A TRUE ONE-HOFF

Knight Rider. Bay­watch. Star­crash? David Has­sel­hoff looks back at his glo­ri­ous ca­reer

Empire (Australasia) - - Review - WORDS JAMES WHITE

THERE AREN’T MANY per­form­ers so well-known that they can be boiled down to one word. Madonna. Prince. Hoff. Well, The Hoff… From be­strid­ing ’80s and ’90s TV like a coiffed colos­sus, to a stream of cameos in hit movies, David Has­sel­hoff has se­cured his place in the cult pan­theon. Never a man to take him­self se­ri­ously — which is good, as there’s a lot of ma­te­rial to poke fun at — The Hoff re­turns in the com­edy Killing Has­sel­hoff, which gave us the per­fect ex­cuse to run through his stel­lar CV…

STAR­CRASH

(1978)

An early role as a heroic space prince in a lov­ably cheap Star Wars rip-off

“It’s the worst movie ever made! I thought Pi­ranha 3DD was the worst movie, but no, I was wrong. There’s Star­crash. For that one, peo­ple ac­tu­ally waited in line at Comic-con with the poster and I said, ‘What kind of med­i­ca­tion are you on?’ We shot in Bari, which is in south­ern Italy, in a cave, and I got food poi­son­ing. So, for two weeks, I was re­ally ill. It was an all-ital­ian crew, and even when I watch it to this day

I don’t know what it’s about.”

KNIGHT RIDER

(1982-1986)

The show that made him fa­mous as Michael Knight, the jus­tice war­rior with a chatty car “When Knight Rider hap­pened, it was like a dream come true. I called my fa­ther and said, ‘I’ve got [an au­di­tion for] the next new huge role and I’ve got to get this, Dad.’ He said, ‘What’s it about?’ I told him, ‘A talk­ing car...’ He said, ‘Have you been drink­ing?’ We had fan­tas­tic rat­ings, but the in­dus­try looked at it like it was a gim­mick. I have the re­spect now, 30 years later! There are about a hun­dred of the cars out there and I’ve owned two or three of them.”

BAY­WATCH

(1989-2001)

The other big Hoff role: in­trepid life­guard

Mitch Buchan­non

“Af­ter it was can­celled by the net­work [NBC], we bought it and we lasted 245 episodes and went into the Guin­ness Book Of World Records as the most watched show of all time. I knew that when I got the role, it was go­ing to be the same thing as Knight Rider. That you’re not go­ing to get the ‘re­spect’ so you can move on to bet­ter things, but you’re go­ing to make a shit­load of money. So, I said, ‘I’ll take the money. And go to the beach!’”

BAY­WATCH NIGHTS

(1995-1997)

Bay­watch, but... much weirder. In the sec­ond sea­son Mitch bat­tled vam­pires and aliens

“I loved a show called I Spy. So, I said, ‘Let’s do it like that.’ And it just didn’t get the same num­bers as Bay­watch. We tried ev­ery­thing, from mak­ing it like a cop show to mak­ing it like Twin Peaks, to hav­ing monsters. I didn’t care, I was get­ting a shit­load of money any­way. It was an amaz­ing time.”

NICK FURY: AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

(1998) Be­fore Sa­muel L. Jack­son, The Hoff played Marvel stal­wart Nick Fury in a one-off TV movie “Best thing I’ve done. When I got it, I im­me­di­ately went to the comic book stores and bought about 10 books. And when I met Stan Lee he said, ‘You are the con­sum­mate Nick Fury!’ He’s a tough guy with a cigar and he had the best lines in the movie. [ Nick Fury voice] ‘Guys like you tend to cling to the bowl no mat­ter how many times you flush...’ I loved that John Wayne, pissed-off char­ac­ter.”

DODGEBALL

(2004)

Has­sel­hoff, who’s huge in Ger­many, showed up for a hi­lar­i­ous cameo as the coach of a Ger­man dodgeball team

“My stunt dou­ble was work­ing on the movie, and they had a pic­ture of me with the Ger­man team. He says, ‘I know him…’ Ben Stiller asked if he could get me, and I said, ‘Only if I can do it in Ger­man.’ He goes, ‘Oh, you speak Ger­man?’ ‘No, I don’t. Get some chick be­hind the cam­era to read the lines and I’ll mimic her.’ We went to the set and there’s a girl from East Ger­many and the first words out of her mouth were, ‘I’ve been look­ing for free­dom.’ Which is my big song over there!”

KILLING HAS­SEL­HOFF

(2017)

Spoof­ing his public im­age and his ca­reer all in one for a wacky com­edy about a guy (Ken Jeong) who has Has­sel­hoff in his celebrity death pool and de­cides to cash in

“I had fun mak­ing it. We’ve got Rhys Darby from Flight Of The Con­chords, Howie Man­del, Jon Lovitz. Jon is one of my best friends and he’s the fun­ni­est man alive. The first day he came to set, he had a dog with him that looks just like him! He said Killing Has­sel­hoff was prob­a­bly the fun­ni­est movie he’s ever done.”

KILLING HAS­SEL­HOFF IS OUT NOW ON DVD, BLU-RAY AND DOWN­LOAD

Clock­wise from left: The shy, re­tir­ing Hoff; With Caro­line Munro in Star­crash; Team­work as a Ger­man coach in

Dodgeball; Life’s a beach with the rest of the crew in Bay­watch.

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