O'Gorman a legend with overseas fans - TV Guide (New Zealand) - 2000 (August 4)
This article is from the New Zealand magazine TV Guide, dated August 4, 2000, featuring Dean O'Gorman.
The high-res magazine scans are from Bryn.
Table of Contents Summary: Dean O'Gorman has become a legend with overseas fans thanks to his latest TV role.
O'Gorman a legend with overseas fans
by Dionne Christian.
When New Zealand actor Dean O'Gorman visits London in September, he'll spend a frantic day surrounded by young fans, signing autographs and posing for pictures.
Yet at home on Auckland's North Shore, O'Gorman, 23, can go about his life without this type of recognition. That will change for those few days in London when O'Gorman (pictured) takes centre stage at a convention for fans of the action-adventure show Young Hercules.
Now screening on TV3, the children's show is one of the spin-offs from the Renaissance Pictures series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Filmed in NZ, that show also spawned Xena: Warrior Princess and, in the process, made a number of local actors - like O'Gorman, into internationally recognized celebrities.
He stars in Young Hercules as the young Iolaus (Michael Hurst played the adult Iolaus), best friend to the boyhood Hercules (Ryan Gosling), alongside Jodie Rimmer as Lilith, the only female cadet at the academy, Kevin Smith as Ares the god of war, Meighan Desmond as Ares' sister Discord, Joel Tobeck as Ares' devious nephew Strife, and Angela Dotchin as the sassy young woman who runs the inn where the young cadets spend their freetime.
Like its parent show, Young Hercules is set in ancient Greece during the golden age of myth when warlords, monsters and meddling gods interfered in the lives of ordinary people. In this series, the headstrong young Hercules has been sent by his mortal mother to a warrior training academy so he can learn to use his god-given strength responsibly. "When I first got the part, I thought I'd better get to the gym," says O'Gorman. "I threw myself into training but I was burning the candle at both ends and got quite sick about a month before the shoot started. I lost a lot of weight, so that helped me to look a lot more muscly than I actually was."
He laughs when asked if having a black belt in karate helped win the role, saying he earned that a long time ago and was not allowed to do his own stunts, anyway.
Much as he would have liked to, he says the "stunties" could do it far better at less stress to directors and producers conscious of continuity issues should one of the lead actors break their arm. Not to mention the insurance ramifications.
He did, however, have to complete a sword-fighting workshop!
He suspects boyhood war games may have been some help toward preparing for the role - not that he realized it at the time he and his friends were dressing up in army surplus gear and making home videos.
"I was only 11 and it never even entered my head to think I could be an actor. I always figured I'd be a graphic artist or something like that. Never an actor."
That changed when he was spotted at school by a talent scout and, at age 12 years old, landed a role in the Australian TV movie Wildfire, followed by the kiddult adventure series Raiders Of The South Seas. Since then, there's been Shortland Street and the films Bonjour Timothy and When Love Comes, but it is Young Hercules which has given O'Gorman an international profile.
Since filming it in 1998/99, O'Gorman has attended one show convention in the United States. He describes it as an unbelievable experience. "We walked on stage and there was all this cheering and flash bulbs going off as people took photos. The place was huge and it was full of kids all wanting to meet us. It's the closest thing I'll ever get to being a rock star.
"You can't take it seriously, though, because it's so unreal. The kids who want to meet you only want to do so because they really think you are the character you play. It's really kind of cool that they all speak to me as if I'm Iolaus, but the moment you walk out the doors, life goes back to normal."
And if the acting ended tomorrow, there's be no waiting on tables for O'Gorman. The son of well-known landscape painter Lance O'Gorman, he'd paint for his supper!