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Richard hatch interview

Date of publishing: 8th July 2007

Richard hatch interview - Tom Zarek - Apollo Battlestar Galactica Richard Hatch has enjoyed international recognition for more than two decades. He has starred in such series as The Streets Of San Francisco for which he won Germany's Bravo Award, the equivalent of an Emmy Award, and the original Battlestar Galactica for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. These two series continue to play throughout the world today. He has also guest starred in numerous television series including Dynasty, T.J. Hooker, MacGyver, Murder, She Wrote, and Jake And The Fatman. His feature film credits include Charlie Chan And The Curse Of The Dragon Queen with Michelle Pfeiffer, The Jungle, Prisoners Of The Lost Universe, African Fever and Party Line. Richard is also the author of a trilogy of Battlestar Galactica novels for Byron Preiss Publications. He has also been writing Battlestar Galactica stories for Extreme Comics and Realm Press. In 1999, Richard wrote, co-directed and executiveproduced a 4 minute Battlestar Galactica Trailer which not only won acclaims at sciencefiction conventions but also in the worldwide press. At present, Richard's other pet project, Great War of Magellan, which he created and wrote, is also currently being filmed as a Trailer directed by Richard, and he is in discussions to create a series and/or video game based on the story. Richard Hatch is currently playing Tom Zarek in the new version of Battlestar Galactica.

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Richard hatch interview - Tom Zarek - Apollo Battlestar GalacticaGilles Nuytens: After three years on the new Battlestar Galactica, what is your overall impression?
Richard Hatch: I think that the new re-imagined version of Battlestar has turned out to be, you know, an extraordinary show in terms of the quality of the acting, the writing, the special effects - it’s probably one of the best if not the best sci-fi, produced sci-fi, show of all time on TV. And I think it’s quite amazing that they’ve gotten the studio support to do such a provocative cutting-edge show that seems to push the boundaries of how we’ve defined sci-fi or how sci-fi was defined in the public consciousness for the past 20, 30, or 40 years. It’s basically forced people to re-evaluate their opinions about science fiction and to realize that science fiction is not about four-headed monsters, but it’s about people, it’s about life, it’s about politics, it’s about what’s going in our world, from a fresh perspective that allows us to maybe put a mirror up to our society and see the world with a 360° vision maybe. I think Battlestar Galactica has shattered a lot of old judgments and belief systems about the genre and has allowed people who never watched science fiction ever before to all of sudden realize that, “Oh my god, this is about something that I can relate to, this is about something that makes sense to me in my daily life, it’s something that’s going on in my world today, and it’s relevant.” I think science fiction lovers would have told these skeptical audiences that science fiction has always been about the world, about people, about life. But also it explores the theoretical probabilities and possibilities of life, and maybe the world has gotten to a place where we’re more ready to ask deeper questions. But certainly Battlestar has changed the landscape of science fiction on television and it’s opened up a whole - I think in terms of music it’s innovative, the story writing, the wonderful cast, being able to do again the kinds of special effects that are being done on Battlestar - I don’t think they’ve ever been done before for any science fiction show on TV. It goes to show you that what was considered impossible a few years ago is possible, and I think it stretched the limits of maybe what producers, directors, writers, are going to be doing in the future. I think Battlestar has been a benchmark in terms of the evolution of science fiction on television and we’re going to see a whole slew of new kinds of science fiction shows coming out that got their impetus, their inspiration, from this Battlestar. It’s funny because I have gone to many conventions and I’ve sat with the producers of Heroes, of several other top science-fiction shows, and many of them are huge Battlestar Galactica fans - they really, really love the show. I think it’s inspiring a lot of artists and creators to move in new directions and try new things and think out of the box. Ron Moore, I think, has courageously gone where few people were willing to tread. After three years I think Battlestar has demonstrated that this story is worthy of a three-generational audience; from the original show to this show, it’s quite a huge audience that has always loved Battlestar. And I think that the new series has more than justified that this story is a very powerful story and one that is worth telling. It’s not just that memory that we have of the original Battlestar, of this big space opera, but that Battlestar has always been about much more, it’s always been deeper, richer, fuller, philosophical, spiritual, political; it’s always been about all those things. Obviously thirty years ago they were not able to mine the rich and dramatic territory that the new show is able to do thirty years later, because number one, the creators involved are very out of the box, very creative, very imaginative producer-writers, and also because you’ve got a network that supports going in these new, innovative directions, whereas before we never had that kind of support. In fact ABC, the studio - nobody really supported science fiction back then. But again, a lot has to do with the evolution of science fiction in the minds of not only executives, but we’re realizing that science fiction is the number one, you know, it’s not just a niche genre, we’re realizing that the biggest grossing films of all time are science fiction/fantasy movies and television - I think seven out of the ten. It’s just kind of strange that it’s taken so long for the networks to realize that sci-fi is for everyone, not just a few crazy people walking around in costumes, and I consider myself one of those crazy people, because who in the world doesn’t like to put on a costume and role-play? I mean, we all grew up doing those kinds of things; it’s one of the most fun things to do, and fantasy and sci-fi conventions allow the whole family to go and have a great Richard hatch interview - Tom Zarek - Apollo Battlestar Galacticaweekend and step into a very imaginative topography and let their creativity soar. I have never met anybody that didn’t love a good book or a great story, and science-fiction/fantasy has some of the greatest stories ever told. Again, I think Battlestar is on the forefront of all of this. I think these ideas have been laying dormant, have been explored in the past, but never with such commitment, with such passion, as the new Battlestar Galactica has explored this new territory. Again, I think the new Battlestar has proven itself worthy of an icon, becoming a sci-fi icon, and it’s demonstrated the viability that science fiction is about something that we can all relate to and it goes well beyond the so-called sci-fi niche audience. It’s like Star Wars in the sense that Star Wars appealed to fans of all ages, all backgrounds, all nationalities, and it appealed to people who never even liked science fiction before. But Battlestar again is different than Star Wars; it’s less of a space opera and it’s more about really getting into the heart of who we are as people, what makes us tick, where we come from, were we’re going, the infinite possibilities of life. I just think as an artist, for me, I live to be part of the shows that do what Battlestar is doing and to play characters like the one I’m playing, Tom Zarek, that allow me to really be challenged as an actor and to do the kind of work that you see on Battlestar all the time; some great acting, great writing, great producing, great production value, I mean this is a pretty amazing show.

Gilles Nuytens: Galactica is really an adult sci-fi, but when you say you like the show or you like sci-fi to someone, you can always notice a smile on their face - they won’t take you seriously. They have preconceived idea about what sci-fi is that hasn’t really evolved in years. It’s like we must produce extremely good stuff to attract the attention of media, which is a good thing in the end, because it means having a good product. What do you think about the situation and how can we change the mentalities?
Richard Hatch: Oh, I think the answer I just gave you answers that totally. Basically I answered about three questions probably, all at once, but obviously again, people who have judgments about science fiction, don’t know science-fiction, have not read science-fiction -they have a very cliché, limited, narrow view of what science fiction is and it’s not based on reality, it’s not based on fact. You know, it’s like anything in life - people form preconceived ideas about everything in life, and most of these preconceived ideas are based on fear, insecurity, lack of knowledge or awareness, and no framework of understanding. Does it mean someone is less intelligent or less gifted? It just means that it’s outside someone’s frame of reference, because maybe they grew up thinking that science fiction is this or that and, unfortunately, there were a number of science fiction movies that were made many years ago, that might have given people the impression that science fiction was just corny, stupid and silly and with silly costumes. But I think that in the age we live in, we’re shattering a lot of old belief systems, judgments, and paradigms, and if I’ve learned anything, we are normally wrong about most of our judgments, whether it be people, politics, religions, philosophies, most of our judgments are wrong because we only see part of the picture. And I think that today, fortunately because of the media, because of the ability to share information, to see situations from multiple viewing points, the world is beginning to debunk many of our judgments about everything in life, from alternative medicine to science, to UFO’s, to this and that. Some people live in a very narrow frame of reference, because of its terrifying to think that things may not be what we want or need them to be in order to feel safe or comfortable. One of the biggest issues for many people has always been the fear of really thinking there may be life out there beyond us. I could go on and on [about] every scientific experiment, every new technology brought forth into this world has been ridiculed and put down, people have burned at the stake, put on the cross, tortured, thrown into prisons because they had new ideas or new ways of doing things that terrified people. People have always been afraid of something new. I think that science fiction is not just a bunch of garbley-gook, it’s always been written by the visionary, most intelligent people on the face of the planet, and it has always extrapolated from where we are now and where we might be hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of years from now. Science fiction, especially intelligent visionary science fiction, can be almost prophetic, in terms of some of the issues and areas of exploration. Most of us just need to look over all our judgments, and keep an open mind towards everything and maybe do a little more research and open our eyes to maybe looking at life, and art, and situations from what I call a larger, more expanded viewing point, as opposed to a narrow point of view. There is so much more out in the world than most of us see and again we limit what we see by these judgments that we make about things, and most of the judgments about science fiction have always been wrong.

Richard hatch interview - Tom Zarek - Apollo Battlestar GalacticaGilles Nuytens: The new show describes the human condition far better than most of the shows we can see on television right now, do you agree with that?
Richard Hatch: I totally agree with that. In the past we tended to show life through rosy-colored glasses; we only wanted to see the so-called positives, the things that we felt were up-lifting and inspiring, and we wanted to show the positives as opposed to the negatives. But I think that in this reality-based world where we’re being forced to look at ourselves in the mirror, we’ve come to deeper revelations and understandings about life, about ourselves, about the world, about politics, and so our naivety has been pierced, and we now in a sense are much more open and ready to look at movies and television shows that more honestly reflect the world. Now doesn’t mean that we don’t like a touch of fantasy throw in, or that art is a way of showing life, but it also helps us to see things we don’t see. Ultimately I think art should be inspiring, but that doesn’t mean it should all be black or white, good guys versus bad guys - you are either good or you are bad. Everything has been kind of relegated to clichés. I think that the new art and new movies have come to the realization that nobody is all good or bad, even bad guys are capable of doing good things and good people are capable of doing bad things under the right conditions. Battlestar has put people into the most extraordinarily challenging conditions and we’ve been able to see the best and the worst of humanity in a very, very powerful and realistic way. And that’s one way of mirroring the world. You could also do it in a little bit more [of a] fantasy context where you’d be one or two steps removed from the world, but at the same time you’d still be able to view the world and still be able to explore sociological, philosophical, spiritual, [and] political issues. But again, there are different ways of doing it and Battlestar does it in a very in your face, very direct, very blunt, very honest, very gutsy way; it’s a very powerful show and [for] some people it’s almost too dark for them and [it may be] too much for them. I would only say to them that ultimately at the end of the day I think this new Battlestar, even though it maybe dark, it is inspiring because it shows that deep down inside of everybody there is a spark of life, a spark of goodness, and that even the worst of us has a longing to do the right thing. And yeah, we see the flaws, imperfections, and the conflicted struggles of every human being on the Battlestar Galactica, but at the same time we see the real hope, real inspiration, and the true hero is not always the one who’s got the shiny clothes on and the mask and the cape, or the so-called perfect person. Sometimes it’s that courageous struggle within all of us to find our way in the world and to overcome our challenges, our dark side, and maybe it’s in the struggle that we find more [of] a powerful sense of humanity, and whether we win or loose or whether we succeed or not, is not even as important as the struggle. I think it’s all about the struggle within and each person to deal with their demons. Battlestar really reflects and mirrors that in a powerful way and ultimately I think that’s even more inspiring, than the so-called cliché of the good guy beats the bad guy down and wins in the end, which is what we have seen in the past.

Gilles Nuytens: What is your favorite season so far?
Richard Hatch: Do you mean as a viewer, as the audience, or as an actor?

Gilles Nuytens: I would say as an actor.
Richard Hatch: Well, it’s hard for me because my character comes in and out and sometimes I have a lot to do, sometimes I have less to do. So I’ve gotten wonderful scenes to play last year, but I got a lot more to do the year before, and obviously the first year I got to do two really good shows which allowed my character to really show more of who he was. I think overall a show may seem to go off on a tangent or may seemingly, and I don’t mean lose its way, but Battlestar is covering such rich topography and there is so many wonderful characters on the show, that sometimes it seems to be going in multiple directions. But ultimately I think the show continually gets deeper, richer, fuller, better, and ultimately as it all plays itself out, that everything that’s being explored and set up now will slowly come into focus. It will all come into clarity and I think it is all ever steadily moving forward, so I think every season has been better than the last one, even though individual shows, you have favorites, but ultimately I think every season has been stronger.

Richard hatch interview - Tom Zarek - Apollo Battlestar GalacticaGilles Nuytens: And as a viewer which season do you prefer?
Richard Hatch: As a viewer I like it more and more. I find with every year I grow more about the characters, I learn more about the situations, I learn more about the back story, and so I think the best season so far has been this last year.

Gilles Nuytens: Have you already been approached to play in season 4 and what are your expectations in terms of the next season?
Richard Hatch: Well, when it comes to Battlestar nobody really knows quite what is going to happen until they know. And in this particular show anybody can go at any time, you know, it’s a very unpredictable show in many cases we don’t know what is going to happen until we get the script, so I have no clue what I’m going to be doing or if I’m going to be doing anything in the next season - I have no idea. I know my character is still alive as far as I know, but I have no idea what their plans are and, generally speaking, I don’t find out until they call me or until a script arrives at my door and I’m told I’m going up to Vancouver. I’ve been as far away as New Zealand and Australia and a script arrived and I had no clue it was coming; I have no idea. I sincerely hope with this rich cast of characters, you know I feel very blessed to be on this show and I love my character, so I sincerely hope that my character gets woven into the plot and has a significant impact in a way that will help the show and allow me as an actor to do some more wonderful scenes. I look forward so much to doing wonderful material and I’ve gotten some of the best material I’ve ever had on Battlestar. But, you know, there’s been a lot of material cut as well because they tend to overshoot on Battlestar - there’s a lot of characters, a lot of ground to cover, so many times in the editing room a lot of good scenes not just for me, for others as well get put on the cutting room floor. Some of it gets put on the DVD or the extended versions. But, again, I can only hope, keep my fingers crossed, that they value my character enough to bring him back and evolve his character further so we’ll see -the jury is out, we will see. I have no idea.

Gilles Nuytens: Okay. How do you think Tom would react if he learned he was the Final Cylon?
Richard Hatch: Oh, oh, oh, oh wow, well, first of all actors love to be surprised and the more interesting challenges you throw to an actor, the more exciting it is to play. I have no idea if I’m a Cylon or not, or I could be lying to you and not tell you, pretend not to know. The truth is we can’t tell people anything about what we know or don’t know on this particular show, because as you know this show prides itself on surprises. Certainly if I was a Cylon, that would give me nine lives, multiple lives, so I certainly wouldn’t mind that.

Gilles Nuytens: But how Tom Zarek would react if he learned that?
Richard Hatch: Well, I think Tom Zarek would be just as surprised as everybody else on the show. To tell you the truth, what’s so brilliant about the concept is that even the human Cylons don’t even know they’re human Cylons until they find out, and when they find out many times they’re conflicted between their Cylon part and their human part, and that was probably programmed into them in order to disguise them more effectively, but each character has to deal with the reality that they’re a Cylon, the same way we saw at the end of this last season, with those four characters maybe thinking they might be Cylons, we’ll find out, but even the possibility of being Cylon was shattering - imagine finding out something that powerful when you’ve lived your whole life. I mean it’s like finding out that your parents aren’t your parents, or finding out that you’re a totally different race, imagine if you find out that you weren’t even born on planet Earth or whatever… I mean, imagine something of that magnitude. That’s what it’s got to feel like to find out that you’re a Cylon, and then you have to deal with that, so I find it another evolution of the inner struggle that we all have, finding out that part of you is Cylon has got to be the ultimate struggle, and also the conflicting challenge of coming to terms with your true identity. And again these are all metaphors and archetypes that are being played with here, and they’re very powerful metaphors and I think it, again, whether you’re struggling with your inner demon or trying to find out who you really are inside instead of maybe who you think you are - all these questions everybody has, and finding out that you are a Cylon is just no different than honestly only on a much more powerful level of having to come to terms with your true nature. Richard hatch interview - Tom Zarek - Apollo Battlestar GalacticaAnd again, all of that is what make Battlestar so interesting, and it’s something we can all relate, you know, I don’t know anybody that can’t relate to the struggles that each of these characters on this show has. I mean, I look at Tom Zarek, and Tom Zarek - everybody thinks, “Oh, how do you like playing a bad guy,” and I say, “Well, first of all I don’t look at Tom Zarek as a bad guy.” I think Tom Zarek… to tell you the truth, he has the balls and the courage to stand up for what he believes, and he’s paid a huge price for it. And even in a world where you think everybody plays by the rules, Tom Zarek has fought for freedom, has fought for individual rights, has fought for all kinds of good things, and has been thrown into prison and tortured for it… so, you know, who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? Just because you’re challenging the government doesn’t make you the bad guy, although we all have a dark side, and God knows Tom Zarek has a dark side, and a well-deserved dark side, because of all the pain and loss that he has endured, and he has had to struggle with that dark side of his nature, but I think at his heart, very much like every character on the show, I think in his heart, everybody, I truly believe, wants to do good. It’s just that when we get damaged, one way or the other, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, it causes incredible problems, incredible challenges within and without, and unresolved challenges can turn into some very, very destructive behavior, and as we have seen on Battlestar everybody is capable of destructive behavior. Again, I don’t think that takes away from humanity - we have this illusion that we need people to be perfect in order to be loveable, to be the good guy you’ve got to be perfect. But you know, who can relate to anybody perfect? The truth is we all fall off the path, we all lose our way, we all get damaged, we all have challenges, we all make mistakes, and it seems to me that the bigger issue is not falling off the path into our dark side, but the struggle to find our way back home, to come to terms with mistakes we’ve made and to find redemption - I think that that is the ultimate story. And certainly Battlestar tells that story in a very powerful way, and Tom Zarek is definitely a character who is seeking, tryinf to find his own sense of salvation and redemption, but again, whether he makes it or not, or whether any character in this show including Baltar makes it, I just find that that journey is incredibly compelling.

Gilles Nuytens: What do you think of the evolution of Tom Zarek since the first time we have seen him?
Richard Hatch: Well, you know Tom has evolved in many ways from somebody on a prison barge that we didn’t know, to someone who got into politics, who ran into a wall because nobody wanted him to succeed, and therefore they put up blocks, illegal blocks by the way, to his efforts to find his way in the political arena to a position where he can have an influence, I think he has always sought to find a way to have a more powerful voice in the government, in what’s happening, because I don’t think Tom Zarek trusts government, doesn’t trust the powers that be, doesn’t trust the law, because he’s seen it used against people, he’s seen all of that used in a negative way, so he has very little faith in government, or in people, because he’s seen the very worst that people have to offer. He’s been to the dark side, he’s suffered at the hands of other people’s dark side, and I think that this is a man who is again trying to find a way out of abyss and, again, I think it’s an interesting journey, it’s an interesting evolution, and in the audience’s mind it’s got to be strange, because they thought of Tom as being the ultimate bad guy and now they’re conflicted because there’s seem to be a lot more to him than just the guy who is out for his own purposes. And it’s true; again, nobody is what they seem on Battlestar Galactica. And I think that’s a way of saying maybe nobody in life is what they seem to be. Maybe our judgment of science fiction, of our families, of each other, maybe we don’t see the whole picture about anything. So we shouldn’t be so sure we know. We should keep our minds open until we have more information before we make Richard hatch interview - Tom Zarek - Apollo Battlestar Galacticaup our minds. And I think Battlestar certainly, with Tom Zarek, you’re finding out things every day including the four-part miniseries on Tom Zarek, filled in a lot of the backstory of Tom Zarek and told you that his family were killed by a very suppressive government, he fought against that suppressive government, he ended up in jail, he paid a huge price. Of course, everybody assumed that he had to be just some bad guy out for his own maniacal purposes. I don’t think anybody is up for that, I think people who do bad things are very damaged human beings, they don’t need punishment, they need help. They may need to be separated from humanity, but I think if you’ve been to prison you realize that prison doesn’t make anybody better and, in fact, it makes people worse. I think anybody that goes into a prison that you plan to release one day, you shouldn’t put them in a prison, because they’re gonna come out [a] far worse hard criminal than when they went in. You know, the mind of Ron Moore, and writers, I just think he is a man that has a greater vision and understanding of the world, and I think he is willing to do what Star Trek has always said - “To go where no man or woman has gone before.” He’s not afraid to go to the very depths of human nature to explore stories that will illuminate the human condition. All great artists, all great writers are courageous enough to take that journey.

Gilles Nuytens: So what characters would you like to see Tom Zarek developed with more?
Richard Hatch: Well, you know, as I’ve always said, I would like to see Tom Zarek get more involved in the processes of government. I would like to see him really mount an effort to push his political agenda. I’d like to see him obviously I’d like to see him involved in some kind of personal story or relationship with somebody, whether it be with Mary McDonnell, the president, or some character like that where we can see the personal side of Tom Zarek. I’d love to the relationship between Tom and Mary and Edward Olmos, you know, the leaders develop in some interesting, dramatic way. I’d like to see Tom get, like you said, developed in way where we can see more of who he really is and what’s really going on inside of him. One of the things that makes Tom Zarek interesting obviously is that we don’t never quite know what his motivations are, but I think it would be interesting to be able to explore a little bit more of his life like they did in the comic book - I would love to see some of that woven into the scripts and be able to see behind his agenda. I’d like to see a little bit of his heart, his backstory, his frustrations, his struggles. Just like any actor on the show, I think they would all like to see, have chances to let their characters evolve and unfold so that we gain a deeper understanding of who that character is.

Gilles Nuytens: When the new show came out, you mentioned that you would have preferred to have first see a conclusion to the old series prior to re-imagining of the show. You have written several Galactica novels, so why not simply write a novel to give the fans a conclusion to that story?
Richard Hatch: Well, I think there’s multiple possibilities. Obviously, having been part of the original show, then I worked for several years to bring back and continue the original series, which I was doing way before the re-imagined version was even thought about, obviously having put so much energy into that and then also writing several of the Battlestar Galactica novels updating the original show, projecting it twenty-five to thirty years into the future. Getting a chance to see where these stories might have gone, where these characters would be twenty-five years later. Obviously I would have loved to have seen some kind of conclusion or some kind of updating very much like they did with Star Trek where they brought back the original Star Trek first and then they did obviously the Next Generation and then they did Voyager and Deep Space Nine, but at least the original Star Trek got a chance to come back and show us where they were today. Obviously being a part of the original show I would have loved to have that been possible, but it’s an expensive undertaking to even do one show on the magnitude of Battlestar, so I think ultimately they wanted the freedom to be able to take Battlestar in multiple directions and they felt they’d have greater freedom to do that with the re-imagined version and any producer with his salt I think Richard hatch interview - Tom Zarek - Apollo Battlestar Galacticawould much prefer to do a re-imagining of something as opposed to having to follow directly in the footsteps of something that came before. Most very talented, gifted producer/writers, you know, they want to put their own stamp on something and I don’t blame them. And obviously this is a new day, a new decade, it’s a new world, and sometimes having a fresh perspective on things allows you to, like what they said, re-imagine an original premise in a very unique and edgy, cutting-edge way that is very much in tune with today’s audiences and where the world is going. You know there is pluses and minuses in all that, but obviously having been a part of the original series, I had a great help to at least update the show and to show where these characters were today and to have some kind of resolution or ending of that, and I’ve worked on doing that in the novels. I got to write some of the comic books, I got to do some of that in the novels. I’ve done seven novels, and I think I’d like to do at least a couple more in order to find some conclusion and resolution with the original show and if they ever were able to do it in movie form it might even be more appropriate to do an animated movie of the original series. It wouldn’t compete with the new show, very much like Voyager and Next Generation, you know, they don’t compete with each other. It would be great just to see where these characters were and an animated version like Final Fantasy would allow the original actors to do their characters and do the voices and they can make the characters whatever ages they wanted, and they could bring back some of the actors that have died. It would also stand on its own. I think audiences would really enjoy something like that, but I don’t think it would be any conflict to the new series. The new series is so well-defined and grounded and established itself so powerfully out in the marketplace, I don’t think there would be any confusion between something like that and an animated version. I honestly think an animated version of the original is the way to go with that. I’ve just seen a little bit of the Battlestar Galactica CD ROM game where they had an animated version at the beginning of the game. The animated version was kind of cool. I thought, wow if they did a movie, an animated movie of Galactica with the new technology they have - motion capture and having the real actors reprise their roles, digitally recreating some of the actors that have passed away, I think that you could have some thing that everyone could enjoy. Again I don’t think it would compete at all with the new show and I think this new show is so good that it deserves to go into movies. It should turn into a series of movies like Star Trek did, but we will see what happens. The jury is still out in terms of good shows. They don’t always stay on for some reason, you know. This is a very, very dramatic, edgy, provocative show that some people, you know… there’s still a lot of people out there that are not ready for something that powerful, they like entertainment to be a little less heavy and a little less provocative and they’re not comfortable with something like that. But I, on the other hand, as an audience and as an artist, I prefer… I think art needs to be visionary, needs to be profound, needs to be about something. I think that’s what real art is about. It’s what I got into the business for. I am hungry for great science fiction, for great writing, great acting, great performing – there’s not enough of it out there and there are some good shows, but there are not enough. I mean I have to struggle to find enough wonderful things, product, movies that really touch my heart. Again, I am fortunate I’ve been part of two great shows - the original Battlestar and this new Battlestar. I’ve been very blessed to have be given a wonderful, interesting character to play and certainly get to know a whole new crew of actors, writers, and producers thirty years later, so I have nothing to complain about. I’m developing my own company now. I’m getting into writing, directing, and producing. I’ve put together a new television series, a book series, graphic novel series, and there’s going to be an MMO online role playing game called The Great War of Magellan. People can go to www.greatwarofmagellan.com/ and check it out. A whole bunch of things will be coming out this coming year, but I’ve written and I’m directing, and I’m writing and producing, and acting in projects I really care about so this is a great time in my life and I’m more than pleased. It’s a great time to be alive.

Richard hatch interview - Tom Zarek - Apollo Battlestar GalacticaGilles Nuytens: How is the Great War of Magellan project going?
Richard Hatch: It’s coming along really well. We are now in the process of setting up a corporation, raising the money to do the MMO online role playing game. A Nintendo game. We’re doing a cell phone game. We’re doing a series of graphic novels. The novelization of Magellan is coming out later this year and then we’re gearing up to do, God knows, it could be a series of movies, it could be any number of things. I’ve been, for the past four or five years, developing the concept and now I’m taking it to the market place.

Gilles Nuytens: There is a lot of talk about that spin off – Caprica. What do you think of it?
Richard Hatch: Well, I think it’s a great idea because, number one, everybody that’s ever watched both the original show and the new show have always wondered what came before. That whole area of Galactica has never been explored. And I think we’ve read about it, we’ve gotten little tidbits, but I think everybody would love to find out exactly how the Cylons became the Cylons, how those wars came about, how we were finally thrust off the planet into space, searching for a new homeland. I think everybody would love to see how that basically developed, and I think fans of both the old and the new show would find something in common in Caprica. I think they could all support that show and really get into only because again like I said it’s covering territory that everybody has been interested in for 25 or 30 years. It’s untapped, uncharted territory. Hopefully they will get that together. It will all depend obviously on thousands of if’s, and’s, and but’s. But the jury is still out, I don’t think anything’s definite yet. As far as I know a script hasn’t been approved, although they have somebody writing a script. But I think they are waiting until they have the right… you know, but if it’s Ron Moore, then it’s not going to be put out there until it’s ready.

Gilles Nuytens: You are credited with a movie called “Starship II: Rendezvous with Ramses.”
Richard Hatch: Oh, I don’t know much about that, you have to understand that that was filmed three or four years ago. I was at a convention. They asked me to come in and do a couple of scenes. It’s just a comedy, comedic thing. So they just threw a few lines at me and I did it for a couple of hours and that’s all I know about it. I’ve never seen it, I don’t really know much about it. All I know is it was a lot of fun to just get into this room at a convention and be able to be silly, so it was fun.

Gilles Nuytens: Outside of SciFi, do you have any other projects?
Richard Hatch: Well, I’m setting up a production company. We’re doing several projects. One of them is called Mars Land, which is another sci-fi project that I’m working on with a partner. I can’t go into all the details of it, but we are setting up a multi-movie deal project to do several films. You know, I’m not just sci-fi but I happen to personally love the genre of sci-fi/fantasy. I find it the most compelling, but you know a good movie is good movie, a good drama is a good drama. I love doing common stories about people, about life, about the world, whether it be a comedy drama, it doesn’t matter, the point is we’re looking at multiple types of stories dealing with human nature and I always like looking at a story that has something to say about relationships, about men, women, politics, the world. Obviously you have to do it in an entertaining, artsy way - artful - way. So right now I’m in the process of setting up two different companies: one for Magellan and the other is for multiple projects including several other science fiction projects. We’re looking to pick up a new book deal because our publisher died, from Byron Price who produced the Battlestar novels. We’re looking for a new publisher to continue that series. I may be working with Dynamite on the new Battlestar comics that they are doing. Doing some stuff for them. Then there are several other movie possibilities coming up that I might be involved in acting in and directing. I just directed an infomercial for the securities industry which will be coming out next year. I directed, wrote, produced, and hosted it. I’m going to probably be doing a lot more directing and writing in the upcoming months and then obviously get to play Tom Zarek some more - that would be an absolute delight. I’m praying to the Lords of Kobol.

Richard hatch interview - Tom Zarek - Apollo Battlestar GalacticaGilles Nuytens: Are you sometimes tired of speaking about Galactica all over and again?
Richard Hatch: No, because I’m not just an actor in these shows - I happen to have a passion for these stories. And I have a passion for this genre of science fiction. I love Star Trek, love Star Wars, love the Matrix, love all these shows, you know. Lord of the Rings. You know, I love all these things. So for me, I never grow tired of talking about what I love and have a passion for.

Gilles Nuytens: Do you also watch Stargate or X-files?
Richard Hatch: Stargate - I have not watched much of. I don’t know much about Stargate, that’s one show I haven’t watched. I’m sure I will. X-files, I love. Again, I like any show that explores the mysteries of life. Stargate is just one show I haven’t had a chance to look at. I’m going to look at all the episodes of Firefly. Someone just gave me the whole DVD [collection] and I’m going to look at all the episodes of that. I did see Serenity. I didn’t see much Farscape or Babylon 5. I did watch Voyager, Deep Space Nine, Next Generation - all of that.

Gilles Nuytens: Heroes - did you watch that?
Richard Hatch: Heroes. I watch Heroes as well. I think that’s an interesting show. It could be done tongue in check, but they do it in a serious way that kind of explores the mystique of… I don’t know… there is something fascinating maybe realizing that the ability to be a hero lies within all of us and, you know, dealing with that fantasy of having superpowers isn’t always what we think it is. On a realistic level it would be very challenging to deal with superpowers. It wouldn’t be just “Oh ha ha - good I can fly! I can scale tall building with a single bound.” All that looks great to us as kids growing up, but the reality of dealing with those abilities would be far more challenging and I think Heroes is going into a really interesting exploration of that subject matter. It’s well-produced, well-acted, and I think it’s a great show.

Gilles Nuytens: Thank you for your time and for answering my big questions.
Richard Hatch: No, no you’re very welcome. Good questions. It was a pleasure talking to you. Take care.

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© 2007 Interview by Gilles Nuytens for The Scifi World
Transcript by Mathieu Pesin (Angel10), Rene Burl & Tsaxlady


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