There are many good reasons to attend this weekend's Dallas Comic Con & Sci-Fi Expo, and not one of them involves a pair of slip-on Spock ears or a light saber in your pocket. Attending, once more, will be Carrie Fisher, who is among the unexpected highlights of the summer's bawdy doc The Aristocrats; she's also a fine novelist, too, and, rumor has it, a former actress of some renown, especially among those who attend sci-fi expos. The event's hosts Mark Walters and Ben Stevens have also invited Star Trek: The Next Generation's Jonathan Frakes and his missus, former General Hospitalmainstay Genie Francis, who's as much a cult icon as her old man. The former Laura to Tony Geary's Luke is a perfect addition to this shindig, a soap-opera celeb whom moms can bug while their kids (or 30-year-old basement-dwelling sons, whatever) are asking Commander Riker to make it so on their 8-by-10 glossies. Also crowding the tables: Herculeshimself, Kevin Sorbo; BeastmasterMarc Singer; Star Wars' lovables Kenny Baker (R2-D2, D-uh) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca, and don't pretend like you didn't know); and Wilma Dearing herself, Erin Gray, who I believe may be in love with me.
But of special note this go-round are the appearances of Gary Lockwood and Keir Dullea, inseparable in the minds of anyone who's smoked something while watching Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. (Joining them Sunday is another Kubrick vet, Full Metal Jacket's Adam Baldwin, now seen in Serenity.) They tour the con circuit, but not often; how'd youlike to field questions nonstop for two days about something you did 40 years ago, after all? Dullea, in fact, shied away from events like these till a few years ago when Lockwood, with whom he has remained pals, dragged him to Tulsa. Dullea dug it--not just the easy money that comes with signing stills for the huddled masses, but also the chance to chit and chat with fans of the film, who tend to be more thoughtful than your average autograph hound.
"You get people who are working in the aeronautics industry and teachers, intelligent people," Dullea says. "And there are conversations away from 2001 even." As well there ought to be: Dullea's filmography also includes films made with Otto Preminger (Bunny Lake is Missing), Irvin Kershner (The Hoodlum Priest, Dullea's debut), Mommie Dearest director Frank Perry (David & Lisa) and Robert De Niro, who directed Dullea in next year's The Good Shepherd, in which Dullea plays Angelina Jolie's mom. So, by all means, ask him about those things; concedes Dullea, "It's a little hard to come up with a reasonable answer to something like, 'What was it like working with Stanley?' without saying, 'It was fabulous!,' just because it was."
Lockwood, too, is no one-hit wonder: He's been directed by John Cassavetes and Jacques Demy and Elia Kazan (in Splendor in the Grass, no less), been in twoElvis Presley movies and, of course, appeared in the second Star Trekpilot as Captain Kirk's best friend. Yet, it's 2001that most folks want to talk about--the blessing and curse of the iconic performance in an immortal film. "But I don't think our performances in that film were iconic," Lockwood says. "Maybe Keir's, but not mine. Mine I don't think was of any consequence. But it is a great thing. I must tell you, it was not an accident. Keir's a little more modest about it, because he's a nicer person than I am." Fact is, they're both swell guys; so bug them, by all means, but do not bother them. And, for God's sake, do notask them about the end of 2001. They have no idea what it means, either.