"Crocodile Dundee" has meandered into the sunset, leaving behind his creator and alter ego Paul Hogan.
The lean, blond Australian writer-producer-actor is at a crossroads in his motion picture career. Is he a one-shot fluke, perfectly suited for Crocodile Dundee but limited to him? Or can he go on to other roles as did Sylvester Stallone after Rocky Balboa?
There are similarities between them. Both broke into pictures with scripts they had written themselves and both broke box-office records.
Hogan's "Crocodile Dundee" and its sequel grossed $650 million worldwide, making him an instant multimillionaire and an international movie star, the biggest ever to come out of Australia.
As cagey a businessman as he is talented and creative, Hogan has chosen to write and produce a third film for Paramount Studios titled "Almost an Angel," starring himself as a professional thief-turned-good Samaritan--almost.
The role of Terry Dean is a departure from Dundee, but not so much that audiences will be offended by Hogan's transformation. There was a lot of Hogan in Dundee and quite a bit of Dundee in Dean.
"I planned it that way," Hogan said. "I didn't want people to be shocked by seeing a character dramatically different from Dundee. Maybe they wouldn't be ready for that.
"Dean has a similar outlook on life as Dundee, who is an old-fashioned film hero. They're both comfortable in their own shoes, as I am, without thinking about it too much."
Cool and laid-back, Hogan is aware that "Almost an Angel" is a pivotal project in his acting career.
If it's a big hit--and he doesn't expect it to approach the "Dundee" pictures at the box office--then Hogan will be established as a viable financial commodity in the Hollywood marketplace. If it isn't a hit, maybe he will get another good shot, although perhaps not as sweet as his previous deals.
"This film will tell the story of whether I'm a one-shot or a two-shot and out," he said, unsmiling.
"It was either this role or 'Dundee III,' and there never will be a third Dundee. The story's over."
Hogan's heart is in the land Down Under, where he will always maintain a residence.
"I'm deeply Australian," he said. "You can send a kangaroo to the San Diego Zoo, but he's still an Australian. I'm from the old school with convict ancestors. I'm proud of that."
Hogan is not averse to simplifying his life by accepting acting roles in other people's pictures, despite the fact that he has written and produced his only three films.
He's read more than 150 scripts, but hasn't found anything suitable. So it follows he must be working on a new screenplay himself, right?
"No," he said. "I have nothing in mind for another picture right now. We'll be going back to Australia soon to catch some fish and some waves and take life easy until I think of something worth doing, or somebody else does."