By Show and Tell
By Bree Davies
By Bree Davies
By Cory Casciato
By Emilie Johnson
By Robin Edwards
By Bree Davis
By Josiah M. Hesse
At this moment, Julian Glover sits behind a long table, writing his name over and over again. When he looks up, he sees a man standing in front of him, and behind this man stand dozens more who look just like him--people who dress like tourists in their own home towns, cameras dangling over heaving chests adorned with images of Captain Kirk and Luke Skywalker and James Bond. The man, whoís either 25 or 55, points to the glossy photographs splayed out in front of Glover, which feature Glover in various costumes.
"So, which one are you most recognized as?" The man laughs, as though sharing a private joke. He wants to know which character Gloverís most often mistaken for: General Veers from The Empire Strikes Back, Aristotle Kristatos from For Your Eyes Only, or Walter Donovan from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Theyíre but three roles heís played in a four-decade-long career, yet they will forever define him. Glover is the sci-fi fanís trifecta, the lottery ticket.
He peers over his reading glasses, smiles, and says itís none of the above. If heís recognized at all, itís usually by someone who asks him only, "Arenít you famous?" Glover always responds, "Well, apparently not." Because heís English, the sarcasm doesnít sting so cruelly. The man decides he will have Glover sign a photograph of him wearing his Star Wars getup, though women usually have him sign a still from Indiana Jones. "Itís a rather dashing photo," Glover says later.
Exactly 48 hours earlier, Glover sat in a tiny room with Richard Kiel (best known as the braces-gnashing baddie Jaws in two James Bond films, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker) and William Sanderson (the toy-making Sebastian from Blade Runner and Newhartís Larry) and tried to fathom what a science-fiction convention would be like. Being a con virgin (and who among the conís fan attendees isnít?), he could only imagine it: the writerís cramp, the remember-in-that-scene questions, the gawking as though he were an animal behind glass. Hard to believe, but the ultimate trivia question is rarely asked to appear at such conventions. Heís at the Plano Centre this weekend, June 24-25, only at the insistence of friend Jeremy Bulloch, the man who wore Boba Fettís outfit in the Star Wars films--and has raked in a small fortune on the con circuit, despite the fact that his face was never even seen on screen.
"If youíre a doctor or a lawyer or an actor, you go to parties and people talk shop," Glover says. "If youíre a lawyer, people say, 'Iíve got this problem with this guy whoís attacking my chickens...í If youíre an actor, people say, 'Werenít you in...um...?í You talk business..."
"...so why not get paid for it?" Sanderson chimes in, speaking in a sweet, soft Tennessee accent.
"So why not get paid for it," Glover says emphatically. "Thank you. If I donít know the answer to a question someone asks me about a specific scene I was in, Iíll just say, 'I donít know.í Iím responsible to myself, not other people. I hope I will give good value."
One would think Julian Glover would be discomfited attending something like this convention, which bears the moniker Hollywood Expo. Heís a proud man not given to sentimentalize a career that began on the highest note (he appeared in 1963ís Tom Jones, alongside Albert Finney) and has seen its share of good and wretched moments. Sci-fi conventions have long been punch lines, their attendees--fans and actors alike--the butts of jokes, but Glover seems somehow different for the usual convention attraction. Heís an actor, not just some Halloween mask.
Conventions of this sort were once the dominion of children and their parents; they were playgrounds where little boys bought comics and met their TV heroes. Now, they bear the stigma of parody: Last yearís Galaxy Quest, with its has-been actors and their obese acolytes, was one more nail in the coffin. And they have become, in large part, hangouts for the stunted and the cynical--those who either collect toys instead of lives or those who sell their autographs on eBay hours after gathering them. To Walter Koenig, Star Trekís Mr. Chekov, Galaxy Quest "was incredibly painful," he tells an assembled crowd on Saturday afternoon. "When theyíre signing autographs, it was just too close to home." The crowd giggles and applauds, if only to prove itís in on the joke.