‘Seeker’: A girl, a guy, a wizard and a quest

By Frazier Moore

Associated Press

NEW YORK — On "Legend of the Seeker," the heroes do the work for you.

Chiseled woodsman Richard Cypher and his even prettier protectress Kahlan Amnell stay on the run, dodging arrows and parrying swords as they chase an evil force that would enslave the known world.

Richard, only recently pegged as "the one true Seeker," is likely to surprise himself with magical powers he never imagined. As a so-called Confessor, Kahlan has her own peculiar charm: No person can lie to her.


They cover a lot of ground on their rugged steeds. It’s a hectic lifestyle for all concerned.

"Our characters are always on the move," said Bridget Regan (who plays Kahlan), which means she and her co-stars aren’t layabouts, either. "We don’t stay put. Ever."

But viewers tuning in to this new adventure-fantasy series can relax. You will not be challenged. "Legend of the Seeker" (airing locally on KXLT-TV Saturdays at 9 p.m. and Sundays at 9:30 p.m.) is a quest through the reassuringly familiar. It’s a once-upon-a-time retreat into the lush wilds of New Zealand (where the series is shot), jazzed with eye-popping visual effects. Plus enough female cleavage to ensure the audience’s menfolk are amused.

The series is produced by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, co-creators of past syndicated hits "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" and "Xena: Warrior Princess."

It stars Bruce Spence as Zedd, the venerable wizard who assists with wisdom and sorcery. And playing Richard, the Seeker, is Australian actor Craig Horner.

It’s based on the "Sword of Truth" novels by Terry Goodkind, which the 25-year-old Horner had never read. "But I have a lot of geeky friends who are really into sci-fi books. One of my mates, when he saw my script for the pilot, said, ‘Dude, you have got to audition for this!’"

Regan, a 26-year-old San Diego native, scored her role while living in New York, where she had appeared in "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "The Black Donnellys" and on Broadway in the adaptation of Mark Twain’s farce "Is He Dead?"

"Bridget’s from America," said Horner, "I’m from Australia, and we’re shooting in New Zealand. It couldn’t be more perfect! Our two characters are from different worlds, put on a journey together. So when Bridget and I arrived for the series, we were like: ‘We can do this!’"


Horner had visited the country once before, but Regan had never come close. "I had been to Canada and Jamaica," she reported with a laugh.

"When we got cast, we had a week to pack up and get there," said Horner, seated beside her a half-a-world away in Manhattan during a spirited joint interview.

Regan said getting uprooted helped connect her with her character, who, just as suddenly, throws in with the Seeker, for whose mission Kahlan is ready to lay down her life.

"Kahlan gives up everything to fight for what she believes in: She’s only got the bag she’s carrying and a lot of faith."

"But as soon as we got to New Zealand," Horner recalled, "we found out the series had been delayed for six weeks. They said, ‘You know what? We’re not quite ready.’ We said, ‘Now what?’"

"They kept us busy," Regan hastened to add.

Riding lessons, sword-fighting lessons — there was plenty to do.

"I needed to look like someone who had ridden a horse and fought with daggers her whole life," said Regan, whose skills include being winsome or a suitably tough cookie as the scene requires.


Though the production is based in Auckland, most scenes are shot in the great outdoors, on the city’s pristine outskirts or as far afield as 700 miles south in the mountainous region around Queenstown.

Regan: "We were dropped off by a helicopter on top of a mountain!"

Horner: "A mountain, man! With mountain goats!"

Regan: "And they said, ‘All right, Craig, just jam the sword into the ground’—"

Horner: "—’a chopper’s gonna fly over and you gotta jam it at the right time!’"

Regan: "You can’t see anything around you, and the makeup artists are hiding behind a shrub, and that’s it."

Horner: "You have to just be wearing your character’s vest, this open-neck thing, and you can’t wear a coat. And it was cold!"

Maybe so. But there are also warm currents flowing, like between Richard and Kahlan. Early on, Zedd got all chaperone-y on them, lecturing Richard that romance with Kahlan "can never be." This is a sacred mission, not a booty call!


And yet ... along with fantasy, mystery, action and adventure, "Legend of the Seeker" has its flirtatious moments.

Regan (smiling saucily): "We have some scenes where the good old wizard is sleeping."

Horner: "We have the odd glance over the firelight."

Regan: "It CAN’T happen."

Horner: "But you can’t fight nature. Or at least longings."

"Ummmmm," the two of them murmur in moony unison. "Yeah!"

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