PAUL HOGAN, the Australian who became a major international screen name with his two ''Crocodile Dundee'' movies, says he did his new film, ''Almost An Angel,'' because he ''desperately wanted to get away'' from the Crocodile Man.
''I'd have played a lawyer,'' said Hogan, ''anything. I just wanted to do a character that changed. The man I play in the new film is a criminal who is somehow turned into an angel. Dundee never changes. He's always the same, and I'd rather leave him behind.''
Does that mean that Hogan doesn't intend to do any more ''Dundee'' movies?
''No more 'Crocodile Dundee' movies for me,'' he said. ''I loved them. I loved making those films, but 'Dundee' is in the bush. He's no James Bond. He can't go to the Middle East and mess things up. He's a simple, naive guy, a wholesome hero who just happens to carry a big knife.''
Hogan served as executive producer on ''Almost an Angel.''
''That gives you a chance to see that the story you wrote is on the screen,'' he said. ''It's not exciting being a producer. It's boring, but it assures you of your script.
''I only want control of the film if I've written the script,'' he said. ''If I do a script that is written by others, I'll show up and be obedient.''
Has success changed Paul Hogan?
''Not really,'' he said. ''There are pleasant surprises every day. It's a wonderful life. I can't complain.''
He and Linda Kozlowski, who appeared opposite him in the two ''Dundee'' films and has the lead female role in the new film, were married in May, putting some of those stories to rest. He was the father of five children and was separated from his wife, and the Australian press made a big thing of it.
Here, the press made a big thing of the fact that the Hogans were able to work only as a team. Columnists asked why he and she didn't do films with other people?
''The girl in 'Almost an Angel' is just a supporting role,'' said Hogan. ''It was different enough from the role Linda played in the 'Dundee' movies, and it's always better to work with people you like and trust. I'd rather do that than have a prima donna who turns into a witch.''
There are no love scenes in the new movie. ''There's no romance,'' said Hogan, ''not enough to make your head spin. After all, I'm playing an angel. It's what you are to the people around you.''
When he writes, he thinks the story through, then picks up a
pencil. ''I've done 55 television specials and three movies, but before I was 30, I never wrote anything,'' he said. ''I didn't know I could.''
His new film is very positive about the hereafter. It makes the born-again people happy, but Hogan doesn't think the movie is preachy. ''You don't have to preach,'' he said. ''People don't go to the movies to be preached to. They're terrified of that. We're always advised not to talk politics or religion. 'Almost an Angel' travels a fine line, and I think I may have skated it. I don't think the film will offend anyone.''
He gets a lot of scripts. ''I turn down a lot of them,'' he said. ''I get action, drama and horror scripts. When you have a success, you get all kinds of scripts. I've gotten some that were written for Errol Flynn.''
Hogan says he is 50. He also adds that he is not intimidated by that figure. ''You have two choices,'' he said. ''You can grow older and die, or you can grow older and enjoy it. That sounds pretty good to me.''
Asked if he could explain his success, Hogan said he couldn't. ''I never had high ambitions,'' he said. ''I guess it's because I'm honest. It all began with the commercials I did for soft drinks. I was just telling the truth. I really liked to drink those brands. People know the difference.''
He doesn't know what he's going to do next, but we won't be surprised if he does another ''Dundee.'' Sean Connery said he would never do another James Bond film and did. Sylvester Stallone said he would do no more ''Rocky'' movies and did. Actors have a way of going back to sure things, and the ''Dundee'' movies were sure things for Hogan.