Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Battlestar Galactica's Richard Hatch talks with TV STORE ONLINE

Richard Hatch Interview
Battlestar Galactica's own Richard Hatch talks with TV STORE ONLINE about his work.

Richard Hatch Battlestar Galactica Interview
TV STORE ONLINE:  I was just re-watching that great two-part episode of Battlestar Galactica called "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero."    Do you remember shooting that one?

HATCH: I do!  Some of it. (Laughing)   I don't think I'll ever forget shooting in that plastic snow. It wasn't easy and it was really a pain in the butt.

TV STORE ONLINE:  I really like your official website.  I was on there reading your bio the other day about how you grew up as a very shy kid and that acting was never something that you had considered when you were a young man...   With that in mind, I'd love to ask you about what it was like as a working actor trying to make it in the Los Angeles of the late '60s and very early '70s...Weren't you up for Dustin Hoffman's role in THE GRADUATE (1967)?

Richard Hatch Battlestar GalacticaHATCH: Well, I auditioned for that part.   They wanted a good-looking boy-next-door.  When I went in they said that they were looking for someone with Tom Cruise looks     We all know how it turned out, and it was simply a situation of not being in the right time at the right place.  Things happen for a reason--even though you don't understand that at the time.  And on the opposite side of that coin--with Battlestar Galactica they had been looking for "Apollo" for over a year and hadn't found anyone for that part.  I was literally cast on the first day of shooting.  It was completely a last minute situation.
Working in Los Angeles in the late '60s and early '70s--acting was taken much more seriously than it is today.  It seems like a lot of people who come out here now just want to be famous because of reality television, but back then we took it all very seriously.  Most of us still do, but then...the audition process was really intense.  It wasn't like today were someone gets a part based on their level of fame.   There was a commitment back then to the craft, and most studied.   There doesn't seem to be much attention to the art of acting in those that come out here today, most come out here for the wrong reasons I think.


Richard Hatch interview
TV STORE ONLINE:  You got your first big break on the soap All My Children as an actor--but most, really, saw you for the first time working side-by-side with Karl Malden on The Streets Of San Francisco...

HATCH:   Michael Douglas was leaving the show and I was hired to come in--and it was a difficult thing to do.  It was hard to move into that character.    Once I got over that--I then had to deal with my need to be good.   Michael Douglas was very friendly and supportive with me and took me aside to talk--but Karl Malden wasn't that way.  He was removed and distant.  I didn't get to know him, nor did I have a friendship with him.  I think Karl Malden was upset that Michael Douglas was leaving--so it wasn't an easy transition for him either.   Malden and Douglas had been close, because they had worked together for so long, but also, because they had family ties too.    The first few episodes we shot of that last season of Streets were tough, but eventually things became a little easier by the time we got to the end.

TV STORE ONLINE:   1975 and 1976 were really great years for you...You had a role on the cult soap satire Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman...

Richard Hatch Streets Of San Francisco
HATCH: I did.   It was a great experience.  I really connected with that character that I played on Mary Hartman.   But it stereotyped me for a while afterward, because, after Mary Hartman I did a Charlie Chan movie, and after the both of those--every time I'd audition for something I wouldn't be considered for serious roles because I had come off of comedy.

TV STORE ONLINE:   There's a great little film that you did in the mid '70s with Doug Chapin called BEST FRIENDS (1975)...

HATCH:  You've seen that?   Wow, I had just come out to Los Angeles from New York City.   I auditioned for it and I got it--and we spent the entire time shooting that traveling across The United States while we we were filming in a motor home.   We shot the final sequences up at Zuma Beach.     It was a fun experience.

TV STORE ONLINE:   There's a fun little connection one can make with your early work on All My Children and then with BEST FRIENDS.   You're character on All My Children was summoned off to fight in the Vietnam War and in BEST FRIENDS, your character has just returned from Vietnam...

Richard Hatch Best Friends (1975)
HATCH:  That's right.    Some of the roles I've had over my life, in a way, have mirror elements to my own life.   Which has always been interesting.   When I was cast on All My Children I was cast to play a character that was a young man--and in doing that I re-lived a bit of my own life in that way because I was so young.  

TV STORE ONLINE:  I'm a big fan of your work in DEADMAN'S CURVE (1978), the film you did with Bruce Davison where the two of you play Jan & Dean...

HATCH:  Believe it or not, I auditioned for that one too.   I auditioned up against Don Johnson actually.   He was a singer, and he had guest starred on one of the first episodes I did of The Streets Of San Francisco.   I auditioned for the part of Jan Berry--and I'll never forget it--because I had to do it as if I was brain damaged.  I had played a mentally challenged young man on an episode of Medical Center a year or two before--and I had really connected with that character as well.  So having that experience really helped me when it came time to audition for DEADMAN'S CURVE. 

Richard Hatch Deadman's Curve (1978)I had to sing in my audition too, and again, it was, in a way, a role that I was cast in where I got to relive an aspect of my own youth in it.  I had grown up in California and had been this little blond-haired surfer boy who loved The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean...

TV STORE ONLINE:   Did you do any research for that part?  Did Jan Berry or Dean Torrance have any advice for yourself or Bruce Davison regarding your approach to the roles?

HATCH:  They were on the set almost every day and I got to know both Jan and Dean very well.  In fact, I spent quite a bit of time with Jan Berry.  I studied his physicality and his mannerisms and his way of talking.  I was very emotional and physically connected to that role because I got to know Jan Berry so well.    With them there on the set--some actors might have found that very difficult, but I found it very empowering to be able to play him while he was there watching me.     Bruce Davison and I actually got up on stage and sang  with them a few times when they would play concerts around Southern California.  

TV STORE ONLINE:  One of the things I like about you...Is how passionate you are about great science fiction and how it's been you, who has carried the torch for Battlestar Galactica all of these years later...What are some of your favorite science fiction films?

HATCH:  BLADE RUNNER (1982).  ALIEN (1979).  The original MAD MAX (1979).   I grew up on WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953) and WHEN EARTH COLLIDES (1951).  Star Trek, I loved watching from the time I was eight-years-old.   I grew up reading science fiction.  Even when I was a young actor living in New York City I would come home every day from the set of All My Children and watch Star Trek.      2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) is another one that I've always found prophetic and visionary.  That's my favorite kind of science fiction.  

TV STORE ONLINE: What are you working on now?

HATCH:  Well this year has been really busy so far.  There are a few films that I'm working on before the end of 2015.  I've been writing and teaching.  I'm involved in a Star Trek indie film currently as well.  Some have called it a "fan film" but I'm calling it an indie film because it has a lot of well-seasoned professionals working on it.  I'm playing a General--and while I'm not a fan of wearing prosthetics on my face--with this, I'm enjoying it, because the role is very Shakespearean.   

I've also just finished two television pilots.  One is a Steam Punk project with Malcolm McDowell that will be coming to television very soon hopefully.   I've also been directing too.   I'm up to direct a film now about a Vietnam Vet who's been on the streets for thirty years.   So I'm really excited for that. 

Interview Conducted By: Justin Bozung
For more with Richard Hatch please visit his official website HERE.