Filmmaker Peter Jackson, much like master maker Adam Savage, is a movie prop collector extraordinaire. His massive collection contains original props from Ghostbusters to Terminator 2 to Jurassic Park — he likes to surround himself with movie history that inspired him as a child to do what he does today. Jackson’s original Hal 9000 prop from 2001: A Space Odyssey is particularly wonderful, but he would never have seen Hal “come online” again without the help of the former MythBuster.
In the video above from Tested.com, Jackson explains that he has had Hal for a decade, but when it was shipped to him, the lens cap was on and positioned backwards in the metal backing. He thought that was simply how the prop worked, and that he was missing a piece or lens. It wasn’t until just last year that Savage came by Jackson’s collection, saw Hal, and actually took the lens cap off. Now unleashed, Hal springs to life anytime a bright light is shone through the fish-eye Nikon f8 lens. It looks instantly evil with only a smartphone flashlight.
The Hal 900 prop is beautifully simple. Just a light and a lens produces the blinking and flickering red light that was evil consciousness in 2001. That’s a lot of what makes prop collecting so alluring: marveling at the real ingenuity it takes to make something unreal.
What do you think? Impressed by the Hal 9000 prop? Would you like to take a tour of Jackson’s seemingly cavernous prop collection (we sure would)? Let us know in the comments below.