Judith Hoag [Interview]

Judith Hoag

As a man, when you grow older and time wages war against your mind, body, and soul, there will always be a collection of females that appear on screen that will always ride the coat tails of your memory as time marches on.  One of those women in my brain is definitely Judith Hoag, the woman behind the yellow jump suit in the original live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film known as April O’Neil.

And of course, Judith’s career as not been limited doing a film with a bunch of plastic turtles.  She has been appearing on the hit television show Nashville since its inception, and you may remember her in films like the star studded Armageddon and the recent critically acclaimed biopic Hitchcock.  She has also been featured on pretty much every major television show in the last ten to fifteen years, including Grimm, Without A Trace, E.R., JAG, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, and so on.  And we can’t forget the Halloweentown series, that was just so adorable, even though I am a grown ass man and probably shouldn’t be watching such childish shows.  And between all of this madness, we were able to steal a few words from Judith herself, giving us a bit of insight on the world of TMNT, Nashville, and more on her lovely career.  Enjoy!

You did a lot of acting in commercials during your early career.  What was your favorite ad you ever appeared in?  Anything strange?

Honestly commercials are all about the money for me. However I have had a lot of fun shooting them and worked with some feature directors who I went onto make movies with. My favorite commercial was for Tropicana Twister where I was part of an All-Mom Garage Band. We rocked out to playback for 10 hours. I could’ve gone on for 10 days.

Strange you ask? Pretending to eat and then spitting your bite into a bucket after each take. At first it’s an entirely gross endeavor, three hours later you can’t spit it out fast enough.

You have also graced the stage, film, and numerous television appearances.  If you were left with the chance to only act in one singular medium, what would it be?

Television hits the biggest audience so I’d choose that medium. It’s all about getting the the story and your work seen so you’ll hit the greatest number of people worldwide with television. But if I could only do one last job ever – I would choose to a play in a nice long run on Broadway.

It would behoove me, as a child of the 90’s and geek by nature, to ask you about your renowned role as April O’Neil in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action film.  What was that experience like for you?

I had no idea when I took on the role of April O’Neil that I would be embarking on a job that would most likely be referred to in my obituary. It was a great experience. It was a challenging experience. It was a life changing experience. We’d work 15-17 hour day six days a week. We had Sunday off and we’d play hard on that day. It was a summer spent in steamy Wilmington NC mostly on a damp sound stage but also on a very hot sunny beach with perfect waves.

Judith Hoag2

In your personal opinion, what do you think it is about TMNT that has made it develop such a devoted cult following?

The first thing that appealed to me in the original version of the script was the more mythical aspects of the story. It was a classic Hero’s Journey which is timeless. It was about facing your shadows, the power of your mind, the love of family and being victorious in the end. It was JRR Tolkien, Joseph Campbell, Star Wars, CS Lewis, Comic books and Pizza. A real ragout of inspiration. And it touched a nerve in a certain generation of kids who all these years later haven’t forgotten what it meant to them. Now they’re turning their own kids onto the movie.

Was there a reason you didn’t appear in the TMNT sequels?

I wasn’t asked to reprise my role. I had strong feelings that we needed to honor the original themes of the story as much as the martial arts. I was probably not very diplomatic with my requests. They obviously felt I was replaceable and so they replaced me. It was an interesting moment in my young career.

If you could portray any famous political figure in world history, who would it be?

Um… I wouldn’t mind taking a crack at Mary Mother of Jesus told completely from her point of view in a film directed by Quentin Tarantino shot on location in Israel.

Your portrayal in the hit television show Nashville is absolutely phenomenal and the show seems to be doing well.  What is the dynamic like on the set?  More importantly, are you having fun?

The amount of fun we’re having is ridiculous. The dynamic on set is super focused, very playful & wicked saucy. Let us all now bow our heads in prayer that we may be renewed for a full second season.

What keeps you motivated to continue your career as an actress?

As I get older I have more & more freedom in my work. It doesn’t diminish, it just expands. I get paid to play pretend. And that is an insane amount of fun. Plus the people I get to play with just keeps getting better & better.

Judith Hoag3

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Baby, I smile all day long. I wake up with a smile and go to bed with a smile. Just reading that question made me smile. In other words – I’m on the look-out for reasons to smile.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

One Response to Judith Hoag [Interview]

  1. Kanoa says:

    Have loved watching Judith Hoag for years and would love to see her role expanded in Nashville – she is a much beloved actress amd has loads of fans that have watched her career. Good luck udith!

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