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Rob Tapert on Xena and more

Rob Tapert on Xena and more

Interviews - 2009

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American producer Rob Tapert talks to NZ On Screen about hearing that New Zealand was “an undiscovered production treasure” in a studio carpark and he discusses the internationally popular syndicated TV programmes that he’s brought here (Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules) that have helped realise that vision. These productions were instrumental in building the skill base of the NZ cast and crew. Many NZ actors found fame through their characters, particularly Lucy Lawless (now married to Tapert) and Michael Hurst (Iolas in Hercules). Tapert talks about his beginnings in the industry: dropping out of grad school in Michigan (where, “Hollywood might as well have been as far away as New Zealand”) to make films with long time business partner and Hollywood director, Sam - Evil Dead, Spider-Man - Raimi. Tapert also discusses:

  • Making blood mixture on their first feature, Evil Dead.
  • The inherent difference between feature films and television.
  • His involvement in Hercules and the challenges of juggling global productions.
  • His commitment to local cast and crew and the unlikely inspiration for Hercules’ cast (Desperate Remedies).
  • His inspirations for Hercules’ spin-off Xena and the internet’s influence on Xena becoming a pop culture icon.
  • Why local actors and directors have succeeded on these productions, but NZ writers haven’t managed the crossover and why post-production effects were done in the US.

Tapert continues to bring new productions to NZ, and is about to cast a new R-rated series for US Cable TV based on the Roman slave story, Spartacus. He has recently finished producing another major TV series in Auckland, Legend of the Seeker.

This video is available for distribution on YouTube as Part One and Part Two

Interview - Clare O'Leary, Camera and Editing - Leo Guerchmann