Author Topic: 2001 in NY  (Read 6805 times)

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mutinyco

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2001 in NY
« on: August 11, 2003, 09:26:15 AM »
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2001 will be playing at Lincoln Center as part of its upcoming widescreen series. I already linked this on the MovieNavigator thread, but thought this would be a pretty good spot too. Go to:

http://movienavigator.org/wideload.htm
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Fernando

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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2004, 01:12:28 PM »
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Seems like the correct thread to post this, since this Q&A with Keir Dullea derives from a 2001 screening.

2004: Remembering 'Odyssey'
Dullea looks back at the role for which he will forever be known.


By Frank Rizzo
Courant Staff Writer
Published August 3, 2004

The Westport Country, Conn., Playhouse Film Series this week was to present a conversation with Keir Dullea after a screening of Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" at the Community Theater in Fairfield.

Following is a conversation with Dullea, 68, at the home in Fairfield that he shares with his wife, actress Mia Dillon:

Q: How did you get the part of Commander Dave Bowman in the film?

A: I was doing [Otto Preminger's] "Bunny Lake Is Missing" in London, and I got a call from my agent saying Kubrick wanted me for the film after seeing me in "David and Lisa," "The Thin Red Line" and outtakes of "Bunny Lake," which were sent to him. Over the years, I heard somewhere that Warren Beatty was up for my part, but when I recently looked at a casting list for the film, my name was the only one listed for my part. The names of actors such as George Hamilton, Murray Hamilton, Rod Taylor, Hugh O'Brien, James Coburn and Sterling Hayden were being tossed around [for the part of Frank Poole, played by Gary Lockwood]. For the role of the main ape, Albert Finney, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Robert Shaw and Richard Kiley were on that list. [William Sylvester got that role]. My part of the film was shot in England in the spring of 1966. We shot nearly four months. [The film wasn't released until 1968.]

Q: What was Kubrick looking for in his astronauts?

A: What he didn't want was the way scientists had been portrayed in movies -- you know, those goatee-wearing figures. Stanley projected they would not be military people.

Q: Your character and the other astronauts were a little cool.

A: Many people talked about how the humans in the film were more machine-like than the machines, but that was intentional. The only time my character showed any type of emotion was when HAL [super-computer HAL-9000] wouldn't let him back inside the ship, and I had to go inside the emergency hatch. And then there was the scene where you see me taking HAL's [intelligence machinery] apart, and it was not easy for my character to do that because it was like taking the persona of a human being apart, and I'm saying, "Yeah, HAL. It's OK," or "Sing 'Daisy' for me, HAL."

The voice of HAL came much later, though. Stanley was thinking of Martin Balsam as the voice of HAL, but then he decided he didn't want a slightly New York accent. Then he hired Nigel Davenport, an English actor. He came to the set for a few weeks, but then Stanley decided he didn't want an English accent either. Then he decided to worry about it in post-production, so we had an assistant reading HAL's lines for us. He sounded like Michael Caine, so that's how HAL sounded to us.
[Canadian actor Douglas Rain is the voice of HAL in the film.]

Q: There's so little dialogue in the film. Was it a big script?

A: It was, but mostly in description. It did, however, have more dialogue than what was used, and some we improvised -- like the scene in the pod when HAL was reading our lips; there was more in that scene -- but that scene just kept getting shorter and shorter.

Q: How much freedom did you have as actors?

A: Stanley was so well prepared. Every good director has cunning. Stanley gave us the sense we had all the freedom in the world, but he was guiding us all the time. I loved every minute working with him. He was always open to ideas.

Q: Did Kubrick talk to the actors about what the film meant?

A: He was open to any questions we wanted to ask, but what we understood was that our characters were in the dark about a lot of things. But we talked about interpretations. About the aliens spinning what we called our "mind tapes" in that last scene.

Q: Can you talk about your final scene, when the astronaut you play ends up in a strange room alone and ages in a series of shots? What did it signify?

A: I was playing a character who was unbelievably bewildered. However, I was being guided by "an alien presence." At least that was my interpretation -- and Stanley's. The room was not a physical room. This alien presence millions of years in advance of us created the room. It is like what human beings would do when we build cages for little animals, or in a zoo, put some brush, or a cave, to make them think it's the animal's habitat. But it's not. It's the same principle [in that scene]. But in this case, the alien presence doesn't have to physically create the room. They would do the equivalent of spinning a tape in your brain and looking for something that represents "habitat" coming across this Louis XVI room, or whatever it was - perhaps it was a room you may have once walked through, perhaps in a museum. The alien presence wasn't worried about exactly what it was, only that it represented "habitat" in my brain, so they put me there.

Q: And the extended scene when you were being transported to Jupiter?
The scene is an extended close-up of you while a strange light show takes place.

A: Well, I was just looking at the camera. There was some interesting lighting being done around me. But to keep me engaged, Stanley played music, Vaughan Williams' "Sinfonia Antarctica." There was a movement in that suite that was very mysterioso. It was really weird music, and it helped me a lot. I knew from the script that it would be very unusual. The situation was that I was in the hands of an alien presence, which was millions of years in advance of us, and I was seeing the wonder of it, and I brought my actor's sense of what that might be.

But he would say, look this way, or that way, or down - that was what is called the Kubrick look. It's in "A Clockwork Orange" a lot and "Full Metal Jacket." It's like your head is down, and you're looking straight out, like through your eyebrows.

Q: How was the film received?

A: The initial reviews were mixed. Some praised it; some panned it. And in some cases, critics re-reviewed the film [after it became an audience phenomenon].

Q: Seeing the film stoned became part of its appeal. Since you were described as "the face that launched a thousand trips," did you ever see the film high?

A: Yes. I think the light trips were something then.

I remember reading about a fan somewhere, maybe it was San Francisco, who, in the last five minutes of the film, some crazed stoned person ran from the back of the house, ran to the front of the stage screaming, "It's God! It's God!" He jumped up on the stage and ran right through the screen still screaming, "It's God!"

Q: There were no sci-fi conventions of the magnitude we have now, or Internet clubs, so all of the excitement surrounding the film was created solely by word of mouth.

A: Word got out fast, and part of the appeal was the different interpretations surrounding the film. It was not a neat Hollywood film that tied up all the loose ends. It was filled with question marks. In a way, it's more like a European film, like "L'Avventura."

I've always been hesitant to explain what I thought "2001" was about because I believe it's all in the eye of the beholder. What other films leave as many questions that could be answered in so many different ways? A Buddhist would be as intrigued as a Christian or an agnostic or an atheist.

It was the first movie of its kind, the granddaddy of a film with that kind of budget -- $11 million, a big budget then, but laughable now. After "2001," it was different: "Star Wars," and all the rest. But ours did not have one computer-generated effect. They were all done mechanically. What Kubrick did was sheer genius.

Q: Has the film changed your cosmic perception of the universe?

A: I don't think so. I do know how the magic was made, so I don't quite see it the same way others do.

Q: Were you forever identified with 2001 after the film opened?

A: Prior to "2001," I was first identified with [the film] "David and Lisa," and then "2001" replaced all of that. It's a double-edged sword.

I know there are other things I've done that I'm proud of, and people recognize that, too. But for the average Joe, no matter what I do, it will be "2001."But if you're only going to be identified by one product, you could do a lot worse.

jonas

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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2004, 12:46:12 AM »
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I saw 2001 at the Arclight theater here in LA last week and it was really AMAZING. I always forget how creepy the music is.

Also, seing the space child on the huge screen looked really different, that baby really creeped me out.
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Ghostboy

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2001 in NY
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2004, 11:23:34 AM »
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RegularKarate

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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2004, 01:26:48 PM »
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CHRIST!!!!

That's unbelievable... that should really not exist... that's just nuts...

I guess Kubs wanted to keep it for the lens.

cine

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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2004, 01:38:13 PM »
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"When you pass on, Mr. Kubrick, what would you like me to do with the HAL 9000?"

".. Ebay.."

"Haha, okay but seriously."

tpfkabi

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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2004, 11:17:45 PM »
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wow, and only $150,000!!!

i've had this question in mind, but keep forgetting to ask.........now's as good a'time as any:

how much restoration was done to 2001 for the last DVD release?

did the effects, etc really look as great as they do then, or have they been enhanced? did they take away lines and things like George Lucas did in Star Wars (i'm thinking of how the tie fighters would have a slightly lighter box around them and other things).
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RegularKarate

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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2004, 12:09:11 AM »
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What?  Did you just ask if Kubs Lucassed up 2001?

Blasphemy... Effin Fuckin' Blasphemy

Ghostboy

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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2004, 12:18:22 AM »
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I think what he was referring to were matte lines, and whether there were any that were digitally removed. And the answer is no. I have the un-cleaned up version from the first Kubrick box set, and there are no matte lines.

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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2004, 12:48:12 AM »
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nothing was done except general making the print sharper and sound better.

for shame, blasphemy indeed.
endless 'nothing is what it seems'-isms

tpfkabi

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« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2004, 10:02:24 AM »
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blasphemy? give me a break.
gi gi gi give me a break (a tv theme song)

i'm just amazed at how realistic it looks and the only other special effects films i can think of dealing with space were Star Wars and i've seen first hand how the picture has been changed. i just wanted to make sure when they say that Kubrick's films have been restored/remastered, that it meant keeping the look of what was originally released in theaters, and not changed like Lucas has done with Star Wars.

are people still using the effects process that Kubrick used on the film? i vaguely remember reading how they did it. something about how they had to blow up the pictures really big......eh, i can't remember.
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« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2005, 12:42:07 PM »
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I just saw 2001: A Space Odyssey in Ann Arbor on the big screen, 70mm.

The light show was amazing... the movie itself takes on a whole new look when it's in a theater... the breathing, the sounds of the ship, HAL's voice...

One thing I didn't get: what part of 2001 is funny?  I guess it's because more than half of the audience was on some sort of drug, but really... they were laughing at a few parts that I could see being somehow humorous ("David, I think you should take a stress pill." and when HAL is trying to reason with David).  But come on... it almost detracted from the experience, but seeing 2001 in 70mm is hard to ruin.

Even though the film fucked up when he first steps into the white room and they had to fix it and get it running again...

Overall, a very mindblowing experience.
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jigzaw

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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2005, 09:40:32 PM »
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I always found a lot of Kubrick's work very funny, including quite a bit of 2001, and when I've had a chance to see them in the theatre with an audience it appears I wasn't alone.  His humor is very dry and not verbal usually but visual.  The sign outside of the toilet on the space station with the extremely long instructions was obviously intended to be a joke, everything HAL says as Dave is marching through the ship to disconnect him is hilarious, lots of little visual gags in the Blue Danube scenes, etc. etc.  

While a lot of people consider Barry Lyndon to be boring and his least accomplished film, I think it's an absolute riot, the funniest he ever made, and possibly his best film.

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« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2005, 12:35:42 AM »
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Quote from: jigzaw

While a lot of people consider Barry Lyndon to be boring and his least accomplished film


You need to meet more people.
"As a matter of fact I only work with the feeling of something magical, something seemingly significant. And to keep it magical I don't want to know the story involved, I just want the hypnotic effect of it somehow seeming significant without knowing why." - Len Lye

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« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2005, 02:33:48 PM »
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Yeah, when I saw this in the theater about a month ago, there were people laughing at those scenes and as I said "haven't you fucking SEEN this movie?!" my wife made a keen observation that there are people who also laugh when they watch Shakespeare comedies too.  It's because they want to show off the fact that they understand where the funny parts are.  

Seriously tho, I chuckled a couple times the first time I watched it, but it's not Raising Arizona.

 

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