Interview: Actor Walter Koenig on InAlienable

Walter Koenig — that’s right, Ensign Pavel Chekhov himself, from the original Star Trek! — wrote, executive produced and co-starred in the science-fiction drama InAlienable (Starz/Anchor Bay, DVD $19.97, released Jan. 26, 2010). The film concerns a research scientist (played by Richard Hatch, of TV’s Battlestar Galactica) whose body is invaded by an alien parasite, which leads to him giving “birth” to a baby — albeit, a slimy, tentacled alien baby. The real problems begin when the U.S. legal system gets involved, and Hatch and child are taken to court to debate the concept of the alien baby’s basic “human” civil rights, as he is, after all, the son of a human. Beneath the so-so visual effects and equally low-energy direction, there’s something interesting going on in InAlienable….

Disc Dish: Can you tell us a bit about the origins of InAlienable?

WK: The story of this one goes back years — nearly 10 years. That’s when we went about trying to find someone to finance it. The thing is that we wanted to make this movie ourselves. I got some very positive interest from different sources, including some from the SyFy network. In each case, it was required that I give up a part of the governership of the piece. My feeling from the beginning was that I wanted it for myself. I didn’t want it mutilated like other projects.

DD: It’s certainly a unique take on the subject of civil rights for all.

WK: Yes, it’s based on a topical issue. It has always seemed to me that a story like this would have some reverberations. Who deserves civil rights, human rights? More trenchant and poignant to me was the concept of how would someone deal with delivering a child that was part alien. Could that parent embrace that child? Kids are born with Down syndrome and other disabilities. This case takes it to an extreme.

DD: Richard Hatch plays the main character, a role that you were originally going to portray, instead of the nefarious corporate honcho Schilling — which was actually a pretty juicy part on its own.

WK: Truth be told, at that time 10 years ago, I could still play the lead. But time has passed! I’ve played heavies before — I had a recurring role on Babylon Five as one — so I’m not unfamiliar with emotional mechanisms and mechanics that go along with it.

DD: Were you happy with Hatch’s performance?

WK: He was absolutely delightful. He’s extremely talented. He made the part his own and he really took off with it. Plus, it was partly an homage to his own Battlestar Galactic days, and that was nice too.

DD: And then there’s you, from the original Star Trek, and Marina Sirtis from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

WK: It was my intention from the start to get some familiar sci-fi TV faces — whatever works to help get the picture financed. I thought the actors were all so terrific. I was also able to do something I’ve always wanted to do, which is to get my whole family involved. My wife, son and daughter are all in the movie.

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.