Dirk Benedict Interview - Universal Chat Room (May 14 1997)Moderator: Greetings Universal Chatters and welcome to another live moderated chat! Tonight we're privileged to have at the Backlot Café Mr. Dirk Benedict. Dirk has starred in numerous films and television shows, including the A-Team and Battlestar Galactica, in which he starred as Lt. Starbuck. He also starred in Universal Studios' Sci-Fi film Sssssss, where he played man who was transformed into a snake!!!
Ladies and Gentlemen.....it's chat time. Please welcome Lt. Starbuck himself....Dirk Benedict. Dirk, I have to ask one question first, have you ever chatted on the internet before?
Dirk Benedict: This is my first chat and I hope it's not a disappointment for everybody. It's nice to know at my age there are some things I still haven't done
Spicoli: Did you always know that you wanted to become an actor?
Dirk Benedict: I never knew I wanted to become an actor. I fell into it in college quite by accident. If it wasn't for alcohol I might never have become one. On a dare and while inebriated, I tried out for the spring musical and the rest is history.
Donnaf: We hear you've written a play. Will it be in New York? If so, when?
Dirk Benedict: Yes I've written a play. Two plays. Good plays. It's under consideration. We're hiring a new director so it slowed up. But it will be done either in NY or LA sometime in the next year And the play I'm talking about is called Acting Becomes Her. It's about the last girl in Hollywood never to have breast implants.
Moody 2: Dirk, how has Starbuck changed over the last 18 years and will you return if the series comes back?
Dirk Benedict: How has Starbuck changed? You mean Dirk Benedict? Amazingly I haven't changed all that much considering it's been 17 years. My costume still fits. The answer as to whether I'll be in it or not if it's revived is up to Universal Studios. They tend, like in America to worship youth, so the odds are not good. Write your letters!
Kryton: What was your most favourite character to play in your career?
Dirk Benedict: Hamlet. In NY. 1988. Off Broadway. My second book called And Then We Went Fishing is about the death of my father and it's very similar to Hamlet's story. My second favorite part is Starbuck.
Pandora: Mr. Benedict before I read your books I was lost. I almost gave up because of my illness, but after reading your books it was like the fog had been lifted. The answers I was searching for where always within me and I didn't realize it. Thank you for writing your book Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy. You opened my eyes.
Dirk Benedict: "Everybody's life has a purpose. Mine has been to share my journey of recovery from cancer by changing my diet and my book Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy tells that story and really is my manifesto.
Moody 2: It's so good to have you visit. Do you have a computer and do you visit the BSG mail list? You have a lot of fans there and on The A-Team mail list.
Dirk Benedict: I only have a word processor. I'm not on the Internet. Relatively illiterate, a bit anti-technology. And a very reclusive personality. A hermit, really, all of which doesn't lend itself to getting on the Internet. Also, I don't have the time, really. Because of the many things I am doing or attempting to do. It would take away from my writing.
Kryton: Dwight Schultz played the zany Murdock. Was he as crazy off camera?
Dirk Benedict: Dwight Schultz should get papers proving he's not crazy. Because he'll never get me to stand up for him as being a sane human being. My best friend and I have yet to ask him to dinner [laughs hysterically]. He's nuts. He's certifiable.
Mojo: Are you going to any conventions anytime soon?
Dirk Benedict: Send invitations and a medium sized check. I would like to for many reasons. One is to share and sell my book and my story, Kamikaze Cowboy. There's alot of Starbuck in Kamikaze Cowboy. I did Battlestar Galactica right after surviving cancer but told noone until I wrote the book some years later.
Jinxed1: Whatever happened to that little robot dog from Battlestar?
Dirk Benedict: We ate him. Who asked for too much money which is one of the reasons we were canceled. [throws his head back, cackling with glee]
Ororo: How are your kids?
Dirk Benedict: Beautiful, bright boys. And the real focus of my life at the moment being a single father with custody. And at this moment they're waiting for me to come home. And big Battlestar Galactica fans!
Deselle: Has there been a decision about the A-team movie as to whether they are going to use the original actors and characters? We'd all love to see you and the other two guys in the movie.
Dirk Benedict: As far as I know, they go back and forth. They being Universal and Stephen J. Cannell, the writer/creator. On the one side if they use big movie stars they feel they reach a larger audience. On the other side, it wouldn't be the original cast and they're not sure how much it would affect box office. George of course has passed. But the other three of us are alive and well and willing I assume. As far as a cameo, I don't think so.
Moderator: What was Mr. T like off the set?
Dirk Benedict: That would be like dating your ex-wife after she married someone else. Oh, man! I could go on for hours. Mr. T never stopped talking. And after 2-3 years, when we all stopped listening, he still never stopped talking. A very, very, very funny guy. Quite unlike the character he played in the TV show. Ergo, he's a very good actor. He giggled all day long. Probably because of all the money he was making. He's a very happy guy, great fun to work with. One day he called 2 construction workers, both of whom were bigger than him And had been giving him a bad time for being dumb and rich at the same time Which was only half true. And he called them down to have fisted cuffs. Needless to say, neither one of them showed up. A very, very loyal human being. And I miss working with him as much as anything about the show because he would always loan me 20 bucks when I needed it. The set of the A-Team was total chaos because Dwight, T and myself are all compulsive talkers.
Jinxed1: What was your favorite episode of Battlestar?
Dirk Benedict: I have 2. The first is the one with Fred Astaire, the title of which escapes me - The Man with 9 Lives I think. He and I became friends. It was a very good episode I thought about Starbuck and his erstwhile Father. And the other was actually from 1980. Starbuck Returns - the last episode. Just basically Starbuck and a Cylon stranded on a planet. Great fun.
Edith: What is the most favorite thing about Montana that you enjoy?
Dirk Benedict: Oh, man! It's not the women. Or the lack thereof. It's the wide open spaces. Lack of people. And it's my home, my roots, so I have many old, old, friends. Very old. It's wild. It still has some wildness to it.
Vinnys: Have you ever been on a soap opera?
Dirk Benedict: Never. Early in my career in NYC I was offered several soaps. And despite my financial situation, I declined because basically, they're too serious. I enjoy comedy. I would do a serious film or play but in a long-running series, it would be too hard for me if there were no laughs.
Mojo: Where do we write to Dirk?
Dirk Benedict: Send it to my agent. 20th Century Artists, 15315 Magnolia Blvd., Ste 429, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403.
Pandora: Mr.Benedict How do you like chatting on the net?
Dirk Benedict: So far, so good. It's a bit slow for me.
Chloe25: What character that you have played is most like you in real life?
Dirk Benedict: Two. One was Starbuck. And the second was from a pilot called Trenchcoat in Paradise. And of course, Hamlet, but we can't go into that. I'm not revealing my deep psychological problems
Vinnys: I am only 10 years old, what advice would you give me if I wanted to be an actor?
Dirk Benedict: 1. Have as many life experiences as you can. Listen to your heart and your dreams. And when you're older, take advantage of every possibility to act because practice makes perfect. Well, maybe not perfect, but it's important to do, to do, to do, to do. Or become a famous weightlifter and then you'll soon be a movie star.
Thor9: Do you have any of the Props from BSG?
Dirk Benedict: says, "Other than the cigars? And one or two of the ladies.... no. No, the answer is no. Nothing. I have a picture of Fred Astaire and myself and a belt he gave me as a present and a beautiful gold cigar lighter Lorne Greene gave me. And that's it, but I have millions of memories which noone can take from me and for which I would not trade for any material things.
Supa: Dirk, is there any director you would like to work with (Quentin Tarantino for example)?
Dirk Benedict: Well, you're trying to hurt my feelings. I haven't been invited to those particular parties. There's a long list. Tarantino, Spielberg, Emma Thompson. There's just too long a list to go into. I think there are many wonderful drirectors today, one of whom is Fraser Heston for whom I did work on a Castle Rock film called Alaska. A wonderful director who will do many, many wonderful movies in the future. I would like to work with Spielberg before I die. I offered to do craft service on his next film.
Bitsy33: Who is your favorite Actor?
Dirk Benedict: Oh, uh, male? Albert Finney. This is hard. There's alot of wonderful actors. Number 2 is Anthony Hopkins. Female is Jodie Foster.
Kryton: You did a movie with Linda Blair about a returning Vietnam vet getting harassed by folks in a rural setting [Ruckus. Will there be a sequel?
Dirk Benedict: By the way, of the leading men movie stars out there today, Mel Gibson I think is a wonderful actor. There should be. I saw Linda a couple months ago. She looks fabulous, she looks the same 15 years ago when we made that movie. A sequel, I doubt it. We had Ben Johnson, Richard Farnsworth, Matt Clark.
Scallywag: Ever acted in a stage production or movie outside the USA?
Dirk Benedict: Many movies. No stage outside the US. My first film written by Maya Angelou, the wonderful poetess, writer and friend was shot in Sweden starring myself and the late Diana Sands. There should be a sequel to that movie. It was way ahead of its time in its theme of interracial love. It was called Georgia, Georgia. A very good movie.
Edith: Have you flown airplanes most of your life or is it a hobby?
Dirk Benedict: It's a hobby, an addiction. Having your life in your own hands has always appealed to me. I began flying in 1980 and will continue until they ground me.
Jinxed1: You describe yourself as a dreamer and a romantic...What do you dream?
Dirk Benedict: Of romance.
Chrispappas: Will you/have you written a third book?
Dirk Benedict: I will. I have 200-300 pages of it but my divorce 2-1/2 years ago made it impossible for me to finish. I will finish it though. My publisher is harassing me.
Vinnys: Would you act in a movie like Volcano?
Dirk Benedict: [laughs hysterically] If I could play opposite Pierce [Brosnan], yes. Whoops, all those eruptions begin to look alike. Well, Tommy Lee Jones and I started out together. The answer is yes. But I think it would be one volcano too many. Like A Bridge Too Far. But given that I'm not a big movie star, it could be a movie about a toilet that overflows [laughs hysterically, throws his head back, cackling with glee].
Ororo: (This might be too personal- sorry!) When were you/are you happiest, and why?
Dirk Benedict: I was happiest in 1988 playing Hamlet with my six month pregnant wife as Ophelia. It was the happiest time in my life except for now. I'm always happiest in the company of my 2 boys. Truly. So I take them with me everywhere. Which is why I haven't had a date in two and a half years. By the time they're old enough to go on a date with me the date will go off with them and leave me.
Capkirk: With the religious theme that some of the episodes that BG had (i.e. the one with the angels) was Glen Larson a spiritual guy or what is the story?
Dirk Benedict: Number one he is very spiritual. He was raised in the Mormon church and a member at that time. I don't know if he still is. I assume so. I think all science fiction has a strong spiritual aspect to it because of the nature of it, pushing the envelope of the human experience.
Bezerker: Do you hang out with Richard Hatch alot? You two have a good chemistry together onscreen.
Dirk Benedict: No, I don't. I've seen him twice since the show was taken off the air. I visited him once in the hospital where he had a nervous breakdown [laughs hysterically]. Sorry, everyone, that's a joke. So, no, I haven't. I just saw him a month ago for the 2nd time. But we did have a chemistry, I agree.
Chloe25: I see that you are a native of Montana, do you pursue a lot of outdoor sports? Skiing, hiking, mountain biking?
Dirk Benedict: One of the reasons I moved back. Yes. The answer is yes. A great deal. I'm living on a house on a lake that Battlestar built. So I've been coming here for a long time.
Edith: I hope Dirk has a wonderful career as a writer and I hope he never sees sad times again.
Dirk Benedict: Oh, thank you, that's very, very nice although I'm sure I will see sad times as we all do, but the trick is to realize that without those sad times, we wouldn't enjoy the sweet ones as much when they come along as they inevitably do and will as long as you believe.
Moderator: Dirk...thank you so much for chatting with us...that was easily the most enjoyable chat we have ever had!!! Honest...thanks again. Hey...can people order your book?
Dirk Benedict: It's been wonderful chatting. I will leave you with the hope that you will all get and read my book, Confession of a Kamikaze Cowboy and I say that not for monetary reasons, but because it is my way of sharing any understanding of the way to have health and happiness that I have learned in this lifetime. And I'll see you on the screen. Soon, I hope. And you're all invited to dinner if you can make it by 8pm montana time to Holly's Lake House on the shores of Flathead Lake.
Moderator: Thanks Dirk....come back and chat with us again soon.
Dirk Benedict: Oh, one more thing. Before I forget. To get the book, call the following number: 1-800-548-5757. And tell them Dirk sent you. Enjoy