“I see it getting worse,” actor and filmmaker Kevin Sorbo told LifeZette about bias against creative conservatives in Hollywood.
The 58-year-old star of such popular programs as “Hercules” and “Andromeda” said it can be difficult for right-leaning artists to survive in Hollywood, even a creative person with his high profile — something that should not surprise those who pay attention to politics in Tinseltown.
“They don’t really call me for anything,” Sorbo said of the big studios. “Thank God I’ve got a career in the independent world, because being a Christian conservative in Hollywood is kind of a death sentence.”
The star's next jump into the independent filmmaking world is "Let There Be Light," a movie about an outspoken atheist who turns to Christianity after a near-death experience. It's a personal project for Sorbo, who directed the feature and who stars along with his wife (a co-writer on the flick) and his children.
"Let There Be Light" will reach theaters November 2. Audiences are already accustomed to seeing Sorbo headline faith-friendly movies, as he's starred in plenty, including "God's Not Dead," "What If?" and others.
Although faith-focused movies are more plentiful today, Sorbo said most of the financing for them is independent; the Hollywood power structure is hesitant to fully embrace the genre.
"It's slowly becoming more accepted," he said, noting there were far more biblical-based movies made before the '60s — and now Hollywood is afraid to take chances. "They just keep going with what they know."
The actor believes that when Hollywood does decide to put sizable budgets into biblical or faith-based movies, it uses the wrong ingredients. "When they do them, they do them in a really stupid way. You look at 'Noah.' You look at 'Exodus' ... They hired atheist directors, they hired atheist actors, and the movies reflected it and they bombed horribly."
Compare the tiny box-office hauls of those movies to the stellar numbers of a cheaply made movie like "God's Not Dead" — and it's easy to see Sorbo's point.
"It's interesting," he added. "They still don't seem to get it." It could all tie back to the infectious politics of Hollywood, something Sorbo is no fan of as a Christian conservative or as a creative individual.
"I love the industry. I love acting. I love being on the set. I'm just tired of the politics that have gotten worse and worse," he said. "It's a battle we got to keep fighting. I'm not going to give up on it. I'm tired of the hypocrisy."
He added, "Their idea of free speech is you agreeing with them." It's not a belief structure the "Hercules" star buys into, as he believes in little of what the top liberals of Hollywood preach.
"Is anyone swimming from Key West to Cuba?" he asked rhetorically. "The reason America became great was because of individuals, not big government." (go to page 2 to continue reading)
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In the meantime, Sorbo wants to do what people know him best for: bring stories to life. Besides "Let There Be Light," he's already working on setting up his next directorial project, which he says is in the vein of "The Blind Side." He's also fresh off a stint on one of the most popular shows on television, "Supergirl" — an offer for which the actor admits was a curveball to receive, considering his and most other conservatives' standing in the industry.
"I was shocked when they called me to do a three-show arc on 'Supergirl,'" he said. The series has also employed outspoken conservative and former Superman actor Dean Cain as a series regular.
During his time on the popular show, Sorbo got to work with "Clerks" director Kevin Smith, who brings an energy to the set that Sorbo appreciated as both an actor and director. "Kevin Smith was a hoot because the energy he brings on the set is just awesome. I mean, you finish a scene and he walks up and he gives you, like, a banana sticker on your uniform," the actor said, laughing. "He has people clap for the stand-ins while they're lighting."
Sorbo continued, "It's very good and high energy — and people are motivated because crews can get very jaded. If you can do a scene and make crews laugh or cry, you know you've got something good."
The "Kull the Conqueror" star said energy is something he tried to put into his own directing. "It was nice to work with a guy who brought so much energy to the set. I try to do that, too. I'm very collaborative and I'm not a dictator on set."
Making his feature directorial debut on "Let There Be Light," Sorbo used tricks of the trade he picked up from the various directors he's worked with over the years, as well as from his time behind the camera on "Hercules." "I'm sure there's osmosis from every director I've ever worked with, good or bad," he said. "I learned a lot just by watching other directors."
Sorbo also has his next book, "True Faith," landing at Christmas time. It's is a follow-up to his best-selling memoir, "True Strength," which detailed his experience recovering from an aneurysm and strokes, and how his faith in God and help from his family helped him in his journey.
The actor-director also keeps busy these days by doing something not many celebrities make the time for: meeting and hanging out with fans at conventions.
"The people who take the time to come to these 'cons' are really the hardcore fans," he said, noting these conventions have gotten far more respect in the past few years. The upcoming San Diego Comic-Con is now nearly as highly regarded as film festivals like Sundance.
"I enjoy it. I enjoy the travel," said Sorbo, adding that at the end of the day, the face time with fans can benefit the work. "It makes a big difference."
Learn more about "Let There Be Light" here .