|Noah Hathaway GALACTICA.TV interview|
|Written by Marcel Damen|
|Thursday, 30 November 2006|
On August 14, 2005 at Memorabilia, held in Birmingham, England, we caught up with actor Noah Hathaway, better known for his part as Boxey on Battlestar Galactica 1978 and Atreyu on the NeverEnding Story. He started at the age of three already doing commercials and after being a child actor for years he left the business. Now he's thinking of picking it up again and we look back on his career and future plans.
Your father was an acting teacher, so I guess he taught you a lot. Was he your only teacher or did you also have some other acting classes later?
He was the main person that I have worked with during my early years. I have tried to work with some other teachers and I just... uhm... you have to kind of find out what works for you, you know. I worked with some pretty big teachers for a couple of months, but I'm just not very keen on certain people. For the last year I've been working with Ivana Chubbuck, who is Halle Berry's coach and Eva Mendez's coach and the Baldwin's coach... I've been working with her for the last year, because my back is much better now. She's great! She's the best coach I've had; I've had very little training up until recently.
You already had a commercial agent when you were 3, right?
You started pretty early then.
When I was three, I did a Pepsi commercial, which was my first job. I probably did 10-15 commercials up until I did Battlestar [Galactica].
Noah Hathaway as Boxey on Battlestar Galactica 1978
How did you get the part for Battlestar Galactica? Did you do a screentest?
Yes, auditioned. Had a couple actually: two or three auditions and had to do a screentest.
Where there a lot of other children?
For the part? Yes. For the screentest... it was just between me and one other kid. I still remember his name though, which is funny.
Did you have any guidance by your parents or welfare workers on the set?
You have to by law! My parents were always on the set and you always had to have a teacher around. The teacher had credentials and they had make sure you're not exploited and that you're taking care off... you know what I mean? That you do your schooling and stuff... In the States back then, they were very on top of things. At least they were starting to become back then; starting to really get on top of things for kids.
Because there were a lot of child actors and actresses at that time that were manipulated by directors with long working hours and things like that. It's a lot different now, but I guess in those days there weren't that many rules yet?
What happened was: they came up with the Coogan Law, named after Jackie Coogan who was The Kid in the Charlie Chaplin movies. That's were it all kind off stemmed from, but it has taken years to really enforce it and get on top of it. A lot of kids were exploited during the times when it starting to take effect.
You also had a crush on Jane Seymour (Serina)?
Of course! She was beautiful!
You even bought her flowers and perfume as a birthday present. Did you ever talked to her later about that, when you were an adult?
A friend of mine was a producer on Dr. Quinn and he had me come out to say hi, so we talked about it. This was probably... I don't know, maybe 10 years ago. Yes, I told her. I said: "I had the biggest crush on you; you were so beautiful!" ...she blushed. (both laughing)
There was also one of the episodes that had your father in it: "The Long Patrol". He was an Enforcer in there. Did you get him that job or was he just around?
No... Well yeah, inadvertently I got it for him because he was on the set the whole time and he was an actor, so they cast him.
Because there were a lot of family members of other cast members on the show.
There were children of Glen Larson, the daughter of Lorne Greene was in there...
Right! Yes, I know Lorne had some kid, but other than that...
What was your favorite episode and why?
You had the two most famous "pets" in history: Falkor, the dragon and Muffit. What was your favorite and why?
I liked Muffit, because Evie (the chimpanzee) was inside and she was like my pet for a couple of years. I would visit her after we had finished Battlestar [Galactica]. I saw her a bunch of times. The animal trainer had a reserve, called "Gentle Jungle", where he had tigers, elephants and bears. So we would go out there every now and then and go see her.
Do you know what eventually happened to her?
She'd gone old and passed away. She passed away a while ago.
Noah Hathaway as Atreyu on NeverEnding Story
What about Falkor, the dragon? Did you like that, did you like riding him?
That's was fun! The problem with that was that we would do certain scenes were it was hooked up to a motor. They would simulate it flying and the motor would overheat. It would go haywire and send me flying a good 30 foot up the air... (laughing) No, really! They had 10 feet boxes and pads and stuff, but I would get a good toss now and then.
Yes, because there were a lot of accidents on NeverEnding Story. You almost got killed several times...
You were thrown of a horse and stepped on, pretty much drowned in the Swamp of Sadness, you almost lost an eye in the fight scene with the Gmork...
That's true! They beat me to death in that movie.
So why did you do your own stunts then? Were there no little stunt guys then?
Well, what it was... Wolfgang Petersen was notorious for his actors doing their own stunts. His actors are always getting hurt, because he wanted... Audiences are very savvy, you can cut away and show the back of somebody and show the stuntman doing their stunt. And everybody knows that, so he wants his actors to do as much as they can for the realism of the movie. Accident happen and actors aren't stuntmen. That's why they have stuntmen, because if someone gets hurt, they're "expendable". And some of the times, they're just more careful... I just ended up paying.
Because nowadays agents won't allow that!
Because the actor is like "the God" on the set.
Right! See, the problem is that, yeah, the agents won't let them, but the actors have big egos, so they want to do their own stunts and everybody has to pull the reins back on the actors, because... you know... They live in this little dream world, you know what I mean? Yes, they don't like actors really doing their own stunts. They try to keep it minimal.
Have you read the book of The NeverEnding Story?
Couple of times! It's wonderful.
Because the film was almost like the book cut in half.
And also Michael Ende doesn't like the film because of that. Do you know why they did that?
Well, I think if you are an author of anything, and I think that goes for people who write scripts too for movies, because they want... they feel like you're destroying their work if you alter it. There's been a lot of time and imagination in creating that. When you change it, it's personal to them. He wrote this brilliant book. I mean: the book is amazing! The movie was wonderful, but the book was a hundred times better than the movie. I'm sure anybody would be upset about that.
Because you own a sign copy of the book?
Yes, he signed me a copy before he died.
Did you meet him in person?
Yes and he signed a copy for me then.
Did you also talk about the film then?
Oh, we hadn't started it yet!
So, you met him before the film?
Slightly, a little bit.
Did he know you were doing the film and that part?
Did he give any advice to you?
Not that I remember.
Like little background stories?
No, not that I remember. Our meeting was very brief.
The story had a message for both children and adults; children should more like grown ups and grown ups more like children. What do you think of a message like that?
It's not like so that kids should be more like grown ups, because you don't want to lose your innocence. You want to lose The Wonderman. When you get older everybody... you become jaded and life happens and life is hard. And they say, don't lose that, don't lose your childlike innocence. Try not to let life jade you.
I meant like children should read more and that kind of grown up stuff in stead of playing video games.
Right, right... and that's what I tell my kids... READ! Read a book, don't sit in front of the TV. Read a book, use your imagination!
The NeverEnding Story also had two crappy sequels (Noah laughs), there was a cartoonseries... if Wolfgang Petersen ever would ask you to do a sequel. Atreju was a bit older in the book then in the film...
Would you do it?
Uhmmm... It would depend on how much they'd pay me! They'd have to pay me a LOT of money! (laughs) They have to pay me a lot of money to do it. They were a lot of problems we ended up having with the producers and the production. They were shady, so they'd have to pay me a ridiculous sum of money to do another film... with Wolfgang that is!
What's going on in your life right now? Because at Galacticon 2003 you were talking about starting your own motorshop: 5150 Choppers?
Yes, I'm still doing that!
You were supposed to start in Miami. Has that happened already?
No, my wife and I were planning, we were trying to move to Miami. The weather is great there for riding, the are a lot of bike rally's, but there are also a lot of hurricanes all the damn time! And my wife was not having that... at all! So, we decided not to move down there and I've been just been working and getting some bikes out of my garage. It's in progression and will take a couple of years to get a shop up. I'm still learning, like I'm going to welding school and learning about mechanics. And I learn as I'm building. It will take a while, you know, I'm not in a rush. I'm not trying to jump on the bandwagon... you know what I mean? The chopper bandwagon. I've been riding my whole life, so it's been something I've been wanting to do since I was a little kid... to build my own bikes; ever since I was 12-13 years old.
You also talked about doing a theme bike, like doing a NeverEnding Story bike or maybe doing a Battlestar Galactica bike?
Yes, a Battlestar [Galactica] bike. I don't know. I'm not... At that moment, it was like everybody was doing a theme bike or whatever, but I don't like to do what everybody does, you know what I mean? I'm not a sheep, I kind of want to do what makes me happy and somebody wants to commission, to pay me to do a Battlestar [Galactica] bike, I'd probably do one. I'll do what the customer wants. I like the bikes the way I like them, you know what I mean? So, if someone would commission me to do a bike, a theme bike, but it's not something I would... to have a big furry, pink bike in my shop! (laughs)
You also said your friends were like really pushing you into acting again. Do you still think you'll ever go into acting again?
Well, that's why I have been working with this coach for the last year. Because everybody has been bugging me to death and my body is in good enough working condition where I think, I feel, I can go back to work. So, I've been working with this woman for a year and she's like: "You need to get back to work!". So I've been trying to get ready for Pilot season since February this year, so my little ass will be back!
OK! For what series?
Don't know. Anything! I'd do a series, love to do a series!
Have you seen the new Battlestar Galactica?
I watched about 20 minutes of it. It was nice! Yeah, it was fun. It's a fun show.
Would you say "yes" if they ever ask you for doing that?
Yes, I'd love to do the new Battlestar Galactica. Actually I was talking to Aaron [Douglas], who's on the new show and we hit it off, so when he gets home he's going to talk to the executives... because they already have Richard [Hatch].
Yes, that's right.
If they want to, they know where to find me. Yes, I would do that.
What part would you like, what would you like to do in that?
I don't know. I don't want to cut my hair, so... ! I could be some "roughie" or something. I'm also... I've been also writing some scripts and stuff, so you know, there's a lot of things I've been trying to do.
Richard [Hatch] is a criminal, really coming up in the ranks and even going for presidency, so you could hook up with him like one of his shady prison friends.
Maybe I could kill him, because it's very Oedipus to kill your father, right?
That would be great! (both laughing) There's a lot of intrigue now about who's who, and who's becoming president because the new president might die soon. And if Richard would become president... it's very tricky to become president. Richard already said at this convention: If I become president, in one of the later episodes, they probably would kill me straight after that!
So that would be a great part for you to do?
That would be fun!
OK. Thank you for doing the interview.
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