Sir John Hurt has died.

kaneKane: I’ll volunteer to be in the first group to go out.

Dallas: Yeah, that figures.

Kane. He was the heroic one. The one with an explorer’s heart. First out of the Hypersleep chamber, first one into danger… first one to succumb to the beast. Only this was the 1970s, and heroes looked kinda ordinary back then. Actors then, they looked like ordinary people, you could identify with them, and nobody looked as normal and ordinary as John Hurt. He always looked like a guy who might live next door or you could share a few pints with in the pub. So Kane, although he was a hero, he was a different kind of hero to what we usually see now. Not someone particularly fit or tall or powerfully-built. I don’t know. Maybe he wasn’t a hero at all. Maybe he was just an ambitious company man eager to make a bonus. Maybe he was a damned fool stuck in a dead end space-trucker job dreaming of the romantic space fantasies of centuries-old fiction, suddenly on the brink of the greatest adventure of all -first contact. In anycase, his heroism/curiosity/ foolishness (delete as applicable) got the better of him, and he got bitched by a facehugger and the rest is history.

Can’t believe I’m writing another one of these again. Waking up to the news this morning that Sir John Hurt had passed away yesterday was another one of those kicks to the gut. Its strange; over the years and so many movies and tv appearances, we get some kind of daft feeling that we ‘know’ these actors, when we clearly really don’t. But we grow attached to them, we re-watch their performances and relish them. Years pass by. We re-watch those performances. They become part of our lives.

Only last weekend I re-watched John Hurt’s remarkable turn as Timothy Evans in 10 Rillington Place. He is so great in that movie. I mean, Hurt will always be Kane to me, from Alien. Its the first role I really saw him in and of course Alien was a pretty big deal to me growing up. I’d see Hurt in so many other roles after that, both from before and after Alien… He was so impressive though in 10 Rillington Place… his Timothy Evans, brash, foolish, easily led, unable to comprehend the events overcoming him, he seems so real with Hurt playing him. I thought he was brilliant in 1984… amazing in The Elephant Man… man, he was in some really great movies, and he was great in them. His face seemed lived-in, real, his voice… he had a great voice. Anybody remember him in the short-lived tv series, The Storyteller? He was brilliant in that. But he’ll always be Kane in Alien to me. I’ve watched that film so many times, seen that little bastard leap out of Kane’s chest so many times… well.

RIP John Hurt. I’ll raise a glass to your shade tonight. I guess this is the times we live in, but 2017 is quickly carrying on like it’s 2016.

3 thoughts on “Sir John Hurt has died.

  1. I first head about this when I saw “The War Doctor” was the top trend on Twitter, so I thought he might be back next season. But no, the very opposite of good news.

    He had so many iconic roles, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Well, Alien generally, but once you start listing them they don’t seem to stop… Apparently he’d completed at least 5 more movies that are yet to be released too.

    1. 5 more movies? Considering his health over the past few years, thats pretty amazing, I guess they are supporting roles but all the same, this is a guy who could justifiably have retired. But instead he continued his craft, likely simply because he enjoyed it.

      I thought he was wasted in The War Doctor, but the show had jumped the shark for me by that point anyway. His casting was inspired but really, John Hurt, the Doctor? It deserved so much more. You know, in some alternate universe, he was probably a fantastic Dr Who in a series of movies. He was such a talent.

      I hate writing these memoriam posts, we are losing too many greats and, honestly, in my mind simply not replacing them with a new generation. I do hope 2017 doesn’t try to out-do 2016.

      1. I’m not the biggest fan of the episodes that surround it, but I did like the anniversary special. I can see what you mean about Hurt in it — it’s a busy episode with a lot of things to serve, and he didn’t get as much time as he would as the primary/only guest star — but he has such inherent class that he breathed life into the role so quickly, for me. I’ve been meaning to get round to the audio dramas he’s done in the role, but haven’t yet (story of my life…)

        Celebrities are always going to leave us, but I do hope 2017 won’t feel as brutal as 2016.

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