Kevin Sorbo is not one to hold a grudge. Still, he admits he’s a little bitter about the fact that he has received not one single work call from executive producer Sam Raimi since the end of their very successful TV series collaboration Hercules. Especially since right around the end of Xena: Princess Warrior, the companion series also produced by Raimi, star Lucy Lawless was given a small part in Spider-Man. “I think Lucy got a small part in it because she’s married to Sam Raimi’s partner, Rob Tapert,” Sorbo tells FilmStew. “She started having an affair with him down in New Zealand. She left her husband and he left his wife of 15 years. So that’s how that whole thing got together.”
“I busted my ass on Hercules and during Season Five, I almost died doing it,” he continues. “I had an aneurism that exploded in my body that almost killed me. I think I’m a good enough actor that he can put me in a secondary part in one of his feature films. It would be nice if he did that.”
“I think he’s holding a grudge over me. He wanted me to do a movie back in ’96 when I decided to do Kull the Conqueror. He wanted me to do his movie and quite frankly, the movie was horrible. If the movie was so great, let me ask you this, how come he never made it with somebody else?” The last time Sorbo actually saw Raimi was on the set of the 1999 drama For the Love of the Game, because Sorbo is friends with that film’s star, Kevin Costner. But even then, things were not quite right.
“I was having lunch in Kevin’s camper,” Sorbo recalls. “Sam showed up and of course acted all nice and sweet to me. I think he held something back on me and it’s just weird. It is very infantile from a guy who’s as powerful as he is and as wealthy as he is to. Throw me a bone. Why not let me do something? I’d love to play a bad man in one of the Spider-Man things.”
“I think I’d be great at it, but what are you going to do?” he ponders. “It is what it is and it’s unfortunate, but people harbor a lot of resentment and whatever in this business. Jealousy and envy and everything else.” The aforementioned Tapert offered Sorbo a part in the first of Raimi’s Grudge remakes, but that too moved quickly from a matter of schedule arranging to what Sorbo sees as another slap in the face. “I said, ‘Let’s work out a schedule and see if I can come over and do it,’” Sorbo remembers. “Then I find out that they want me to come in and audition for it. It wasn’t that big a part, so I thought, ‘I’m not interested.’”
“Again, I shed blood, sweat, and tears for Hercules,” says Sorbo. “I gave him a successful spin-off in Xena and Young Hercules, and he says, ‘You’ve got to come in and read for a part that’s really like the seventh lead.’ I decided that’s just basically saying F-you.”
“I think he was mad because I didn’t do three more years of Hercules. I was completely burnt out. They got seven years out of me, so let me move on to something else. Still to this day I’m grateful for the series. I have friends that I’ve held over from that show forever and I have nothing but great memories of working in New Zealand.”
“But you could tell they were done from the lack of care on the set by everybody,” he adds. “It just seemed like everyone was going through the motions. But I still had a good time.” And for all those would-be action stars out there, what advice does Sorbo have for them about Hollywood?
“I tell them to run for the hills,” he insists. “I tell them don’t get involved in this business. It’s insane. Once Hercules hit the airwaves, I had everything from a seventh cousin to people who just knew someone in my family asking for advice on being an actor.”
“I’m like, ‘Geez, nobody really showed me the ropes,’” Sorbo continues. “I just went out there and got myself beat up and you learn that way. I think you’ve got to really want it and stick with it, because chances are you’re not going to make it.”
What a bitter, bitter man. He's just mad he's a has-been.