Questions & Answers
with Kieren Hutchison
Do you watch your own shows?
Not very often. I tend to watch stuff more while I'm making a show, to see which areas I need to make improvements. Most actors you speak to will say they hate watching themselves which I can understand, but I like to take a step back from thinking of it as you and try to learn from your performance. What's working for you, what's not, it's fun once time's passed too, I saw some William Tell when I was in England a good two years after we'd finished filming it and that was weird! I'd forgotten so much I was able to watch a lot more impartially.
While you were in Europe, did you have the chance to watch one of your shows in dubbed version? And if so, what was it like to hear yourself talking in a foreign language?
Unfortunately, no. As I said I saw it in England, but nowhere else. That would be really interesting. I just hope I didn't have a totally inappropriate voice anywhere... high and squeaky or something, you know? The one I'd love to see is Swiss Family dubbed into Japanese, apparently that happened.
Do you speak any other languages?
No. I've been dabbling in learning German 'cause I really enjoyed my time there, but I haven't gotten very far!
If asked, would you be willing to dub a character in an animated film or work on an audio book?
Yeah, for sure. I love a good animated film so I'd always be up for that especially.
Do you have a role model? If so, who and why?
No one in particular, though I like to refer to stuff I've learned from the biographies I've read of actors and entertainers I admire. You pick up just as many things not to do as things to emulate.
Is there an actor/actress you would really like to work with?
There's a few. I really like Billy Crudup and George Clooney. Cameron Diaz or Cloe Sevigny or Susan Sarandon would be great too.
Is there a director you would really like to work with?
The three main ones would be Steven Soderbergh [Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Out of Sight], Cameron Crowe [Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire, Singles] and George Lucas [Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Willow].
Would you like to direct yourself one day?
At the moment I have no ambitions in that area. Acting's prety much the only job I want on the set. I could probably see myself producing more than directing.
What appeals to you in a script, how do you chose your roles?
At the moment I don't! At this stage in my career I'm still very much auditioning and taking what I can get. Hopefully it's a role that I have some idea how to play and bring something new to. I'm really looking forward to doing different things now, more adult, away from Fantasy or Family stuff. No One Can Hear You was a step in that direction, though ideally I'd really like to push it.
Is there a character you really would like to portray or a movie you really would like to be in (script/story you heard of or remake of an old movie)?
No particular character or remake springs to mind, though I do have ambitions to be in some kind of sweeping historically accurate epic! I think it's time for a really good pirate movie, absent the cliches, you know? I've always loved the Bounty mutiny story, though that's been done to death. How cool was that 1984 version, imagine getting that cast together today? Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Liam Neeson and Daniel Day Lewis. But I digress...
How would you describe yourself?
I'd have to say pretty easygoing, a typical Libra! Optimistic and inquisitive, a bit vague. I love books and travelling.
Do you have a favourite genre?
Not really, I'm a fan of few types. Gritty, realistic dramas I like, but also a well done adventure or action story. (Though there aren't many of them) I love a good comedy, but more as an audience, I don't have a lot of ambitions to be in one.
What is your favourite movie?
I'm not sure if I have one. In the past I've said Raiders of the Lost Ark, and that's still up there, but I like Out of Sight, Pulp Fiction, Jerry Maguire, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon too. I'm also a big fan of older movies like The Young Lions, High Noon, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, the original Psycho. So I guess that's quite a few favourites, huh?
Do you have a favourite author / book?
Easily my favourite author is Elmore Leonard. His books read like movies and at least two good ones were made from them, Out of Sight and Get Shorty. I loved the Dalai Lama's Art of Happiness. And I've read a lot of great actor's biographies which are very inspiring. There was a series of books I read when I was younger, the first two series of Dragonlance, The Chronicles and The Legends. Those were very cool. If they make movies from them I'd like to grow a beard and play Tanis the half-elf! All pretty similar to The Lord of The Rings though, so it's probably a fair way off if it was ever to happen.
In Young Hercules you portrayed Orpheus as a sort of rock star. Could you imagine that being an alternative career for you?
Absolutely I could imagine it as an alternative career, that would be awesome! Unfortunately it's likely to remain in my imagination, 'cause I can't sing or play any instruments... I'm a huge fan of Elvis Presley, so I love the idea of being a rocker.
What sort of music do you like?
Rock and Funk. I'm a bit out of touch with modern stuff, though I like Fatboy Slim and Robbie Williams. My classics are Elvis, George Michael, The Bee Gees, Dean Martin and Bruce Springsteen.
Was it difficult for you to learn the old writing style to write in Ernst's Journal for The Adventures of Swiss Family Robinson?
Yeah, it took some practise. Originally it was going to be the hands of the guy who ended up teaching me, but he was a lot older and his hands were significantly bigger and hairier than mine!
What was it like to work with K.C. Kelly? Usually those who portray the best bad guys turn out to be rather nice people in real life, is that true for him?
I spent a lot less time with KC, 'cause most of his scenes were with Gareth Howells (Ben). It's funny, 'cause I was originally cast as Ben, so things could have been a lot different. You're right though, he's a nice man who bears no resemblance to meanie Parsons.
How did you end up playing Ernst then?
Actually, the original, original casting was my friend Dean O'Gorman as Ben. The Swiss Family shoot conflicted with the first Young Hercules pilot, so he turned it down. They offered it to me and I'd just left Shortland Street so I said yes. After the readthrough apparently the producers noticed a passing resemblance between me and Mr Richard Thomas, so they came up with the idea of recasting me as Ernst, who up until then was going to be a younger character, like 15 years or something. A bit confusing at the time, but Gareth Howells got called in for Ben and off we went!
What was it like to work with Richard Thomas?
Fantastic, he's someone I admire a lot. I remembered him from The Waltons, my Mum used to watch it all the time. He's remained a good friend over the years, I still visit him and his family when ever I go to Los Angeles. He's right behind me getting work in the states and I've learned a lot from him.
And what was it like to work with Andrew Binns? As Lord Xax he was rather flamboyant...
Another person who's different from the evil character. I first met Andrew when I was a green 18 year old back in Shortland Street. I didn't have a lot to do with him there, but we became quite friendly during Tell. It was typical of Andrew to push the boundaries of the Xax character, it wasn't nearly as outlandish on the page, so it was a brave decision to play him with an English accent and so camp. It worked though, and brought a lot to the dynamics of the show.
Was playing three different versions of William Tell in the episode Doppelganger difficult for you? You did it very well!
Thank you. That was a long day! The scenes in the cave at the end of that episode were saved until the end of the shoot so I was the only actor on set, running to change costumes after each take. That was the hardest part - putting on and taking off those big heavy costumes 20 times! Fun though, my brother Daimen was being the over-shoulder Will Tell, (his back to camera) wearing a dodgey blonde wig, so it was him that I was delivering my lines to.
Do you like doing your own stunts?
Yeah, I love doing as much as possible. The fights are great fun, that's the best part about adventure roles. Andrew Binns and I had a great time with that penultimate sword fight in Tell. There always comes a time where you've got to let someone who's really good come in and do the tricky/dangerous stuff, but I'm always up for as much as possible.
What was your best acting experience so far?
Creating my own action hero in Tell is way up there, though I found the enigmatic Robert in No One Can Hear You a nice challenge. On the whole though, I have not worked on a project that I'm whole heartedly proud of - whether in terms of my acting or the overall quality of the project. That's yet to come, when I know that I've really tested myself and I know that the movie or TV show itself is a quality piece of work.
What was your worst acting experience so far?
I haven't had any horrible experiences, but overall I know that some of the episodes of Swiss and Tell weren't up to scratch, and on the whole Riding High wasn't very interesting for me creatively, but hey, that's nit picking! I've had fun on all the sets I've worked on and those shows are what they are. Like I said earlier, I'm looking forward to working on better and better material.
Anything else you would like to say...
I just want to say thank you for all the letters and E-Mails I've gotten from people who've enjoyed these shows. I very much appreciate the support and I'm blown away that there's any interest at all in web pages like this! I'm really looking forward to my next projects and taking things to the next level. So keep watching and hopefully we'll go somewhere interesting. *