In about 40 minutes, Malcolm McDowell will be appearing onstage here at the Star Trek con.
He played the mad scientist Soran, "the man who killed Captain Kirk" in the film Star Trek :Generations (1994), pictured in the second frame from the left, below.
McDowell is also the uncle of Alexander Siddig, who plays the doctor on Star Trek : Deep Space 9.
I never saw Generations because, honestly, I don't want to see Kirk get killed--especially since I hear it sucked. (Unlike Spock's terrific death scene in Wrath of Khan.)
I know McDowell from his famous roles in the films pictured above: Clockwork Orange, If, and Caligula. I think he is the most famous actor from the world of "haute" film culture to enter the Star Trek world. He worked with the likes of Stanley Kubrick and Robert Altman.
But listening to some of these actors at the con, I'm wondering how the world of acting is structured. Sandra Smith, for instance, said that the hardest acting work is doing soap operas. Day after day you have to spout reams of dialogue, and if you're good at it, she said, the writers are delighted and give you more!
Ms. Smith played Janice Lester in "The Turnabout Intruder," which means she is the only woman who played Capt. Kirk, because Lester switces bodies with him.
Someone asked Smith how she played Kirk, and if she worked on it with Bill Shatner.
She said no, she only had a few days to prepare. And since Bill has "a distinct body language and speech pattern" [this drew big laughs], she didn't try to mimic it, because it would too easily tip into caricature.
So she just tried to capture the way the captain inhabits his body, takes control of his surroundings, and exudes physical confidence.
That really struck me. I know well that not all men have this confidence, but it's something I see more in men than in women, who tend to be apologetic about their bodies. I think that's one of the strengths of that episode. Even though Kirk is pretty sexist in it, the episode itself challenges a lot of sex/gender stereotypes simply in showing gender crossover.
Oh--and that reminds me, yesterday someone in a wondeful female costume asked Marina Sirtis (Troi) a question, opening by saying s/he was from "Planet DQ."
"Is that Dairy Queen?" Sirtis asked.
"No, drag queen."
"Great costume! You look wonderful," Sirtis replied.
This morning, a man and woman couple at the coffee shop asked me, "Did you see George Takei earlier?"
Damn! No, I said, I was too busy typing.
Yeah, they said, "George and his fiance walked by !"
God, I love Trekkies.
George's fiance, you know, is a guy named Brad. They're getting married in September in Los Angeles.
If I get a chance, I'm inviting them to Sister's same-sex wedding in San Francisco in October.