CYBER STARS! by Dionne Christian
(from the magazine “New Idea”)
Hunky New Zealand actors Erik Thomson and Kevin Smith share more than good looks and talent. Their guest appearances as Greek gods on the international smash hit shows Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess captured the eye of an American fan.
The woman, known as Kiari, is so devoted, she has set up web sites dedicated to Erik, who plays Hades Lord of the Underworld, and Kevin, who is war god Aries.
The sites are registered with the Xenite and Herkulean Webmasters’ Association and are among dozens devoted to the top-rating shows, which are filmed in New Zealand.
Former Shortland Streeter Danielle Cormack, soon to be seen in the home-grown comedy film Via Satellite, also has a web site dedicated to her.
Flattered and humbled by the attention, Erik has also been asked to become an honorary member of the British Hercules fan club.
The request came via his agent when Erik was living in Australia. He happened to pick the fax/telephone up as some information about the club’s offer was being faxed to him.
‘The woman was quite surprised that I picked up the phone — I think she was expecting to get my personal assistant,’ says 31-year-old Erik.
‘It made me smile because I was living in northern Australia unemployed.’
Back in New Zealand, Erik received rave reviews for his recent performance in the Auckland Theatre Company’s production of Twelve Angry Men.
He’s now performing in the company’s Julius Caesar playing Cassius alongside theatre veteran George Henare and fellow Xena and Herc regulars Karl Urban and Marton Csokas.
Erik is probably best known to Kiwi television viewers from playing Stanley’s father in an ASB commercial while Lucy Lawless, now famous as Xena, was Stanley’s mum. Erik catches up with Lucy during his guest appearances on Xena, a job he describes as ‘fantastic’.
‘The people are good and there’s a great vibe on set,’ he says. ‘It’s always good to catch up with Lucy. Despite all the international adulation she has her feet planted firmly on the ground.’
Erik got a taste of fame when he spent two years starring in the steamy Australian soap Pacific Drive. Leaving the show, he appeared on the top-rating police drama Water Rats with fellow Kiwi Rebecca Hobbs.
Now based here more or less permanently, Erik says the level of work in New Zealand is just as high as in Australia — especially given the number of budding young actors across the Tasman.
‘There might be more work but there are certainly more people competing for those roles,’ says Erik.
Born in Scotland, Erik shifted to Tauranga with his family when he was seven. Leaving school, he headed to drama school in Wellington before working in Dunedin and Christchurch.
Early in his career, the young actor had to make a choice — take up the opportunity to play a character called Dr Chris Warner in a new soap called Shortland Street or play Hamlet.
Erik chose Hamlet saying he was more interested in gaining theatre experience and working in a variety of roles. ‘Time will tell if it was the right decision,’ he says. ‘I certainly have no regrets — after all I went on to spend two years working on a soap in Australia.’
Erik hopes to star in a feature film but tries not to dwell too much on the future in a business long regarded as unstable.
‘You can’t really control these things. I was given a piece of advice early in my career which I always remember — “do the work and the career will take care of itself”.’
If you want to check out Erik’s sexy web site, go to:
[Copyright held by author and publication. The webmistress respectfully reproduces this without any intention of copyright infringement. Please direct comments or concerns to the email address below. Images graciously scanned by Ceallach.]
Just a note or two:
- The actual URL of the old website was http://members.aol.com/KIARI/erikthomson.html
- One of the pictures in the article incorrectly cited Erik when it was a different actor