‘NeverEnding Story’ Childlike Empress Star Tami Stronach Returning to Film for First Time in Over 35 Years
Tami Stronach, who played the Childlike Empress in The NeverEnding Story, is finally returning to film decades after making her big screen debut in the beloved fantasy film.
The 48-year-old former child star is working on a new fantasy movie called Man & Witch with her husband, writer and actor Greg Steinbruner. The couple, who will star in the flick alongside acting legends Christopher Lloyd, Sean Astin and Rhea Perlman, are currently filming on location in Scotland.
Stronach plans to use Man & Witch to showcase elements that retro films lacked, such as the celebration of middle aged women. She also hopes to show that “love is not just for the beautiful and the young and the straight” and give the sexist narratives seen in classic '80s films a “modern twist.”
On Wednesday (April 7), Vice published an interview with Stronach, who revealed what really happened after she rose to stardom in the mid-1980s and why she suddenly disappeared from Hollywood.
In the mid '80s, Stronach's archeologist parents moved their family from San Francisco to Germany for a few months so she could film her brief scenes as the ethereal Childlike Empress. However, after Stromach made her big break in the 1984 cult classic, she and her parents decided not to continue pursuing a child acting career following a series of negative experiences.
Stronach revealed that after the movie became a hit, she was approached by producers to do a nude film. At the time, she was only 12 years old. She was also hounded by adult male fans, who would often call her home and even send her marriage proposals.
"I did not desperately want to be a star. I desperately wanted to act," Stronach explained to Vice. “Those are two different things."
And so, her parents made the joint decision to have her retire from acting. The family moved back to San Fransisco where she eventually joined her high school's theater and dance departments.
After her high school graduation, Stronach moved to New York City where she became a professional dancer and ended up directing her very own dance company. She later became a dance professor at Marymount Manhattan College.
So, what inspired Stronach to return to acting? As it turns out, another fantasy kids property with strong cultural ties to the '80s: Stranger Things!
Season 3 of the iconic Netflix series, which aired in 2019, paid homage to The NeverEnding Story with a singalong scene. The popularity of that particular plot thread inspired her and Steinbruner to create their very own '80s-inspired film, since so much appreciation for The NeverEnding Story remains after all these years.