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Tag Archive: Hunt for Red October


Interview by C.J. Bunce

One of my favorite people in the Star Trek world is Penny Juday.  Not only is she a great person, she is always willing to share interesting stories about her days working for Paramount on Star Trek.  As a former U.S. Navy Submarine fleet detailer, Penny Juday staffed the Navy’s sub-fleet with crew assignments. She joined the Star Trek Deep Space Nine decorating department in 1991. Penny was soon hired as the personal assistant to the production designer of Star Trek, which then led to becoming the art department coordinator of Star Trek for the next 18 years, where she also served as Star Trek archivist. During her off hours Penny attended art school at Otis Parsons and earned her certificates as designer and illustrator.  borg.com is happy to welcome Penny here today.

CB:  Penny, you have a pretty unique college background, studying art and design, as well as computer science and physics.  And you were on your way into Intelligence in the U.S. Navy.  You seem to be cut out for your role as guardian of the secrets behind the Star Trek franchise.  How did that background help you move into the role as Art Coordinator and Star Trek Archivist at Paramount Pictures?

PJ:  I was a submarine fleet detailer.  They wanted me to go into INTEL when my tour was up but they would not agree to anything I asked for in return.  In retrospect it was not such a good idea on my part, of course.  I assigned submariners to their duty stations as they came out of school in Groton and kept track of all the available positions for enlisted crew for all the submarines.  I had to make sure they were properly and completely staffed at all times.  If one were taken ill or sadly, killed, I had to find the replacement ASAP.  I studied computer science and physics while in the Navy.  Another decision gone wrong.  If I had stayed with that, I could have been the girl Steve Jobs!  At the time computer programmers worked nights and weekends since it was still reel to reel and we worked while others didn’t.  I just couldn’t do that.  How it helped with my Star Trek job?  You have to be extremely resourceful to get a lot of military jobs done for many reasons.  My boss on Trek, Herman Zimmerman (who we called “Z”) often told just about anyone who would listen that I was the most resourceful person he had ever met.  I could find just about anything we needed to get a job done, or anyone, for that matter.  If a prop guy told Z we couldn’t find a particular product I would get the task.  Now that’s fun and interesting.  One of my favorite things was when I would call a company and tell them who I was and who I was with.  Usually there was a minute of total silence because they did not believe me, of course.  Then when it sunk in I was telling the truth…  I can’t tell you how much I could achieve with vendors just because I worked on Star Trek.  They would jump through a lot hoops to help us.  And the undercover Trekkies that I would run across!

Penny in her Star Trek “toybox” warehouse at the Paramount set.

The archives–being a personnel person in the Navy I took care of thousands of records, copied thousands of pages of documents, records and cared for the same, so making an archive was cheese cake.  Again finding anything… I was sent to Long Beach Naval Station to finish my Navy tour.  There had been a serious lack of commitment to record keeping, and personnel records were a mess so I was sent to help redo and get it smooth again.  Within days this Chief Petty Officer comes to my desk, almost in tears, very upset, telling me his records had been missing for weeks, meaning, he doesn’t get paid, can’t move forward in any capacity–remember this was before documents were scanned and kept on computer.  Some info was in Washington on OCR documents but the bulk of your records were still just paper in a manila folder in a real filing cabinet.  If that went missing you were in serious trouble.  So Chief tells me the story… he had been in day after day, asking someone—anyone—to search for his records.  “They cannot be found,” they tell him.  Knowing full well how badly the records in Long Beach had been stored, mostly by young “kids” who just didn’t care and wanted to get through their tour period.  I asked him his full name, was there any known misspellings, etc.  I take the “intel,” go to the records room and start the search… yup, under his middle name.  Chief hung his head in silence.  I still cry when I think of how happy it made him.  I got a letter of appreciation for that one, which is a small Navy award.  My work at the station was awarded several times with a scholarship, award letters, and I was the only female side boy at the station to pipe the leaving Captain away and pipe in the new Captain.  Side boys are the crew who line the plank at attention and one blows the pipes–a very great honor.

Star Trek cadet piping in Captain Kirk on the USS Enterprise refit (one of Penny’s duties in the US Navy).

CB:  You worked for several years with the Star Trek franchise but also worked on other notable films.  How did your work on Star Trek compare with your project and art coordinator daily duties on other action films like The Hunt for Red October and Alien Resurrection and comedies like Naked Gun 33 1/3 and Wayne’s World II?

PJ:  I have to start by saying nothing compares to Trek.  Nothing.  However, that being said The Hunt for Red October was my first film.  Poor Anthony [Penny’s husband, Anthony Fredrickson] is tired of watching it.  It is near and dear to my heart not only being the first film but they used the USS Houston, in the film known as the USS Dallas.  I was the detailer who put the original enlisted crews on board all the Los Angeles class boats as they were being built.  Eventually I got to see the Houston in dry dock in San Diego.  All the Los Angeles class subs look a like so they could easily get by with using one for another.  The first thing I saw walking on set was the missile silos.  I told the decorator I didn’t remember seeing neon around the bases on the real subs.  “Shuuuh,” he said.  But then standing next to Sean Connery was the memory any girl would cherish, whew.  Can’t believe I was still standing when he walked away.

The Hunt for Red October production photo.

CB:  As art coordinator for Deep Space Nine through Star Trek: Nemesis and Enterprise, you were second in command to art director and production designer Herman Zimmerman, known not only for his incredible futuristic sets on Star Trek but also work on Happy Days, The Land of the Lost, The Tonight Show and Cheers.  What’s the secret to running a multiple Emmy-nominated art department?

PJ:  First, I used to watch Land of the Lost all the time, even at my age it was just fun.  So on a Deep Space Nine episode we had a very rustic cottage with a fairly short door.  Z and a lot of us are inside, the special effects guy, Joe, comes in who was well over six feet tall.  The way Joe came in for some reason Z said you remind me of a Sleestak.  I said I was shocked that he knew this word.  I asked him how he knew what a Sleestak was.  He said, “I designed him.”  I had no idea.  So I was constantly learning of Herman’s accomplishments and shows, and awards, and the list goes on of things he has done throughout time, even working on one of my favorite soaps.

Original Herman Zimmerman Sleestak (display by Tom Spina Design).

As far as running art departments, whew!  Especially on larger shows like films.  I can’t make the list long enough of what your job title is.  You are the middle girl between most of the departments and the art department.  You are the coordinator for just about everything the art department needs.  The art coordinator is one of the first people in—meaning we are given a blank space to fill right down to the pencils.  You have to get it all, the phones, the phone lines, desks, copiers, papers all the supplies, set up the kitchen, often interview or find staff to be interviewed by the art director, depending on who that is, usually my production designers know me well enough that I hire the staff and set the deals.  Then research, finding things, orders, craft service kitchen, oh, boy!  Talk about egos–and the special needs of each and every one of the artists.  Can you say “four different kinds of coffee?”  I had a set designer who constantly demanded their own office because this person didn’t want to hear others talking.  Production meetings, usually keeping all the budgets for set decorating, often construction, and the art department.  Time cards for all of the above.  Location tours, call sheets, scripts, clearances (which I have no idea when the art coordinator became responsible for making sure everything was cleared but that happened somewhere in time).  Product placement, but I have to tell you… talk about fascinating… your every minute is different.  Alien 4 was one of my favorite films to work on at Fox.  Huge art department, sets, budgets, construction, and a lot of people from Star Trek, however, one of the first things the production designer told us was: “I see anything that looks like Star Trek, you’re fired!”  Ok, but he was a lot of fun to work for.

Filming the Baku Village at the Lake Sherwood set.

Sometimes things would go wrong or go missing.  When we were out at Lake Sherwood for the Baku village in Star Trek Insurrection, Worf’s teeth came up missing.  They were very expensive to make so there was one set at the time.  So the hunt was on and of course we were still shooting Deep Space Nine at the time.  That created quite the stir to have a whole lot of people searching for Worf’s teeth.  So yes, they were found, but at great cost to both productions.

Penny Juday (far right) as an extra in Star Trek Generations, in Ten Forward on the USS Enterprise-D. Also in this scene were Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard, Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan and Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Soran.

CB:  You were able to work with the Star Trek original series cast on Star Trek Generations, and even performed on camera as an extra.  What kind of interaction did you have behind the scenes with the original Enterprise crew?  Any lasting impressions?

PJ:  I met Mr. Kelley on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country as they were walking out of the Klingon courtroom.  He had had a long day but stopped and introduced himself to me, shook my hand.  What a lovely, gracious man.  Shatner ran past, couldn’t leave the set quick enough, which is understandable.  I later met him on Star Trek Generations.  We were in the Valley of Fire, north of Las Vegas.  I was put in the crew van which was traveling to the site in the desert where the bridge set was.  I was in charge of taking orders for the crew gift bomber jackets.  He had never heard of a bomber jacket.  So that was a great fun thing to do, he got a laugh out of the whole thing.  Ms. Nichols, I interviewed her for Star Trek: The Magazine.  Again just so warm, friendly, kind, happy to talk to me.  I think I have met them all at one time or another and what an experience to meet your idols from your favorite show and then get to work with them.

Energy beacons used by The Borg that Penny helped to create for Star Trek: First Contact.

CB:  Part of your many roles for Star Trek included locating found props in the real world, such as purchasing furniture for sets or odd bottles to get re-dressed for use in Quark’s bar in Deep Space Nine.  What were some of the stranger creations you were asked to come up with?

PJ:  Wow, there are so many!  I think the Borg energy packs in Star Trek: First Contact—where they are on the dish—the Borg pull out these long acrylic tubes that glow… those were bird feeders that we put fluorescent tubes in, wrapped them in the mess they are shipped in, then wrapped those in a lighting gel.  When I called the company, because we needed a lot of them, they were so excited and it was hard for them to believe how they were going to be used.  I think the second is all the vacuum packaging we used.  If you look at the packages your cookies, candy, make-up, anything with a molded part, you will see a great deal of interesting usable shapes.  We had stacks of packages friends and family would save up for us, just in case we needed something on the run.  Anthony had a kludge closet in the art department where we would store found objects for instant prop and model making.  Then I think the Picard family album was probably one of my favorites.  I worked on that for weeks digging through flea markets, yard sales, antique shops, asking crew for items, family photos and such.  I would get French newspapers and make up articles, soak them in coffee or tea then run over them with the car.  So much fun!

Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) and Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) flipping through the Picard family album Penny Juday created. The original album was on display for years at the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas.

Please come back tomorrow for part 2 of our interview with Penny Juday.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

As major mainstream movies are concerned, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo leaves the viewer with a lot to think about.  Some good, mostly bad.  At the end of the movie we are left with a new super heroine of sorts.  As viewers, we uncomfortably accompanied her on an ugly and brutal path.  But at the end, we are left wanting to see what happens to her next.  The plot of the movie itself is complex but not complicated, yet the picture gets spun out of control into just another piece of shock cinema, and despite some good storytelling in building up the mystery, the climax is absurd, leaving us with a lackluster payoff.  There’s too much of everything in this picture, and not enough of what it does best.

I’m not sure this was meant to be a likeable movie, as it was too disturbing to be “likeable”.  Some parts were entertaining.  Some parts were done very well.  Other parts weren’t.  Look for spoilers ahead about what you will see in this movie, but I’ll give none of the actual story and mystery away.

At one level, it’s hard not to get sucked into an investigative reporter mystery.  And the unusual private eye-type job of the female lead in the movie was the coolest feature.  But ultimately we don’t really get to know much about her, and what makes her tick, except that she’s repeatedly been a victim of the system.  The director didn’t get into the daily job she had at the beginning of the film as much as I would have liked and the story meandered into other areas I cared less about instead.

Having watched the first third of the original Swedish version based on the late Stieg Larsson’s novel, I stopped to wait and watch this U.S. theatrical release first.  The original version is up there with the most graphic, disturbingly real-life violent movies ever made.  This new version is not substantially different, and beyond the first third of the movie the violence only builds.  Think of the most disturbing parts of Deliverance, Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct, Fargo, and Silence of the Lambs.  Like all these films, I would expect this one to do well around award season.  Movies that shock the conscience of the mainstream tend to succeed that way.  If you’re sensitive at all to true-life violence, skip this picture.  If you go, you’ll see graphic rape and torture scenes, numerous crime scene photos and dialogue about torture, rape, and murder.  And you’ll see several full-on sex scenes, none of which substantially contribute to the plot.  As we mentioned here in our first look at the movie trailer, you may recall that the original novel’s name translated from Swedish is Men Who Hate Women.  Ultimately, in both the main story, the back story and the subplots, that is all this movie is about, backed up with a corresponding vengeance story.

Beyond the shock factor of the violence, there is more to discuss, both good and bad.

Rooney Mara (Social Network, remake of Nightmare on Elm Street) playing the title role’s Lisbeth Salander as a down in the dumps, arguably insane yet intelligent, Goth street urchin is pretty much perfect for this role, and there was obviously a lot for this actress to go through, both as a character and in real life as an actor.  For what I saw of the original film, Noomi Rapace in the same role was equally good, however.  In fact all the scenes tracked the original as far as I watched the original version and the actors were all equally good.  For this American version, an Oscar nomination for Mara is certain.  Her best scene is in the final 20 minutes, a denouement that sets us up nicely for a sequel.  We can hope the continuing adventures of Salander in the next movie are better than in this one.

Another contender for an Oscar should be Christopher Plummer (Star Trek VI, Sound of Music, Wolf, Twelve Monkeys, Dragnet, Dreamscape, Somewhere in Time), who took a fairly minor role and made us care about him (maybe more than anyone else) from the beginning of the film to the end.  I was a little concerned about his character being a bit laughable, as in the movie previews he reminded me of Hume Cronyn’s dying character in Brewster’s Millions, yet Plummer’s skill as an actor brought some overall necessary credibility to the picture.  And he gets to utter the classic phrase “The enemy of my friend is my enemy.”

Unfortunately, Daniel Craig (Golden Compass, Road to Perdition, Layer Cake, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall) didn’t get a lot to work with in the screenplay as the lead male but secondary character, a journalist named Mikael Blomkvist.  His character makes stupid choices and he is hard to like, other than saving a stray cat (and yes, as with several other predictable components of the movie, whenever there is an animal in a film like this, you can be sure it doesn’t make it to the last scene).  Like literally every named character in the film, Craig’s character’s life is a mess.  He is flawed and weak, yet his character never gets beyond that state, where in another story it would be cause for some good character growth.  His partner/love interest is played by Robin Wright (The Princess Bride, Forrest Gump, Unbreakable, State of Play), who is the only lead character to sport a Swedish accent.  I wouldn’t blame Wright for this–it was an odd directorial choice, and similar oddities and inconsistencies are peppered throughout the film, with some signs and papers in English and others in Swedish.  Usually a director will pick a path and stick with it.  I’ve always loved the way this was done in The Hunt for Red October, where dialogue begins in Russian, then subtly switches entirely to English.

And speaking of The Hunt for Red October, that movie’s co-star Stellan Skarsgard (Thor, King Arthur, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Avengers) gets a lot of screen time here as one of Plummer’s creepy family members.  Skarsgard is a good actor, and it’s no surprise seeing him cast in this film.  The rest of the cast performs well, too, and there is both a current cast of characters and a younger set shown in flashback.  In fact at the beginning of the film you can’t help be hopeful for a Clue-like whodunnit.  We get a mystery, but it has too many components, with riddles answered too conveniently, to make this a great picture.

The payoff in the film should not be surprising considering every crazy thing leading up to it.  Yet we get there and everything is too nicely tied up, too convenient, too quickly the riddle is solved and it’s just not as satisfying as it should be.

Some nit-picking:

The opening credits may be the worst opening I have ever had to sit through for a mainstream movie.  They consist of bodies plunging in and out of black oil, oil that makes you think the key to the riddle will somehow involve oil, and when you see an overturned tanker halfway through the film it makes you over-focus on it.  Were this a James Bond movie of pure fantasy, this elaborate opener might be appropriate, because it obviously took great skill to create, but for this kind of real-life subject matter it was just long, annoying and irrelevant.

The soundtrack and overall sound effects were too loud and obnoxious throughout–so loud that it often drowned out the dialogue of the actors and contrasted with, instead of amplified, the power of each scene.  Maybe this was the fault of the sound editors.  It was as if the final editors realized that telling us the story in long explanatory sentences quietly was too boring, so some wild, jumpy background music would somehow make us think this was exciting.  It didn’t work.  The setting of the movie is ugly.  A travelogue for Sweden, this is not.  As setting is concerned there is no relief, no light at the end of the tunnel.  Humorously one character gets to have a good line mentioning an IKEA table.

You’ll ask yourself questions after the film.  The biggest is:  Do you need to fully show viewers the full extent of real-life violence to feel complete sympathy for victims of violence?   I think most of the shock was unnecessary to tell this story.  Others may think you need this blatant depiction of violence to get the audience inflamed enough to cheer for the unlikely heroine.  I think we’d cheer for her either way.  How far could you go if you had to fight back?  How much would you help someone like the main character in real life?  What the heck does the dragon tattoo have to do with anything?  Yes, the girl has tattoos, but they are irrelevant to the story.  Ultimately it’s just a catchy title to lure us into the theater.

Is this just an updated version of the La Femme Nikita story?  I was reminded of it several times and it was fun seeing what the Internet can now do to contribute to the investigative process in a mystery movie.  I have to say I found Bridget Fonda’s version of Nikita, Point of No Return, although a lot thinner film, more entertaining than this movie.  And for a real-life mystery, the often overlooked Zodiac, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey, Jr., and Mark Ruffalo, is a far better and scarier, whodunnit and suspense thriller.

Ultimately what is in store for the viewer is a mixed bag of opposites.  The negatives are very negative, and the positives are pretty positive.  Unfortunately the negatives left me disappointed with this film.  I can’t over-stress the violent content, and if you don’t believe me check out this great summary on the Internet Movie DatabaseThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is Rated R, but years ago would have easily been an NC-17.   3 of 5 stars.

In the Entertainment Memorabilia auction community, today is day one of the biggest auction weekend in years.  Following up on their second auction of Debbie Reynolds’ collection costumes, props and camera equipment from Hollywood’s Golden Age, Profiles in History pulled out all the stops and has accumulated props and costumes from sci-fi, fantasy, action TV and films, and an entire day devoted to original animation art.  It begins with the Icons of Hollywood Auction today and tomorrow, December 15-16, 2011, and continues Sunday, December 17, 2011, with the Icons of Animation Auction.

As reported here December 6, 2011, one item on the block is a special effects arm used for Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Summers as the original Bionic Woman.  But that just scratches the surface of great stuff available.  And based on recent auctions, there is no global economy problem, as props and costumes are breaking past records.  On eBay recently a Matt Smith Doctor Who costume sold for $75,000.  With a franchise as popular as Star Trek, and as old and with a similar fan following, this kind of price reflects fan loyalty and what really loyal fans are willing to shell out to hold a piece of TV or silver screen magic in their hands.

The auction starts today with original studio marketing photographs of various actors and actresses over the past 100 years, as well as lobby cards, posters and one of a kind costume sketches by the likes of Edith Head and other early designers.  Then lots of scripts and logo art from TV and film credits.  Here are some key items from Day One:

  • Billy Mumy shirt for his role as Will Robinson from Lost in Space, with an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000.
  • One of the 1969 Dodge Chargers used as the General Lee in The Dukes of Hazzard has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.
  • Dalek from a 1985 episode of Doctor Who, estimated at $10,000 to $12,000.
  • Mork from Ork costume from Mork and Mindy, estimated at $40,000 to $60,000

Some key items from Day Two:

  • Bela Lugosi screen-worn cape as Count Dracula from Dracula, estimated at $1,500,000 to $2,000,000.
  • Longbow from The Adventures of Robin Hood, estimated at $15,000 to $20,000.
  • Judy Garland gingham dress as Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz, estimated at $200,000 to $300,000.
  • One of four known pairs of ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, estimated at $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.
  • Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion costume from The Wizard of Oz, estimated at $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.

  • A variety of items from The Planet of the Apes and Back to the Future franchises.
  • The DeLorean from Back to the Future III that was at Comic-Con this year, estimated at $400,000 to $600,000.

  • Steve McQueen driving suit from LeMans, estimated at $200,000 to $300,000.
  • Steve McQueen U.S. Navy uniform from The Sand Pebbles, estimated at $30,000 to $50,000.

  • Gene Wilder Willy Wonka hat from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, estimated at $20,000 to $30,000.
  • Sean Connery Marko Ramius Russian naval uniform from The Hunt for Red October, estimated at $6,000 to $8,000.

  • The “Red October” submarine model from The Hunt for Red October, estimated at $20,000 to $30,000.
  • Michael Keaton batsuit from Batman Returns, estimated at $30,000 to $50,000.
  • Endo-skull from Terminator 2, estimated at $12,000 to $15,000.
  • Bruce Campbell Ash costume from Army of Darkness, estimated at $12,000 to $15,000.

  • Peter Weller Robocop costume from Robocop, estimated at $10,000 to $12,000.
  • James Marsden Cyclops costume from X-Men 2, estimated at $30,000 to $50,000.
  • PreCrime stunt jetpack from Minority Report, estimated at $4,000 to $6,000.
  • Bob Newhart Papa Elf costume from Elf, estimated at $8,000 to $12,000.
  • Will Farrell Buddy the Elf costume from Elf, estimated at $8,000 to $12,000.
  • Star Trek Original series wooden hand phaser, estimated at $30,000 to $50,000.
  • Patrick Stewart Captain Jean-Luc Picard tunic from Star Trek: The Next Generation, estimated at $4,000 to $6,000.
  • Jonathan Frakes Commander Will Riker tunic from Star Trek: The Next Generation, estimated at $3,000 to $4,000.

  • Collection of six costumes from bridge crew of Star Trek Voyager, estimated at $15,000 to $20,000.
  • Original NASA Gemini spacesuit, estimated at $150,000 to $250,000.
  • Russian spacesuit worn by first Russian woman to walk in space, estimated at $200,000 to $300,000.

On Day Three, every lot is a masterwork of animation history.  Lots include original art from Little Golden Books like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Smokey the Bear and The Night Before Christmas, Charles Schulz art from The Pumpkin Patch and Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, original work from production studios from Hanna Barbera to Walt Disney.  Major highlights include:

  • The earliest known color cel of Mickey Mouse, estimated at $80,000 to $120,000.
  • Cels of the Queen and Snow White from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, estimated between $12,000 and $20,000.

  • Giant pan cel from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, estimated at $80,000 to $120,000.
  • Original Dumbo, Bambi, Lady and the Tramp and Cinderella cels, estimated at $4,000 to $8,000.

  • Several cels from Song of the South.
  • Several stunning cels of Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, estimated from $300 to $80,000.

More information is available at the Profiles in History website.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

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