Kevin Sorbo: Journey From Demigod To God [Full Interview Transcript]

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(Interview Conducted September 8, 2018)

Hercules saw great success on the television during the 90s. Why do you think the show was so successful?

It was something new, something different, and something fresh on TV. It was a mixture of action, comedy, drama, and mythology. We shot five 2-hour movies to get this thing rolling and I knew by the third movie it was going to be on TV. I called my manager back in Las Angeles and told her that I really thought this thing was going to be picked up as a TV series. She said, “Did anybody say anything to you?” I said, “No but just the stuff that happens on the set shows signs that we have something really cool going on here.” Within a month of that conversation Universal Studios called up and said, “Yeah we are going to make that TV series.” Then three years later we become the most watched show in the world, surpassing Baywatch. It ended up being in 176 countries; it is kind of crazy!

 

So you were the only one who had any idea that it was going to be a TV show?

Yeah, initially it was just going to be five trial movies. It was part of a thing Universal was doing called “The Action Pack”. There were four other movies that were rotating. It was like what they were doing back in the 70s when they had McCloud and McMillan & Wife. They kept rotating four or five different shows once a week on Wednesday night. That’s what they wanted to do with this. For those other four movies, that was it for them. They had decided that they wouldn’t make a good TV series. It’s funny; I have heard some of the studio guys at Universal tell me, “When we came up with all of these different shows we thought Hercules would be the first to go.” It just goes to show you how much studio executives don’t know.

 

You have gone from essentially playing a god to promoting God in many of your recent movies. Have you ever considered the irony of that?

No, actually I have not. {Laughs} I have always been a Christian, probably not the best in the world. I mean I make mistakes every day obviously. It was back about eight years ago when I did my first faith-based movie. I think every movie is a faith-based movie. I think if you are an atheist that you have one of the strongest faiths around. I think it is amazing that you can believe in absolutely nothing. That is a stronger faith that most Christians have. I did a movie called What If… and I loved that movie. I have done 57 movies now, and that is easily in my top 4 movies. That is what kind of got the ball rolling. You know what? There is so much anger, hate, and divisiveness coming from Hollywood through television, movies, politics, and everything else. I wanted to do something that, hopefully, families will watch. I used to get stopped all of the time for Hercules and my other series Andromeda, the first show Gene Roddenberry created after Star Trek. Now, eighty percent of the time when I go through airports, restaurants, gyms, or whatever people stop me to say they love my movies and to please make more like them. Hollywood doesn’t really pay attention to that part, and I am just doing my little bit in the Indie world. Hopefully people will keep supporting these movies.

Why do you think people place such an emphasis on wanting those types of movies right now?

I think that people have always wanted it. Since the 60s we have had such a strange twist in Hollywood. Politics is doused from the culture and Hollywood runs the culture. During the 60s we started changing the formula. Before then, there was no rating system. Every movie was pretty much a G or PG. Then they brought in a whole new era through the “free love”, the hippies, the Vietnam War, and everything else. We started celebrating the bad guy. Even today we make them look like heroes. Look, I love Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid but in real life they weren’t Robert Redford and Paul Newman. {Laughs} They were pretty bad guys. In the movie they were really good looking dudes that were funny, charming, and very likable. I have a feeling Butch and Sundance weren’t the most likable guys in real life. I think people want to get back to what I call “actor’s movies”. I love the Avengers and Pirates of the Caribbean movies with these wonderful visual effects, but in those movies you watch them knock down about twelve buildings in New York City. That means that about three million people just died and it’s no big deal. They don’t even show or talk about that. I mean those buildings aren’t empty. It is interesting that people just let that stuff go. I realize that it is there to just be fun and a free ride, but I got into acting because I wanted to move people. I wanted to make them laugh, cry, and think. I want them to say, “You know what? I really liked that guy or know somebody like that.” That has become what more and more of my movies have been about and I kind of like that because that is the roots of why I got into acting in the first place.

Several of your recent roles, such as in God’s Not Dead and Let There Be Light, have showcased your characters’ anger toward Christianity. You do an exceptional job of this; where do you get your motivation for the roles?

I’ve got atheist friends, but they aren’t angry atheists. We chat, we talk, we are still friends, we go out to golf, and we give each other a hard time. That is what I find weird. I see these guys on TV on FOX, CNN, and MSNBC that have atheist clubs who spend millions of dollars battling to take crosses down and nativity scenes. It just cracks me up. I look at these guys and I think, “Really? This is where your focus is? Where your energy is? You have that much hate?” If you want to put up something celebrating Satan then fine, put it up. I don’t get upset if someone doesn’t have a belief or believes in a different religion. That doesn’t bother me and I do not lose sleep over that. I find it amazing that people spend so much time and are so offended. If they get that upset because they think that God and Christianity is just a myth then they should be getting that upset over Santa and the Easter Bunny too. I mean come on… I thought of a Christian then took away all reason and accountability. That left me with an angry atheist.

Why do you think there is such hatred towards Christianity by so many angry people?

I don’t know why there is such anger towards Christians. The mainstream media has led that charge. Hollywood and the media love each other. I would love to hear an honest answer from them as to why they attack Christians. I guess they just don’t like all the positive things they do for the world.

You are a pretty active on social media in regards to voicing your opinion about politics. What is it like being labeled a conservative in Hollywood?

It is like being a pariah or leper I guess. If it weren’t for independent movies then I wouldn’t have a career anymore. That is what really cracks me up. Hollywood screams for tolerance; they scream for freedom of speech, but it is all a one-way street with these guys. Like I said, I am not upset if someone is a liberal, Democrat, progressive, moderate, or whatever. That’s fine. Let’s have a friendly debate about the positives and negatives of both sides of the political aisle, but we have gotten so stretched apart. I tell my liberal friends, “Look at John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech from 1960 and tell me if that is a liberal today.” You know? “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” is not the mantra of the Democrat today. For the most part they just want big government and to be the babysitter of the country. I still go back to one of my favorite quotes by Ronald Reagan: “The most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I am here to help.”

In your book you mentioned some serious health issues that you encountered around your 6th season of Hercules. You had a successful show, recently met your wife, and basically had everything going for you up to that point. What got you through it?

I think it was a combination of things, certainly my faith. I always had faith. I have certainly had a rollercoaster ride of going to church and not going to church but I never really lost belief that there is some force out there bigger than us that created all of this. I still don’t believe that you can get something from nothing. It is the old chicken and the egg argument I guess. I would definitely say my faith and my family. My parents are very strong and supportive. My fiancé at the time, who has now been my wife for over twenty years, is a hard-edged New York gal who wouldn’t let me feel sorry for myself. A lot of my recovery was that and also the fact that I was in my thirties. I was in better shape than most people in their twenties and I just really hit it hard in terms of my recovery. I did probably ten times more than what the doctors asked of me. I am a very strong-willed person, and I wasn’t going to let this thing beat me. I just kept plugging away and luckily Universal Studios kept the series going. It wasn’t out of their heart to me, but they did it because the show was making a lot of money. It was still a gift to me because it gave me light and the end of a very dark tunnel. It was great that they kept it going. I went from a 14-hour workday to one hour a day only four months after I went through my therapy. It took me almost three years to fully recover. The last two seasons of Hercules I had probably lost about fifteen pounds of muscle. I kept trying to do stuff but it was really hard with the tissues and vertigo. It certainly sucked; I will tell you that much! It wasn’t fun. I remember that I would joke saying, “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.” Then I would say, “Well I guess I would give it to the Taliban and ISIS.” {Laughs}

With you being so young, did you ever have any of those “why me” moments?

Oh gosh, yeah. You definitely have that. I had just finished my first big budget movie called Kull the Conqueror and was about to do another that I had to drop out of. I lost a big paycheck there, but then again I would rather have my life than be dead. It was frustrating. I argued with God and wrestled with God; it was a long road. It was tough, but my wife gave me a mantra to say into the mirror every day when I woke up. She said, “Say I am getting better and I am getting stronger until you believe it for that day.” It was hugely instrumental in my recovery.

Of course much of your work is also rooted in historical context from Greek mythology to Texas boomtowns. Do you personally have an interest in the field of history?

I love history. In fact, that was one of my favorite classes in school. I studied quite a bit of American history, Russian studies, and far eastern studies. I am fascinated with the past and think people need to learn from it. Many of our school systems are getting rid of that. Kids don’t know anything about the Revolution War. We are now just attacking our past and tearing down statues. You know what? Every country has good and bad. To sit there and try to erase history is ridiculous. That is why we repeat history, because we aren’t learning it anymore. I am fascinated by that and have always liked that aspect of study. I think it is important people know where and how we got to where we are today.

In the next few days I am heading up to see the editor’s cut of my movie that is now entitled “Miracle in East Texas” and is based on a true story in 1930. It is a wonderful comedy, faith-based movie and I think people are going to love it.

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One thought on “Kevin Sorbo: Journey From Demigod To God [Full Interview Transcript]

  1. Pingback: INTERVIEW: Kevin Sorbo's Journey From Demigod To God | I Live In Dallas

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