It’s been almost 30 years since the science fiction fantasy film The NeverEnding Story made its debut in theaters. The beloved, visually stunning movie revolves around Bastian Bux, a young boy who is bullied by his classmates and happens upon a book called The NeverEnding Story. The book takes him to a fantasy place known as Fantasia World, where Bastian becomes a part of the story. The film was a modest hit in 1984, but through the years, it has become a cult favorite that’s spawned two other films, 1990’s The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter and 1994’s The Neverending Story III.
Three different actors played the part of Bastian Bux in each of the films, but Barret Oliver, who played the role in the original, is arguably the most famous of the Bastians. After the film’s 1983 release, Oliver went on the star in movies such as Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, Cocoon, and The Secret Garden. In 1985, he won a Saturn Award and was nominated for the Young Artist Award for best actor in a motion picture for his performance as Daryl in the sci-fi film D.A.R.Y.L., per Fandom. Oliver’s last role in Hollywood was that of Willie Saravian in 1989’s Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills, a film co-written and directed by Eating Raoul‘s Paul Bartel.
What is the former Bastian Bux, aka Barret Oliver, up to these days? Keep scrolling to find out.
Bastian Bux's story led him away from Hollywood
Believe it or not, that picture on the right is what Barret Oliver, the original Bastian Bux, looks like today. Oliver quit acting and left “Hollywood” in 1989, but he did remain involved in the creative arts. The NeverEnding Story star became a printer and photographer, specializing in nineteenth-century photographic processes such as collodion and Woodburytype, which may help explain his stylized official portrait above.
Oliver published a book on his craft, A History of the Woodburytype, in 2007. That same year, he and fellow artist Stephen Aldrich showcased their work at the Craig Krull Gallery, highlighting Aldrich’s work in collages and Oliver’s work in photographic prints. In 2012, Oliver starred in the short film, In the Usual Manner, which gives the viewer a sneak peek into the fascinating technique used by 19th century photographers. “I have an agenda. I would like to open up the way people think about photographs,” he told Photoculture LA in 2019. “Right now, photography exists as this monolithic technological field … That, to me, feels like a really limited vocabulary. It would be like saying to a musician, you get to choose one instrument, and there are no more instruments.”
With the character of Bastian Bux decades behind him, it is heartening to know this child star is still making visually stunning art.
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