Sunday, 28 August 2011

INTERVIEW: Battlestar Galactica's Richard Hatch

With his Hollywood-white teeth on constant display, Richard Hatch, star of Battlestar Galactica, gave me some of his time amid the hustle and bustle of the visitors to this years London Film and Comic Con. With appearances in 70s shows such as Hawaii 5-0 and The Waltons, it was a science fiction series that was to launch his career to an all new cosmic orbit. Richard played Apollo on the good star-ship Battlestar Galactica from 1978-79. Set light-years in the future, fine and upstanding Captain Apollo, the ever-spirited space fighter pilot, ventures through space with the rest of the post-apocalyptic human survivors from decades of warring with the Cylons (a cybernetic race hell-bent on the destruction of the human population), in search of a new, fabled homeland called Earth.

Over twenty years later, after attempts to bring about another breath of life into the premise of Glenn Larson's original, Richard then reprised his involvement with the franchise becoming the terrorist-turned-politician Tom Zarek in the fantastic 2004 reimagined adaptation

Now. Battlestar Galactica has a heck of a following. And rightly so, as it is incredible. (Everyone needs Battlestar Galactica in their lives.) I may be a little biased, as I put off watching the final (reimagined) episode by seven whole months because I couldn't bare for the end to come. So to meet and chat and chuckle with one of the actors who had walked down the corridors of the 'Old Girl' made me turn a little into silly-fan-putty. Richard was warm and welcoming, pausing the interview so that he could give his undivided attention to the fans that approached the table. He also demonstrated the patience of a saint. The previous day, I had carried out a more in-depth interview with him (my first ever interview in fact), only to discover later that evening, in my technology-novice hands,  I had forgotten to press that all important 'save' button. An opportune moment to thank the Gods that Richard was attending both days of the event, and having learnt a lesson the hardest way possible, here is my second interview from 10th July 2011 with the peppy Mr. Hatch, star of one of the greatest science fictions shows to have ever been. So say we all...

GG: I’m here today with Richard Hatch, the original Captain Apollo from Battlestar Galactica and also the reimagined 2004 series as Tom Zarek. Welcome first of all to London Film and Comic Con 2011, how are you?

Richard: (Smiling) I’m doing great.

GG: Your time on Battlestar Galactica – you are very, very passionate about it, and you eventually had great success helping revive the series. How was it first of all, coming back to the re-imagined series playing against your original character?

Richard: Actually kinda fun. I was always frustrated by the original character as I always thought Captain Apollo was a little overlooked as he was the good guy. It’s always the character that causes more trouble, the more conflicted one, that gets all the attention. So as much as I loved Apollo, I was frustrated as an actor; I just wanted more interesting things to do, which is what every actor wants. It’s not even about more screen time, but more interesting roles and stories to play. So for me, coming back I got to be a more complex, more enigmatic, conflicted character; so it was a lot more fun for me to play. I like both characters and certainly have both characters in me, but Tom Zarek was a far more fun character to play, at this time of my life.

GG: I especially liked the way you described how he was pitched to you this morning (at the LFCC panel); he was ‘a political revolutionary, à la Nelson Mandela - but a little bit darker’ (Richard laughs).

GG: So you are obviously very passionate about Battlestar Galactica, but I believe you are very passionate in life generally; just living life and living it to the full?

Richard: Well, I think we actors are lucky; we are more challenged. We spend a lot of time in workshops, learning how to pull the cork out to learn how to express our feelings and emotions, learning how to let our energy flow, learning how to open up to experience a full range of life emotions. That’s part of being an actor. Most people suppress their emotions and feelings; they hold them in, are not comfortable with them; so they’re half alive. Actors live to feel alive, to feel connected to something deeper, richer, more full. I think that’s why so many people go to the movies; they want to have a hit at that, feel that energy that actors and a good story bring to the screen. I’m one of those lucky beings who have had a chance to tap in and suck the marrow out of life, like in Dead Poets Society. I’m still sucking the marrow out of life. 

GG: And of course you’re not just an actor; you’re a producer, director and writer, plus you’ve done a web series. You also teach as well; so you like to pass on your passions to other people. You’ve recently done a reality show Who the Frak. So what on earth is next for you?

Richard: Well I’m directing a bunch of things now, including this project called Nerd Girl, which is a really funny comedy which will be out some time next year. I’ve also a social networking game called Magellen coming out. I was on a movie called Dead By Friday in which I play an incredible role, and then I did a movie called The Pod; I co-star with Vernon Wells who was the bad guy in Mad Max. I’m getting ready to do a movie called Fractured up in Washington State, umm what else? (Thinking to himself)

GG: I think that’s plenty isn’t it? (Laughter)

Richard: And then I teach and lecture all over the country. (Laughter)

GG: Brilliant, thanks so much for your time today Richard, I hope you enjoy the rest of your day at London Film and Comic Con 2011.

NB: This interview must not be used anywhere without credit or my permission.

Here are a couple of snippets of Richard is his dual involvement with Battlestar Galactica.

Firstly the opening title sequence of the original series, with the stunning music written by Stu Phillips and starring Lorne Greene, Dirk Benedict, Jane Seymore, voiceover by Patrick Macnee:

And a trailer fo the re-imagined series starring Edward James Olmos, Jamie Bamber, Katee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer:

Posted by: Geek Girl Kerensa Creswell-Bryant
Geek Girl, Updated at: 21:43