Angelina vs. Meta – Who would win?


I had one more question from Burin Bache – whose name I now know how to pronounce!* — he asked: What is the Bishop’s real name? I asked Harry, who said he could tell me, but then I’d never leave the room alive. So I didn’t insist on knowing the answer.

If you don’t know who the Bishop is, you’re probably reading the wrong blog.

Today’s guest interviewers are J.B. Coldwell and Ben Sugden, who are – I think – from West Yorkshire in the UK, or at least originally from that neck of the woods.

BS: Why did you decide to stop writing the Deathworld series?

HH: I really had no more material; I exploited the idea to the ultimate – I gave the characters all the problems and they solved them all. Also, I didn’t want to do that forever, the way that some writers do. The Stainless Steel Rat is different – I’ve done eleven of those, but spread over a period of forty or fifty years, and all those books are completely different, even though the character is the same.

BS: Was there ever a plan for an English-language Deathworld 4, perhaps based on ‘The Mothballed Spaceship’ short story?

HH: I’m afraid not – what you see is what you get, so make the most of it!

BS: Is there any possibility of a Stainless Steel Rat or Deathworld movie in the short to medium term?

HH: It’s a great idea, I love it, I wish they would, they’re optioned. We have to have patience. I’ve had to be patient for 25 years, so I’m the same as you too.

BS: Which actors would you like to see play Jim and Angelina in a movie?

HH: It’s been optioned for so long that all the choice actors have died off! Very early on we were trying to get Steve McQueen, who would have made a very, very good Rat. But he snuffed it. One guy who had an option on it wanted to have a black actor play the Rat, but the option lapsed. It’s hard to say. Chances are we’d be better with a new, good actor. The older good actors are now on crutches! It would be like John Wayne with his pot belly running, you know!

BS: Do you have a favourite actress you’d like to see play Angelina?

HH: No, again its the same thing. In some ways its a very difficult role, because it has to be very physical, yet very feminine at the same time. The actress who was in The Producers and Kill Bill 1 and 2, Uma Thurman, was very good. She was very feminine – especially in The Producers where she gets her clothes off – there was a lot of girl there!

BS: And which actors would you like to see play Jason in Deathworld?

HH: Same thing as with Jim, it would require somebody new. You want the character to walk into a scene and establish himself as an individual.

BS: In a fight between Angelina and Meta (from Deathworld), who would win?

HH: I’m afraid my money would be on the Deathworld girl. They’re both pretty good, but she comes from a heavier planet, so she’s used to moving in twice the gravity so she has bigger muscles. Angelina has plenty of smarts, but the other one is a good cruncher!

BS: Have you seen the Ocean’s Eleven remake with George Clooney? Do you think his character is like the Stainless Steel Rat?

HH: He’s too old for the job!

JBC: How do you think you have influenced the field of science fiction?

HH: For the better I hope! I did invent steampunk, that’s first. I also worked hard to have an anti-military element in my books… I suppose I’ve tried to adult-ise the field. Science fiction was always a young boys’ fiction, even in John Campbell’s magazine.

JBC: Have you ever seen a character in a movie or on tv and thought that they reminded you of one of your own characters?

HH: No, they’re all figments of my imagination. With the possible exception of Steve McQueen… but that’s pretty rare. I don’t really set out to specify black hair or big eyes or… I try to keep it very general so that every reader can imagine himself in the role. It’s very important for the reader to identify with the hero.


* It’s like the last part of Chewbacca, but you have to clear your throat between the two c’s…  😉

11 Responses to “Angelina vs. Meta – Who would win?”

  1. Burin Bache Says:

    Oh, great. Looks like we got the interviews rollin’. 😉
    Chewbacca is a really nice, cool and strong tall guy! A bit hairy maybe…but everybody likes him! And he can fly the Millennium Falcon!
    Whatever…I think I have to ask Harry next when he is going to buy a new toilet seat and if it wouldn’t be a nice idea to let a Mr Paul Tomlinson carry it again! 😉 😛

    In a fight between Angelina and Meta I’d bet my money on Angelina any time. Sure, Meta has the speed and strength and is also probably more insensitive to pain as the spartan-alike Pyrrus-resident she is. But Angelina knows all the dirty tricks and has the more lethal attitude. And in a fight with weapons Meta would be lost…in one with no rules either. Remember Angelina and her son James killed a platoon of elite alien-soldiers just with their finger and toe-nails! And a lil poison…

  2. Gary LaSasso Says:

    That’s An Excellent Question; Who would play “Slipery Jim DeGriz”..?

    I for one, have wondered for Years why H.H. ( in concert with a Film Company), have Never Made the “The Rat” Into a series of Movies..!? Or Even a TV series for that Matter. There has been Hart to Hart, & Some other Husband & Wife Adventure Teams over the years, but None have come Close to “The S.S.R”. !!! and Certainly Nothing in a Futuristic, and Off planet setting…
    in 83, I did two covers for Bantam, The SST for Pres., & The SST Wants You; (poorly photographed by Bantam’s Photographer), But that Question was Formost on My Mind at The Time… (as it was for Angelina as well),
    In the first, (SST for President), I Tried to Combine a Composite of a few of the Top Secret Agent Types of that Era. I believe Steve McQueen died about 2 or 3 yrs earlier, But because of the use of “Esperanto” , the Name DeGriz, ( which seemed a bit Latin-ish’) I kind of leaned a bit towards a Charles Bronson type for “The SST Wants You” …
    Anyway; This Series, because of It’s Entertaining & Playful Nature would Make An Outstanding Series of Movies, or TV Series… I wouldn’t miss An Episode…! Uh, S. Spielberg, G. Lucas… Are You out There… lol..

  3. chris Says:

    Wow! This is fantastic. Thanks Paul for efforts. What a joy.

  4. Pat Galea Says:

    Don’t you think Pitt & Jolie could use their Mr and Mrs Smith roles as a basis for the Rat and his wife? And her name is already Angelina! 🙂

  5. Pat Galea Says:

    While we’re doing questions for HH, I’ve often wondered about the pronunciation of the name of nasty “Kraj”. Is it pronounced in the English way, something like “Cradge” (but no ‘d’), or is it the Esperanto way, so it sounds more like “cry”?

    I tend to think the former when I’m reading it, but the latter would be quite funny too.

    • Paul Tomlinson Says:

      I will ask tomorrow…

      At some point I must go through Harry’s books and pick out all the strange character names and personal names and check out their origins — he’s used words from various languages over the years, judging by the different dictionaries behind his writing desk, and maybe some of the words have hidden or ironic meanings… Or maybe they’re swear words, like the good ol’ Chingers in Bill the Galactic Hero

  6. armaitus Says:

    Excellent! Thank you for asking Harry the questions Paul.

    I was hoping Harry would answer the way he did, it has always been my belief that Meta would win hands down (although I’m sure Angelina would find some way to avenge herself after the fight).

    As for our questions regarding casting, JBC and I have debated that for the past 3 decades. We even used to compile mix-tapes of potential SSR soundtracks (in our youth).

    I feel a little foolish for focusing on SSR and the Deathworld Trilogy now, Harry’s entire bibliography has been an inspiration to me.

    Thanks again for your efforts Paul.

  7. J. B. Coldwell Says:

    MANY thanks Harry for answering my questions and Paul also for setting up this marvellous opportunity to pick the great man’s brains as it were!!!

    I think the question of casting for Jim and Angelina in particular is a fascinating one. My close friend and I have been nominating actors for the roles since we were children, the cast list changing as various stars rose to media prominence and then faded away. I do myself still think Clooney would be a good choice, but I also understand the age concern. That said – between time travel, future medical technology and the events in ‘Rat Goes To Hell’ Jim has swung forward and backward in apparent age so much that a bit of artistic licence might be allowed there! I do have another couple of suggestions though.

    An actor who is CRIMINALLY overlooked, yet who would play the rat amazingly well is I think Jeffrey Donovan. He takes the part of ‘Michael Westen’ in the show “Burn Notice”. In many ways I already think of that character as a pure carbon copy of the Rat. He has all the espionage and counter-espionage skills, is a con man and lock picking, safe cracking, cat-burgling arch-thief par excellence to boot. He also has the physical side down to a tee – NOT hugely muscular at all but in absolutely top wiry shape and what he lacks in pure brawn he more than makes up for in technical hand-to-hand prowess. Donovan also has an amazing screen presence with an ability to shift affect within the flicker of an eye – all broad smiling affability one second and then glacial, focused diamond malice the next. Again, to an extent he suffers the problem of being perhaps a touch too old. Nonetheless he looks physically at least a decade younger than his real forty-odd years. Matthew Bomer whose character ‘Neal Caffrey’ in “White Collar” is yet another con-man, bank robbing, art-forging Jim diClone and would not do a bad job of the real role, although I am not sure if he could carry off the required rough and tumble that enters the Rat’s life from time to time. However it must be said his ‘Bryce Larkin’ in “Chuck” carried off that side of things pretty well.

    Maybe because I have seen her and Jeffrey Donovan together so much, but I would also say Gabrielle Anwar would make at least a reasonable assay of Angelina. Her character Fiona has the same murderous history and gruesome impulse-control issues. She also has a good deal of magnetism and a similarly mercurial edge. However, I think she is just a bit too well toned maybe, a little too athletic in form. Angelina needs obviously to be very physically capable. but also intensely feminine – absolutely NO insult to Ms Anwar at all I hasten!!! However, she needs to have a voluptuous fitness which is pretty much alien to Hollywood these days. HH himself hit the nail on the head with Uma Thurman – a rare non-silicone (by all accounts!) beauty who can also carry off the hard action side of things.

    I think the biggest problem is we all tend to think of potential actors and actresses based on their portrayal of other characters. The fact is those roles were NOT our Stainless Steel pair. We are ALL Jim (at least all us chaps out here!) in our own minds and that was a very deliberate piece of how HH writes him.

  8. Stainless Steel Musings « Armaitus on… Says:

    […] We were both overjoyed to find our questions answered recently, myself more so as my own question gave rise to the blog post’s title: Angelina vs. Meta – Who would win? […]

  9. Stainless Steel Screening « Armaitus on… Says:

    […] wrote the post as a reaction to a post on the author’s blog, which in turn was in response to some fan-boy questions that a close […]

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