ORBzine - 2000.09 Tim Omundson

ORBzine Tim Omundson September 2000

ORBzine - Tim Omundson [Saturday]

Tim opened with a well-timed pratfall.

He admitted that this was his first UK con - he was a virgin, and we should break him in gently.

Tim promised not to insult the British people by using a plummy upper-class English accent - and then went on to do an excellent imitation of one. He also imitated the stereotypical kind of redneck American tourists who usually visit the UK.

Americans get British accents from Monty Python. Brits get American accents from Jerry Springer.

Tim asked if there were children present, and promised to keep the swearing to a minimum. That Claire Stansfield has a mouth like a sewer, he joked.

How did you get the role of Eli?
When they were originally casting the character they were specific that the character should be any race except caucasian. They considered africans, asians, native americans. When Tim walked into the waiting room he was the only white guy there.

How did you feel when you met Lucy and Renee?
Tim phoned Ted Raimi, a close friend, and asked him. Ted said they were great. Tim went in, and the 2 women were very cold towards him. They walked out ... then they walked in again and cracked up laughing.

Tim promised I'm going to get even. But I'm going to wait a while, until he's off guard. Maybe a couple of years. Maybe when he's in some foreign country ... say, Turkey. And just as he's going through customs he - or the customs officials - discover something in his luggage. Say, a kilo of heroin. Yeah, a few years in a Turkish jail should be about equal to what I went through.

How did you develop the idea of Eli's spirituality?
Tim is Catholic himself, though he professes he is not a very good one. A friend of his is a born-again Christian. Tim talked a few things through with him. Tim also tried to insert some eastern philosophy.

In the bible there is a gap in Jesus' life. We leave him aged 13, in the temple in Jerusalem, and we next see him aged 30. There is a theory that in the intervening years he travelled to the East. Tim insists that he is not saying Eli is meant to be Jesus! Tim heard that the Muslim holy book, the cabal ... the Koran! It contains similar ideas.


  • Another theory is that Jesus joined Joseph of Arimathea at sea, crossed the mediterranean and sailed up as far as Rathlin Island!
  • Tim gets the name of the Koran wrong, and doesn't understand why it has some of Jesus' preachings in it. Hmm ...

    How did you feel about Eli's death scene?
    Kevin Smith pointed out to Tim the pose Ares had adopted. If you freeze-frame it on video, you can catch it - Ares has a limp-wristed girlie pose.

    This very theatrical old woman points at Gabrielle and shouts She should be PUNISHED! Tim's head was in Renee's lap, and he felt her shaking with laughter.

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    Tim's appearances
  • Xena: Warrior Princess
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    ORBzine - Tim Omundson [sunday]

    Tim starts by saying Last night some people noted that I resemble Elvis. It must be the hair or something.

    [Tim then does a passable Elvis impersonation]

    Tim - Sorry if I'm a bit under the weather. I was at the bar last night, and apparently there's alcohol in bourbon.

    How do you find the costume?
    The green mo-mo? Tim says that the good thing was, he didn't have to wear underwear. It was easy to take off in breaks between shooting. Joxer has to wear 80 pounds of leather and armour!

    Tim hated the hat, but Rob Tapert loved it. If you watch very closely in The Ides of March Tim is wearing it when he gets captured. In the cells he take it off and put it in the bag, and then Xena comes in and rescues everyone. And oops, Tim left the bag in the cell! They start filming the next episode, and Rob Tapert tells Tim to put my hat on. And Tim tells him, he left in the cell. Rob, they'll KNOW!

    The shoes were like big floppy circus-clown shoes.

    They showed Tim Renee's new costume. Tim - Well, that'll work for ratings!

    Is there a dream part you would like to play?
    Willie Loman in Death of a Salesman

    Tim got a theatre degree, but nobody thought to tell him it would be useless in California. He played Iago and Faust. When he started auditioning for TV he had to unlearn the theatre-craft. Tim would love to play James Bond, but he doesn't think that's ever likely. He's too old for Harry Potter - but what the hell, he can do shorter!

    tell us about your role in Starship Troopers.
    Tim was in the Psi Corps commercial. An eyeball pops out of his forehead. At the audition he read the lines to them, and they liked it. Then he looked at the script and saw V/O written beside the words. He wasn't supposed to say anything, he was just meant to sit there and have an eyeball pop out of his forehead.

    It was a terrible film - fascist crap.

    [Editor - the fact it was a satire seems to have passed Tim by]

    How much freedom were you given in developing the character yourself?
    Xena is filmed on the other side of the world from the writers. This means there is not much time for official rewrites. Rob Tapert and R.J. Stewart allowed Tim some latitude to develop Eli's character. Getting the role of Eli was a dream job - like the old army recruitment slogan, see the world, do exotic things.

    However, Tim was still at the mercy of the Director and the Editor. An example is in the episode Chakram. In the temple, as the final battle takes place, the final cut shows Ares putting his hand on Tim's shoulder and Tim giving Ares a harsh look in return. Tim wished they had shown the original cut, where he kicked Ares' ass! Eli punches Ares, headbutts him, kicks him - and Ares cries like a little girl! It made more sense to Tim that we would see Eli's fall, before he becomes Peace & Love boy.

    Apparently Kevin Smith saw it, and thought he looked less manly. Kevin told Rob Tapert that people won't buy that Eli could kick my ass!. Tim looks at the audience - He's still in New Zealand, isn't he? If you ever repeat this, I'll deny it!

    Cameraman shouts from the floor It's on video.

    [Tim runs down from the stage and tries to grab the video cassette from the cameraman]

    Tell us about the stage plays you did.
    Tim played Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls. However, he says he can't dance and he can't follow choreography. He focused more on classical theatre and Shakespeare.

    His Guild [SAG - Screen Actors' Guild] is on commercial acting strike.

    The NZ Government bends over backwards to help the production company. They have to, because it provides hundreds of jobs.

    Will you be back on the Xena show in Season 6?
    Tim wants to come back, but as Evil Eli. He'd wear a blue mo-mo instead of a green one.
    EVIL ELI Gabrielle, let's go behind the tree and play.
    GABBY Eli, why are you touching me there?

    Tim - It's nothing to do with the show, it's just my idea.

    Tell us about the bungee jumping.
    On the second day Tim was there, Lucy Lawless gave him a tour of her town. This was very nice of her, to make up for the joke she and Renee had pulled on him. She innocently asked him Do you like roller coasters?

    They took to this fairground machine, took him up to the top and strapped him into this thing. The operator smiled at him and said See you later, yankee asshole!


    When he got down, Lucy asked Tim You wanna do it again? He did it 3 times in all.

    Ever had slow times as an actor?
    After he finished Medicine Ball, he'd been acting about 5 years. His wife - she wasn't his wife then - said to him We're getting married in 3 months, and you haven't worked in a year. So he got a job throwing drunks out of a bar.

    He realised that nobody hires bitter actors - they're not much fun on set. So he had an attitude adjustment. So I don't get a part? So what?

    Why did you cut your hair and beard off?
    He grew the beard in 1991, and kept his hair long. But as he got older he realised he looked less like a young cool guy and more like a sad old guy! His wife had never seen him without the beard, and it was quite a shock for her. He prepped her for months beforehand, but it was still a shock. An actor can't afford to get attached to any one look.

    What are your new projects?
    He's in a new kids movie - he plays an evil leprechaun in human form. Like an evil Michael Flatley who wants world domination. It's a Disney film. He starts Irish Dance lessons next week.

    How do you get on a TV show?
    You have to know the right people and be in the right place.

    What other careers did you consider?
    Tim - I wanted to be a rock star! I also considered being a fighter pilot. Seriously, though, Tim would probably have been a teacher. His mother was a teacher, and there's always been an appeal for him ...

    Have you done any sightseeing in London?
    He'll be doing that tomorrow, on Monday.

    Have you ever considered using a pseudonym?
    Well, they say that a porn star's name should be the name of your first pet and the street you lived on as a kid. In that case Tim's name would be Pogo 151st Street. If he were to have a pseudonym it would probably be something macho and impressive, like Dirk Steele.

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