The Armageddon Pulp Culture Expo in all its oddball glory hits town this weekend.
RICHARD HATCH (CAPTAIN APOLLO)
* Best known as Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica. As well as appearing in the original Battlestar Galactica, Hatch is also on its remake.
What do you get out of attending these sorts of expos?
Conventions are the greatest place to meet like-minded people who appreciate and love the genre of science fiction/fantasy. I love intelligent and visionary science fiction. I also love the fact the whole family can attend, and nowhere else have I ever seen an entire family of all ages dancing on a disco floor. I also get the chance to teach, lecture and talk about all the things I've learned in life that can inspire others. Last but not least, I get a chance to promote Battlestar and my new sci-fi/fantasy series The Great War of Magellan, which I wrote, directed and have acted in.
Would you have gone to expos like Armageddon when you were growing up?
I loved sci-fi from the time I was 8 years old. I would have loved to attend a sci-fi convention had I known they existed. By the looks, sci-fi and fantasy are very much part of your life, rather than just a job. How did you become interested in it?
From the time I was young I have always been fascinated by the mysteries of life: who are we, where did we come from, why are we here and where are we going in this vast universe? This led me on a philosophical, spiritual and scientific journey, reading every novel and article on the creation of life, including quantum physics. Eventually, I found Star Trek and Star Wars, which took my interest and excitement to the next level. I love the fusion of art, drama and science, along with the exploration of the mysteries of the human heart.
How have you seen sci-fi and fantasy TV and movies change over the years?
Technology and a far more aware audience has made it possible to make movies about more complex and provocative stories that stretch the imagination, expand our minds and illuminate and inspire the human heart. Stories that would have been too expensive and challenging to film 25 years ago can now be made, and the mass audience now supports such stories, which gives studios the confidence to finance [them] because they know there is a fan base to justify such big budgets.
What is it like being in the remake of Battlestar Galactica?
I love having had the opportunity to be part of two such memorable Battlestar Galactica series. And getting a chance to play such an interesting and enigmatic character as Tom Zarek has been a challenge every actor lives for - damaged, idealistic, and struggling heroically with his demons. I don't look at Tom as a bad guy. I think this man has been thrown off the cliff, metaphorically speaking, and is struggling to find his way back to the light. He has lost everything of the meaning in his life and is a very angry and frustrated man, capable of creating great good or catastrophic horror. Getting to know the new cast has been a true delight, as they are wonderful actors and even better human beings.
How is the remake different from the original, and what changes were necessary to make the remake contemporary?
Updating the original BG story meant exploring darker and more provocative themes. It also meant getting into stories that would mirror where we all are at this time in history. I loved the original Battlestar story and characters. I thought it was heroic, entertaining, and the premise was quite original. But at that time the studios were not comfortable getting into the core and much darker story of surviving against incredible odds and challenges. The new BG series has been given the green light to tackle more complex and provocative storylines, and that also allows them to create multi-levelled characters that struggle with their flaws and imperfections. That makes them more human and believable.
GATES MCFADDEN (DR BEVERLY CRUSHER)
* Plays Dr Beverly Crusher of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The sci-fi TV and movie actress appears in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
What do you get out of attending these sorts of expos?
Well, first of all there is the travel. Making good connections with people - strangers, really - from other countries is wonderful and surreal. I like to travel and see new places and it is nice to realise I have something in common with so many other people, people who have appreciated something I've done in my career, like the Star Trek series. [It is] surreal because some fans treat me strangely [as] they are in awe having seen my face as big as a car on a movie screen, or speaking to them in their living room every day. Others feel ownership of me and can be quite demanding. Some can be rude or critical, but mostly the people I meet at these functions are curious, funny and respectful fans and collectors, and very caring and kind. Many are into technology, many are in the health care industry. It's like going to [a] gardening club meeting, except here you can get your favourite photo or Enterprise model autographed. We all have an interest in imagining what is out there in the universe. Many are as interested in space travel as I am. Many are intensely interested in promoting tolerance and understanding rather than aggression. Some just think it is fun.
Has fantasy and sci fi always been a big interest for you, or is it more like a job? And how did you get interested in it?
When I was young, I was always studying dance, or building things. The only science fiction I knew was The Twilight Zone, which I thought was brilliant. Then I read Dune and some George Orwell, but that was about it. Historical rather than futuristic was my preference. But during my first year in the space suit, I met many astronauts and fell in love with the space programme. I was very struck by what many astronauts said. When they saw the Earth from above, in a space ship, they no longer saw boundaries and territories, just one planet.
They felt comforted by the knowledge they were but a minuscule part of existence, not the centre of the universe, but a small part of it. Almost a sense of belonging and responsibility at the same time, coupled with an enormous sense of wonder. I am deeply interested in the Mars missions, and the recent photos of one of Jupiter's moons which looked like a giant sponge in space. I would love to walk on the moon. Watching the space shuttle lift off in Florida was a powerful experience. That was what my character Dr Crusher was doing every day.
Tell us about Labyrinth?
[It] was a very interesting experience. Very complex. My favourite part to work on was the choreography and atmosphere of the ballroom scene. It was on an enormous set, and the actors and dancers were so much fun to work with in the scene. And, of course, the final goblin battle scene was also wonderful, with the rocks careening down that amazing set. Jennifer Connelly was just 14 years old. And me, I must have been about 12.