Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood

The stars of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

Interview by Mark Walters

In the summer of 2001 I attended the Trek Expo in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  While there I met many Sci-Fi stars and even a few childhood heroes.  By pure luck I was granted the incredible opportunity to interview two of the most important actors ever to be involved in the science fiction genre.  Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood played astronauts Dave Bowman and Frank Poole in Stanley Kubrickís wildly popular 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.  Aside the importance of it being the year 2001, this was the very first time these two had appeared together since the filmís original release, I figured it was a terrific chance to ask a few interesting questions.  Hope you all enjoy.

 

Mark:  Well this is the year, and this marks the first time you guys have ever appeared together at a convention.  Looking back at the film, does it amaze you how much of the speculation came true?

Keir:  Having known Stanley, and knowing how he had his finger on the pulse, I think I was less amazed because of who he was.  Some of the processes used in the film have indeed come true, and we are but a heartbeat away from achieving HAL.  I think the life we are living now is just a blink in the eye of eternity.

Gary:  I have mixed feelings about that.  Some thought weíd be further along than we are now, and to be honest so did I.  Many people have argued that since there are so many problems here on earth, why should we go into space?  Personally I feel there is no connection between manís adventurous side and the starving in Vietnam, although many people have tried to say that sort of thing.  I do think weíve come a long way since then.

 

Mark:  Did either one of you realize at the time, knowing what you did about Kubrick and film in general, that this would be such a historic picture?

Gary:  There was no doubt in my mind that it would be an important film, although at the time I couldnít say to what extent.  Iíve always considered it to be one of the greatest movies ever made.  Iíve never seen a movie that featured more elegance and grace.

Keir:  Not in the least!  My point of view was that it would easily be the most important movie of that year, but I had no idea it would become one of the most important films in a historical sense.  Even the AFI voted it #22 in the 100 greatest films of all time.

 

Mark:  In light of the recent death of Stanley Kubrick, what for both of you were some of the most memorable moments working with the legendary director?

Keir:  Well there were so many.  For me the most moving moment came when I first started working on 2001.  I was already in awe of him, and he had very much already become ďStanley KubrickĒ by the time the film started.  I had some trouble trying to work in the surroundings, and was having a hard time grasping the concepts behind the film.  I remember Stanley pulling me aside and apologizing for doing something wrong in hiring me without first creating a directorial situation with which I could be comfortable working in.  I loved every minute of it all, simply because it was so intense.

Gary:  Working with him?  Iíve always felt that I never worked for anyone who had his overall level of technical knowledge and uniqueness.  It was all very fascinating.

         

Mark:  Keir, you recently worked on an episode of WITCHBLADE, the new comic book based series for TNT.  Since this is a comic book website, and WITCHBLADE is held in pretty high regard with the fans, could you describe your part and what it was like working on the series?

Keir:  I actually play a recurring role for a character named Doctor Imo.  In the show I assist the villain, Kenneth Irons, and will show up from time to time.  We shot in Toronto.  Iíve done many films there, as well as some theater work and other television series.  In a sense Toronto feels like home to me.  I just recently shot what I believe was episode 11, which was actually directed by James Whitmoreís son.  Itís been a fun experience so far.

 

Mark:  Gary, you have a huge Sci-Fi connection working on both 2001 and one of the most memorable not to mention most important STAR TREK episodes (WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE) of the original series.  At the time you did STAR TREK, did you have any clue that the series would take off the way it did?

Gary:  That episode is what got it on TV.  I remember shooting the pilot, which was sent to New York to be reviewed.  I thought it didnít have a chance!  There were hundreds of pilots shot every year, and only a select few ever made it.  Granted it was no comparison to doing 2001.  STAR TREK was six days of my life that just happened to turn out great.  I think itís important because it wasnít just another STAR TREK episode, but rather the one that started it all.  I was a lucky fella.

 

Mark:  Keir, over the years many people have had conflicting opinions on just what exactly the ending of 2001 is supposed to mean.  From your perspective, what should we take away from it?

Keir:  My opinion on that isnít any more valid Iím afraid.  Kubrick never explained the ending to us, or what his intentions were.  I do know that he didnít intend for it to be a predictable film, simply because wasnít very esoteric about the way with which it was made.  We actually saw it as a theatrical audience like everyone else.  I think youíre supposed to interpret the ending for yourself, and try to take away from it what you personally think it means.

 

Mark:  Last question.  How do you guys feel about the 2001 we live in now?

Gary:  Iím a happy person.  I will say that Iím a little disappointed we havenít done more in space.  Iím a big Sci-Fi fan, and I read Sci-Fi quite a bit.  Iíd really like to see us go back to more cerebral science fiction.  I think whatís really unique about the movie 2001 that not many people know is that Stanley Kubrick actually replaced a director named Anthony Mann.  Had that not happened, then itís possible he might not have become a director of such extreme reputation.

Keir:  Well I think the biggest difference is that weíre not poised on nuclear war like we were back then.  Most people donít realize that the bone hurled into the air by the ape at the beginning of the film, which cuts to the image a spaceship orbiting the earth, was actually supposed to symbolize a nuclear weapon looming over our planet.  I think all things considered weíre much better off now.

Check out Gary Lockwood's new book 2001 MEMORIES.

 

KEIR DULLEA - GARY LOCKWOOD - MARK WALTERS

TREK EXPO 2001 - Tulsa, Oklahoma 

All interview images copyright BIGFANBOY.com 2005, and may not be used without permission


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