Talking LEGEND OF THE SEEKER with Craig Horner
So I had some free time and some free TiVo space, and told myself it was time to check out LEGEND OF THE SEEKER, and I have to say that I don’t know what it is (it could be the picture above), but something is keeping me coming back to the show! (Hey @emojunky – I am hooked now, too)! I had a chance to speak with the series star Craig Horner, who plays Richard, the Seeker in question, and aside from being a super nice guy, he had a lot of great stuff to share about why this series might be for you!
The action, adventure, the epic storytelling of the show was not something I would typically get drawn into, but I’m totally wrapped into it!
Excellent, I’m happy to hear that, that’s good!
What interested you in the Richard character?
It was just a really good, humble kind of leader that’s very equal and is able to assess the situation, and it’s just that leading man. I’d been playing characters that were maybe leading up to a man, and this kind of character is just good to get into. He’s a nice guy, it’s great!
Had you been aware of the books before the series, or did the series make you aware of The Sword of Truth books?
I didn’t know of them. A friend of mine said that it’s a really, really awesome book, and I should go read it. I read up on it a bit just before my first audition. I was like, yeah, this is me, I could get into this. Then I read the book, and I feel in love with it.
Aside from reading the books, how do you prepare to play a character like this?
We got to New Zealand and we had like 6 weeks kind of prep because the scripts weren’t ready, so we were able to really sort of read from the book and get in touch with our characters. So yeah, it was great. The whole book is really told from Richard’s point of view. I had some weeks to nail that character, so whatever script we got, I was able to handle it!
Did the six weeks help you to naturally build the chemistry between you and Kahlan? It seems so easy between everyone.
I think it’s the fact that we both got here, her from American, I’m from Australia, we’re all kind of alone. We just had each other. Everyone else knew each other. We would go and do sword fighting training, and some horse riding training, and I guess when you’re alone together in a new environment, you tend to get along.
What can you tease for us that’s coming up in Season 1?
I’m struggling to remember! [laughs] There’s more and more Sith, there’s Darkan Rahl coming up. There’s magic paintings. I do it and I literally forget about it. I was thinking about this next season!
Is it hard being down in New Zealand, gauging what kind of fan reaction you’re getting up here?
I have no idea! I work about 14 hours a bit, and then I lounge around for a bit. The show’s not on here. I don’t see anyone else; I go to a studio and then see the crew, and then go out to the set and just do that. On the weekends, I’ll go to a café to get a coffee and leave. We’re really in it, we’re in the trenches. I’m happy it’s doing well. I wish I could be watching it with everyone else in America!
Were you a fan of this kind of actiony-adventury-mythical show growing up or currently?
I loved things like Star Wars, and Home Alone. And Conan, and all of the good kid movies. This kind of genre was definitely something I was into. Everyone running around with swords.
I love that you mention Conan. I remember being like 5 or 6 and watching it every day of the week, without a real reason to do so.
Totally. I’ve been waiting for a character with sword.
Whose career would you love to emulate?
It’s a tough one. I’ve always looked up to Leonardo DiCaprio, just because he was 4 or 5 years older than me, so I could do, okay, what did he do at this age, and I would love to have a career like Leonardo DiCaprio’s, and just kick off all the boxes of all the acting palettes. He’s done WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE, BASKETBALL DIARIES, ROMEO AND JULIET, THE BEACH. All these just great different intense roles. Now he’s gotten himself into a stage where he can choose what he wants and work with different directors and actors. But I mean, it’s more of a career that I can look back on and be proud of because I challenged myself.
Was there a point in your career where you knew you wanted to be an actor?
I was always kind of into acting a little bit. We did a bit of drama in high school. It wasn’t until the last two years of high school where I was lucky enough to have a really amazing drama teacher come and visit our school and start teaching there. He had come from a university in Queensland that is actually like a drama school when you leave school, people go train there. He took us through these exercises, and they weren’t even just like these dramatic exercises every time. They were just awareness exercises, stillness and presence. It made me fall in love with that, and acting came out of that. The ability to be free and express yourself creatively, open yourself up, do whatever, just be like a paintbrush. I got a feeling that I’d never had before from acting.
Is there any interest in writing or directing or producing in the future?
Absolutely. If I wasn’t so busy now, I’d try to be desperately writing. As soon as it finishes, we’ll talk about that! I definitely have aspirations for that.
I know that TV in NZ is kind of behind what we’re seeing now. What shows are you really into, do you love to watch? I read an interview that said you just had a lot of DVDs that you watch!
I love ENTOURAGE. Love ENTOURAGE. Know what I’ve been watching lately, is Gordon Ramsay’s HELL’S KITCHEN. Just because it doesn’t remind me of anything. I get home, and I don’t want to watch anything with acting [laughs] so it’s like watch some crazy cooking environment where people are yelling at each other, and they’re trying to make food, and they’ve got 10 minutes, and it’s just this weird, completely different environment, but it’s just as equally stressful. And you say “ah see, there’s other people that get stressed out sometimes; we’re all part of this big world”.
I watch the show and I’ve convinced myself that I would totally stand up to him, but I know I totally wouldn’t.
I KNOW! So nasty! It’s so empowering.
I know I would actually cower in the corner and my food would be bad.
Totally! You see those people who butt up against him, and it takes them like 2 or 3 days to say, “Ok, Gordon, how do I cook properly.”
Bringing it back to the show – why do you think now is a good time for people to get into the show?
I just think it has a lot of potential to cover so many areas. You have these two good characters, Richard and Kahlan, who are not only secretly in love with each other, they’re friends, and they’re on a mission together. I really think there’s room to grow, with not only the main characters, but bring in other characters and other relationships. Let’s take BUFFY, it wasn’t until season 2 or 3, and they were like, we can start developing these characters and giving them arcs, and thinking about working with 22 episodes. Especially this first season has been a wish wash – we’ve gotta get this out now, and what are we going to make now, and we don’t know what we’re shooting next episode. I think we’ll have that time, and we’re all getting our mojo and we’re creating something unique.
A lot of people have, maybe wrongly, compared it to the HERCULES / XENA shows of the past. But what I like is that it doesn’t have the over the top humor; it’s a drama, first and foremost.
You can’t really compare to HERC and XENA. Sure, it’s the same guy holding camera, 10 years ago. I mean, these guys since have made LORD OF THE RINGS, and, UNDERWORLD, and it’s all new people, half of it. HERC and XENA, it was an example of two American’s who go, “let’s go to a country where we can hire some people for less money, and make a really big budget-looking show. Don’t worry about the story just yet. Let’s just get this done” and then it’s like, “Shit, we’re doing it”, and with this, it has all that quality. All it needs is that good writing, and we just try to develop those characters. You have three lead actors who would sink their teeth into anything all dramatic and serious; otherwise, we’d just get lazy. It’s important for the writing staff to challenge us. I think that the more they challenge us, the better it will get.
I think that’s why I felt more drawn to it. I enjoy the really good acting, really good writing, dramatic show, versus, let’s see what happens when we throw people together.
Exactly! I mean, you can have all the biggest action and special effects, but unless you have the drama and the relationships behind it, there’s nothing to fight for!