Kill James T. Kirk and, 20 years later, take a bow? That’s the scenario when it comes to Malcolm McDowell. McDowell, as Soran in Star Trek: Generations, offed Trek’s legendary character.
Now, however, McDowell is hearing sustained applause, as he’s being honored with the Malcolm McDowell Q&A Screening series, produced by Prospect House Entertainment as part of its ongoing In Person presentations. Gary Oldman served as moderator of A Clockwork Orange, while Nichelle Nichols did the honors for Time After Time. And on Tuesday, April 15, at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California, Michael Dorn will moderate Generations. StarTrek.com interviewed McDowell extensively a couple of years back (click HERE and HERE to read the interview), but grabbed a few minutes of his time this past week to discuss the Q&A Screening honor, revisit Kirk’s controversial demise at the hands of Soran, and get an update on the actor’s current projects. Here’s what he had to say:
What does it mean to you to be honored with a screening series? And have you been staying to watch the films?
MCDOWELL: Well, it just means you’re getting old. To be honest, I don’t stay and watch them. I can’t watch them again. I mean, come on, there’s only so much of a sadist streak I have in myself. They’re wonderful films, but you can’t keep watching them. That’d drive you insane. But it is very nice to revisit them and to talk about them and to do the Q&As. The audiences really get a great kick out of it because they get hear a little bit about the background or what it was like shooting, or whatever it is they’re interested in hearing about. People love that. So it’s been a wonderful tribute. I’ve really enjoyed it.
Michael Dorn will moderate the Generations Q&A screening on Tuesday. Will you go to dinner with him the night before to pre-chat or will you wing it once you’re on the stage with him?
MCDOWELL: No, it’s much better just being totally spontaneous. I don’t remember being in a scene with Michael when we made the movie. I do know Michael and he’s a wonderful guy, a very good actor. I’m really thrilled that he is doing this because I didn’t get to work with him. So this will be my chance to sit down with him, and I’m sure he’ll have some interesting things to say. I think some of the other Star Trek people will be there. And I’m happy to do this for Generations. I think the film stands up well. I always thought it was a wonderful piece of work. I’m proud of the film, proud of my performance, and I got to work pretty closely with Bill and Patrick and a whole host of Klingons, which was fun. Soran was a wonderful role. They wrote a very good heavy.
Are you still living down – or maybe living up -- your reputation as the man who killed Kirk?
MCDOWELL: Yes, I’m very proud of that. As they say, somebody had to do it. Bill is such a great guy and a very entertaining person to be around. I’m very fond of him, actually, and we always laugh about it. I’ve introduced him a few times at tributes to him and I always say, “I’m the man who killed Kirk,” and he then always mumbles, “Yeah, you shot me in the back.” We always have fun with that. You can’t take it too seriously. It’s a movie, after all.
Kirk’s death, in the eyes of many people, didn’t work dramatically. And, as everyone knows, that was a re-shoot of a death scene that worked even less effectively. So, what did you make of the original scene and do you think the final version was an improvement?
MCDOWELL: I thought the reshoot was worse. Seriously, with all the talent available, the writers and all the rest of it, and they couldn’t give Captain James T. Kirk the most glorious exit from this mortal coil? I mean, come on, they should have given him a great send-off, I think. It was sort of sad. I thought it was pretty lame, actually, and I don’t think the retake was much better. I never saw the original cut together. They didn’t show it to us, though I’ve heard it’s available online. I just know we went back and did it again, and it felt like déjà vu. They missed an opportunity; that’s all I’ll say.
We’ve talked about your past, so let’s chat about your present and future. IMDB says you’ve got a dozen completed films on the way, plus you’re shooting season four of Franklin & Bash, and we know you have a couple of projects lined up for this coming summer. Rather than go through them all one by one, can you talk about a few you’re particularly excited about?
MCDOWELL: How to Make Love Like an Englishman is a wonderful film with Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek. Bereave is an amazing little drama. That’s with Jane Seymour, Keith Carradine and Vinessa Shaw. I’m very high on that film. If you go to see it, you’ll need a box of Kleenex. I will, in June, be going to Peru to shoot The Secret of Casa Matusita and, at the end of August I will be in Minnesota to do a movie called Safe at Sea, which is a father-son drama. It’s got a very tough, but heartwarming story. And, oh my God, this year of Franklin & Bash is so much fun. I’m having such a ball. The studio has sort of kept out of it and said, “Just make the show you want to make.” Everyone works so hard and I go in for two days a week, but that’s enough for me. I love the character I play, Stanton, and it’s so nice to do a series and be playing in a comedy. He’s not a heavy, so the role is very fun to do and I’m very fond of it. We’re over halfway done now, so it’s going fast. And this season, for Stanton, it’s so hilarious and so ridiculous.
What happened was that when Heather Locklear’s character left, she embezzled millions of dollar of client money. So I have to stand down, because I’m responsible, because I hired her. To get me back they have to claim that I’m a sex addict because I can get treatment, and if I get treatment, I can be reinstated. Not only that, in court, they come up with 385 witnesses that I’ve apparently had my sex addiction with. One of them says, “I want to thank Stanton because I joined the mile-high club.” So it’s a lot of fun, and I guess Stanton doesn’t need Viagra, or not yet.
Visit www.alextheater.org to purchase tickets to Tuesday’s screening of Generations and the McDowell Q&A moderated by Michael Dorn.