What David Hasselhoff would say to KITT now that cars talk

The actor revisits his '80s and '90s heyday in the new comedy "Killing Hasselhoff" and insists "Knight Rider" should return.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
3 min read
Knight Rider

David Hasselhoff wants to bring back "Knight Rider", even though today's highly automated automobiles mean that talking '80s supercar KITT no longer looks quite so kitted-out. 

"The first thing I'd say to KITT", Hasselhoff said, "is 'Hey KITT, all the cars can talk now!'"

The "Knight Rider" and "Baywatch" star experienced modern motoring firsthand a few years back when he visited Google and piloted of one of the company's self-driving cars. Meanwhile, Hasselhoff has long wanted to re-launch the iconic turbo-boosted adventure series somewhere it could benefit from another modern innovation: binge watching.  

"Anywhere you can watch four episodes in a row", he said when I ask him where a new "Knight Rider" could find a home. "I don't want to wait until next week!"

The irrepressible star spoke to me over the phone from LA as he promotes his new movie, "Killing Hasselhoff". This highly disposable comedy flick features an inexplicably decent cast of comic talents like Ken Jeong, Jim Jefferies, Rhys Darby and Jon Lovitz, hamming it up as lowlifes plotting to win a celebrity death pool by offing the Hoff. But they haven't counted on Hasselhoff's invincible longevity -- something that's true in real life, too. 

It feels odd when interviewing a star about a new film for the conversation to turn back to the hits of decades back. But when it's Hasselhoff, he can't seem to help it. He romps through his own history in "Killing Hasselhoff", squeezing exuberantly into both his red "Baywatch" lifeguard outfit and the "Knight Rider" robotic car. It seems even when he makes new films and TV shows, he turns back the clock to his heyday.

In fact, Hasselhoff is so '80s, his favourite TV show right now is "The Americans", a show set in that very decade.

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Jim Jefferies (from left), Rhys Darby and Ken Jeong try to off the Hoff.

"Killing Hasselhoff"

Hasselhoff loves to binge-watch shows, sometimes finding himself buying episodes repeatedly in his impatience to catch up to the latest installment.

"I like the way television has gotten deep and cool", he said. "Great actors, and everyone's working. It's a great time for all of us because for the longest time it was all reality-driven crap -- and the reality's not real".

This seems an unusual comment for someone whose latter-day career revolves around playing himself. He's appeared as himself (or an approximation thereof) in everything from "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" to "The West Wing", not to mention his own reality-sitcom "Hoff the Record" and a bizarre short film scripted by artificial intelligence dubbed "Hoffbot".

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He's also appeared in reboots of his iconic adventures, like this year's "Baywatch" movie and a number of "Knight Rider" spin-offs and sequels

"I'm tired of reboots when they don't do it properly", he said, which as far as I can tell just means when he's not in them. "I'm not a real big fan of the films out these days", he continues -- except for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2" in which he has a hilarious cameo. He praises that film's story, as well as "Logan" for Hugh Jackman's rugged grey-bearded turn playing his age.

Hasselhoff may be playing his age -- and appearing in a film about his impending demise -- but he said he's in a good place, grateful for the sunshine and his wife-to-be. So I ask if he ever thinks about death. 

The Hoff replies with a hearty laugh and relates something his dad used to say: "I'm not afraid of death, but I don't want to go!"

"Killing Hasselhoff" will be available on DVD and online starting 29 Aug.

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