Michael Landes stars on Sky1 series Hooten & The Lady, a swashbuckling adventure series that takes viewers to a new location in each episode. No expense is spared to ensure large-scale scenic settings that are filmed across the globe.
“We started in the jungles of the Amazon, we went to Rome. An episode took place in Egypt but we shot it in Namibia, which is that Mad Max red dirt, very scenic and epic in scale. Then Bhutan, we went to Moscow, we were in Ethiopia, and we went to Cambodia and filmed in Angkor Wat, and then we ended in the Caribbean which we actually cheated in South Africa because it’s very palm trees and ocean view. Just a big whirlwind, a lot of travelling in one year.”
On top of the impressive scenery, Hooten & The Lady also owes its success to the chemistry of Landes and co-lead Ophelia Lovibond. The playful bickering of Hooten and Lady Alex Lindo-Parker enhances the viewing experience, as does the progressive subversion from the usual inclination of media executives to force a romantic relationship between male and female co-leads. In fact, Alex is happily engaged to another man entirely that isn’t joining her on these artifact-hunting excursions.
“The nature of the show is, they [Hooten and Alex] both want the same thing. They’re usually going after the same thing, whether it’s a treasure or an artifact. But they do it in two completely different ways. That causes a little friction which I think makes a little spark, not to be so silly in that way, but that helps. I think they also are attracted to each other, not in a physical way but, he’s never met somebody that can go toe-to-toe with him and she’s probably never met somebody that can go to-to-toe with her. I think it makes for really nice chemistry.”
Landes is also known to viewers for his role as the first Jimmy Olsen on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, which he has been pleasantly surprised to see the fan feedback for despite the show being decades-old.
“It’s been a while but it’s really nice to come here and see how, when you make a show and you’re living in Los Angeles where people make a lot of shows and movies and no one really cares, to come out and see how it’s actually impacted people or people grew up watching it or have watched it with their parents, and they had a special memory of it. It’s really flattering and cool. Now there’s so many superhero shows. I make a joke that I did the superhero show when it wasn’t cool or ‘in’. Certainly here at Comic Con, you see the impact that these shows have, like even now my son watches Flash.”
With such an increase in the amount of superhero media both on film and television, the genre has often found itself in the centre of heated discussions surrounding race and representation in media. Non-white viewers have repeatedly protested against whitewashing and trope-ridden material for the few POC characters in the films and television series, while white-to-POC castings have often been met with racist pushback. Landes chimed in on the issue.
“I know the actor that’s playing Jimmy Olsen in Supergirl, Mehcad Brooks, who’s great and a lovely guy. For stories like that to keep going, like you said, they have to evolve and you have to change. Any time you can mix that up, I think it’s a wonderful thing.”