Malcolm McDowell (left) with series regulares Eva Haberman as Zev and Michael McManus as Kai, a 2000 year old dead man.

Malcolm McDowell, Tim Curry, and Rutger Hauer on their quirky star turns.

By Ian Johnston               LEXX: THE DARK ZONE STORIES has hired three well-known character actors and a hunky leading-man to help sell its weird universes.
        Malcolm McDowell, Rutger Hauer, Tim Curry and Barry Bostwick have been cast in LEXX, appearing separately in supporting roles in the four initial stories.
        The hiring of name actors is, on one level, a marketing ploy aimed at making it easier to sell the Nova Scotian series around the world. Still, it's not like the actors haven't been given anything to do with each playing small but memorable roles in the space stories.
        McDowell, Curry, and Hauer all claim to have been attracted to the Halifax project for the same reason--the script was just to weird to pass up. "Well, this was just very unusual," said Hauer during filming of story #3, called "Eating Pattern." "It takes a lot of liberties--but in a good sense. This goes farther than anything I've ever done.
        In "Eating Pattern," Hauer plays Bog, the apparent leader of Klaagya, a planet composed entirely of garbage. The survivors of this putrid wasteland sport large worms in their necks which they must provide with Pattern--a hallucinogenic brew that Bog makes out of planet seepage and human body parts--sometimes their own.

Tim Curry, in his guest role as the well-dressed, verse-spouting holographic librarian in Super Nova.
        "This is so daring and extreme in the way it wants to go. It goes into a real funky territory," said Hauer, whose manic character provides the story with much of its gallows humor. "I've been given a lot of freedom with this character as well. They're letting me go where I fell I should go."
        Writer Lex Gigeroff noted that Hauer--who shot his scenes in Halifax and Germany--took a great interest in the script, providing some offbeat dialogue suggestions for his character. "You had to reign him in a bit, because some of his ideas were just a little too fucked up," said Gigeroff. "But some of his ideas were really funny."
        Gigeroff recalled that, in the original script, Bog learns of the age of LEXX's resident dead man Kai (Michael McManus). "The line read, 'He's 2000 years old--he has a lot of memories,' But Hauer rewrote it to say, 'He's 2000 years old. That's a lot of birthday parties.'"
        McDowel concurred with Hauer's assessment of the script. "It is pretty far out there. I know who my character is, but don't ask me about the rest of the story. I don't have a clue."
        In story #4, called "Giga Shadow," McDowell is cast as a cleric named Yottskry who is accidentally infused with the essence of the evil leader of The Cluster--His Shadow. Yottskry finds himself in an internal battle to stop the Shadow's destructive mission and save the universe.
        "It's really kind of fun--with good and evil pulling against each other," said McDowell during a break in shooting. "I suppose it's not particularly far away from stuff I've done in the past, but I had some free time, so why not? I'd never been to Nova Scotia."
        McDowell--who as only on the Halifax set for a week--noted that despite the absurd script, he's playing Yottskry straight. "I don't like to go too over-the-top. I did the villain in STAR TREK: GENERATIONS, and I know they wanted me to eat more scenery than I did. but I think it's much better to stay in control, and let the plot speak for itself."
        Tim Curry arrived late to THE DARK ZONE, filming his sequences on the final day of a four month Halifax shoot. Appearing in story #2, "Super Nova," the star of the ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW plays a holographic librarian known as Poet Man. Speaking completely in verse, the well-dressed Poet Man is the last survivor of a dead planet who looks upon intruders as more data to process.

On LEXX's bridge, director Rainer Matsutani talks with Ruger Hauer (dressed as Bog, leader of the garbage planet) during the filming of Eating Pattern.
        "He [Poet Man] only survived the destruction of his planet because he was very stoned at the time," laughed Curry, who filmed all his scenes alone, against a green screen.
        "In one sense, it's a bit strange to do scenes that way. But in another sense, you can do them very quickly, which is why I was able to do it."
        Besides the convenience, Curry admitted LEXX's unpredictable script got him interested. "I thought it was wonderfully ambitious. So much of science fiction is dull and predictable, but this is way out there," he said. "I think it's really good to encourage that kind of imagination. I'm grimly aware that ROCKY HORROR was done on a non-existent budget over three weeks in a tiny theater. Yet it was a good idea. Sometimes it's important to show up for guys with really good ideas."
        ROCKY HORROR co-star Bostwick is filling out the guest star cast with one of the more predictable roles in THE DARK ZONE--on purpose. Bostwick's leading man looks serve him well in the opening episode, "I Worship His Shadow." In it, Bostwick is the macho he-man rebel leader Thodin, who is captured by His Divine Shadow.
        Through a series of accidents, Thodin, Stan, and Zev manage to escape, and attempt to steal the universe's most powerful ship LEXX. By all appearances, Thodin is the star of the show. He's definitely much more brave, macho and good looking than Stan. But appearances can be deceiving. "We wanted viewers to watch the first episode and say--I got this all figured out. He [Thodin] is the hero," noted LEXX creator Paul Donovan. "Then ten minutes later, it proves to be wrong. We created this stereotypical hero so we could kill him off in a pathetic way. Some viewers may be put off by that, but that's okay. I'm sure some will find it fun. And we accepted from the outset this wasn't a mainstream network show."