Actor Kevin Sorbo, star of the hit independent film God’s Not Dead, has sold a pilot called Can’t Get Arrested to Hallmark Channel, but it won’t be shooting in Los Angeles.
“No,” he says, “in Vancouver [Canada].”
This is a situation Sorbo is very familiar with, having spent several years in New Zealand shooting Hercules: The Legendary Journeys in the ’90s, and then moving to Canada in 2000 for Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda.
Teased about now being part of the problem instead of part of the solution, the Los Angeles-based Minnesota native says, “You know what, I’ve probably shot 90 percent of the movies that I’ve shot in the last nine years since [my TV series] Andromeda finished, in Dallas-Fort Worth or farther East. Nothing shoots here.
“[The politicians] do nothing here. The government of this state, everything they do is the opposite of what they should be doing. We’re losing revenue. People are leaving for Nevada and Texas and Tennessee, with no state tax. What should we do? I don’t know, let’s raise state taxes to 13 1/2 %! That’s going to make more people leave. Come on, guys!”
He continues, “This country was built on individuals. It wasn’t built on the bigger government. You look at what’s happening in California, with runaway production and all that. We’re not going to keep business here. We do nothing to encourage business to be there.
“We’ve made it so hard for people to start businesses, of course they’re going to go to Vegas,; of course they’re going to go to Dallas; of course they’re going to go to Nashville; they’re going to go to Florida. They’re going to go to places that are opening their doors.”
Complicating the situation for actors like Sorbo is that, when productions shoot overseas, that means fewer jobs for American actors, especially young actors looking for smaller roles to start their careers. And that doesn’t even take into account the loss of off-screen jobs, from cameramen to caterers.
Also, even when productions shoot in the U.S. or even in Los Angeles, leading roles are increasingly going to actors from Canada, Australia, the U.K. and so on.
“I keep losing to either a Brit or an Australian,” says Sorbo. “Apparently Hollywood thinks if you have an accent, you’re a better actor.”
Ironically, some actors move to Los Angeles from other countries to get jobs, then, if they do get cast, are promptly shipped out of the country to film. Or, if they’re a Brit, an Aussie or a Kiwi, they wind up using an American accent (with varying degrees of success).
“Ask Hollywood,” Sorbo says. “I don’t get it. It’s incredible. I honestly believe it’s that Hollywood thinks that because they’re from another country, they’re just trained better. That’s their mentality.
“They look good on paper, but it’s all imaginary. But it is what it is. They can come over here and work, but we can’t go over there. But, we don’t want to go over there, because everybody wants to come to America, because this is where the best movies and TV are made.”