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Christopher Atkins, the heartthrob from The Blue Lagoon still has it

editorial & arteditorial

27 April
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Who can forget the blond heartthrobe, Christopher Atkins, who jumped into fame wearing a loincloth in The Blue Lagoon?! Or, as the lover of Sue Ellen in Dallas? These are unforgettable classicals! The interview showed me the same charismatic personality and really funny guy wearing his smile at any age. From performing in the 80s to going behind the cameras, from looping cinema screen, some still keep the nostalgia of the curly boy adventuring on the heavenly island with Brooke Shields and his toned body flashing behind our TV box. We want to know more about him, so here he is, making us smile again!

We were all impressed by the blond curly hearththrob in the movie, The Blue Lagoon. Was this your debut film role? How did it happen?

Yes, it was my first film. I was teaching sailing out of Rye NY to little kids. One of the mothers of the kids I was teaching sailing to took pictures of me and sent them to a modeling agent that her kids were with. From that little modeling agent, it grew into modeling with Ford models in New York. That first modeling agent sent me in for an open call for the blue lagoon. I thought it was extremely exciting that I was going to go to Columbia pictures and audition for a real motion picture. I did that first audition and then kept getting called back. Then it was quiet for a couple of months and suddenly I get a call again. I was incredibly surprised needless to say and they wanted to see me again. After that audition two days later I got the call that I was going to Fiji and shoot this movie. It ended up I found out later then I was picked out of 4000 kids who auditioned for the part.

How would you describe playing the role of Richard Lestrange , the cousin of Emmeline  played by Brooke Shields, two young cousins marooned on a tropical island? The story captivated the heart of the entire globe.

Richard was an optimist about everything, and I think that was part of why and how they could survive together on an island for so many years alone. He was always building, crafting, or observing the world around him. He believed the father was going to come back to find them and he kept faith. To me The Blue Lagoon is a Romeo, Juliet love story. I think the stunning beauty of the island, the magic of evolving natural love and the fantasy of being marooned on a beautiful island captivated the heart and imagination and stirred the memories of innocent love.

Two young teenagers on a tropical island...at a dangerous age ! You were 18 and Brooke Shields was 14 and extremely beautiful. How was the entire experience, the attraction, the romance and the setting, perfectly fit for a hot love story?

Ha! Yes, it was but living in a tent for 3 and a half months can be quite grueling. Fortunately, I love the outdoors, camping and saw it as fun and exciting. Brooke and I did have a little romance. We were the closest age together on this deserted island and the director really wanted us to fall in love because it would come out on the film. It was a sweet innocent crush.

The movie was quite controversial, at that time, as it had many nude scenes and sexual content. How did you cope with those scenes in the movie? Were you at ease?

It was awkward as you could imagine at first, but the crew were all Australians and back then it was all topless beaches in Australia. They were very free open fun people and took advantage of the freedom of the deserted island and our circumstance. They made it easy. It was a tight close small group of filmmakers, so we were very close. I have never really had a problem with social nudity. After Blue Lagoon going to a normal beach was un-naturel so my ex-wife and I would go to the nude beach in San Diego. What was interesting was the reaction to the film and the nudity. Wow! I think people really enjoyed the movie more because we did not sugar coat it and had that tiny bit of realism which gave a shock value. The most interesting was how much the media jumped on the aspect of the male nudity. Up till then it really had been women who graced the screen with nudity.

What has this movie taught you and what impact had on you and your career?

Great question! I think what the movie taught me was the power of love. I have had deep thought on what my purpose is in this life and have come to realize its about love. Silly and out there as it sounds, I know, but I'd rather have a good time than a bad time, I'd rather be happy than sad, and I'd rather have fun than not. So, it comes that when I achieve these things in my life, I feel alive. The Blue Lagoon is about ultimate love. Working together, helping each other, stopping to experience the little things, sharing and receiving a pearl. (of wisdom) Love and fun. Simple belief but colorful, rich and full. My journey is to understand love in all its forms and to learn how to receive it better too.

Now that I've lost your readers on my philosophies, the impact it had was that I could not go anywhere on this earth that I wasn't recognized. My life was public. It also gave me wonderful opportunities to give back and help causes. It was tough to top Blue Lagoon. I did, "Dallas" and many other films and TV but nothing as huge as The Blue Lagoon.

Another role that kept all the ladies breathless was that from Dallas, as Pete Richards, a college psychology major working at Windsor Meadows, a day camp attended by Sue Ellen's 5 years old son, John Ross Ewing JR. Pete will become Sue Ellen's passion and lover, stirring up fantasies. How was this experience for you? What Dallas meant to you?

Dallas was super fun! All the cast were crazy in their own fun way. Linda Gray smeared a dental numbing solution all over her lips for our first kissing scene. I had no idea and the whole crew and cast stood and watched and waited until I broke out wondering what the hell just happened! They were a great group. Sue Ellen was the first real cougar. We were on the cover of magazines as Robbing the cradle. It was fun.

You had, definitely, been the hot boy of the 80s and your roles stand as a proof. But you were also a model and you were featured nude in Playgirl. How was it to show off so much sex-appeal?

Like I mentioned above I am not shy. After The Blue Lagoon, every movie etc. wanted me to take my clothes off and show my ass. I always said there will be a time when they pay me to keep my clothes on!

And a romantic one, too! You sang a song in the movie you played with Kristy McNichol The Pirate. The song "How can I live without her" peaked at 71 position on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982. Were you also drawn to music?

No, I'm not a singer. But I do have a gold album from that film and my song I sang but thank God for machines because they can make a dog sing.

You played in different other movies. Still, lately, we haven't heard a lot about you. We would love to know more about Christopher Atkins' life after all these explosive and passionate roles and appearances. Can you tell us a bit more?

I was performing in a play in Australia last year and believe it or not I had full frontal in that also! Never stops. Ha.

I'm now a grandpa of three grandsons and my greatest role was that of a dad. Now they are doing their lives and I'm on a new venture. I'm working with some top industry people to make films. I have been in films now I am going to make them. I'm currently in the independent fund-raising stage for two films. One is set in Australia and is a family heartfelt comedy like a Crocodile Dundee in reverse called, Lucky Valentine. Rezistor Entertainment is working with me on it. It combines two of the planets biggest spectator sports, baseball and cricket. The other is a Blue Lagoon style picture set in modern day about that first summer love. It is a coming of age story with a backdrop that has never been showcased on the big screen. It is a beautiful, stunning, exciting movie. It is called, Feathering The Wind. My partner on that film is a senior VP at MGM. Great partners but want to do these films independently.

So I'm transitioning from in front to behind the Camera writing, directing and producing but still LOVE acting. I would love to do another love story. But I love acting and would love to do more films in Europe, wink wink.

How do you see the movie scene nowadays comparing to that of the 80s?

I think it has become much more conservative. There isn't as much nudity as it seems to me. The other aspect is the international films are getting so much more exposure and acceptance. It's wonderful to see.

Two words to define Christopher Atkins in the present and in the future.

Untapped and Optimistic 

Interview by Andra Oprea