2:39– A little of my background
6:43– Did you have a dream to become an actor when you were growing up?
8:02– How did the opportunity of Hercules come about?
12:58– The health scare that challenged my faith
17:50– About my book
20:17– A little about show business
23:45– How do you balance the tensions of performing in the entertainment industry and trusting in your walk with Christ?
27:38– What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given and who gave it to you?
29:55– What advice would you give the 20-year-old you?
31:08– The 4:23 Question
34:33– My current projects
37:10– A piece of encouragement
Sorbo received international stardom when he booked the lead role in “Hercules: the Legendary Journeys” (1993-1999), which became the most watched TV show in the world, airing in 176 countries. Following that success, Sorbo had the lead role as “Captain Dylan Hunt” in Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s, “Andromeda”–the first show created by Roddenberry after the original Star Trek series. Andromeda debuted as the number one hour-long show in first-run syndication and remained at number one for its entire run from 2000-2005.
Some of Kevin’s most notable movies include “Kull, the Conqueror,” “Walking Tall, the Payback,” “Avenging Angel,” and “Meet the Spartans.” The independent film “What If” won Best Family Movie of the Year 2011 at the Movie Guide Awards. Sorbo also received the Movie Guide Award for Most Inspirational Performance of the Year. Some of his many television credits include “Just Shoot Me,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Dharma and Greg,” “According to Jim,” “Gary Unmarried,” “Psych,” “Hawaii 5-O,” and a recurring role in the final season of “The OC.”
Sorbo also starred alongside Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt in “Soul Surfer”, the true story of surfer Bethany Hamilton who lost her arm in a shark attack. The faith-based movie, “God’s Not Dead”, debuted in 2014 and became the most successful independent faith-based movie ever with over $100 million US Box Office, DVD, VOD and merchandise sales. Kevin released his memoir in 2012, “True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life”. The book chronicles his near death experience when he suffered three strokes and the battle back to regain his life. Sorbo also co-authored a Chicken Soup for the Soul, “Think Positive for Kids”.
In real life, Kevin leads “A World Fit for Kids”, a successful mentoring model that trains inner-city teens to use school, fitness, sports and positive role models for themselves. World Fit is the number one after-school program in the state of California. Sorbo resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Sam, and three children.
Full Transcript:
Ray: Well, hey everyone this is Ray Hilbert your host here at Bottom Line Faith and we would like to welcome you back to another edition of the program. If you’re a regular subscriber to the program, you know the analogy we like to use here at Bottom Line Faith is this is where we like to lift the hood and we tinker around the engine of Christian leadership. We literally get the chance to travel around the country and we get to interview top thought leaders who are followers of Christ, CEOs, business owners, entrepreneurs, athletes, coaches, and of course entertainers and actors and that’s our guest today. I’m really, really excited. I’m in Thousand Oaks California and it is a beautiful day here, and I am which one of the most well-renowned and successful actors in the history of television in Hollywood I am with Kevin Sorbo. Kevin, welcome to Bottom Line Faith.
Kevin: It’s good to be here. You talk about all those people that you interview, I’m here wondering why you’re talking to me. It’s good to be here welcome to my humble abode.
Ray: Well you’re just so kind and gracious to host us. So, I’ve got three kids, teenagers and I was trying to explain to them who I was going to go interview. I know your humble and those sorts of things, but you’ve had an amazing career.
Kevin: Your kids don’t know me?
Ray: We’re working on it. Well, they know you as the guy who died in God’s Not Dead. They know that movie.
Kevin: Okay, well Hercules is out there on Netflix and Andromeda is out there too. So I gotta brag to your kids Hercules was the most watched tv show in the 90’s so they should watch that show, we passed Baywatch. 176 countries and I think it’s on one or two cable outlets as well. But it’s still out there which is amazing to me. There are a lot of kids of that age group that stops me know because it’s new to them.
Ray: Right.
Kevin: You know, but it as a wonderful seven-year chapter of my life spent in New Zeland.
Ray: I use to love watching a show, and I have to admit as a young guy you had some pretty nice looking characters come up on set once and awhile, right?
Kevin: Every two weeks I sat down a very beautiful woman to work, with so is a great dating service. My wife doesn’t like that.
Ray: But that’s how you met.
Kevin: That is how I met my wife, we met at the end of season five. Season four, I’m sorry, I take that back. We hit it off right away. Hit it off right away. It was interesting our first date. The very first scene we did together was at the end of the movie, and it was a kissing scene. It was really just a goodbye kiss. I walked up to her, and I said “Sam, do you want to reverse this kissing scene?” and she laughed at me and says to Annie, my makeup artist she goes, “Annie, do you have any mints?” she said “Sure, I do love.” and she goes “It’s not for me, it’s for Kevin.” So I said “Touche, touche.” but I talked her into a date, we went out I pick her up in the car, and of course, over there they drive on the opposite side of the road. I got used to it pretty quickly, but I get a kick out of everybody that wants to go do something the first time that they are there they always go to my side because they think it’s the passenger side and I go “Oh, you want to drive?” but so I did that to her. She gets in the car, and I had country music on, and she goes “Oh, you like Country music?” and I said, “Yeah, its the only Country music station in the whole country but I have a wide taste you can change it.” She says “No, no, I like County music.” We go out to dinner, and we’re talking, and she goes, after I said a couple of things, I’ve got to ask, just kinda based off of what you said, are you conservative?” I said “I am a conservative, yes I am.” and she said “Oh, wow. So, am I.” and we talk a little more, and she goes “Wait a minute are you a Christian?” I said, “I am a Christian.” She goes “You’re Country music, a conservative, and you’re a Christian. I think I’m in love with you.” So, we got engaged fairly quickly within six months, but we only saw each other maybe two months out of that whole six months because I’m in New Zealand and she is in LA, and we got married one year later, and we’ve got three kids ourselves.
Ray: That’s fantastic, and so you did not grow up in the Hollywood scene, you didn’t grow up in California. Let’s go back-
Kevin: I’m still not part of the Hollywood scene.
Ray: Absolutely, but tell us about your background where you grew up and what early life was like for you.
Kevin: I’m the fourth of five kids. My dad is a school teacher for thirty-five years, 7th and 8th-grade math and biology. I always say “Gosh, dad, thirty-five years of puberty, I don’t know how you’re able to handle it, you know, but. Then my mother was a nurse but quickly became a stay-at-home mom with us five kids. We lived in a little town called Mound, Minnesota which is about twenty-five miles west of Minneapolis. We’re on the beautiful shores of Lake Minnetonka, and for those who don’t know and a lot people don’t know, that is where Tonka toys are made. Lake Minnetonka came from there. So I grew up in a very athletic neighborhood with dead-end streets a cul-de-sac in today’s world, right? Probably had twenty-five kids in those seven to eight homes always playing sports always active so I grew up playing football, basketball, baseball, golf. My dad, in the summers, worked at a golf course that introduced the game to me. But really great parents, a really supportive community not only for their school systems which was really good and still very good there. Considering how bad our publication education is this a whole but that’s a whole nether topic. Sports wise, half the town would show up to watch football or basketball games, and that was my life. I really enjoyed that. Church on every Sunday I grew up in a Lutheran household, which is very typical of Minnesota, I’m Scandinavian 100% Norwegian 2nd generation. So Yeah I sort of had a Norman Rockwell growing up. You know it was interesting for me when I got into college and got a little more into the real world and out of my protective bubble to see that I didn’t know about things like racism anti-Semitism we did not have that. We had one Jewish guy in my whole high school, Sal Perry. I remember in the 7th grade he said “Yeah, we get seven days of presents,” and I said mom, “Can we be Jewish? Cuz look at that, they get seven days to celebrate.” So, on one hand, you grow up in this little town in that era. Kids today are so much more informed because of the internet, which is kind of the Wild West. I loved how I grew up and where I grew up. I’m still very good friends with the friends I’ve had since I was five years old. We still keep in touch.
Ray: So growing up to you have a dream to become an actor or get into Hollywood?
Kevin: Oh, yeah.
Ray: How did this all come about?
Kevin: in Minneapolis, I was only half an hour away, the Guthrie Theater. It is a very famous theater, and a lot of people in Broadway, anybody that’s a stage actor knows of the Guthrie because eventually anything on Broadway or in Chicago, whatever ends up there eventually. Very supportive of the Arts there and I was eleven years old, we went as a field trip to the Guthrie to see The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare. I don’t know what the heck they were saying, I mean it was way over my head, Shakespeare stuff. But I was mesmerized by the actors, just by the whole thing. I realized I really liked it. I grew up with my mom watching a lot of old movies, watching black and white. Watching Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, you know Spencer Tracy, all the guys I really admired Jimmy Stewart, and so it was there, the seed was always sort of there. On the ride home after the Guthrie Theater, I told my mom I wanted to be an actor, and she went “That’s nice dear,” and I got a pat on the leg.
Ray: As only moms can do.
Kevin: But I didn’t tell anybody because I know clicks still exist in schools, and I was a jock, and we made fun of the drama class. But the whole time I wanted to be in there. I wanted to check out what was going on. So, it wasn’t until I got to college that I really started kinda playing around with it and being more active with it but once I got out it was full born.
Ray: Yeah. So, obviously, you’ve already mentioned Hercules but how did that come about? How did the opportunity come about for you?
Kevin: You know, I was one of the lucky ones. Minneapolis is home to a lot of huge companies we have Best Buy, Target, 3M, Honeywell, Pillsbury, General Mills are all there commercials being shot there so during my college years I made good money doing commercials and so I had a great commercial reel. So I moved out here I had no problem getting a commercial agent because I was already established and they knew of the commercials because that’s their world. I worked very, very well doing commercials. I got to say a little sidetracked though because I met a girl, which happens in college and she moved to Dallas, Texas, and so I followed her there first. I spent a year and a half in Dallas, and they have actually very active print and television commercial world as well. Then she was a big-time model, and she said “Look, I’m going to go to Europe,” I was ready to move to LA, she said, “Come and spend one summer with me before you got to LA.” I said “Why not? Three months in Italy, what the heck.” So I go to Italy with her and three months turn into three and a half years. I lived in Munich for a year-and-a-half, I lived in Germany, I mean in Milan, Italy. I lived in Paris for six months. London. I mean my parents were sort like “I thought you were moving to LA,” you know. “I’m not calling you for money am I? I’m working for myself.” they always instilled hard-work, you do hard work. Which I believe today, don’t look for handouts. But that’s another thing. I have no regrets of that. I have no regrets. So I didn’t get to LA, I went for Christmas after three and a half years in Europe, I went home for Christmas. I called my agent in LA and said “I’m coming out there after I spend a couple of weeks here with family and friends. They called me a couple days later and said “Look, we’ve got a client at saw your reel, they want to meet with you. They’re going to pick between you and another guy for a commercial in Australia, and it’s a huge International commercial. The pay is unbelievable.” and I went “I just got home.” and they said, “I’m just telling you that if you’re not here, you probably won’t get it.” I talked to my mom and dad about. After Christmas, I drove down like December 27th. Loaded up everything I had in my world of that time and stayed at a friend of a friend’s house. Met with the client, two days later I’m on a plane to Sydney, Australia and I stayed for eight months. I call my agent, and they go “I thought you were just going down there for ten days.” I said, “I wrote a report about this country when I was a kid, and I really wanted to stay here for a while.” I shot seven commercials, did two plays and I had a blast. Finally get to LA, I’m twenty-seven, okay.
Ray: You took the long route.
Kevin: I took the long route to get there. I thought I’d get here by twenty-two. But I took the long, long route. I was almost twenty-eight, yeah because I was on the road for almost six years. So, I was a late starter get here I started working right away commercially. So, when they approached me for the role of Hercules at first, I told my agent “Look, I’m an athletic guy, but they’re going to want me to be some 6′ 6” foot, 340 pound, steroid, no neck guy for this role. They said no “They’re looking for an NFL sized guy, a decathlon kind of guy.” So, when I went in it was seven auditions over a couple month period. They got down to the last three guys, 2800 actors they looked at for this role. So, the last three guys I’m at Universal Studio there’s a big black building about, I don’t know, twenty stories high there as you enter, Universal Studios. I call the building the place where people go to die because it is the rejection capital of the world. So I get up there, and Sam Raimi is one of the executive producers. He did the Evil Dead series, Spider-Man- directed all those movies. He’s our executive producer and there’s like twenty people in there all the men and women, all the hot, big people at Universal that decides what goes on TV. So, I read again and I walked out and I went up to Vancouver to do a guest spot on The Commish, Michael Chiklis was on the show at the time and three days later they called me and they said “You got the role. You’re going to be Hercules.” I walked back on the set and said to Chiklis “I want no more crap from you, I am now half god. And I went to extra training with the person they wanted me to work with, Douglas Wang, one of Bruce Lee’s original students, for a few months before going to New Zealand. It was originally going to be five two-hour movies was Anthony Quinn playing Zeus I had a whole year with Anthony Quinn, which was amazing. I knew by the third movie I said “They’re going to make this a series,” I told my manager and sure enough like three weeks later they said “You’re staying.” and we went for seven years and we could have went on longer. I went to do Andromeda. I got a mafia offer from Majel Roddenberry, Gene Roddenberry’s widow, that I couldn’t refuse, I was a big Star Track fan. So, to be the first Captain, Dylan Hunt, after Captain Kirk I couldn’t resist that opportunity. But Hercule is amazing and Andromeda is was fun for me too. That went five years, it would have went longer too but the company that owned us, Tribune, went into bankruptcy. But, I had twelve straight years of pretty much being out of America. Because we shot Andromeda up in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, so it was a great twelve-year run, no complaints.
Ray: Yeah, and so you had something really profound happened to you during your time in Hercules you had a health scare.
Kevin: I did.
Ray: Let’s talk about that and how did your faith play a role in all that?
Kevin: You know, it was the end of season five, and we were about four months away from Sam and I getting married and I was having fun with my left shoulder, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on with it and these three fingers were numb and cold all the time. I was doing all my own stunts. I’m working fourteen hours a day. I’m lifting weights two hours a day. I mean I was maybe averaging four to four and a half hours of sleep a night through the first five years of that series. Not that I’m complaining, I had a blast doing it.
Ray: Sure.
Kevin: I just- I don’t remember dreaming because as soon as my head hit the pillow, the alarm went off. It would be like four and a half hours would be gone like that. Like I said I was doing all of my own stunts, so I kind of blew it off. My doctor back home in Los Angeles, I told him what was going on, and he said “You do a lot of stunts, Kevin. You probably hit a nerve like hockey players do that can create the numbness down here, and I can last for months,” he said. I blew it off. I go and come back home to do my first big publicity machine for my first movie it was called The Call of the Conqueror, shot over in Croatia and Slovakia. I was up in Boston, and I saw a doctor over there because it was just killing me. So I saw a doctor over there, and his name was Dr. Dye, I said “Time to change your name, I don’t care. Dr. Dye doesn’t work for your profession. He hit it. He said you have something cardiovascular there. I go back to LA my doctor finds a lump way up here in my left clavicle. He thought it was cancer, didn’t tell me that at first. He told me that afterward. He said, “We need to do a biopsy, we need to check this thing out.” I said okay, and I went to see my chiropractor who I hadn’t seen in 8 years, and I laid on this table, and I heard a voice say “Don’t let him crack your neck.” and I thought that’s so weird he has never cracked my neck like ever in eight years. He knows I don’t like the crack. The voice says it again so I’m arguing with the voice in my head and he cracked my neck. That lump ended up being an aneurysm, that had been sending blood clots into my arm for three months. That crack forced three of the clots to my brain, and I suffered three strokes, one speech, one vision, one balance. Fortunate in one way it could have killed me. I could have ended up in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. But I went from a guy who was in better shape than most athletes in their twenties, I’m in my thirties at this time, to a guy that couldn’t even stand up and walk. I spent the next four months learning how to even stand up and balance again. It was three years on the road to recovery for me. I’ve always been a Christian, but I never needed faith until this huge roadblock entered my life. It was tough I mean there was a moment when I got out of ICU after a couple of weeks, I remember pulling myself on this staircase up to the top floor of the building that I was in. It was just floor below where they had this poolroom and stuff. It was two or three in the morning, full moon out and I remember weeping and crying and praying, and I just said, you know, “Why?” I just felt like somebody had died and it was the old Kevin because I knew I would never be that same person again. Universal was gearing up to take over for Arnold Schwarzenegger as a next action guy, and all that stuff is just stripped away from me. I’m grateful that they kept the series still going. I went back down four months after the strokes, and I went from fourteen hour work days down to an hour a day.
Ray: Wow.
Kevin: Just somehow to stay to keep the show going because the show is the number one show in the world. It was a cash cow for them, and I’m grateful because it gave me hope, it gave me a light at this ridiculously long tunnel I was in. I remember one of the neurologists I was seeing I said, it was just like a week before my, and I was four months into my rehab now, and I told Sam that maybe should call it off, I told her maybe we shouldn’t get married. I didn’t know what my recovery was going to be she’s getting the worst part first before she says for better or worse and I said, “I don’t want to put this burden on your life.” and she stuck by my side and the doctor said, “Don’t put your life on hold.” I loved that line because a lot of us do put things on hold. We get so busy in our own worlds and so crazed with that we are so self-important when there are so many other things out there. Pay attention to your kids more. They came into my office now, and I make sure I stop what I’m doing. They want to walk, sit down and talk. You know, it’s been a gift for me in so many ways that I learned to have far more patience in my life and be far more grateful for. God and I wrestle trust me.
Ray: Yeah.
Kevin: But you will lose that battle every time. But so my wife kept bugging me to write a book, write a book, write a book and I didn’t want to do that because you know we’re men and we got our egos, and we are afraid to expose the weaknesses that we have.
Ray: Yeah.
Kevin: But so I didn’t write this until, my gosh, until more than a decade until after my stroke.
Ray: Yeah.
Kevin: It has opened up doors for me that I never thought would be opened for me before. You can read the title.
Ray: So Kevin is referring to his book called True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal and how Nearly Dying Saved my Life. For those of you who are seeing it on video here is a copy of the cover of the book. This was in 11, 2011 when it came out?
Kevin: Yeah and here is an interesting thing about that book Sam, my wife, was completely right about this. At first, I just went out to bookstores because that’s where they open up. Barnes & Noble had me come out, and I was blown away by the crowds because they were Hercules fans and whatever and Andromeda fans because we even waiting until the end of the series of Andromeda. I had cancer survivors, car crash survivors, heart attack it wasn’t just stroke- people said your book made me stop feeling sorry for myself. The book motivated me.
Ray: Yeah.
Kevin: Because my wife would always say whenever I got down, I’m a very strong-willed person. But whenever I got down my wife would say “It happened, what are you going to do?” because too many times I think we get a roadblock thrown up in our lives and we just give up. I said “It sucked because I had all kinds of problems going on.” and the worst thing was the vertigo, no matter what if I was sited, standing, or lying down I felt like I was falling backward, twenty-four hours a day. That lasted for two years until it slowly started to stop and it drove me crazy. It was just tough but I’m grateful for that book, and it opened a door for me for something I never thought I would be doing. I do a lot of speaking events now, and that has been, and I’ve been averaging fifteen a year for last six-seven years now. So it’s been incredible.
Ray: Wow that’s fantastic, and so as the scripture says “what the Devil meant for evil, God has turned into His glory and His story.
Kevin: Oh, He tried to warn me that was the voice in my head. I have atheist friends who say “That wasn’t God, that was your gut feeling.” I go “Okay, so call it a gut feeling.” How many times have you walked back in your college days or High School days and you’re by yourself, and you’re in a city, whatever and you say ” I’m going to take a shortcut down this alley.” and you hear a voice go “No, don’t go down that way.” Call it what you want, you know. Call it what you want.
Ray: It’s the Holy Spirit.
Kevin: But the warning was there, and I blew it off. A good friend of mine said, “What are you going to do now when you hear that voice?” I said, “I’m going to listen to it.” That’s what I’m going to do, you know. But it did open a door for me.
Ray: Yep, yep. Kevin, what we’re really hoping to do with this program at Bottom Line Faith is really to help Christ-followers who are in business and leadership and in the marketplace influence culture really integrate their faith into what they are doing in the marketplace. Could we just for a moment about the business side of acting and the business side of show business. It is called show business-
Kevin: It is show business after all.
Ray: So, what would you have to say, what would you teach us or tell us about the business side that maybe most of us wouldn’t know about?
Kevin: Well, I think it can apply to any business really. I just think Hollywood has more rejection than other businesses. But every business has politics in it, every business has rejection in it, and for me, I think we discussed it earlier when we were off camera. That I used to caddy at this privet Jewish country club when I was in college, and I caddied for very wealthy, successful guys rather they were twenty-five or seventy-five they were already big successful these younger guys and bigger and bigger success for the older guys, the ones that have been on for decades. I said, “How did you get to where you are?” I asked this of all the guys, I did this for two summers out there, and all said, “Well, I failed, and then I failed again, and then I failed again.” And they taught me that failure was a positive, not a negative. You got to take all those things that come out of failures, okay take the best things out of that and get rid of that because that doesn’t work and that was really amazing for me, in terms of getting out of city and industry like Tinseltown here that deals with so much rejection. Because you know, you’re too tall, you’re too young, you’re too old, you’re too fat, you’re too- There is always some reason why they don’t want you. The audition process is absolutely horrible. There are so many good actors in my acting classes, and yet I had the success that I had, and I think that one of the advantages that I had was I always knew I was going to have success. I was going to get it no matter what, but I was going to do it in a good way, a proper way, and in a business way. I remember my old commercial agent because I would find out from other actors, “Hey, there’s a commercial that I’m going on.” and I would call and say “Why didn’t you get me on?” “Oh, Kevin, come on I’ve got 100 other clients.” I said, “I don’t care about your 100 other clients. They don’t care about me. I want the opportunity to be rejected.”
Ray: Yeah.
Kevin: That’s the way I looked at it. “Get me in there.” I pounded the pavement. I went, I got myself in the best acting classes, I auditioned, I signed with three different coaches in six years, and they were the top ones in the industry. I remember one, he passed of Aids back in 96, but it was Roy London an amazing acting coach. In that class alone was myself, there’s Matthew Perry, it was Brad Pitt, it was Charlotte Ross, all wonderful actors that went on to have huge careers in different ways. I remember after two years because with Roy only worked once a month and I wanted to work every week that I was in class and when I left Roy called me up, and he said: “Kevin, you need to come to the office, we’ve got to talk.” I said, “Roy, I have a commercial audition, I’ll come by then.” So, we sat down in his office we started talking, and he said: “Yeah, but you learn so much by watching.” I said, “Yeah, I don’t disagree with that, but I watch a lot of basketball on TV, and I’m not getting better at it. You get better by doing. You have to put those miles on.” So, then I got into a class that I work twice a week for two years prior to Hercules, and I think that made a big difference for me as well. You’ve got to get up there and do it.
Ray: Failure’s a big part of that right?
Kevin: Failure is a huge part of that. A lot of people get an illness, you get these things happing in your life, and half my book is semi-autobiographical, but it is also motivational and has a lot of humor in there too. It’s not to be a downer book and life isn’t meant to be a downer. Life does not promise you success, you know, there’s a lot of competition out there, and competition is a good thing it makes people better.
Ray: Yeah.
Kevin: When the next Michael Jordon comes along, when the next Tiger Woods comes along, when the next Bill Gates comes along it motivates people to want to get better, and that’s a good thing.
Ray: Absolutely and as I’m listing to you talk what’s in my mind is performance, performance and that appearance, appearance, appearance and there are a lot of parallels between an acting career and a business career. Because it is about performance and you have to have results. So how does that tension work as being a follower of Christ when being a follower of Christ is not about performance, it’s about trust. It’s about faith. How do you balance those two tensions?
Kevin: You know, it’s interesting when I’m on a set I still get nervous like it was my first day. I’m much more confident in myself and I know I’m a better actor than I was twenty years ago as well. But, I will stay pray real quickly before I do a scene you know the butterflies are good when we’re acting. I remember an acting coach saying “The butterflies are good, nervousness is good, it means that you are still alive.” and I like that. I love being on the set, I love the creative process and in the business world to most of them have products to sell, whatever their product may be Ray, and as an actor, you’re your own product. So, maybe you take that rejection a little more personal, but, it says you’re not good enough for us. But it really comes down to- like I said I’ve got agnostic and atheist friends and I said: “You don’t have to be religious to have the grateful prayer.” and they go “What’s that?”. “Be grateful. Be grateful you’re sitting in a car, be grateful that the sun is out there, be grateful that you have water, that you have a pillow when you go to bed at night.”
Ray: Wow.
Kevin: We take a lot of things for granted, and that’s not my idea, that came from a doctor that I know and told me that. Cuz, here’s the guy that told me that I need to look at it as a gift, look at it as a gift. I was like, are you kidding me? This is just horrible for me to go through what I went through, but as time went on, I understand what he was saying. And you have to look at the hardships in life as more of a positive than a negative. As my dad use to tell me “If your life is perfect and everything is wonderful, just wait a while.” because it’s not always going to stay that way. I think we live in a society that is so right now. Everything is right now. You know, everything on the internet is six-second sound bits. People have no attention span anymore, and that’s kind of sad in a way.
Ray: Yeah, yeah.
Kevin: And I try to work with my kids on that as well, and we live fast pace, and it’s only going to get worse. It’s only going to get faster; it’s not slowing down. Everything from Facebook to Twitter to whatever, everybody’s got to be doing something all the time. As Robin Williams called it Kiddie Cocaine, you know. They’ve only got to constantly doing stuff. It’s okay to stop, relax and smell the roses once and a while.
Ray: Yeah. As I’m listing, I’m reminded of Philippines 1:21 where Paul says “For it has been granted to you a gift of suffering. Not just to rely on Christ Jesus but to suffer for him.” and it is a gift, but we don’t always see it that way, right?
Kevin: No.
Ray: The hard part.
Kevin: And I think there are miracles everyday people just don’t pay attention anymore. It doesn’t have to be walking on water.
Ray: Yeah.
Kevin: I mean I had the doctor telling me that after eight months neurologist saying “Whatever you’re going through, you’re going to have to live with for the rest of your life.” Well after eight months I still wasn’t doing great. Some improvement but I said that “They’re wrong.” and I spoke in front of 1600 neurologists in San Diego a few years ago and I said, “There’s a reason that they call what you guys do a practice.” I got half laughter and the other half I go like “What? I’m a doctor,” but you know, they still don’t know the answer to everything, and you have to have some faith and trust beyond medicine. I believe what these guys do you know the advances we’ve had in the medical field in the last fifty years compared to the last 500 years is unbelievable. And it’s only going to get bigger and better, but you know, you’ve got to have a little bit of faith in your world too.
Ray: Kevin, one of the kinda areas we love to get in to here on the program Bottom Line Faith is what we call our advice section so I’ve got a handful of questions just around advice both advice that you’ve received and advice you’d like to pass along. So, as you think back over your life and even perhaps over your career, what is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given? Then who gave it to you?
Kevin: See the best piece is difficult, and we already brought up a couple of them. Like I told you about my father “Life is perfect, just wait awhile.” I thought that was great. You said, one of my best friends said it before I moved out here to LA, he said “Remember it is called show business not show show.” and I’ve always loved that because it is a business so treat it like a business and I know I went into this city not knowing a person out there. I know I went into it with a double major of market advertising, so I market and advertise myself, I tell people. I definitely came out here with a business model, treat like a business. I Pounded the pavement, and I went to the places, we sent letters out to people all the time like I said got the right acting coaches. I mean to me you have to take the chances. As corny as follow your dream is, follow your dream. You have to do that because I think way too many people give up. Once again in youth, I think a great Mark Twain quote is “Youth is wasted on the young.” I think there is an impatience that happens in every generation that is similar. I see it in my own kids, and I say “You think you are any different than I was when I was sixteen?” We didn’t have the internet. We had Pong. It was kind of boring the Pong game, but you guys have amazing graphics now. But the reality is I had the same impatience they did. I was ready “Oh, I’m sixteen-seventeen, I’m ready” I got to get out the world and do this thing. You know, relax and enjoy that- I am so grateful for that sidetrack three and a half year trip I took in Europe it matured me. Because I was over there and I had to make my own money try to understand a foreign language in each country. Try to read, you know, the subway things. It really helped me to grow up because there weren’t English postings all around, you know. So it was really a really wonderful way for me to grow up and mature. You know, don’t be afraid to get out there and just hit it hard. The rejection is going to be part of the failure we talked about earlier.
Ray: Yeah and a lot of time there is this entitlement mentality the next generation that we are constantly battling that sort of thing. I really appreciate that. So, kind of in the same vein let’s pretend you have a chance to sit across the same table from a twenty-year-old Kevin Sorbo and you get to advise yourself at age twenty. What counselor advice would you give yourself?
Kevin: Don’t think you know everything because you never will. I’m still learning at that age I am now and I thought I knew everything at fifteen and twenty and twenty-five and thirty. Each five to seven year period that went by I looked back at that age and went “I didn’t know anything.” and I’m learning all that time. Patients would probably be the biggest thing. Try to find some patient in your life and don’t worry. We worry so much about so many things that never come true, that never happen.
Ray: Absolutely. That’s so true.
Kevin: We waste so much time on that and you know I have that with my kids, I have that with my wife. We have the back and forth of that. I sit there and say “What are we worried about this for now?” Nothing, all this negativity that we are putting out there. It hasn’t happened it yet. So, when it happens, we will deal with it when it happens because right now we’re wasting time.
Ray: Yeah. Fantastic. I have one more question just kind of in this advice section, and I would love to talk about what you are working on now, what projects and where God has taken you at this point. So, usually, that last question I ask in my interviews is based out of Proverbs chapter 4, verse 23. Solomon writes these words he says “Above all else guard your heart for from it flows all of life.” So, let’s just kind of hit fast forward on the clock and say that you’re at the tail end of your time on this side of eternity. You have a chance to gather your family, your friends, your loved ones, those that are most precious to you and you’re going to pass along the single most important piece of advice for you forever. So, would you fill in the blink? Above all else…
Kevin: Be filled with love instead of hate. We are in a very hateful world right now. A very divisive world, a very angry world. It gets us nothing. It gets us absolutely nothing. I find that the people that scream, they are screaming for love and they are the ones filled with the most hate right now. It’s weird to me, it’s strange. It’s like a bilateral, funky sci-fi world right now. And we got to find a place where we have a live-and-let-live kind of mentality instead of being so angry about everything. You know we live in a politically correct world where it’s just crazy right now. You can say your favorite color is blue and you’re going to find somebody out there that’s angry at you for just saying that.
Ray: Yeah.
Kevin: You know, it’s like a refereeing a basketball game half the people are going to say “Yeah!” and the other half are going to say “No, you suck!” You know so we are in that place right now where it’s just like, my gosh and I think a lot of the anger comes from people that are just unsettled and unhappy with their own lives. Because it didn’t turn out the way, they wanted it too. Their dreams are broken. Everybody has a string of broken dreams. Everybody carries a sack behind them filled with heartache and frustration. You have to find a place to turn that into a more positive world otherwise it’s just going to get worse for you. Because all the hate you want to have towards somebody else out there, they don’t even know about. They don’t even care. All you’re doing is hurting yourself. You’re destroying the inside of yourself.
Ray: It’s like an internal cancer.
Kevin: Yep. Welcome to the world of ulcers. You know, people get hate-filled and create their own health hazards because of their anger towards something else, that is in reality, the Michael Jackson song The Man in the Mirror, look in the mirror. That’s where it starts, like giving more positive messages to yourself instead of negative messages to other people.
Ray: That’s fantastic. So really the big, big, big piece of advice is just love.
Kevin: Yeah. Just love.
Ray: Just love. That’s fantastic. Let’s transition as we wrap things up today. Let ‘s talk about what you’re working on now. You know, prior to getting a chance to sit down with you somebody asked me a couple of days ago “What do you think you’re going to hear from Kevin?” and I said, “Well if my research, reading, watching online tells me anything. This is a man who deeply, deeply, deeply cares about influencing culture, who deeply cares about transforming the world with the love of Jesus Christ and truth. Did I get that close at all?
Kevin: Liars don’t like the truth do they?
Ray: That’s right. Did I get that close?
Kevin: Well, yeah. I’ll take that, thank you. My resumes is going to have that on there. Like I said with the anger going out there right now you point out statistics, facts, and truth to so much of the world right now they don’t want to hear that.
Ray: Yeah.
Kevin: They would rather live a lie. Which is really sad to me, so that’s a battle in itself right there.
Ray: Yeah, so can we talk about some of the projects that you’ve been working on?
Kevin: Sure.
Ray: You’ve got a couple of things back here.
Kevin: Well, Let there be Light did very well. I directed it, I acted in it, my wife wrote, she acted in it along with Dan Gordon who wrote it, great writer. It did very well in theaters in October, November, and December. It just came out on DVD, so it’s Let there be Light. Let there be Light is a- I play the world’s greatest Atheist, think of Dawson or Higgens. It’s on DVD now you can get it at Walmart, you can get it on Amazon DVD or at Best Buy, it’s all over the place. It’s a wonderful family movie; it’s a story about my character who just travels the world and puts out books that are just “God doesn’t exist” he spends so much time hating something he doesn’t believe in and makes a good living at it. Then he has a life-changing event that completely alters his worldview and sends him into a tailspin in the only one who he can trust is his ex-wife, they divorced eight years earlier when their eight-year-old son died. That’s what set him over the hill. He’s a drinker, he’s a drug addict, he’s got all these problems in the world, and something happens to him that changes his worldview. So, it’s out there, and it’s a wonderful, wonderful movie, and I hope people check it out. So, I have a movie coming out in, I think it’s October, called One Nation Under God and that one I play a nice high school teacher instead of a bad guy, and he had the debate class, and that topic comes up to put that back in the Pledge of Allegiance. Lisa Arnold directed that she’s one of the producers in God’s Not Dead. I’ve begun The Reliant it is a Christian action movie, full on action movie. It’s dealing with political as well just with an economic collapse of America, that will be out in probably January. Then I did a family movie called Bernie the Dolphin it’s a Disney type movie that will be out in theaters December 18th. I just got a movie financed that we’re going to be doing that is making fun of political correctness. I’ll get a few picketers at that one but that’s okay, it’s a comedy. It’s very funny. It’s in the vein of Naked Gun and Airplane, David Zucker type movies. I’m doing the next Left Behind movie I’m directing that one as well.
Ray: Wow.
Kevin: That will be shot up in Toronto with Claud Team production company as well. Just busy. I’ve got a lot of stuff going on, and we have a new TV series we’re going to shoot in South Africa. So think of Little House on the Prairie, it’s Little House in South Africa, and it’s going to be a new TV show. How about that a new TV show that’s going to have good values in it? So, it’s been a long time since Touched by an Angel. This one is more like punched by an angel, but it’s going to be a good ride.
Ray: Last question.
Kevin: Okay.
Ray: We talked about this before recording the success for this program is if one person, one person would listen to your story, listen to your comments and your thoughts and they could be encouraged. Maybe they’re going through really dark time out now they’re discouraged. Maybe there’s somebody listening to this or watching this right now, and they’re just in a down place. Maybe they are a business person who’s had an idea or a dream or something, and they just feel that it’s been quenched. Just close us out Kevin, if you would with the word of encouragement for that one person who needs to hear a word of encouragement from Kevin Sorbo.
Kevin: I’m going to say something that my wife said to me when I was going through my own illness. She said, “Every day I want you to look in the mirror. I want you to look in the mirror and say I’m getting better and I’m getting stronger. I’m getting better. I’m getting stronger.” Negativity is a cancer. It’s a horrible thing. How people get down, suicide rates are high people think there’s nobody out there for them. There’s always going to be somebody out there for them. Go find a church. I know people think it’s hard to invite people to come to a church. Because so many people “Oh, I don’t want to go” they get nervous, they get uncomfortable. Go by yourself, go around your neighborhood there are dozens of churches in your area within five-ten miles away from you. Find a place that fits for you. Don’t be afraid to go in there and talk to somebody. I mean I remember being called up at a Billy Graham concert. Billy Graham revival is 200,000 people, I was a thirteen-fourteen-year-old kid, and after he spoke, I was blown away by him. After he said, please come up talk, prayer, whatever. I went up there just to talk, and it was a moving moment for me, it was an incredible moment for me and my life and my faith. You have to find a place where hope, people are looking for hope. People are looking for self-esteem. You can’t- It’s so easy to give up it’s so easy to get down and get negative. The way we put out TV shows and movies you have to be successful, you have to be successful. Find your own success in your own way. Don’t be so intimidated, don’t be so down, don’t be so nervous about asking things. I tell my kids “No question is a dumb question, guys.” no question is a dumb question. I know there are people out there, I’ve had plenty of people come to me after reading my book saying, I’ve had people write to me saying “I was going to commit suicide, till I read your book.” that blows my mind and I feel the same way if I go to speaking events if I have my movie- if I have one person- I had this woman walk up to me at an airport in Salt Lake City a couple years ago, she said “Are you Kevin Sorbo, the actor from God’s Not Dead?” I said, “Yes, I am.” and I could tell she was from the Middle East somewhere. She says “I’m from Iraq.” she had a beautiful seven-year-old daughter with her she said “I am Muslim. I saw your movie, and I became a Christian, because of your movie.” she broke down and started crying, and she said, “I just got baptized.” It blew my mind. One person. It’s one person at a time we think we can’t do anything. If everybody volunteered if you do one little thing in a year, could you imagine this county all 240 million people and they just did one little thing to help somebody else, just one day out of your life in a year the difference that it would make. We just say “Oh, what can I do?” it’s like that mentality “Oh, my vote won’t count.” yeah it counts. So, get out and vote, you know. Make your life better.
Ray: Kevon Sorbo- Thank you.
Kevin: Thank you.
Ray: It’s an honor. Folks this has just been an amazing conversation with Kevin Sorbo here at Bottom Line Faith and if this is the first time that you’ve come across our program go to the website at bottomlinefaith.Org, why don’t you become a regular subscriber? You can get interviews like this into your inbox and your mobile device every single week as we travel the country interviewing top CEOs, business owners, thought leaders, authors, and of course athletes and entertainers like Kevin. So, until next time I am your host at Bottom Line Faith, Ray Hilbert saying God bless and serve the Lord faithfully in the marketplace.