TED RAIMI (Legend of the Seeker) Exclusive Interview

Ted Raimi as Sebastian on Legend of the Seeker

I recently got a chance to talk to Ted Raimi who’s reprising his role as the magic peddler Sebastian on this upcoming new episode of Legend of the Seeker “Hunger.”

Ted Raimi talked about what his character is up to in the episode, the possibility of guest starring again, shooting in New Zeland, his other projects and much more. So make sure to tune in this weekend and watch Legend of the Seeker‘s new episode “Hunger” (go to the official website to find your local time & channel). But for now, enjoy the interview.

Congratulations on coming back to ‘Legend of the Seeker’.

Ted Raimi: Thanks. I was very happy myself to be asked back.

Can you talk about what’s going on, why he’s back and what’s going to happen?

Ted Raimi: Yes. Well, I came back I can only think to finish Sebastian’s storyline or at least I like to think about it that way. In this particular episode that airs this weekend Sebastian gets into a partnership with Zedd’s brother Thaddeus who we meet. They get together and they sell a cure to these baylings. These are people who have to kill to stay alive. So what my character does, because I’m kind of an oily creep I start watering down the cure so that it’s less effective but I get more for the money. So it’s the oldest trick in the book and it doesn’t really tend to work and so I start getting threatened by the baylings. So it’s a really pretty cool episode and I thought when I read the script it was pretty timely just in terms of all the troubles we’re having banking wise. I don’t want to make too big of a connection with it but it did remind me of that a little bit, saying that it’s one thing but really it’s another thing entirely.

You mentioned that he’s trying to make money but would you say that he’s trying to be more of a good guy in this episode?

Ted Raimi: No. He’s really not a good guy. Sebastian is completely oily and it’s a nice contrast to of course Kahlan and Zedd’s character, that they’ve got someone along with them at least for a while that isn’t a killer but he’s not particularly trustworthy either. I think that’s a really interesting character that they wrote in and it’s really fun to play off of their goodness. I think it’s really fun to contrast that with Sebastian’s creepiness.

So he also interacts with Richard, Cara, Kahlan and Zedd in this episode, in addition to Zedd’s brother?

Ted Raimi: Yes, that’s right. He does. In the previous episodes I didn’t have any scenes with them. Only with Zed. Bruce Spence. Now I’ve got a couple of scenes with Bridget and Craig [Horner] and that was wonderful to be able to work with those guys. They’re very welcoming actors, very unique and welcoming. They really are.

Does he walk with them on their quest for a little bit?

Ted Raimi: No. I’m more like a pain in their butt that leads them to a very key part of the episode which I cannot reveal to you. But I think there are clues if I’m not mistaken at Legendoftheseeker.com that you can find if you go there. I think you can probably find some clues as to what’s going to happen but I’m not allowed to say because big thugs from Disney will come by and kill me. They’ll probably wear like a big Mickey Mouse suit and pummel me. I don’t really know.

Do you think there’s a possibility for him to return for another episode?

Ted Raimi: Oh, absolutely. It’s just a question of whether the producers are interested in having me back but I’d go back in a second to that show. I had a wonderful time. I’ve probably done over a hundred and twenty hours of sci-fi, fantasy TV alone and that’s not including movies but this is one of the very best times that I’ve ever had on a genre fantasy show.

I’m guessing you went to New Zealand to shoot this?

Ted Raimi: Yeah. I went to New Zealand to shoot. It was the same studios that we shoot to ‘Xena’ in many years ago. A lot of those places look eerily familiar including some of the crew which were there, and of course the show is certainly not the same but it has a certain look to it. If I wasn’t paying attention too closely for a moment, letting my mind wander I could’ve sworn that I was back in 2001 shooting ‘Xena’. It was very strange, but also kind of comforting in a weird sort of way.

You knew where everything was.

Ted Raimi: That’s right. It was really familiar and nice but completely different of course. It’s a totally different vibe with the show. ‘Xena’ was a very whacky show all the time, for the most part and this show is very serious. So the style is very different. The acting style is very different. I can’t just be doing falls and shtick and gags all the time. It wouldn’t make any sense in this particular mode. But it also affords wonderful opportunities as well because especially acting with Bruce who’s such a seasoned actor you really have to come up to his level and it’s the same with Bridget and Craig. They’re incredibly open and generous actors and so you really feel like you have actors to which you have to rise to and that’s a wonderful feeling for an actor to have.

I would think they feel the same about you since you’ve done so many things, that you guys are keeping each other on your toes.

Ted Raimi: Sure. We definitely do that, but of course in this particular show I’m a guest star. Even though I have a recurring part I’m still a guest star and of course it’s their show. It really ups the vibe when you’re just welcomed so much. So that was a wonderful environment to be creative in.

Ted Raimi as Sebastian on Legend of the Seeker

How was the experience different from the first episode you were in? Was there anything different?

Ted Raimi: No, not really except that I tried to see if, or well, every time I’m on any show I try to see what I can get away with acting wise. I imagine that all the crazy stuff that I did probably got cut out because it probably didn’t fit but nevertheless I’m going to keep going with that stuff because if the director likes it and the other actors think it’s okay then I’m going to keep doing it. It’s good to give more because that way the producers can cut it down and take just what they want. That’s what I’m trying to do. I did feel more free to improvise more and do more silly stuff within boundaries. This is Disney and there are families watching but other than that I sort of tried to see what I could get away with.

How do you prepare for parts that you get? Do you have a regular process?

Ted Raimi: Sure there is. Of course there’s a process I go through. When it’s a genre you throw it out, whatever it is and that’s because if you start to think about your character in terms of what it is in sci-fi, what it is in fantasy, what it might be in horror, etcetera you’re trying to figure out the wrong thing. It’s sort of like trying to figure out how to cut down a tree by, oh, say learning about soil types. One has nothing to do with the other. As long as they’ve written in human beings I just look at it like any part I’ve ever done which is where is he, who is he and what does he want? Those are the three basic things that every actor asks themselves before they start a part and I’m really no different. Once you feel comfortable with that that’s when you know all the nice little colorations and little paint brush things can come in and make your character interesting. But I prepare for it just the same and this show makes it very easy in a sense because you’re not really doing a black box theater. You walk onto set and there are massive sets there that are well thought out and the costume department is enormous. The costumes are well designed. So when you step on wearing the costumes and in the sets you’re just that person. There isn’t too much work that you have to do to convince them.

Who’s your favorite character on the show aside from yours?

Ted Raimi: Oh, my favorite character on the show? That’s hard to answer. My favorite character? So I’d say probably Zedd is the most, I think, interesting to me. But that might just be the way that Bruce plays him because he plays him with such a natural kind of humanity. I find that very appealing. It’s written that way, certainly, in Terry Goodkind’s books. He’s of course riffing on that theme but he really brings that to life so well. He’s this kind of guy who didn’t start out as a magician but he became one and that really shines through. I like that contrast. I think it’s very, very interesting to me.

Did you read all the books?

Ted Raimi: All of them, no. I’d have to take about six months off to finish all of them. But I’ve read three or four of them and I really, really like them and if I had more time in my life I certainly would take a couple of months off and polish off all of those books. I really do love them. I did read the first four I believe and they were easy reads. They’re easy to get through. His writing is really very engaging, to say the least.

Can you talk about any other projects that you have coming up right now?

Ted Raimi: Sure. These days I divide my time between acting and directing. I just finished a new web series. It’s a comedy starring Suzanne Keilly who’s a Groundlings member here in Los Angeles. It’s called ‘Playing Dead’. It’s about an out of work actress who takes a part time job as death to pay the bills and it’s a very whacky show. It’s a very dark comedy and you can watch that at watchplayingdead.com.

I know you’ve been a guest star on many shows. Is there one show out there that you’d like to work on that you haven’t had a chance to yet?

Ted Raimi: Wow, good question. I’ve hit most of my favorites including ‘Supernatural’ which I loved being in. This show was at the top of the list. This was really the number one thing that I wanted to do and now I’ve gotten to do two of them. I wouldn’t say that I could die easy now but of all the sci-fi, supernatural shows that are out right now I think probably, it’s hard. I couldn’t say. If the writing is good I’m all over it. That’s all I have to say, that it depends.

(Photos: Courtesy of Disney-ABC Domestic Television)