Douglas Rain, who has performed for 32 seasons at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, but was probably best known for his face-less role – computer voice HAL 9000 in Stanley Kubrick's groundbreaking 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey – died on Sunday in St. Marys, Ontario. He was 90 years old.
The Stratford Festival announced his death.
"Douglas had many features in common with the cult work of Kubrick," said Antoni Cimolino, artistic director of the festival. "Precision, steel strength, mystery and infinite intelligence, as well as wicked sense of humor." But those of us who were lucky to work with Douglas quickly solved his mystery and discovered that the center of his mystery lies in warmth and humanity. "
Mr. Rain was well known to the public at the Stratford festival, where he appeared in his inaugural production of "Richard III" in 1953, playing the Marquis Dorset and Tyrrell and serving as the understudy of Alec Guinness in the title role.
It turned out that in a sense, professional work appeared in 1960, when Mr. Rain told a Canadian documentary about astronomy and space called "The Universe". He caught Kubrick's attention; he reportedly watched him many times. And when he had problems finding a voice he liked in HAL 9000 – an on-board computer on a spaceship carrying astronauts in a mysterious mission – he thought of a documentary narrative.
"2001" has already been filmed and various HAL voice concepts have been tried. At one point, the computer was seen as a woman. Actor Martin Balsam recorded the HAL lines, but was considered completely wrong. During filming, British actor Nigel Davenport read lines outside of the camera for some time for the sake of Keira Dullei and Gary Lockwood, who played astronauts, and then Mr. Kubrick had assistant director, also British, to do it.
Mr. Kubrick, dissatisfied with any of them, sought out Mr Rain. They met in a recording studio near London. Mr. Rain wrote his ranks in a day and a half, with Mr. Kubrick, who died in 1999, explaining to him the scenes and giving him only a few directorial notes.
Rain's re-creation of the line ("I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can not do it") was dispassionate in a way that was both calming and disturbing. His readings were cool to such an extent that they were freezing, especially when history moved, and HAL became angry.
Gerry Flahive, a former producer of documentaries for the National Film Board of Canada, who interviewed Rain in 2014 and which he wrote several articles on how the voice of HAL influenced the sound of artificial intelligence in Siri's time, he said that Rain was not starry about his involvement in "2001".
"Rain loved to delve into the development of the roles he played in, so a quick recording session with Stanley Kubrick, which gave him no context for the character of HAL and no cooperation with other actors, and the seemingly unnecessary decision of the director to cast him almost in the last moment, left him unhappy with the whole experience, "Mr. Flahive said by email.
"He told me in 2014:" If you could be a ghost at the recording, you would think it was a garbage load. "Despite his fame and his famous relationship with him, Rain has never seen" 2001: A Space Odyssey. ' "
Douglas James Rain was born on May 9, 1928 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His father, James, was the railroad switch, and his mother, Mary Crichton McIntyre, was a nurse.
He studied at the University of Manitoba, from which he obtained a bachelor's degree in 1950 and the Art Center in Banff. He also spent a year at the Old Vic School in London before returning to Canada to join the fledgling Stratford Festival.
Within a few years he played major roles there, including Iago in "Otello" in 1959, the title role in "King John" in 1960 and Edgar in "King Lara" in 1964.
Howard Taubman, reviewing "Henry IV, part 1" in Stratford in 1965 for The New York Times, said that Rain, in the role of Henry & # 39; ego, Prince of Wales, "performs a youthful line in early scenes, then turns brave in later with equal enthusiasm. "
Mr. Rain appeared on Broadway several times. His performance in "Vivat! Vivat Regina!" In 1972, he was nominated for the Tony Award as the best actor in the play.
He was also seen on numerous TV shows and several other films, including "2010: The Year We Made Contact", the sequel to "2001," in which he repeated the role of HAL. His voice was also the voice of a computer Woody Allen "Sleeper" in 1973.
Mr Rain's marriages with Lois Shaw and Martha Henry ended in divorce. He survived two sons: Dawid and Adam; daughter, Emma Rain; and granddaughter.
In an interview with the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail from 1981, Mr. Rain reminded the "Universe", the document that led to his fame "2001".
"It was a very low budget with ping-pong balls, and the sun, as I remember, was played by a tomato," he said. "In fact, it turned out to be very impressive on the screen."
His appeal to Mr. Kubrick was often attributed to the dialect to which his voice usually fell, something that was called standard Canadian English.
Professor of linguistics at the University of Toronto, Jack Chambers, once explained the appeal.
"You must have a computer that sounds as if it came from nowhere, or rather from any particular place," he once said. "Standard Canadian English sounds" normal "- that's why Canadians are well-received in the US as anchormen and reporters, because the vowels do not betray the region they come from."
American Film Institute once a list of the 50 largest film villains. HAL arrived at number 13.