It's hard to tell where David Hasselhoff ends and The Hoff begins, but these days, playing up that character is really working for him. That's right, at 65, The Hoff's living his best life.
After a cameo in one of the year's biggest movies -- "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" -- and a starring role in the subsequent music video for "Guardians Inferno," Hasselhoff will once again appear as a fictionalized version of himself in the new film "Killing Hasselhoff."
The movie, about a night club owner who tries to win a celebrity death pool by offing The Hoff, is just the latest project that sees the veteran actor playing himself. And, according to Hasselhoff, he's in high demand.
While TooFab's 20-minute conversation with the "Baywatch" alum was centered around his latest project, the interview was all over the place, touching on the origins of his nickname, the future of "Knight Rider," his unlikely Lil Yachty connection, and why he believes he was instrumental in the success of the "Baywatch" movie reboot overseas.
Enjoy the conversation below.
"Killing Hasselhoff" is another in a long line of projects where you play a version of yourself, why do you think people want to see so much of "The Hoff"?
I think it's just funny. It all started when I was 50 and I got a call from the Sydney Telegraph and they said, "How do you feel about being a sex symbol at 50?" I said, "That's a really weird question but I feel great." And they said, "Do you know there's an epidemic of e-mails going back and forth between women in office buildings calling you The Hoff. Like, you're Hoffilicious, you're Hoff the Charts, you're Hoffinity and Beyond, Some Like it Hoff." And he said, "How about this joke: David Hasselhoff walks into the bar, bartender says 'How are you Mr. Hasselhoff?' I say 'From now on I'm just the Hoff, no hassle'" and I went, "That's funny."
I went from there down to Sydney to do the ARIAs, which are like their Emmys, and there's 500 people going "Hoff! Hoff Hoff!" That flipped me out. I went to Sydney Harbor, going for a jog, and all these people are stopping their cars going "Hoffffff," like in "Night of the Living Dead." I went back to my room and went, this is really weird, people calling me Hoff, chasing me. 15 years later, it's taken Hoff and made me a lot of money, so I've embraced it.
Do you find you have to build yourself up a bit when you go out in public, like a character?
Absolutely, you know ... not really. If you hit it and you do it right and it's a part of your being, like "Knight Rider" was, it affects people and that got me into "Guardians." [Director James Gunn] saw it when he was 8 years old and it just kind of snowballed. The Hoff is like, he's a character. I'm an actor, and I'm acting at The Hoff. Let's bring back "Knight Rider," let me play him as a hard guy kinda like Logan, with an attitude. So now we're working on that. If "American Idol" calls and wants me to be a judge, I'll turn into a judge.
I look for the opening of what's funny and it's pretty obvious what's funny. Sometimes we go a little too far and people get upset and I just learned to stay in the game, never give up and don't read the comments. It's a hard thing to learn, isn't it?
How did the Bieber cameo in "Killing Hasselhoff" come about? [The singer appears briefly in the film as himself]
I put him in the movie just for fun. I said, "Wanna be in my movie?" [He said] "Sure!" For nothin'! It was great. I did [one of his videos] for nothing, it never came out. I did the movie and he said, "When's the movie come out?" I said, "I don't know, it's gone through a lot of metamorphosis and I think the last cut was actually not bad."
I'm in the zone right now, it's time to release this movie now because it may not happen next year. Who knows what happens, you know? I'm trying to stay as excited and positive as I am now. I'm a different person. It's just fun.
Also loved that you had the Hoff Army [a legion of insanely devoted fans] in this movie …
That's real though! I'm afraid that they're gonna see it and come after me. They're really like, "Hi, we're from Comic-Con," they're really a little Hoff. I say that with respect because I keep saying get a life, but sometimes people just need someone to say their name or say it's ok to be different or I love you or hi or help them across the streets or come out an elevator and say I'll leave you an autograph at the front desk.
I get a letter from the mother under my door saying "My daughter was going to kill herself, she tried twice already and she said she has nothing to live for and you're her favorite person and the fact she met you in the elevator has given her a reason to live." And we signed an autograph, gave a picture to the girl and that moment really affected me, because it's so real to so many people in so many worlds that just keep on doing what you're doing and have a lot of fun doing it because it's affecting people in the right way.
I've been through so much crap where the press has taken a shot at me and instead of being angry at it, know that they did it for a reason to sell newspapers and the way to sell more newspapers is to be successful, so now I'll take what they wrote about me and make fun of it on "Hoff the Record," put it on Netflix and now see who's laughing last. And that's what we did with "Killing Hasselhoff" and then I have another movie in development I can't wait to get it out ... we might do it as a cartoon because it's pretty much x-rated. It's called "Hour Man Hoff" and David Hasselhoff's a secret agent and he can seduce any girl because he can last an hour in bed.
At this point, his phone rings. His ring tone is Lil Yachty's "Hasselhoff," which includes the lyrics "Dove the pussy so deep, that bitch callin' me Hasselhoff"
There's a guy named Lil Yachty. Now how do I know who Lil Yachty is? Because Lil Yacht is 19 and he writes a song called "Hasselhoff," "Dove in that pussy so deep that bitch called me Hasselhoff." Jean-Baptiste, when I'm doing the [music video for] "Song of the Summer," says, "Yeah, you're really famous man I loved you growing up. I couldn't watch 'Hoff the Record' because it made fun of you.' I was like, 'You turned it off?! I wrote that!' He said, 'Oh shit, I'll put it back on. I got this guy named Lil Yachty on the phone, he wants to talk to you, he wrote a song called 'Hasselhoff,' I wanna play it for you. Dove in so deep that bitch called me Hasselhoff.'
I went whoa! He's got like 4, 5, 6 million followers and he said "I love you man." I said, "Don't be making fun of me. I put it on my ringtone." So he plays it to all his followers and all of a sudden my followers go crazy because Hasselhoff's doing something with Lil Yachty. Why not? I play that and every time it rings, I just laugh. The bleep it out, I'm going, did he mean I dove in there because I had some hot girls in the '80s or did it mean I dove in there because I'm Mitch Buchannon?
You must get all sorts of cameo requests, how do you weigh which ones you do?
James Gunn said he was afraid to call me because I turned him down for a cameo in "Scooby Doo" and I said that's really funny, I don't even remember that. Now I vaguely remember seeing the script, you stupid idiot, why did you turn that down? Maybe it could have led to something else. The Hoff is a character and Michael Knight's a character and I look for roles where I can be an actor. I found out The Hoff is working, so I'm going to play The Hoff for a minute. If somebody, by the grace of god James and I pull this off, and we do "Knight Rider" like "Logan," it'll be friggin' ridiculous.
We just talked about doing a video where I come out of a TV and bring a kid into the world of "Knight Rider." The guy says, "I see is you being rugged like you are now and a dirty old KITT car." I said, "That's pretty frickin' cool." If it happens, it happens. Do I think it's going to happen? Absolutely not. If I had to bet on it, no, never, ever. Something's going to fall in the way, but on the other hand I'll say it's possible.