The NeverEnding Story entranced viewers when it was released in 1984, and delivered the first instalment of the iconic film franchise. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen, the movie made an incredible $100 million at the box office, and sparked two sequels, and an animated TV show spin-off. The actors in the movie went on to have successful careers, with one of them leaving acting in later life.

The hero of the story is Atreyu – a plucky young warrior who had vowed to take on The Nothing – a dark, malevolent force – from engulfing his world of Fantasia.

Atreyu was played by Noah Hathaway, who was just 13-years-old at the time, and had only acted in three other films prior to that.

After The Neverending Story Hathaway appeared in a number of films, including Quest, Troll, Sushi Girl, and 2013’s Blue Dream.

Hathaway also spent a lot of the 1970s in the TV show Battlestar Galactica as Boxey.

Hathaway now travels the world promoting his iconic role in The Neverending Story.

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The Neverending Story tale was told by Bastian Balthazar Bux, who stole the book from his library, and explored the fantastical world of Fantasia from his bedroom.

Balthazar was played by Barret Spencer Oliver, who was just 10 or 11 years old at the time.

After The Neverending Story became a smash hit in cinemas, Oliver went on to be cast in Tim Burton’s short film Frankenweenie as the protagonist, Victor Frankenstein.

Oliver was later cast as the android Daryl in the 1985 movie D.A.R.Y.L. – a role which he later won a Saturn Award for.

Oliver worked in the film and TV industry consistently through to the late 1980s, but then left, becoming a printer and photographer.

His work has since been displayed in museums and gallery exhibitions, as well as being used within films.

The enigmatic Childlike Empress was played by Tami Stronach. The NeverEnding Story was her only motion picture role. 

After appearing in the ’84 movie, Stronach played the role of “Dog” in the Signals of Distress theatre show in 2002 – but hasn’t acted otherwise.

Stronach is also a dancer and a professor in New York City.

The Luck Dragon Falkor was voiced by Alan Oppenheimer, who also voiced Gmork, Rockbiter, and the Narrator.

Oppenheimer is a legendary American actor and voiceover star who has appeared in countless projects over the last 40 years.

Oppenheimer has appeared in the likes of Toy Story 4 as the Old Timer, 9 as the Scientist, Adventure Time as Darren the Ancient Sleeper, and Star Trek as Captain Keogh.

In the movie Hathaway did his own stunts as Atreyu, leading director Wolfgang to say: “I sought a good-looking boy of athletic build with the quality of fierce determination. The role requires the character to ride a horse expertly, fly on the back of a dragon, struggle through a swamp, clamber over rocks and fight a ferocious wolf-vampire.”

Hathaway did suffer some “minor injuries” on set, and later reflected on his time in the movie, saying: “Wolfgang Petersen was notorious for his actors doing their own stunts.

“His actors are always getting hurt, because he wanted… Audiences are very savvy, you can cut away and show the back of somebody and show the stuntman doing their stunt.

“And everybody knows that, so he wants his actors to do as much as they can for the realism of the movie. Accidents happen and actors aren’t stuntmen.

“That’s why they have stuntmen, because if someone gets hurt, they’re ‘expendable’. And some of the times, they’re just more careful… I just ended up paying.”

The NeverEnding Story is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.


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