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Rob has always been very much the driving force behind HERCULES and XENA, with Sam Raimi concentrating on films. In 1994 the Hercules TV movies were the beginning of the XENA and HERCULES phenomenon. A chance conversation with a friend lead Rob and the team to New Zealand to film the movies.
When "Hercules:The Legendary Journeys" was commissioned as a series, it was not long before a new series was needed to replace a less well performing one on the same network. Xena had appeared on HERCULES and been well received, and the decision was made to create a show based on her.
Lucy Lawless was not first choice to play the part of Xena in the original Hercules episodes. Vanessa Angel, a skinny blondish actress was lined up for the part. Rumour had it that training with swords was not going too well. Filming was due to start in the first few days of 1995, however, Ms Angel developed a mystery illness (rumoured to be a romance with Richard Gere!) that meant she was unable to travel to New Zealand. Rob and the producers tried to get 4 other actresses for the three-episode story. However, none was keen to leave the US for what might well be nothing more than a guest role.
Lucy had worked with Renaissance Pictures on "Hercules and the Amazon Women" and in a Hercules tv episode. Clearly a favourite, the decision was made to offer her the role.
During the first series of Xena, Lucy Lawless and former husband Garth Lawless split up. At some point over the following months, Lucy and Rob began dating and they were married on March 30th 1998. Their first child, Julius was born in October 1999.
Rob also developed two new half hour action shows that replaced HERCULES - "Jack of All Trades" with Bruce Campbell and "Cleopatra 2525." However, neither show really took off and despite a bizzare rumour that Cleopatra was to be expanded to one hour to replace XENA, both shows have since ceased production. Rob Tapert and Pacific Renaissance are now closing down business in New Zealand. However, despite the fact that Rob still works with Sam Raimi on the odd movie, he recently expressed his desire to stay in TV.
Rob has appeared in an few episodes of XENA. He played himself in The Xena Scrolls, and had a bit part in Sins of the Past. He has also been seen in HERCULES, but played by Bruce Campbell in the comedy episodes Yes Virginia, there is a Hercules, and For Those of you Just Joining Us.
Rob Tapert is the real driving force begind the success of XENA. Involved in all aspects of production and development, he has written and directed some episodes, while having involvement in all of them in some way.
Rob is a mad keen fisherman!