INTERVIEW: Kevin Sorbo’s Journey From Demigod To God

The name Hercules elicits images of sheer strength and power. For many of us that grew up in the 90s that image is also synonymous with Kevin Sorbo. The towering actor portrayed the iconic hero on the television from 1993 to the turn of the century.

The classic series began as an unexpected surprise. Initially there were only to be five Hercules movies made to air on TV, however, the unlikely phenomenon struck a cord with audiences and boomed in popularity. The surge in interest quickly led to the creation of what would become the most watched show on air.

It was something new, something different, and something fresh on TV… I knew by the third movie it was going to be on TV. I called my manager back in Las Angeles and told her that I really thought this thing was going to be picked up as a TV series… Within a month of that conversation Universal Studios called up and said, “Yeah we are going to make that TV series.” Three years later we become the most watched show in the world, surpassing 'Baywatch'. It ended up being in 176 countries; it is kind of crazy!

While the show today is considered a great success, many people at the time did not share Sorbo’s enthusiasm. Hercules was just one of five trial movies that were being put into rotation for a trial purpose. The uncertainty of introducing so many new shows to be cycled through television programming did not bode well for the future, a fact that executives were well aware of.

It’s funny; I have heard some of the studio guys at Universal tell me, “When we came up with all of these different shows we thought 'Hercules' would be the first to go.” It just goes to show you how much studio executives don’t know.

Kevin Sorbo met the woman who would become his wife on set, and the show’s ratings were on the rise. He seemed to have it all, but soon things quickly unraveled. At the pinnacle of the series disaster struck. Sorbo suffered an aneurism and multiple strokes. His condition left him with severe vertigo and balance issues. The muscular, mountain of a man was reduced to a fragile patient who had to learn to walk again.

I did probably ten times more than what the doctors asked of me. I am a very strong-willed person, and I wasn’t going to let this thing beat me... It was frustrating. I argued with God and wrestled with God; it was a long road. It was tough, but my wife gave me a mantra to say into the mirror every day when I woke up. She said, “Say I am getting better and I am getting stronger until you believe it for that day.” It was hugely instrumental in my recovery.

The health issues proved to be a tremendous obstacle, but Sorbo went on to film two more seasons of the show. He has since moved on from the success to find a new calling, faith-based films. The actor that once found fame playing a demigod now focuses on promoting God.

I did a movie called 'What If…' and I loved that movie. That is what kind of got the ball rolling. There is so much anger, hate, and divisiveness coming from Hollywood through television, movies, politics, and everything else. I wanted to do something that, hopefully, families will watch… Hollywood doesn’t really pay attention to that part, and I am just doing my little bit in the Indie world. Hopefully people will keep supporting these movies.

In recent years Sorbo has gained recognition for his antagonistic role in the movie God’s Not Dead. In the film he portrays an atheist professor who challenges one of his students to prove the existence of God. Sorbo’s spectacular performance resonated with audience members. How could a lifelong Christian pull off such a convincing role?

I think if you are an atheist that you have one of the strongest faiths around. I think it is amazing that you can believe in absolutely nothing. That is a stronger faith that most Christians have… I’ve got atheist friends, but they aren’t angry atheists. We chat, we talk, we are still friends, we go out to golf, and we give each other a hard time. That is what I find weird. I see these guys on TV on FOX, CNN, and MSNBC that have atheist clubs who spend millions of dollars battling to take crosses down and nativity scenes… I find it amazing that people spend so much time [fighting] and are so offended. If they get that upset because they think that God and Christianity is just a myth, then they should be getting that upset over Santa and the Easter Bunny too. I thought of a Christian then took away all reason and accountability. That left me with an angry atheist.

In addition to producing taboo films in Hollywood, Sorbo also breaks the mold with his political views. Hollywood and conservatives have proven not to mix well in recent years, especially if you are vocal about your political views. The ideology has cost actors their careers and even been rumored to stop production of shows such as Last Man Standing. Kevin Sorbo has shown to be one of the few that has chosen not to remain silent.

It is like being a pariah or leper I guess. If it weren’t for independent movies then I wouldn’t have a career anymore. That is what really cracks me up. Hollywood screams for tolerance; they scream for freedom of speech, but it is all a one-way street with these guys. Like I said, I am not upset if someone is a liberal, Democrat, progressive, moderate, or whatever. That’s fine. Let’s have a friendly debate about the positives and negatives of both sides of the political aisle, but we have gotten so stretched apart.

Being labeled an outcast has not stopped Sorbo from producing films that he believes are meaningful. His latest production Let There Be Light tackles a man’s journey from loss and addiction to finding meaning in life. He is also currently wrapping up a historical, faith-based film titled Miracle in East Texas.

Whether or not you are a fan of faith-based films, you have to admire Kevin Sorbo’s conviction. His strength to overcome physical and career barriers while staying true to his ideology is much more than most men possess. It is no coincidence that his breakout role came playing mythology’s strongest demigod. Kevin Sorbo truly is Hercules.

Hercules and Sorbo fans will have an opportunity to meet the actor next month at Dallas Fan Days. The convention will be held at the Irving Convention Center on October 19-21. For tickets and information about Dallas Fan Days click here.

Can’t get enough Kevin Sorbo or looking for a new film to watch? Sorbo’s latest production, Let There Be Light, is currently out in stores on DVD. Click here to watch the movie trailer for the movie Let There Be Light.

You can find the full text transcript of our interview with Kevin Sorbo including his favorite school subject, historical quote, and more by clicking here!