IHC's 1998 Annual Appeal highlighted intellectually disabled teenagers
achieving their dreams. For Tim Fairhall, who was the "face" of the appeal,
it led to the opportunity to make a "dream come true". Those who saw Tim
say on TV One's 'Breakfast' that he wanted to be an actor, to appear on
Hercules or Xena, and to make an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards,
were impressed by his passion for his dream. IHC's Fundraising Manager
John Bergin decided to try to make part of that dream happen. He succeeded.
Pacific Renaissance Pictures producers and casting department responded
with enthusiasm and cast Tim as an extra in episodes of 'Hercules' and
'Xena'. In Hercules episode 'Just Passing Throught',
Tim plays a patient rescued from a burning hospital. The episode goes to air in the USA thismonth and will be screened here next year (depending on TV 3's scheduling). The Xena episode is 'A Good Day'. Fortunately for people of a starving village, including Tim, Xena appears and protects them from a heartless Roman army officer and his soldiers. This, too, will be shown in New Zealnad next year. Both Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless made the filming days special for Tim. On the 'Xena' set, Tim talked to Lucy for over an hour, helped her "learn" her script and mastered the use of a chakram (Xena's deadly circular frisbee).
On the 'Hercules' set Tim met all the main characters. Kevin also asked Tim to autograph the IHC appeal advertisement on the back of 'Community Moves'.
"One of the great things about both epsisodes is that Tim isn't cast as a "special needs" person," says Tim's mother Joan Fairhall. "He's just one of the villagers. On the rare occasions an intellectually disabled person gets an opportunity to act, the disability is often the reason for and the focus of the appearance. It's great to see the emphasis on the person for a change, not on the disability. "Tim is now rehearsing his acceptance speech for the Academy Award. "I'd like to thank Kevin and Lucy for being so wonderful, and especially Pacific Renaissance Pictures and John Bergin for giving me the opportunity to prove that I can be a good actor," he says.