Christopher Atkins Interview On 'Blue Lagoon,' 'Confessions Of A Teen Idol,' Brooke Shields
Christopher Atkins will always be know as the boy in the Blue Lagoon with Brooke Shields. Now, he's a middle-aged man telling all in VH-1's new series Confessions of a Teen Idol. "I didn’t really want to do a reality TV show,” he told Uinterview exclusively. “It had to with how fame affected us as young men, as a father, as a son. I thought ‘Wow, that’s a really interesting angle. I've never seen that.”
Atkins initially had no interest in the acting prior to Blue Lagoon. Atkins was a lifeguard and a sailing instructor when he was first discovered. It took convincing from an agent to get him to try out for the part in Blue Lagoon.
In VH-1’s Confession Of A Teen Idol, Atkins and several other former teen idols including Baywatch's David Chokachi, attempt to get back on the public radar. “The very first episode when I am at home packing to leave, my daughter started crying on the bed. I said, 'Why are you crying?' and she said, 'Dad, I'm so happy for you. I want this to work for you,’” Atkins told Uinterview. “And that's sort of where I am in my life. My kids are graduating from college now, and I'm single again. It's my turn again. That's sort of why I did it. It was the perfect vehicle for me at this time.”
- Q: I watched an episode of the VH-1 Teen Idol show. Christopher you were awesome. Why are you doing this show? - tamara (a.k.a. tammy) ramirez
- A: I didn't really want to do a reality show. I was one of the last people to sign on. They walked me through what the show was going be about–what they were attempting was something you could watch on an HBO. It had to do with how fame effected us as young men, as a father, as a son. I thought, 'Wow that's a really interesting angle. I've never seen that.' They wanted to go through the good, the bad, and the ugly part of it. It wasn't a bunch of trained monkeys drinking as much as they could. The very first episode when I am at home packing to leave, my daughter started crying on the bed. I said, 'Why are you crying?' and she said, 'Dad, I'm so happy for you. I want this to work for you.' And that's sort of where I am in my life. My kids are graduating from college now, and I'm single again. It's my turn again. That's sort of why I did it. It was the perfect vehicle for me at this time.
- Q: What was your experience of making Blue Lagoon in 1980 like which made you famous? - Uinterview
- A: That was not like making a movie that was like a life experience. There's never been anything else like that in my life. I was teaching sailing in Rye, New York. One of the mothers took pictures of me and sent them in to Ford Models. Before I knew it, I was modeling with Ford. At Ford, they heard about the open call for Blue Lagoon, and I was one of 4000 people to audition for that movie. For whatever reason, they kept calling me back. Then I didn't hear from them for three months and I ended up getting a Gloria Vanderbilt jean commercial. I never in a million years expected that my life was going to go down that road–I wanted to play pro baseball. Finally, I got a call from Columbia Pictures, and they said, can you come in and bring a blond curly wig? I thought, 'Where am I going to find a blond curly wig?' My mom happened to have something. The next day they called me in and said I had the part. Two days later, I was flown to L.A. and met with hair and makeup people, and they were testing tanning lotions on us and curling my hair. And few days later, I was on a plane to Fiji. Then I was on a deserted island for four and a half months–with Brooke Shields. I'm known for chasing Brooke down the beach in a diaper. [laughs]
- Q: Were there any moments that were emblematic of making that movie to you? - Uinterview
- A: I was waking up every single day in a tent. I was with Brooke, the director, the DP. All the crew lived in a tent city. Every day, I was waking up in a tent walking down the beach without any clothes on, washing up in the salt water and heading over to breakfast. We weren't in a hotel — we were living the movie. Coming home was tough, though.
- Q: You also had one of the first male nude scenes. - Uinterview
- A: That was a really big deal. I'm a fortunate person in that I have a tremendous gay fan base — and straight fan base. You put them together and that's a big deal. Somebody asked me once, do you know why? And I said, 'No.' They told me, 'When your movie came out, back in the early 80s, it was a huge coming out time for the gay movement. People were starting to come out and be proud.' Blue Lagoon came out with male nudity, and you became the poster child to gay movement. I thought it was fascinating and unexpected. It was the right time in history for that to have happened.
- Q: You went on to do Dallas, which was the biggest TV show of the time. What was it like going from one cultural phenomenon to another? - Uinterview
- A: I was dating Diane Lane at the time, and I came back and did this little TV movie called Child Bride of Short Creek. I got Diane the part in the movie. She was such a briliant actress, and she was kind of struggling at the time. She was just an awesome human being. Then I did a pirate movie and A Night in Heaven for 20th Century Fox and then Dallas. My agent got slammed — back then movie stars did not do TV — it was big deal at the time. I was on the cover of Us magazine with Linda Grey — they were using me to be the boy toy, which created a big stir at the time.
- Q: Then you dropped out after that. What happened? - Uinterview
- A: I got married pretty much right after that and had my son and then my daughter. When I used to teach sailing, I used to put a dollar away out of each paycheck for the day that I had kids. That's how much I wanted kids. I didn't want to be one of those dad's who said I wished I threw a ball to my son or read a book to my daughter. My agent would set up a meeting, and I would say, 'Sorry I've got to go to Little League.' So I didn't chase it as much as you really need to chase it. I'm glad I didn't drag my kids through this, though.
- Q: In the focus group on the VH-1 show, you were the one person who the group thought had a real future in Hollywood. How did you feel about that? - Uinterview
- A: That was double-edged sword to say the least. It meant a lot to me. It's wonderful to hear people believe that about you.
- Q: Is there one of the Idols who you got along with better than the others? - Uinterview
- A: Everybody really cared about each other in a really genuine way. There was no crazy guy throwing chairs or popping off. Everybody got along with each other. There were no egos. It actually became a whole different show. The purpose of those reality show is creating conflict between different personalities. The bottom line is only reason they put people in a house is to create conflict. The execs were saying, 'They've bonded. Now we have to break the Brotherhood.' It wasn't going to happen. It wasn't a monkey show. We aren't 20-year-old kids who are dying to be on camera. We've already been down that road.
- Q: If you do make a big career comeback, who would you most like to work with? - Uinterview
- A: Probably Gwyneth Paltrow. Robert Redford would be the greatest highlight of my career. George Clooney or Ben Stiller. Those guys are hot right now. That's where I'd love to be. 'Hello, Ben... My name is Chris...'
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