■ The Baywatch actor, 67, on a Knight Rider reboot, singing at the Berlin Wall and his role in 9 To 5: The Musical
The Hoff is world-famous. How does it feel to be a living legend?
They even put me in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2. Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt, used to tell his school friends that David Hasselhoff was his dad. I asked the director, ‘Why did you choose me?’ He said, ‘Well, I watched Knight Rider when I was eight years old and it changed my life.’ I get this a lot. Maybe a thousand people have stopped me and said, ‘Let me tell you my Knight Rider story,’ from Soweto to Bangladesh to a Swindon taxi driver from Afghanistan who said, ‘You’re my hero. I grew up watching Knight Rider.’
There are rumours of a Knight Rider reboot.
I’m working on bringing it back. I’d love to make it into a TV series but we’re talking about making it like Fast And Furious and doing a series of films. I want to do it now before I get too old so I’m not the Knight Walker!
You’re currently in London’s West End in 9 To 5: The Musical. What was the appeal of the show?
It’s the West End, it’s like Broadway. They called me and I went along to see it and loved it. It’s a lot of fun. It’s about three women who work together who are all sick of their boss, Franklin Hart Jr. I’ve grown a moustache for the part so I look a little different and I act like a pretty sleazy, slimy guy, which is great because no one expects me to do that.
What sort of audiences are you getting?
They’re great — very vocal and enthusiastic. We’re getting very female audiences, which I like, and the males come along and are all Knight Rider guys — it’s just crazy. I’m in it until February 8 and I sign autographs afterwards.
Were you a bit nervous about having to dance?
I’m working with Bonnie Langford and she’s taken me under her wing as far as dancing is concerned. I’m a singer, I’m an actor, I’m the Knight Rider, I’m an action guy but I’m not a dancer, that’s just not in my nature! Brian Conley was the lead guy in the show before me and it was really hard to follow him because he was so good. I wanted to make it my own because I’m a different person. I play the part very differently to him but I’ve stolen his good parts!
What are you doing next?
I have an idea to develop my own stage show called Hoff Broadway. It’s basically my life story, with music and fun and little anecdotes. We might even start it in the West End. It’s going to be a worldwide show. I’ll audition someone to play David Hasselhoff and I’m going to produce it. It’ll be kind of like what they did with Rocketman — basically the good, the bad and the ugly.
At 67 shouldn’t you be slowing down a bit now?
If there’s a plane to jump out of, I’ve got to do it. I like a challenge. It’s like appearing in 9 To 5. It’s not easy and every night I’m going, ‘Wow! What am I doing? I could be hanging out.’ I like hanging out too but I’ve never backed down from a challenge.
Your wife Hayley is 27 years your junior but even she must struggle to keep up with you…
Even my wife goes, ‘You’re crazy, you work out so much.’ But I pride myself on my appearance and if I look in the mirror and I see a roll of fat, I immediately do something about it. I want to put on a good show and if I look good, I feel good.
So how do you stay in shape?
I stay away from sugar and alcohol. I’m developing my own beer called Hoffbrau, which is an alcohol-free beer. I love non-alcohol beer because you can have a taste of beer but you don’t have a hangover and a beer gut and you don’t look 20 years older.
You’ve been through tough times in your life with two divorces and career highs and lows. How do you bounce back?
You only bounce back when you realise life is not fair. You see it all the time. You see it with people with cystic fibrosis, you see it with people in wheelchairs or people who lose their lives crossing a bridge in the UK because of some idiot. It’s very difficult and I still don’t understand it. But when you realise life isn’t fair and you’re lucky enough to be strong and endure, then you’re the lucky one.
Is it true you were involved in the fall of the Berlin Wall?
I did a song called Looking For Freedom, which sold well. The Berlin Wall came down in November 1989 and on New Year’s Eve that year they asked me to sing on German TV. I said, ‘Only if I can sing on the wall.’ I said it as a joke but they got me a crane. I sang to over half a million people and they went nuts. It turned out that song was an anthem to the East Germans before the wall came down. I was invited back for the 30th anniversary recently. It was an amazing experience. Now Germany is like a second home.
■ David Hasselhoff appears in 9 To 5: The Musical at the Savoy Theatre until February 8, 9to5themusical.co.uk