Friday, May 29, 2009

Ursa vs. Motti (plus Evil-Lyn, Cat People, and Blade Runner)


Excellent nerd-film romance note: Sarah Douglas (who played Kryptonian villainess Ursa, the woman who slammed Superman in the gut with a thrown manhole cover after saying “Oh, Superman” in a delightfully taunting fashion in Superman II, possibly turning a lot of young nerds into dominatrix fans in the process and maybe inspiring the career of Laurie Anderson to boot) was briefly married to the actor who played Motti, the arrogant, Force-mocking guy who got briefly choked-from-afar by Vader during that meeting on the Death Star. Pretty S&M all around, really (as is this online Japanese videogame mentioned by Memepool, by the way, in which you get to be Victorian ladies having a slapfight — something reminiscent of the great Neal Stephenson novel The Diamond Age about it, or maybe China Mieville, given the S&M).

Sidenote: two years ago while being interviewed by Conan O’Brien, George Lucas claimed that that character is now officially named Admiral Conan Antonio Motti. Good for Conan. That’s right up there with being that guy who was supposed to play a stormtrooper in the first movie (along with his brother) but missed the shoot and got digitally inserted twenty years later for the re-releases.

Maybe trying to be an extra in the upcoming live-action TV series would be a productive use of my time. But if so, I want my name to be something like Viceroy Spiddoon. (I also want lightnunchuks. Has anyone had lightnunchuks yet? NOTE: Ah, it appears no one will be wielding lightnunchuks legally in New York state, thanks in part to Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Sonia Sotomayor.)


Douglas was considered, understandably, for the role of Evil-Lyn in the Masters of the Universe movie (which was heavily influenced by Jack Kirby’s New Gods comics), but the role ended up being played by ubiquitous and eerily grey-eyed actress Meg Foster, who’s played everyone from the original Cagney at the outset of Cagney & Lacey to a brain-energy-sucking muse on Deep Space Nine, not to mention Hester Prynne in a 1979 PBS production of The Scarlet Letter that I recall making me think, “Wow, that lady has eerily grey eyes, kind of like a wolf — cool.”

I’ll take that any day over the violet eyes of Elizabeth Taylor — whose appeal I have never fully understood, though women all seem to think she’s astounding. Is it just because Taylor has a very tiny waist? Women just aren’t qualified to appreciate the full complexities and possibilities of the female form, alas. But then, I admit I’m not fully qualified to understand, for example, why Jimmy Smits is such a big deal. (I don’t think it’s just because he played Leia’s dad, important though that obviously is.)


Likewise, I remember all the girls in my English class in high school failing to understand why Nastassja Kinski was so popular with the fellas, whereas I still regard it as something like a miracle that regular broadcast Channel 38 out of Boston used to show Cat People with the nudity intact in the scene where Kinski is strapped to the bed. The 80s was really a lot more permissive in many ways than the 00s.

If I ever claim not to understand why Nastassja Kinski is considered attractive, treat me as if I’ve just failed a Voight-Kampff Test and act appropriately. Even stoics and sociopaths should be able to pass a Voight-Kampff Test, after all. (Come to think of it, aren’t spam filters basically a daily exercise in applied Turing Tests?) Oddly enough, the Voight-Kampff Test, which ought to be a rather cold procedure, supplied us with perhaps the sexiest line in sci-fi history: Sean Young saying “Are these questions testing whether I’m a replicant or a lesbian, Mr. Deckard?” As neo-noir interrogation scenes go, right up there with the intense psycho-turnabout in Basic Instinct. The real lesson in all this: beware robotic bisexual women with no emotional reaction to roadkill.

P.S. In other nerd-film couple news, the site Newsarama noted that if Scarlett Johansson plays superheroine Black Widow in next year’s Iron Man sequel as planned, she’ll be half a Marvel-assassin household because her husband’s the guy who played Deadpool in Wolverine. That’s cool, and it’ll be even cooler if the Iron Man sequel doesn’t suck.


furaskin said...

Meg Foster, after Liz Taylor has the most beautiful eyes of cinema.

Kieran said...

Meg Foster is an absolute goddess. Who can ever forget Hera?