Searching for Sonny tells the story of Elliot (Jason Dohring), Calvin (Nick Kocher), Gary (Brian McElhaney) and Eden (Minka Kelly), four old friends who find themselves chief suspects in a murder mystery at their ten-year high school reunion. Ironically, the events surrounding the disappearance of their former-classmate Sonny (Masi Oka), is reminiscent of a high school play they once performed, coincidentally written by Sonny himself. Deception leads to scandal and the truth surfaces as the friends learn that shady businessmen and school officials, including their former principal (Hogan) are involved in a complex scheme of money and murder.
I recently had the immense pleasure of speaking with veteran actor Michael Hogan about his role in Searching for Sonny, as well as the legacy of Battlestar Galactica. The accomplished actor discussed his new film, how he got the role, his character, working with first time director Andrew Disney, life after BSG, how proud he is of the work he did on the series, and the possibility of another direct-to-DVD/Blu-ray reunion film.
Here is what the talented actor had to say:
IAR: Hello Mr. Hogan. It’s a pleasure to talk to you sir. I’m a big fan.
Michael Hogan: Hi Jami, where am I talking to you from today?
I’m in Los Angeles, where are you right now?
Hogan: Well, we live on an island off the coast of British Columbia. So I’m talking to you from my backyard here. It’s a beautiful day. Not too hot, not too cold and the sun is shining.
That’s great! So to begin with, I’m a huge fan of your work on Battlestar Galactica and thought that your role as Colonel Saul Tigh was one of the best characters on the show. I would imagine that playing that role was a once in a lifetime experience for you as an actor, as those types of fully conceived characters don’t come along that often. Has it been difficult for you to find strong roles since Battlestar ended and what was it about the part of Principal Faden in Searching for Sonny that made you want to take the role in the film?
Hogan: Andrew (Disney), Greg (Beauchamp), Red (Sanders) and the folks from Searching For Sonny they wanted me to play the role because of my work on Battlestar Galactica. Now the characters are not necessarily the same. They actually sent me a video pitch to be in Searching for Sonny and I had never heard of Andrew Disney. I knew what it was about and my manager was assisting that I look at this and I read the script. I looked at the video and it was hilarious and so cool that they went to all that effort. So I talked to Andrew and of course eventually came onboard because he we are now. With Battlestar Galactica, I mean I began acting and graduated from the National Theater School in 1969 so I had been acting for thirty-some years before Battleship Galactica. So I was very aware of how special Battlestar Galactica was at the time. I think that is one thing about Eddie Almos and Mary McDonnell, us senior members were very aware of how special it was and I think the younger members are becoming aware of course now that it is over. It was, no question about it, an absolute gift to do Battlestar Galactica. When I do a television show now, the crew and the cast members are always hesitant to ask questions and then they finally bring it up and say, “I know you must be so tired of being asked about questions about the show.” And I always say, no, bring it on. I am so proud of the show and I’m proud of everybody’s work on it. So I never tire of talking about it. I do conventions now and its so neat doing it because when people ask questions it brings back these memories that I haven’t thought of in a long time.
It’s interesting that you say you recognized how special the show was while you were making it. With these types of genre shows that have such a huge following, its often hard to have an ending that truly satisfies fans and you guys really pulled it off with your final season and especially the final episode, which I think most fan’s found truly satisfying. You must be really proud of the work you all achieved with the series?
Hogan: I am and everything was great. Look at season three down on the planet. It was so amazing doing that because you would be driven to work in the morning listening to the radio and you’d realize that we are doing that today with all the suicide bombings and those sorts of things. The mirror of Ron Moore, David Eick, and the network to actually go ahead and deal with this subject matter was so cool to do. It was like a movie that took us five years to shoot rather than an episodic television show. You don’t often get to do something like that in this business. I can’t say enough about it.
Coincidentally, I was flipping channels on TV the other night and Battelstar Galactica: The Plan was on. Has there been any talk of doing another BSG prequel or direct-to-DVD/Blu-ray reunion movie with the cast from the series?
Hogan: You know, not that I’ve heard. But you know in this business I could get a call tomorrow saying, “Hey, are you available?” But there are no plans a foot right now that I am aware of. Ron Moore and David Eick I know would love to do a Battlestar Galactica feature film, but (Glen) Larson owns the rights to the feature film aspect of it. Moore and Eick only own the television rights to Battlestar Galactica. So even though Ron Moore would love to do a (theatrical) movie version of our show, you won’t be seeing that.
Obviously I’m sure you’d love to play that character again if you were given the chance, correct?
Hogan: I would. I would, there is no question. This is not fair to say, but there are not a lot of roles that I would care to revisit. But I definitely would jump aboard, depending on who did it and what it was all about. I would definitely jump back in the saddle and Eddie (Olmos) and I talk about it fairly often so we’ll see.
Well, I know fans of the series would absolutely love to see that happen, I for one sure would! Now back to Searching for Sonny, did you draw any inspiration for your role as Principal Faden from actual teachers or principals that you had when you were in school?
Hogan: Well, it was so much fun to play because at the age I’m at now, with most of the other actors in the film being significantly younger than me, I am automatically the authority figure. It is such a bizarre premise and script. The other cast members are so funny and into it that in a way there was no acting required once I had started talking and playing with Andrew and the other folks. So it was great fun to do. I can’t say that I modeled it on any specific person.
Finally, can you talk about collaborating with first time director Andrew Disney on the film? Did you feel like he had a learning curve to overcome or was he really able to just hit the ground running on day one?
Hogan: He was great! We talked a few times on the phone before we began shooting. I’m an actor not a writer or a director so people just send me scripts. I learned a long time ago, and there is not enough time to go into it now in this interview, but I’ve learned that when you send me a script, I don’t really see what the film is going to be until the end result. So now, when someone sends me a script, and if it has an interesting premise, I’ll have a meeting or a phone conversation with the director, or producer, or writer and we will talk it through. That’s what happened with Andrew. We finally talked and I was actually standing exactly where I’m standing now, in my backyard. We talked about why he wanted me to do it and what it is all about. So after talking to him I was ready to sign on and thought the film would be great. We were kind of on the same page by the time that I got to set. You know, when you look at it, it is pretty straightforward. You just put yourself in that environment and away you go. But it was great fun collaborating with Andrew and I’ve had a few visits with Andrew since then. I was recently shooting something in Atlanta and traveled to South Carolina when I heard that Searching for Sonny was opening a film festival there. So I went over to that and hung out with Andrew for a bit.
Very cool! Well, Mr. Hogan I won’t take up any more of your time. It was a real pleasure to speak with you sir, best of luck with the film and all your future projects.
Hogan: Right back at you man, thanks for your time.
Searching For Sonny opens in theaters via TUGG, and will also be available on VOD, DVD. and Blu-ray August 28th.
To watch an exclusive clip from Searching for Sonny, please click here.
Cast members Jason Dohring, Nick Kocher, and Brian McElhaney will be attending the August 28th screening in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Monica 4-Plex, which begins at 7:30PM PST. For tickets, please click here.
Director Andrew Disney, and producer Greg Beauchamp will be attending the August 28th screening in New York at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema, which begins at 7:30PM EST. For tickets, please click here.
Other scheduled screenings include:
Nashville - September 6th
Atlanta - September 12th
Chicago - September 18th
Phoenix - September 19th
For tickets to any of these screenings, please click here.