Battlestar Galactica's Richard Hatch talks with - TVStoreOnline

Scroll down for the Richard Hatch TVSO Interview originally conducted just a couple years before his passing.

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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!  Well, some of it. (Laughing)  I don't think I'll ever forget shooting in that plastic snow.  That wasn't easy and it was really a pain in the butt to do that episode.

TV STORE ONLINE:  What was it like as a working actor trying to make it in the Los Angeles of the late '60s and very early '70s before you got Battlestar? Weren't you up for Dustin Hoffman's role in The Graduate (1967)?

HATCH: 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,” even though no one knew who Tom Cruise was at that time.

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.  

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 on the series.  It was a completely 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 today 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...well, the audition process was really intense.  It wasn't like today where someone gets a part based on their level of fame.   

There was a commitment back then to craft, and most of us studied.  There doesn't seem to be much attention paid to the art of acting in young actors that come out here today–most come out here for the wrong reasons today,  I think.

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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 on television 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--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 great years for you. You had a role on the television soap satire Mary Hartman.

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–well, every time I'd audition for something I wouldn't be considered seriously because I had come off of doing 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 guys have seen that?  Wow. Well, I had just come to Los Angeles from New York City when I was cast in that part.   I auditioned for it and I got it. While we were shooting that movie, we spent the entire time traveling across the United States almost living in that motorhome.  We ended up shooting the final sequences for the movie at Zuma Beach. It was a fun experience, actually. 

TV STORE ONLINE:   There's a fun connection between your early work on All My Children and Best Friends.   Your character on All My Children went off to  Vietnam to fight and in Best Friends your character had just returned from Vietnam.

HATCH:  That's right. Some of the roles I've had over my life, in a way, have mirrored 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. So, in doing that, I had to relive a bit of my own life in that way.  

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TV STORE ONLINE:  Then you did Deadman’s Curve (1978) with Bruce Davison, where the two of you play musicians 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 connected with that character as well.  So having that experience really helped me when it came time to audition for Deadman’s Curve. 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 research for that part?  Did Jan Berry or Dean Torrance have any advice for you or Bruce Davison regarding the roles?

HATCH:  They were on the set almost every day.  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 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 in Southern California.  

TV STORE ONLINE:  You’ve always been passionate about the legacy of Battlestar Galactica and a science fiction fan. What are some of your favorite science fiction movies? 

HATCH:  Blade Runner (1982).  Alien (1979).  Mad Max (1979).   I grew up on War of the Worlds (1953) and When Earth Collides (1951).  

The TV series, Star Trek–I loved watching from the time I was eight-years-old. I grew up reading science fiction too.  

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. 


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