The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 14, 2013

'Challenger Disaster' film stars William Hurt

(Continued)

In Riverside Park, Hurt describes his fascination with the character whose rhythms he channeled.

“I was so grafted to Feynman as a spirit,” he says. “A spirit like that, you can legitimately worship. They don’t want your enslavement, they want your freedom. Feynman wants your freedom!

“Look! Here comes a cop!” he interrupts himself as he spies a parks department golf cart. “He’ll arrest you,” Hurt tells Lucy as he re-snaps the leash the law requires her to wear. “You’d go to prison. We’d go to prison together.”

Feynman died in 1988 at age 69 of the cancer he was battling while on the commission, but his spirit lives on, including, Hurt hopes, in this film, and in the interest the film might spur in what Feynman stood for. That sort of impact, Hurt says, is what makes drama great.

“Being interesting for its own sake is worthless,” he declares. “You have to be interested in a theme: The question of who we are, why we are, should be considered carefully and audaciously. Just attracting attention for its own sake is chaos.”

Just then, the cawing of birds attracts attention overhead.

“When the crows caw, you know the interview’s over,” says Hurt, amused. “They’re here to tell us we’re no longer being useful, you know what I mean?”

With that, he and Lucy head off to a neighborhood pet store. It’s time to buy her a treat.

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