort of an alter-ego bilateral universe version of Hercules. And he’s the EVIL Hercules.
And many fans of the show thought that when I yelled out “DISAPPOINTED!” in that episode, that I mis-read the script. The script didn’t say anything. I had a line before that – I said “Wait a minute, this isn’t my world.” Because I ended up in Hercule’s world. And I then I went “DISAPPOINTED!” the way Kevin Kline does.
I ad-libbed on the show a lot. Michael Hurst and I would both throw in lines, words, whatever. And I’m a big fan of A FISH CALLED WANDA. And Kevin Kline would yell out “DISAPPOINTED!” when he was disappointed in the movie. So it seemed to make sense at the time. And they kept it in. And it went viral. People thought I said something wrong. And I love it, I’ll take the press either way.
Did you really had three strokes during making Hercules? Was it rough? What was the cause?
I had an aneurysm. It formed in my left sub-clavicle. And I didn’t know it. Until it was too late. And when it completely opened up in my body, it sent hundreds of clots in my left arm, and three of them went into my brain. 2 went to my balance center, 1 went to my vision. And I spent the next 4 months learning how to walk again, and balance myself. And I wrote a book, called True Strength – you can go to http://truestrengthbook.com to learn more – and I probably do a dozen speaking events a year, speaking to bookstores, and doctors, and all kinds of places.
Were there any signs that it was coming or did it strike out of nowhere?
Tell ’em to buy the book! Hahaha! I had the signs, yes. I didn’t pay attention. I was in my 30’s, I was in GREAT shape, I was working 14 hours days and lifting heavy 2 hours a day… I had numbness in my left hand. I had pains in my shoulder that i just blew off, because I was always getting bumps, and bruises, and cuts, and paid no attention to it. I thought After all, I AM playing Hercules, right?
But had I listened to the signals, I probably could have prevented the strokes. No question.
Are you still in contact with Michael Hurst (Iolaus)?
Michael and I email at least once every 2 months. I’m very busy with what I got going on, Michael’s very busy with what he’s got going on – he’s directing down in New Zealand still, he’s doing a lot of plays, he’s a big theatrical guy. But I will be seeing Michael soon in Australia – we’re doing 2 comic-cons together, iN Perth and Adelaide. It’ll be fun!
What was the thing you liked most about playing Hercules?
Being a half-god! What could be better than that?!? I mean, it was AWESOME to be that role.
As a child, I read mythology all the time, when I was in 7th and 8th grade. And to play the part of Hercules – my favorite mythological character – was not only an honor, but it was amazing to have fans tune into the show the way they did. Because it was originally just supposed to be 5 2 hour movies, and it went right into a 1 hour series, and we passed Baywatch as the most-watched show in the world.
We were in 176 countries.
And what made the show fantastic for ME was my crew. We laughed EVERY DAY on set. It was such an easy place to go to work 12-14 hours a day for 7 years.
I worked with good people. It was fun. A really, really good chapter in my life.
What is your favorite fantasy movie/book/series/anything?
Favorite fantasy movies… I would say Lord of the Rings, because of my connection with that. Because HERCULES was really the first big thing in New Zealand. They’d never had a production, television or movie-wise down there, and in our third year we spun out XENA – and we also spent out another spinoff, YOUNG HERCULES (but that got cancelled after 2 years, and that was a young Ryan Gosling playing me as a teenager).
So the connection there was – the CREWS that we had on HERCULES – most of them were pretty green. And it was on-the-job training. But by the end of 7 years of HERCULES, they had become very, very good at their jobs- and Peter Jackson took the vast majority of my crew, and put ’em on LOTR.
And the WETA group that did all of our creatures won, what – 5 Academy Awards? And Gnila Dickson – she won “Best Wardrobe” Academy Award! And she did all our wardrobe on HERCULES.
So I kinda feel like we had a little part in that. NOT to take anything away from Peter Jackson.
I’m a big Robert Ludlum fan. The only games I play are “Plants versus Zombies” and I do a lot of Sudoku.
Do you have any good Bruce Campbell stories?
Bruce and I have become very good friends, simply because of the connection on Hercules.
Our producers were Sam Raimi, and Rob Tapert, and they were childhood friends with Bruce growing up in Michigan, so that was Bruce’s connection to be on HERCULES. And both of us directed for the first time on HERCULES, that’s how we got to become directors.
And Bruce’s first time directing, his first scene with me, when the scene ended, Bruce went “womp womp womp.”
Like he’s a big 3 Stooges fan.
And our first Assistant Director, George, said “That must be American for ‘cut.'”
It was very funny. But Bruce always had great stories, and we had a lot of laughs on the set.
How did you get the role of Hercules? What was the coolest thing you got to keep?
Well, the role… I got the role by the typical audition process. I went in, and I read for the part. They liked me. They called me back. They liked me, they called me back.
They did this 7 times.
So 7 times, over 2 months, they kept calling me back. And on the 7th and last time, when I was at Universal Studios, all of the powers that be – which was about 30 people in the room, if you walked in – were there – and I said “Okay, whaddya guys want from me? Because you keep calling me back. And you never tell me to do anything different.”
And the executive producer Sam Raimi was in there, and he said “No, we like you, we like you, we just want to see you one more time.”
And one of the women executives said “They made ME be the one to ask this, but could you please take your shirt off for us.”
So – if you watch the show – you know I did work out. So I was in shape. And i took my shirt off. And the women gave a nice little gasp, which was very flattering.
And I told them that I’m much bigger out of my clothes.
Which got a very big laugh.
And then I went to Vancouver, to guest-star in Michael Chiklis’ series THE COMMISH, and while filming, my manager called and told me I got the part of Hercules.
And I spent the next 2 months working out even harder and training with a Karate expert, named Douglas Wong, he was one of Bruce Lee’s original students.
And found out that they had looked at over 2,800 people in North America for the part of Hercules (welcome to the world of Hollywood)!
I’ve got 3 of the original 5 Hercules outfits. Which is pretty cool. The pants weighed 12 pounds, and they had 3 layers of leather on ’em – and let me tell you, to do fight scenes in those things was NOT easy, but the studio liked the way the pants looked. The top was – the inside layer was a chamois, like what you’d use to loofah, and the outside layer on that, the mustard-color on that, would be more of a chamois that you’d use to dry your car when you’re washing it. After all the years of running on that show, and fighting on that show, and weight lifting on that show, and here we are – 3 knee surgeries later and a bad back – the least they could do is give me the costumes.
If you had the chance to film a follow up to Hercules now, would you? Or would you say that you’ve moved on and that ship has sailed?
I’m way too old, ahahah! I don’t think it would work. Michael and I used to joke about doing the series in its 20th year, 30th year – we’d be too old to do anything, sitting out on a porch with a giant mug of ale, people running up yelling “HERCULES!” and we’d come up with excuses not to go, and we’d say things like “Remember when I fought the Hydra…?” and we’d have a flashback episode…
I am a huge fan and really loved Andromeda! I actually funded mythica because you were in it! Anyways my question is: What was the best and worst part of filming a series like Andromeda?
Well, first of all: THANK YOU very much for helping fund MYTHICA. Very much appreciated.
As for ANDROMEDA, I am a huge Gene Roddenberry fan. I’ve probably seen every episode of the original STAR TREK series 50 times.
So now you know how I spent my high school and college years. Hehe.
But to be IN that role, of Captain Dylan Hunt, and realize that it was the first captain EVER created after Captain Kirk – I was honored.
And have since become very good friends with Bill Shatner.
What was it like working with Nick Giannopoulos and Vince Colosimo on Wog Boy 2: Kings of Mykonos?
Wow, that’s bringing up a little bit of a past! We had a blast. I mean, we’re in Mykonos, for one thing! So I guess life isn’t too bad. And I didn’t know of the first movie they had done – I think it was called WOG BOYS – so I checked it out, had a good laugh, and said “What the heck?” It was fun, it was crazy, it was a different part for me to play – and those guys were great. Pros and easy to work with.
As you’ve strongly participated in a Robert E Howard project (Kull the Conqueror), let me ask what you think of the fact that Schwarzenegger will be filming a new Conan movie this fall? Also, would you like a role in “The Legend of Conan” with Arnold?
It wasn’t that recent – hahaha! I shot that back in 1996. KULL THE CONQUEROR, and it came out in 1997. It was part of all of my Hercules years. Universal Studios let me have 4 months off my schedule to shoot the film over in Slovakia, and Croatia… and I had a great time! I mean, it was fantastic to go there and be part of that project. Had NO idea that Arnold was doing another CONAN movie. And since Robert IS the father of Conan – I think they should give me a part! So they’ll have to age me up a bit, if I’m playing the father of Conan – use that Hollywood movie magic. Because Kull is Conan’s father in the books, and in the comic books as well. But I’d love the opportunity to work with Arnold. We’ve never worked together before!
You’re shirtless in so many of your roles, which show had the nippiest set for you?
That’s too funny.
Probably HERCULES, because the writers would always write episodes with me with my shirt off, standing in a river, in JULY IN NEW ZEALAND.
July in New Zealand is December in America.
And I had to constantly remind them it’s COLD down here in June, July and August!
It was cold.
I was so excited when you showed up in Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23. Any plans on following in the great James Van Der Beek’s footsteps and being on Dancing with the Stars?
I’ve been asked to do DWTS probably 6 times in its first 8 seasons.
I said “No” every single time. And I’m glad I said no, because every time I did say no, I booked another movie. And I would rather shoot the movie than make myself on DWTS.
I can move okay. But i have no interest to do the show.
I love traveling. Can you tell me one place outside of the USA that I have to go to?
Auckland, New Zealand.
And Munich, Germany.
Great places, beautiful, wonderful people, and there’s mountains, water, it’s just great.
I loved watching Hercules and Xena as a kid. How did you feel when you went on Xena (and vice versa)?
Well, it’s normal when you have a spin-off show – like XENA was off of HERCULES – that you would go on that show, to help get it established. A good example is HAPPY DAYS. They spun off LAVERNE & SHIRLEY, as well as MORK & MINDY.
And it’s just normal business for any television series that has success, and then has a spinoff show, to go in and help it.
I remember when Michael and I did that first episode on XENA, In XENA’s first season, there was a fight scene where Michael and I drop from the rafters above when Xena’s surrounded by a bunch of bad guys.
I land next to Lucy, and I said “Hey, we thought we’d drop in and help your ratings.”
And that got a big laugh on-set. I think they kept it in the blooper.
I think we said something boring in the final cut, though. I thought I’d changed it.
Any good stories from the set of Andromeda?
Keith Hamilton Cobb – who played Tyr- ALWAYS loved to lean. No matter what the scene was, he had to lean on something.
So us other actors – in the scene where he had to run on the set to warn us of something – we all picked a place to dramatically lean on.
So he runs through the doors, to deliver us the news. He stops, he sees the other 6 actors, all leaning – and he said “OH FINE, yeah, I get it, great. Make fun of the black guy!” and I said to him ” This has nothing to do with being black.” It was pretty funny, he got a laugh out of it. I didn’t know leaning was a black thing? Because guys, we ALLlean. You look at any guy at a pub or bar, we all lean up against something.
What was working on FDR American Badass like? How much of your scene was ad-libbed? Your appearance was totally unexpected, and I loved every second of it.
I did a movie with this company 2 years before that movie, called POOLBOY: DROWNING OUT THE FURY. It’s ridiculous, and stupid, and was SO much fun. I’m a big fan of David Zucker. I loved AIRPLANE, I loved the NAKED GUN trilogy, I love that sophomore stupid humor. I did another movie called MEET THE SPARTANS, which was a spoof of 300, and that’s from the same guys who did SCARY MOVIE, EPIC MOVIE, APE MOVIE… so in FDR: AMERICAN BADASS, I played Abe Lincoln, and they let us ad lib a bit, but he wrote a very good script, so it was just fun to jump in and be part of that movie, just because I’d done POOLBOY with them before.
What did you think of Schwarzenegger’s “Hercules In New York” film from the early 70s? Also, what kind of exercises do you do to stay in shape (running, pumping iron, other)?
I saw Arnold’s movie. His accent was so heavy they actually had to dub his voice. And he obviously LOOKED great. I mean, he is a body builder to begin with. I’m not. I’m an athlete, and I work out all the time. But the Hercules Universal wanted for my series was one that fit the bill of a more athletic quarterback – like an NFL quarterback. So they wanted more of a decathlete looking body – instead of a more steroided body look. So I think that helped me get the part, because I certainly never got as big as Arnold was in his prime.
I work out every day. I’ve got a gym I built at my house. And I do 30 minutes of cardio every day, on top of weightlifting. I’ll do arms & shoulders one day. The next day is chest & back. And the third day is legs. And I just rotate that.
I am trying to get into shape, and as such, I have been working out. I was wondering, what did you do to stay in shape for your role in Hercules?
You don’t eat a lot of carbs.
I ate a LOT of protein. I juiced the vegetables. I’m a good salad-eater. But if it’s kale, and cucumber, and beets, you better throw in a juicer with a couple of apples.
But working out is very important. And DON’T eat after 7:30 at night. That’s when most people over-eat. And gain weight. And eating a vat of caramel corn while watching the Letterman show is not a good idea.
TL:DR – reduce carbs, and don’t eat late at night. And work out.
I grew up watching hercules. I am 26 now, and I still think you are badass. Was it ever hard to escape your reputation as Hercules?
I’m proud of having the reputation of playing HERCULES! I’m proud of having a TV series that ran for 7 years. How many actors get the chance of doing a show for 7 years? And after HERCULES, I went straight into ANDROMEDA, which became the #1 show in first-run syndication, so from 1993-2005, I had a pretty good run on TV.
What happened to your shirt?
I’m doing this AMA from my hotel room. And I’m in bed. Enjoying a lovely peanut butter and blueberry jam toast and a fresh-squeezed OJ.
What is your favorite breakfast?
That’s easy. Anything with eggs.
I’m a big egg-eater. I love my eggs, and I love to make fresh juices. I do a lot of juicing, not in the ILLEGAL way, I juice vegetables and I juice fresh fruit.
That’s pretty much my breakfast. But I love oatmeal… I love, you know, I make great pancakes… my college roommates would always say I’d make somebody a good wife, because I always made breakfast for everybody in the morning.
Tea or coffee?
I don’t drink coffee. I don’t drink caffeine. I drink non-caffeinated tea.
The teas I do, I like a peppermint tea or chamomile. I don’t do caffeine. It hits me hard, I get all jittery very quickly. I don’t like it. I guess I’m hyper enough the way I am!
Is it even possible to be a lead role in about twenty movies in one year? Why so many and how do you manage it?
Um… I don’t know what that means, but there’s quite a few I’ve been busy on. I’ve been doing a lot of independent movies over the last 9 years. And if I like the part, I take the part, because i like to act, I like to stay busy. I’ve probably done 45 movies over the last 9 years, and out of those, there are probably 6 of those I wish I wouldn’t have done. But I like to stay busy! And if I like the role, I take it.
What role have you played that resembles you most?
I gotta say Hercules and Captain Dylan Hunt. I think I brought a lot of myself there, because I love humor. I grew up with 3 brothers, and we were a bunch of sarcastic jerks to each other. I love laughing. You always gotta find a place to laugh. I think all actors have to bring a part of themselves to the roles that they play. I always look for the laughs, no question.
If you were given a chance to star in a Marvel cinematic movie, which character would you want to play?
Any of ’em! I don’t care! They should put me in ONE of these movies. I’m very jealous. I want to be in one of those awesome, awesome movies. What Joss Whedon does is incredible. I met him ONE TIME at San Diego Comic-con. And I guess he wasn’t impressed, hahaha. So what are you gonna do?
Who would play you in a biopic?
I hadn’t thought of that in my life. I don’t know. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with that question. It’s interesting. But… who’s the hot big stud for 20, 30 years old?
I’ll say Ryan Gosling. That sounds fine. Since he played me as Young Hercules.