giovedì 27 febbraio 2014

The magnificent obsession: A full cast list for '2001', Part 1

When I published my first article about the girls of 2001 I already knew that my ultimate goal was a complete list of characters and actors in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It always bothered me that only very few actors were featured in the 'official' cast lists (although Kubrick and MGM had no contractual obligations to include them in the credits).

Even the list published by longtime Kubrick aide Anthony Frewin in 2001, a great step in the right direction, was still incomplete. I managed to do three interviews with three actresses missing from that list (Chela CannonMaggie D'Abo e Judy Keirn) but I felt there was still a lot of work to be done.
So during my visit to the Kubrick Archive in London I forced myself through all the daily call sheets and continuity reports of the movie, and last week I managed to get extra help from the folks of

After all that research I'm now able to publish an (almost) complete cast list for 2001 (the Kubrick Archive gave me the 'go' for publishing their names), in order of appearance, starting from the space scenes aboard Orion and Space Station V, leaving to a later, specific article the ape-men (already partially covered in my article about the leopard scenes with Dan Richter and Terry Duggan).

This series is dedicated to all the professionals that work behind the scenes of the movie business; they are essential contributors to our magnificent obsession.

Aboard 'Orion'

We all know Heather Downham played the hostess that picked the floating pen while Heywood Floyd sleeps on his way to the Space Station; she talked about her experience in the movie in two documentaries. In Arthur Clarke's book she is given the name of Mrs. Simmons.

William Sylvester played Dr. Heywood Floyd. A very discreet man, I couldn't find any interview with him in any newspaper database! Maggie D'Abo described him to me as a "funny"; Chela Cannon said "I remember working along very well with him, he was a very nice, considerate man.".

Born in Oakland, California in 1922, Sylvester moved to England after World War II, and there found a long career not only in TV and cinema, but most importantly on stage - he was the first american member of the Old Vic, the famous London theatre. Sylvester passed away in 1995; the most complete obituary is on the Independent web site.

Robin-Dawson Whisker and Hugh Bourne are the Orion pilots; the two are not seen clearly in the final edit but the folks at forum had an insider source that managed to provide their names and a clearer picture (I later saw their names at the Kubrick Archives, though listed in a 'extra' list and not specifically placed in the Orion scene). In Arthur Clarke's book they are named Commander Tynes and co-pilot Ballard.

Jackie Poole and Robert Pearson appear in the in-flight movie aboard Orion and set in a futuristic prototype GM car; the movie was apparently not that interesting, as Floyd is (humorously) seen sleeping all the way to the Station.

Space Station V

I already identified the three hostesses that greet Floyd aboard the Station, and here are the links to my interviews: Maggie D'Abo, Chela Cannon and Judy Keirn;

And we already knew that Miller, of 'Station Security', was played by Kevin Scott;

When Floyd and Miller stop at the picture phone on their way to lunch, Mike Stevens is the actor who plays the man with the brown suit on the left (thanks to britmovies);

Anne Barrass (Ann Barrass on is the hostess that appears on the background; here in a late 1950's picture (she's the young girl on the left). In the movie she is wearing a blonde wig.

Valerie Stanton is the Aeroflot hostess;

James Beasley is the Aeroflot pilot on the right (thanks to britmovies);

Kubrick's youngest daughter, Vivian, played 'Squirt', Heywood Floyd's daughter; she recently posted a beautiful set of photographs of her on his father's sets on Twitter.

Margaret Tyzack is Elena, the russian scientist, friend of Dr. Floyd. A stalwart British actress who won myriad awards for her stage performances, Ms. Tyzack was first and foremost a theater performer, but she was also the lead character in “The Forsyte Saga,” a 26-week TV series produced by the BBC. Kubrick fans will remember her appearance as one of the 'conspirators' in A Clockwork Orange.

I recently found (Thanks to Filippo Ulivieri) a rare interview Ms.Tyzack gave to Premiere Magazine in August 1999 commenting Kubrick's death, with a recollection of her days on the 2001 set:
When I [first] went to see Stanley, I had on a cream tweed tube dress - which was popular at the time - and a very big kind of tent coat to match. And when I came onto the set wearing my black Hardy Amies [costume], Stanley quite rightly looked at it and said, "Yeaahh, where's the stuff you had on when you came to see me?" And I said, "Miles and miles away, Stanley". He let it go. But Stanley's eye was right; it looked better that the stuff Hardy Amies had got me up in.

He gave very, very little acting directions. I think he was of the school of thought that if he'd cast well, he didn't have to direct the acting very much.
I found him fair. gentle. He was, of course, a perfectionist; I think it might have been a little tougher if you were on the technical side. If you were direct with him, everything was fine. Once, I mucked something up, and he said, "What happened, Margaret?" I just said "I forgot the line, Stanley," and he said, "Okay". But if I had done any kind of bullshit, I might have been in a spot of bother.
* * *

Staying on the russian side, Krystina Marr is Dr. Kalinin;

Maya Koumani (she was erroneously identified as Irene Marr) is Dr. Stretyeneva;

The great Leonard Rossiter is Dr. Smyslov, with his whiskey and nice ways, trying to extort some information from Dr. Floyd.

I don't have to introduce Rossiter to the english audience of this blog: he was one of Britain's most popular and talented comedy actors. In this great site,, you'll find many materials about him and his career; I want to remember also his great performance as Captain Quinn in Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975). 

From an old post at alt.movies.kubrick:
Jonathan Cecil, who starred with Leonard Rossiter in the 1975 Kubrick film Barry Lyndon (as well as a number of stage performances) said of Stanley's praise of Leonard: "Leonard Rossiter, who gave an extraordinary performance as Captain Quin, was a 'way out', off-the-wall actor. Stanley liked those kind of actors. He was very strict in having everything repeated exactly. Stanley wasn't too keen on people suddenly doing something slightly different, but he made allowances for actors of this kind of eccentricity."
* * *

Special thanks to Richard Daniels (Archives and Special collection centre, University of Arts, London) and the Britmovies forum guys: Screencap72, Aged AD, Gerald Lovell, Movie Dude.
UPDATE april 14, 2014; added details about William Sylvester, Margaret Tyzack, Leonard Rossiter.

La magnifica ossessione: Tutti i personaggi e interpreti di '2001' (parte 1)

Lo scorso agosto pubblicai un articolo che ebbe un certo successo (sopratutto tra il pubblico maschile, presumo) e che era dedicato alle attrici sconosciute di 2001; mi aveva sempre infastidito, infatti, il fatto che solo pochissimi degli attori e attrici che hanno partecipato al film avessero avuto il giusto riconoscimento, anche se bisogna comunque ricordare che Kubrick e la MGM non avevano obblighi contrattuali di nessun tipo che li legassero a inserire il nome di nessun attore, tranne quelli principali, nei titoli di testa o di coda; era prassi comune, all'epoca, inserire un numero minimo di nomi nei cosiddetti credits.

Anche la buona lista di attori pubblicata nel 2001 da un collaboratore di Kubrick, Anthony Frewin, che è stata ristampata in tutti i libri dedicati al film e a Kubrick pubblicati in seguito, mancava di diversi interpreti. Almeno tre di questi torti li ho già raddrizzati in precedenza (Chela CannonMaggie D'Abo e Judy Keirn) ma non era abbastanza: ho continuato a cercare tra vecchi libri, internet e qualche telefonata intercontinentale. Il famoso sito non era d'aiuto, perché considera come definitiva la lista di Frewin.

Un contributo fondamentale l'ha data la mia visita all'Archivio Kubrick a Londra, dove ho potuto avere a disposizione tutti gli "ordini del giorno" (daily call sheets) del film, ovvero i documenti ufficiali di produzione distribuiti quotidianamente alla troupe per mettere tutti a conoscenza dei programmi di lavoro per il giorno successivo. In seguito ho quindi coinvolto il forum di appassionati, che ha dato un aiuto decisivo.

Sono quindi in grado di pubblicare per la prima volta una lista pressoché completa di personaggi e interpreti di 2001: Odissea nello Spazio (l'Archivio Kubrick mi ha dato il via libera per pubblicare queste informazioni). Per questo primo post mi limiterò a trattare, in ordine di apparizione, gli attori e le attrici identificati con sicurezza e che appaiono nel film a partire delle scene ambientate nello spazio, ovvero a bordo dell'Orion e della Stazione Spaziale, conservando per i successivi post della serie gli attori delle scene sulla Luna e a bordo della Discovery, oltre che i protagonisti del prologo L'Alba dell'Uomo (anche se in precedenza ho già dedicato un articolo a Dan Richter e Terry Duggan).

Questo articolo è dedicato a tutti i professionisti del mondo dello spettacolo che lavorano dietro le quinte e contribuiscono in modo quasi anonimo alla nostra magnifica ossessione. Ringraziamenti particolari ai ragazzi del forum Britmovies: Screencap72, Aged AD, Movie Dude e il suo bellissimo sito, Gerald Lovell, e Harry Fielder, che ha lavorato come comparsa in svariati film e che per un giorno ha camminato sulla Luna come controfigura per uno degli attori di 2001.

A bordo dell'Orion

Heather Downham è l'hostess che a bordo dell'Orion raccoglie la penna fluttuante nel vuoto;

William Sylvester è il Dottor Heywood Floyd (e fin qui ci siamo tutti);

Robin-Dawson Whisker e Hugh Bourne sono i due piloti dell'Orion (si vedono solo da dietro e sono due attori praticamente irriconoscibili, ma il forum ha ottenuto una 'soffiata' e li ha identicati con una fotografia da posizione frontale);

Jackie Poole e Robert Pearson sono la coppia che si intravede nel film trasmesso a bordo (Floyd ci dorme su).

A bordo della Stazione Spaziale

Le tre hostess che appaiono appena Floyd arriva a bordo le avevamo già individuate, ecco i link alle mie interviste: Maggie D'Abo, Chela Cannon, Judy Keirn;

Si conosceva da tempo l'identità di Miller, dei servizi di sicurezza: Kevin Scott;

Quando Floyd e Miller si fermano per la telefonata di Floyd a casa, Mike Stevens è l'attore che interpreta l'uomo con con la cartella in mano che passa di fianco alla cabina videotelefonica (identificato da britmovies);

Anne Barrass (Ann Barrass su è la hostess bionda che appare nello sfondo, alla reception della Stazione Spaziale;

Valerie Stanton è la hostess della Aeroflot;

James Beasley è il pilota russo della Aeroflot seduto a destra (identificato da britmovies);

La figlia di Kubrick, Vivian, interpreta la figlia di Floyd, 'Squirt';

Margaret Tyzack è Elena, la scienziata russa amica di Floyd;

Krystina Marr è la dottoressa Kalinin;

Maya Koumani è la dottoressa Stretyeneva;

Leonard Rossiter è il mitico Dottor Smyslov.