Seeking out Legend of the Seeker's Craig Horner

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Legend of the Seeker fans sounded a collective 'nay' last week when a representative from the Tribune Company (which owns most of the stations that air the syndicated show) revealed it would not be interested in a third season. There’s been no official announcement from ABC Studios, of course, but having recently chatted by phone with Aussie star Craig Horner (Seeker's Richard Rahl) as he relaxed in an Auckland Starbucks, it sounds like the poor guy might be ready for a break.

For those who haven’t checked out the show, Seeker is based (more or less) on author Terry Goodkind’s bestselling “Sword of Truth” fantasy series, and serves up a buffet of familiar swords-and-sorcery treats. Look, it ain’t great, but it’s often fun. It has an appealing cast—with hotties Bridget Regan (Kahlan Amnell) and Tabrett Bethell (Cara), plus the legendary Bruce Spense (Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander)—all tramping about in gorgeous New Zealand locations (a la Lord of the Rings). And best of all, it has no TV-typical cops, doctors, or lawyers.

TV.com: New Zealand's not that big a country—have you seen every square inch by now?
Craig Horner: I'm kind of confined to Auckland, actually. There's still so much I haven't seen. Come the weekends, I just need to watch a movie, play the guitar, go swimming at the local swimming hole; you don't have the urge to drive an hour to go see something. But I have a friend visiting for a couple of weeks, so that will probably get me out there.

So you haven't even gone bungee jumping?
I did recently do the Sky Jump at the Sky Tower, it's this massive needle in the city. I did it with Tabrett, who plays Cara. She took me there for my birthday. You're kind of dangling at first. I didn't look down much. And they let you go and drop you, first just 10 meters, and they take a photo, and then they let you go. But you have this tension, from the wires, on you the whole time, you feel that safety, so I kind of felt like a bird flying down. It was great.

Legend of the Seeker is a physically grueling series. You must be a helluva swordsman by now. I like that backhanded grip you whip out sometimes.
Well, I keep getting better and better, I hope. I have a great stunt double who's always challenging me to keep it up. We don't want to just have Richard doing the same old slice and dice. He started off with the heavy axe swing kind of moves—he was a woodsman, not a swordsman. He was cutting down trees, but now he's cutting down D’Harans, right?

Let's play the game where I say a name and you give me the first word that pops into your head. Bridget Regan.
Oh, cute.

Bruce Spense.
Warm.

Tabrett Bethell.
Ooohhh, uhhhh, slithery. That's not a very nice word. [laughs] Let's say smooth—it's just that snake-like suit she wears.

You're a pretty small cast. It is fun or challenging to work with each other so much?
We get guest actors in every episode, and that really helps to keep us from getting bored, and, you know, getting bored of each other. It can give us new energy, especially when it's a young, great, interesting actor. It kind of revitalizes us and reminds us of what we're about.

Is there a lot of humor on the set?
It's a lot of going, going, going. You want to do bloopers, purposely goof up scenes, but there's just not the time, and it's expensive. And there's so much in these episodes, so much that's happening all the time, it's crazy.

So of course fans are all about the unresolved sexual tension between Richard and Kahlan. Can you actually see the show not having it and still being successful?
It's still critical to the show: You want to see how these two are feeling that while it's just getting worse and worse around them; I mean, you've got this evil dude to deal with, it's the Keeper who's basically the Devil, right, so that kind of takes priority over your relationship. So you keep following your destinies, fulfilling your prophecies and then see how you end up.

Looking back over the evolution of the show, it seems it took a real emotional turn with Season 1 episode 8, the debut of Denna and the Mord'Siths.
That was one of my favorite episodes, that and episodes one and two. They had a real journey for Richard; meaty yeah? We really went there, you were just in a dungeon, just two characters playing out scenes—it was powerful wasn't it? But that's kind of the question: Do you make a show that's just a frenzy of fast-moving images…or do you just make solid acts, keep them self contained, sort of. I wish we could do that more.

At the end of Season 1, Kahlan says to Richard, "No one can blame you if you want to go home." And Richard says, "I am home." How long do you see Legend of the Seeker being your home? Do you want a third season? A sixth season?
There are so many pros about this job, and a couple of cons—being away from friends and family in Australia to shoot for nine months of the year, and the shooting is grueling. I want to live all aspects of my life, not just acting.

But this is a project that could go on for years. I mean, we're not just sitting around in a medical room, talking about this or that disease. I get to ride horses, fight with swords, fulfill my Indiana Jones dreams, my Conan and Star Wars fantasies. And it's always, you know, the end of the world, losing your father, your son, your mother (laughs). So if there's a character I could keep playing, it's Richard.

What else would you like to do?
Well, not really acting projects as such. I mean that stuff just kind of happens, doesn't it? It's not like I can say, ‘Okay now I want to do my thriller with Scorsese, where is it?’

What I need to do is listen to my body: It needs rest, it needs better food, a bit more meditation, some massages, yeah? Playing music and dancing and hanging out with friends. I'll get all that back in me, and then we'll see what the next thing is.

Legend of the Seeker airs Saturdays and Sundays in syndication.

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