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November 12, 2018

RIP: DOUGLAS RAIN, VOICE OF HAL 9000 IN 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, DIES AT 90:

Rain rarely spoke about the work in 2001 that made him an aural immortal. He left that to others, including 2001 star Keir Dullea.

“He’s the main character of the film as far as I’m concerned,” the actor, who played Cmdr. David Bowman, said in a 2016 interview. “It was brilliant casting. Something about his voice, it was perfect. It was unusual.”

As Kubrick himself said, “some negative critics…felt that it was a failing of this section of the film that there was more interest in HAL than in the astronauts:”

In fact, of course, the computer is the central character of this segment of the story. If HAL had been a human being, it would have been obvious to everyone that he had the best part, and was the most interesting character; he took all the initiatives, and all the problems related to and were caused by him.

Some critics seemed to feel that because we were successful in making a voice, a camera lens, and a light come alive as a character this necessarily meant that the human characters failed dramatically. In fact, I believe that Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood, the astronauts, reacted appropriately and realistically to their circumstances. One of the things we were trying to convey in this part of the film is the reality of a world populated — as ours soon will be — by machine entities who have as much, or more, intelligence as human beings, and who have the same emotional potentialities in their personalities as human beings. We wanted to stimulate people to think what it would be like to share a planet with such creatures.”

HAL, Skynet, and M5 smile.