Battling the forces of evil is all in a day's work for actor Craig Horner, who plays Richard Cypher, the titular seeker of the sci-fi/fantasy series "Legend of the Seeker," which kicked off its second season earlier this month. PopEater caught up with the Aussie actor while on the New York leg of his publicity tour to talk about the upcoming season, 'Buffy' comas, and yes, taking his shirt off -- often.
PopEater: When we last saw Richard, he had just killed the evil Darken Rahl (Craig Parker). What can we expect in the upcoming season?
Craig Horner: "You can basically expect hell on earth because the underworld is now open. That means any horrible kind of creature or even the past person who's been sent to the underworld can come back and reign terror on earth. We have these things called banelings, pretty much zombies, they're already dead and you can't kill something that's already dead. And these people are coming back and you don't know whether it's your friend or if they've been killed and they're actually a baneling. So it's kind of scary. You don't know who to trust in this world now."
PE: Another development in season 2 is a guest appearance by Charisma Carpenter. Were you familiar with her work on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel'?
Horner: "This is not lying, I was and am a massive 'Buffy' fan and 'Angel' fan. Like, I love the show. I would get into what I used to call 'Buffy' comas, where I would have the TV in my room, you know, and watch a whole season in one weekend. It's addictive. I loved it. Unfortunately I didn't get to work too much with Charisma. She was kind of on the other side of things. And we didn't have too many crossover scenes together."
PE: Any other guest stars this season?
Horner: "Yeah, we've got some great actors and actresses. We've got Aimee Teegarden from 'Friday Night Lights.' We've got Jolene Blalock from 'Star Trek.' Gabriel Mann, he plays a young Zedd on the show. We're just getting great talent from all over the place."
PE: I imagine with all the horses and swords and magical stuff involved with the show, that there has to have been some memorable on-set bloopers.
Horner: "Yeah, we introduce these Sisters of the Light. They're these mysterious women with magical powers, and they hurl these things called dacras-they're kind of like ninja stars. And Alison [Bruce] who plays Verna, comes in and like, we're rolling and she has to tear around the corner and throw one of the stars at me. She's supposed to go kind of close to me. They're plastic so if they hit me it's fine. I won't get hurt. She comes around, she delivers her line, she's like [affecting a feminine voice] 'You're not going anywhere!' and she throws the dacra, and it couldn't have gone further away from me. It went way up into the rafters, and it didn't come down. And the director's like at the monitor, he doesn't know what's going on so he's like, 'Uh, one more. We're still rolling.' And she's like, 'Uh, I don't have the dacra.' [Laughs]
PE: You're Australian and use an American accent for the show. How did you come up with it?
Horner: "For me it's a combination of, I watched a lot of American television as a child. I watched 'Star Wars' a million times over and over until I could recite the whole thing. And you automatically have to do the accents and everything. And as an actor I would work on it from time to time, and I would take great monologues from great films and great actors who I thought had a really good naturally strong American accent. And I would go over it, and over it, and over it, until you know it perfectly. And then you combine that with going and actually, the best thing, is coming [to the U.S.] and living here. And I've got the crazy kind of actor friends who are like, 'You know what, all day, wherever we go, we are American. We are speaking to each other in American accents.' "
PE: Another thing you're known for on the series is taking your shirt off a lot.
Horner: "Thankfully I can go, 'Well, he used to work outdoors. He was building a bridge, and when it's hot, wouldn't he take his shirt off?' I mean, that's what I would do. Not that I've built that many bridges. I can actually remember I said, 'Guys, if this is 'Baywatch' in the woods, I'm not in it. I'm not doing this campy kind of-that's not what the show is.' It has to have seriousness and it has to have integrity."
PE: Hercules and Xena both had their own action figures. Are there any plans for a 'Legend of the Seeker' action figure?
Horner: "I don't know if there are, but if I do become an action figure, I think my life will be complete. If I'm an action figure that will be like a little boyhood dream come true. I just hope I don't see people doing, like, horrible things to them. You know, like hanging them from their car window and dragging them along the ground or something like that, like 'Napoleon Dynamite.' "