Legend of the Seeker has been gaining momentum as a syndicated drama since its debut this past November, and appears poised to find a successful second season in its future. Sci Fi Tracker had an opportunity to speak separately with both Craig Horner and Bridget Regan about their work on the show, each other, and whether the forbidden love between their characters is more Buffy or Brokeback…..
QUICK! ENCAPSULATE YOUR CO-STAR IN A FAST, FIZZY SOUNDBYTE! NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHING!
When prompted to describe his co-star Bridget in three words, Horner did not hesitate. “Effervescent. Sassy. And just fun – plain fun!” he said.
When asked which three words she might use to describe him, he speculated, “Strange. Disobedient. And……I occasionally go walkabout, so what’s a word for that? Where you just kind of wander off…..?”
“There’s ‘restless’,” I suggested. “Or ‘adventurous’…….”
“I like adventurous,” he responded. “That’s better than restless!”
In speaking with Bridget a few days later, she painted a wildly different portrait of Horner than he imagined she would.
“Three words for Craig Horner?” she said. “I would have to say…..driven. Smiley. And…..gosh, I want to pick a good one……..open. Emotionally open.”
Which three words did she suppose he would use to describe her?
“Hopefully he would say something about how I’m lovely to work with! And that I’m there for him. I hope!” [When she was informed of the “fun, sassy, effervescent” combo that was actually deployed, she was touched. “That’s sweeeeeeeeet. What a sweetie boy!”]
THE SECOND SEASON
When first asked what he might be able to reveal about the show’s sophomore year, Horner replied, “I don’t know anything about season two – all I can reveal to you is the shoot dates!” But when asked what he’d like to see happen with future episodes, he ventured: “Personally, I would like to explore the characters in a little bit more depth, of course………like, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you had that first season of wham, bam, thank you ma’am with big vampires, and action, and cute girls! After that point, you can join the dots, you’ve already got the fans, you can then go straight into the character, straight into the feeling – you’re already there.”
When prompted for her speculations as to what a new season might yield, Regan offered:
“Well, there are all these books that the show is based on, so you’d think you’d know that we’re headed in one direction, but we’ll often take a left turn…..you never really know with this series. There’s so much to draw on. So I don’t know what they’ll do. I have no idea! We’ve explored a lot of different tones with the show this season, and I think we’re finding a really great groove. Personally I hope the show pushes the limits of what we can do. At first I found it quite daunting, because I thought……magic? What is this gonna be? How do I relate to this? Anything is possible because it’s magic. As long as it’s backed up by characters you believe in.”
As the character of Richard starts to lose his new guy glow, what’s in store in future seasons for our favorite shirtless woodsman?
“It all depends,” says Horner. “I’ve kind of matured him now in the past few episodes and…….I’d like to start really growing him up and having him be a bit more adult. But it wouldn’t be fun to not have that journey. You want to have him as the new guy, saying “What is going on here?!” From zero to hero, as they say.”
And Regan finds that her “killer with a heart” character gives her plenty of room to play.
“I find Kahlan to be quite fascinating. She’s so driven by her cause, not only is she willing to give up anything to get it, she’s also ready to step over anyone that’s in the way……or rather slit the throat of anyone who’s in the way. And that was one of the things that I found really fascinating about her. She’s got all this warmth, and yet she’s also this warrior that is a killer. And she doesn’t think twice about the cause and what’s right and wrong, and I think she does have a bit of a dark past……”
THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT ANGLE – MORE BUFFY, OR BROKEBACK?
The standard route of generating romantic tension between the leading male and female characters is fraught with more than the usual assortment of stumbling blocks in the case of these two. For one thing, Regan’s Kahlan character possesses magical powers that are offset by a rather marked downside. “There’s this power she was born with, being a Confessor,” explained Regan. “Which makes her……not able to be in a relationship, to put it in modern terms.”
Horner, it turns out, is a huge Joss Whedon fan, and cites Buffy the Vampire Slayer as one of his favorite TV shows ever. “That was a great show to go to as an angst-filled teenage kid,” he notes. Not surprisingly, Horner is quick to liken the impossibility of a Richard and Kahlan union as being marred by “Buffy and Angel-like” obstacles.
Regan, on the other hand, has her own pop culture reference to help illuminate the exquisite torture of their unrequited relationship:
“You’re going to laugh, but when we had our first kiss, in the eighth episode or something like that, and both of the characters gave in for a moment……there was all this talk around it – this kiss has got to be epic, and……I happened to watch Brokeback Mountain the week before. And I was on set, and I found myself saying, “You know what? It’s so Brokeback Mountain!” People kept looking at me like, “Are you kidding?”
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The sword of truth, as set forth in Terry Goodkind’s best-selling novels, is the weapon of choice for the Seeker, and one which supposedly imparts he who wields it with an ability to tap into the knowledge and memories of whoever has used it previously. So, if the sword were real, whose mind would Craig Horner want to read, anyway?
“Woooooow,” he said, and then, after a quick pause: “Eckhart Tolle’s. The author of “A New Earth.” I’ve been reading it every day, so if I could tap into someone’s knowledge and wisdom and power, it would be that guy’s!”
Regan, on the other hand, has opined in past interviews that Kahlan’s inability to get intimate renders her particular superpower a big bummer. Which superpower would she rather wield, if given a choice?
“Flying would be pretty cool,” she wagers. “The old being invisible one – that’s the one when you’re a kid you always wanted to have…..that’s always a good one. And time travel – that’s nice too.”
(Speaking of time travel…….there’s no Tardis in Legend’s season one finale, but there will be a rather flexible treatment of the time-space continuum. “Which is so exciting – it’s such a good script!” reveals Regan. “We start [filming] next week. And everybody on set – literally all the makeup girls and the crew, everyone was reading the script and flying through the pages and every once in a while someone will look up and go, “Oh my GOD!” and everyone is like, “I know!” So much crazy stuff goes down in the finale. I get to age many, many years in the finale.”)
Kenneth Biller, one of Legend’s executive producers, has maintained that the show’s creators are in pursuit of the holy grail of television – creating quick-hit, stand-alone episodes that anyone can just tune into without missing a beat, while also maintaining a sweeping mythology – in this case, as presented by author Terry Goodkind’s books.
But what do the stars think of this tightrope walking act?
Craig: “Personally, I think it’s best to separate the two. And [the show has] kind of done that. It’s on its own train track now. I’m a real big fan of Terry Goodkind, and I think those books are really amazing. I think as long as we be true to that but admit, what we’re doing is taking the characters, and all these great ideas, and the structure and the relationships and the mythology…..it results in two different things. You can’t really get 22 hours of television out of one book. You have to just allow it to be what it is.”
Bridget leans toward agreeing with her co-star. “I think obviously it would be truer to the books to have this big, long arc. But……TV is such a bizarre medium. A show is so informal in that you basically find yourself inside someone’s house. Whereas with movies or theater, there’s a formal setting, and people pay money to sit in that seat…..but with TV, you can be making dinner, and there’s Richard and Kahlan. I like that idea of them being just friends that you know, and I like the idea of just popping on an episode and saying, “Oh, where are they at?” And I think audiences are smarter than [some people] think they are. They’ll catch up. They’ll catch on. Although you could watch this show on mute, and be entertained.”
FROM THE FOLKS WHO BROUGHT YOU DISMEMBERED HOMICIDAL HANDS AND WARRIOR PRINCESSES…..
Legend has a fine fantasy pedigree in that executive producers Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Ned Nalle had previously worked together on the likes of Hercules and Xena. Tapert furthermore is married to Xena herself (and recent BSG alum), Lucy Lawless.
Regan admits that Lawless has been generous in providing advice on how to do the gung ho warrior woman thing. “In terms of being the star of the show, and carrying as much as you do, and the stamina and keeping energy up, she’s given Craig and I some great advice. She has a great sense of humor, which I think you need in this business.”
Not to mention, seeing as how as both Kahlan and Richard like to play fast and loose with the sharp, pointy objects, Raimi’s past experience in re-animating severed body parts might come in ‘handy,’ too.
Bridget: “Oh, they’re lovely! Well, the fans of the books are the ones I’ve had the most interactions with. I couldn’t believe it. I had never heard of these books, but since obviously working on this, I came to learn that they are huge bestsellers. There was a huge following for this show before it was even on TV. But in person, I don’t get recognized that often. I’ve only been home a few times, but……I’m not walking around in a long white dress, carrying daggers!”
Craig: “To be honest, I work really long hours, and filming in New Zealand – the show isn’t even out yet here, so we’re completely isolated, and the only time…I went back to Brisbane for Christmas, and I was just standing in line at a café, talking to a friend, and I heard this little girl: [feigns American accent] “Um, excuse me……are you Craig Horner?!” She was part of this little family, and they’re all, “Oh, we watch Legend of the Seeker! We’re from Idaho!!” And I was like, whoa! Finally! I said, “How’s the show going over there? What’s it like? Tell me!!!!” I think I freaked them out.”
Horner is a huge fan of The Mighty Boosh – the ground-breaking, surreal and truly genius comedy which has, in the past, found its way to BBC America (clips of which can also be scrounged up on YouTube). So, is Horner a Vince or a Howard?
“I’m a Vince. I’m not Howard! I’m a bit of a dreamer. Although I’m not as obsessed over clothes and looks as Vince. Well, I guess I’m a bit of both. Everyone’s a bit of both. That’s the thing…..there’s the confident guy and the not confident guy. It’s like Jerry and George.”
Meanwhile, guess which actress was practically voted Least Likely To Survive Stage Combat Class in drama school?
“I was so bad at it and I hated it,” Regan admits. “I said, “When am I ever going to use this?!” I’m rolling my eyes – the worst grades I ever got in drama school were always in stage combat. It really was a good lesson in the universe having an incredible sense of humor.”
WHY SHOULD WE WATCH?
When asked how she would pitch the show to someone who’d never watched it before, Regan suggested, “While it’s got action and violence and fantasy and magic and all those things, it also has a romance, which is what appeals to me the most, so that’s probably how I’d sell it. It’s a story of love, and fighting for what you believe in, I suppose. So I would say that. I’m not much of a saleswoman. My dad is in sales. He’ll probably be disappointed in that.”
Horner suggested that, “It’s for someone who isn’t looking for a show that represents the real world. There’s a hero, a wizard, a princess……it’s a timeless tale. It’s like Romeo and Juliet meets Lord of the Rings, I guess.”
Curious yet? Check local listings for the latest Legend of the Seeker episodes, or catch past episodes right here on Fancast!