COSAM alumnus spotlight: Dr. George Hardy
Long before Dr. George Hardy, ‘77, kept the mouths of Alexander City, Ala., healthy, he was an actor starring in the 1989 cult classic “Troll 2,” adoringly referred to as “the best worst movie ever.”
Since it’s debut, “Troll 2” has acquired an international following still going strong today. The pop-culture phenomenon has been screened in sold-out theatres worldwide.
“I sort of fell into the movie, really,” said Hardy. “I was doing postdoctoral work in Salt Lake City and running a small practice after graduating from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s dental school. A patient told me the Italian filmmakers Claudio Fragasso and Rossella Drudi were in a nearby town casting a low-budget movie. I thought ‘why not’ and decided to go give it a shot.”
“Troll 2” follows the Waits family as they arrange a home exchange vacation to the rural farming community of Nilbog. The youngest Waits sibling, Joshua, is warned by the ghost of his dead grandfather that vegetarian goblins are plotting to transform his family into vegetables so they can be eaten. Joshua is then on the quest to save his family from the goblins.
The day after his audition, Hardy received word that he was selected to play the lead father in the movie, “Michael Waits.” After much consideration of how to continue practicing dentistry while shooting an entire movie, he came up with a plan.
“I decided I’d see patients in the morning and go on location to film in the afternoons,” said Hardy. “Despite the language barriers among the cast and the directors, we wrapped up filming in three weeks.”
After the filming of “Troll 2” came to an end, Hardy moved back to his home state of Alabama and set up a practice in his great grandmother’s former home in Alexander City.
The movie missed the big screen and was released straight to VHS and television in 1990.
“I didn’t even know the movie was out until one of my patients mentioned that they’d seen ‘my movie,’” said Hardy. “When I watched it myself, I was just astonished at how bad it actually was.”
In 2009, Hardy and his on-screen son from “Troll 2,” Michael Stephenson, made a documentary about their experience with the film titled “Best Worst Movie.” The documentary follows Hardy and Stephenson around the world as they meet fans, reunite with cast members and host film screenings.
Entering his 24th year of practice in Alexander City, Hardy is somewhat of a local celebrity with many friends and adoring patients. His career in dentistry has allowed him to live close to family and enjoy time at Lake Martin. Although he enjoys his life as a small-town dentist, Hardy would not be opposed to a second chance at the big screen.
“As a cheerleader at Auburn, I was always performing and entertaining crowds, and that’s something I have always felt I had a knack for,” said Hardy. “If I ever had the chance to do some more acting, I think I’d take it.”
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