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RICHARD HATCH ON THE OLD AND NEW BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

Richard Hatch
RICHARD HATCH is legendary in the BATTLESTAR GALCTICA universe, having starred in the original as “Captain Apollo” and a recurring role in the popular revision series, ultimately appearing in the same amount of episodes on either show...

What’s your favorite episode of the original series?

from THE HAND OF GOD
"The Hand Of God" because I just like the essence that there was a message from Earth. I loved being up in the Star Chamber… I loved the whole feeling of it. It wasn’t an Apollo episode necessarily, but I just liked the episode a lot, I thought it kind of left with this kind of mystical feeling of hope, of something greater out in the universe. I love the feeling of that. And I thought the original two-hour movie was quite extraordinary. I thought that was really quite well done.

You’re prominent in the episode “The Lost Warrior,” where Apollo’s forced to land on a planet and helps a mother, her son, and their small town against a lone Cylon and his human master…

Lost Warrior episode
The “Shane” episode… That was a nice episode. It gave me a chance to do something a little more: and obviously they followed on the footsteps of dealing with his… Apollo had a son… I actually begged for them to leave my son in Battlestar, at the beginning with Jane Seymour, because I just felt like the Starbuck character, and all these other characters, were getting more interesting things to do, and I thought I needed something to hold onto, I felt, that would give my character an opportunity for some dramatic possibilities.

And one of the things I thought would open up at least an area of interest was to have a son, which nobody else on the show had, so, I really wanted them to keep Noah Hathaway in the show, even though I think they were talking about exiting that character... I asked them to keep that character in.

Lost Warriors
And the “Shane” episode, again, he deals with the mother and the son and that whole relationship thing that, you know, that’s a good place for Apollo to show himself a little bit, find out a little about who he is, because he’s kind of like… Just like Adama… You know… He’s that father that we all wished we had… and Loren Greene was the father we all wished we had and Apollo was kind of a version of that, so I think that was smart to do.

But I did think the original show needed to get more into exploring the life and death challenges of surviving in space, every day, and get into the community of Battlestar, rather than just being on the ship and running down to this planet or that planet, which is fine to do but I think the best shows in the beginning, that I loved the most, are where we were trying to help people survive, and dealing with the ups and downs of trying to rebuild communities, and trying to deal with the logistics of surviving and all the stories that would come from that.

Starbuck & Cylons
I wish we’d gone more into that, but again, too many cooks in the kitchen, people who really didn’t love science fiction didn’t get the sci-fi audience, and I think that it really made it difficult for those wonderful writers back then to maybe write all the stories they wanted to.

Richard Hatch
The first couple of episodes didn’t have that problem because Apollo… You know, listen… I know the show’s not just about Apollo, it’s about all the characters, and everybody deserves their time in the sun, and everybody deserves to have interesting stories and things to do – my frustration was I felt, in the beginning, obviously because we’re having the original catastrophic event happening and then obviously this is a time when Captain Apollo can be most appreciated, why?

Richard Hatch
Because in a weird way, he’s kind of like the hero, the hero, the guy who comes and saves you, right? He’s the guy that, when all else is failing, and everyone wants to give up, he’s the guy who comes and doesn’t give up. And that’s very much who Apollo was… He’s the guy who will lead everybody into danger, and inspire them to do the things they didn’t think they could do.

And so those early shows allowed the Apollo character to blossom a little bit, and you could appreciate that character more in those original episodes.

Starbuck & Apollo
Once we got past that, and just kind of got into the every day living in space and dealing with that, where it didn’t seem we were in such danger, then I think slowly but surely the emphasis got switched and, again, the story’s not about Apollo, I just felt that Apollo didn’t have much to do.

And I had multiple lunches with the writers; it wasn’t about being the star of a particular episode, as much as it was having interesting themes to play and interesting dramatic situations that would challenge the Apollo character and bring challenge for everybody in the show.

Starbuck & Apollo
So did you feel they gave more screen time to “Starbuck” (Dirk Benedict) throughout the series?

Why do the girls always go for the bad guy or the naughty guy? I think writers love to write for deliciously bad characters or flawed characters, and when a character is kind of the, you know, good guy, they’re not as interested.

Richard Hatch
And obviously they did their best [for Apollo] but it’s a little frustrating for the actor because you want more conflict, and more edge, and more things to deal with.

But unfortunately, the good guys, or good girls, are so overlooked and unappreciated and it’s an interesting kind of thing that people are always, in a sense… They want more of the bad thing, they’re always attracted to the dark side, and I guess that’s where our culture is.

Dirk Benedict
The Starbuck character is kind of the free-roaming bad boy, naughty boy, and a little bit irresponsible, and the Apollo character is very responsible, so they wanted to make the Apollo character a little less responsible and make the Starbuck character a little more responsible. Not take away who they were, but just to bring a little more balance into the characters. So I think that was in their thinking – in their plotting – of where they wanted to go.

Onto the new “Battlestar Galactica,” in which you played an important character, "Tom Zarek"… What are some differences between the two shows?

Hatch in New Series
To create dramatic possibilities, you’ve got to throw these characters that you’ve grown to love into very challenging circumstances, where they get tested, and sometimes something happens between them, and then they fight, they argue, they separate, and then they find out that they did the wrong thing, or they wish they hadn’t, and they come back and they become even better friends...

And that’s the whole story arc of drama: that you create controversy, you throw gasoline on the fire because you want to build the drama – so you’re always looking for conflict.

Captain Apollo
But again, we [the original series] started out with the show developing characters that won you over, that had great relationships with each other, the father/son relationship, everything in there was a great relationship between these characters.

The new show kind of had every character being complex, very flawed, morally conflicted, and it took a while to get into those characters and like them because they seemed to have so many issues and problems. But as the show went on, we got to see their humanity, we got to see a deeper part of who these characters were, and then we slowly bonded to these characters, and fell in love with these characters as well...

So in a sense they started out making the characters very conflicted, and in some cases unlikable, and then we grew to love them, and we grew to love the relationships. Whereas the original show started out with us loving these characters, they were not so flawed, and we could bond with them immediately.

Jane Seymour & Richard
But then I think had the show gone on, we would have had to go the direction of the new show and these characters would have to be put into edgier circumstances, because every show seeking drama is going to find conflict for their starring characters.

Richard Hatch
We just started on one side, they started on the other side, and ultimately we probably would have met in the middle....

Although both stories obviously had different mythology and backgrounds but, again, I love both shows.

Apollo & Boomer
Back to the original… The game “Triad” was very interesting... How was it playing this particular sport with your co-stars in those awesome uniforms?

Well we evolved that... People don’t realize that they had a basic thought or idea of what the game might be, but when we got out on the court, we kind of evolved how it would play...

There was a court, it looked like a basketball court; it was a combination of football and basketball and soccer and there was a whole thing of trying to get it through and we figured out the logistics of it... We kind of played with it with the stunt guys and we evolved the way the whole game’s played, so that was fun to be part. And the spandex was a little painful, but other than that…
 
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