The J. Michael Straczynski Message Archive


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    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Richard Hatch
      To: CIS  
    Date: 8/23/1996 4:47:00 AM  

Message 1 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> Did Richard Hatch of Battlestar Galactica read for the part of
> Sheridan?

Trying to remember...Bruce was our first choice, but we had to
have some backups in case he wasn't available...yeah, we saw Hatch, and
felt he wasn't right for the role, though he's a good actor. Saw a
bunch of actors, most of whose names have fallen out of my head.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Richard Hatch
      To: CIS  
    Date: 8/24/1996 8:46:00 AM  

Message 2 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> What was it about Bruce that made him your first choice?
> Was it a particular quality or characteristic he expressed in a
> previous role, or did he just have "the look"?

It was a number of things. He looked like what I thought
Sheridan would look like, and had the right attitude. He had a
reputation for being an actor associated with lightweight dramas
(though he was capable of much more), and I knew this would play in my
favor in that people would be set up for one thing, and then I'd yank
it in the other direction; even made sure that I gave him lightweight
dialogue, had a jolly attitude, for most of his first few episodes on
the show (exempting "Revelations").

So when the first eps aired, and people were going on about
"smiling jack," I knew I had them set up for the whack-upside-the-head
that was coming down the road at them, and the character.

(It's sometimes like an elaborate game of chess...I try to
anticipate the viewer reaction so I can, well, turn this on them and
use it to my own advantage. Look at folks' initial reactions to Londo
and Vir as another example of this. I've said before that I'm not
averse to taking aspects of the actor -- Mira's background in
Yugoslavia -- and using them for the benefit of the story, so you can
bet I'd be willing to do that with the audience as well. I say if
people are going to apply their preconceptions to a character or an
actor, then it's perfectly fair game for me to turn this around on
them. So those who saw depth in Londo or Vir -- and were ploinked for
it -- got to see their suspicions confirmed (good result) and those who
thought they were just buffoons got to have their brains splattered
when they saw the depths that emerged (also a good result). So why not
do this with Bruce?)

Other reasons...Doug and John had worked with Bruce before, and
knew him to be a stand-up guy, loyal and honest and hardworking, a team
player, and a genuinely nice man who was far more talented than the
roles given to him before had let him show, more range and more colors
than he had previously had a chance to display. He's also a stone SF
fan, both in media and literary SF, so I knew he'd have a great respect
for the story.

I've been remembering some of the other choices we were
considering for Sheridan...James Earl Jones, John Rhys Davies, Barry
Bostwick, Michael York, Michael Moriarity, A. Martinez...but for me,
Bruce *was* Sheridan, and when it came time to make a decision, it was
him, hands-down.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Richard Hatch
      To: CIS  
    Date: 8/24/1996 5:53:00 PM  

Message 3 in thread 

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William H. DiPaola <> asks:
> Wait a sec wanted Bruce first???
> Nevertheless, what made you go with O'Hare?
> The two are like night and day for a variety of reasons, and was
> Bruce unavailable initially? How did you learn that he was
> interested in coming aboard?

Let me clarify, so I won't be misunderstood...Bruce was our
first choice after the change-over from Sinclair. Bruce would not have
been right for the choice of Sinclair, but was right for Sheridan.
Michael was right for Sinclair, would not have been right for Sheridan.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Richard Hatch
      To: CIS  
    Date: 8/26/1996 10:20:00 AM  

Message 4 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> Were these people you were just "considering" in your head, or
> had they actually read for the part? Wasn't John Rhys Davies on
> Sliders at this time or was this just prior to that? You say Bruce
> looked like how you pictured Sheridan but just how well defined
> was the character at this stage? Is there any chance A Martinez
> might guest star in the future?

Many of the names we were considering don't audition; you know
their work or you don't. Some did. (It's bad form to indicate which
did what.)

While I had a certain idea of the look for Sheridan in my head,
the one thing you learn as a producer is to keep an open mind when it
comes to casting, because sometimes something will happen that you
hadn't anticipated and you go with it.

While I had the name Sheridan, I hadn't locked down his ethnic
background yet, and instructed our casting director accordingly. I
wanted to see a range of people. So we saw not just Caucasian actors,
but hispanics, african american, asian...I felt strongly after the
first season that we didn't have enough ethnic diversity, which is one
of the reasons we changed casting directors to one that had a wider
background in this area. As it turned out Bruce was the best person for
the role, but we went into the process open to whoever walked in the

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Richard Hatch
      To: CIS  
    Date: 8/27/1996 7:57:00 AM  

Message 5 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

Nope. Those were some of the folks we were considering. We
also looked in the direction of Bruce Campbell (who had just had his
show shot out from under him, and whose agent said he wasn't doing TV
for a while) and several others. Basically, you look around for who's
available, who might be good for the role, might bring something
interesting to it...and then pick the best person.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Richard Hatch
      To: CIS  
    Date: 8/28/1996 9:05:00 AM  

Message 6 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

That's good to hear, and I'm sure a number of other folks
started with the show when Bruce came on. Whatever the cause, I'm
pleased with the effect.

And don't feel bad about your initial attitude (assuming you
did); lots of folks had the same initial resistance, often out of a
sense of perceived loyalty to ST. We learn by doing.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Richard Hatch
      To: CIS  
    Date: 8/28/1996 4:20:00 PM  

Message 7 in thread 

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Valerie Williams <> asks:
> If you get asked to come back next year, will you?
> Truth to that?
> Any thoughts as to also releasing videos of the episodes?

Thanks. To your questions...I haven't yet been invited back to
Marcon (I don't know if they've finalized their list yet), but if that
should happen, work schedule allowing, I would likely be there; and
yes, B5 has been sold to TNT for runs after the show has gone its
course, which will be the first time we'll have had a national timeslot
and a big network.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Richard Hatch
      To: CIS  
    Date: 8/29/1996 5:06:00 AM  

Message 8 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

S'okay...that generally happens on the show. When we brought
in Vir, lots of folks moaned about what a mistake it was, "flounder in
space," they said...same with Walter Koenig...there were any number of
messages suggesting we lose Londo, and others...and after a while, when
they see what we're doing, they turn around. Vir is now many folks'
favorite character, and Bruce has hit it as Sheridan for most everybody

Doesn't bother us anymore.


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