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Film critic Henry Sheehan reviews the new film "Hannibal" starring Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore.


Other segments from the episode on February 9, 2001

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, February 9, 2001: Interview with Jerry Linenger; Interview with Anthony Hopkins; Review of the film "Hannibal."


DATE February 9, 2001 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/A
TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/A

Interview: Captain Jerry Linenger discusses his five-month stay
on the Russian Space Station Mir

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Today the space shuttle Atlantis docked at the new International Space
Station. The Atlantis carried a giant American science laboratory that will
serve as the main control center and research facility of the space station.
Meanwhile, the Russian Space Station Mir, which has been in orbit for nearly
15 years, is scheduled to be brought back to Earth in early March. Jerry
Linenger is a retired American astronaut who spent five months aboard Mir in
1997. He says it wasn't easy. The space station was in a state of
deterioration, communication with Russian ground control was terrible, and
something was always going wrong. Linenger's presence on Mir was part of a
cooperative mission between the US and Russians to lay the groundwork for an
International Space Station. He was the only American on board and had to get
by with his minimal skills speaking Russian. His book about his experience on
Mir, "Off the Planet," has just come out in paperback.

Linenger was taken to the space station by the US space shuttle Atlantis.
Last year, I asked him to describe what it looked like inside Mir.

Captain JERRY LINENGER (Author; NASA Astronaut): You know, when we first flew
into Mir, I got to admit it--compared to the shuttle, it had sort of the feel
of going into your grandmother's cellar, down in the basement--sort of a moldy
smell to it, a little bit darkened. Electrical power on Mir is always at a
premium, and therefore, not many lights are on. So it was very cramped and, I
guess, claustrophobic feeling. I'm pretty good about not getting
claustrophobic myself, so I can't say that it hit me that way. But it
definitely hit me as a very confining, dark, damp sort of atmosphere when you
fly into Mir.

GROSS: And it also looks like--from the photos like there's wires all over
the place.

Capt. LINENGER: There's a lot of dangling. It's about a--at this stage,
about 14-year-old space station, and just like a home that maybe wasn't wired
correctly at the beginning, as you add on and put on new modules and new
equipment, you need to run extension cords and wire cables and air ducts to
blow the--to keep the circulation going. So it's a bag of spaghetti up
there--lots of wires and lots of possible mistakes is what that creates also.
The cluttered effect up there can get you into trouble.

GROSS: What did space smell like, look like, taste like, sound like?

Capt. LINENGER: Space--I'll tell you--when you're flying to Mir, it smelled
sort of like dirty sweat socks in a guy's locker room. Actual smell of space,
though--that's a very interesting question. When we would open a hatch, for
example, that was exposed to the vacuum of space, there's always a double
hatch, and so you open the one hatch. You now have the pure smell of space,
and it's a tough--you know, as any aroma is tough to describe, but it has a
distinct smell and it's sort of a burned-out after-the-fire-the-next-morning
in your fireplace sort of smell. And that's the real smell of the vacuum of
space. And it was very distinctive. After we'd get through that hatch and
open the next hatch, for example, if there was a resupply ship that just came
up, you'd get the smell of fresh lemons and that would just go through the air
and it was just an incredible contrast to that dirty sock smell or the
burned-out smell of the vacuum of space. And then you'd get this smell of the

GROSS: Does space have a sound?

Capt. LINENGER: When you're out there, for example, during a space walk, it
is utter silence. It's a vacuum. Sound doesn't conduct. The sound of inside
Space Station Mir was one of a factory almost with lots of turning equipment,
noise level very high, and when we lost electrical power and moved to the dark
side of the Earth and everything ground to a halt and we started spinning
through space--tumbling, sort of out of control--the silence was just
deafening and a scary silence, I might add. I mean, so silent that it's just

GROSS: How long did that go on for?

Capt. LINENGER: We had some power problems and that went on--took us about
two days to recover from that, and every time you moved to the dark side of
the Earth it was darkness like you've never seen and silence that was scary.
We worked with flashlights and eventually regained power.

GROSS: What was a typical day like--if there is such a thing as a typical
day--on board the spaceship Mir?

Capt. LINENGER: There wasn't many typical days. At the beginning, though,
the way it worked--an alarm would go off in the morning, and you'd have to
check your watch immediately to make sure it was not a master alarm and rather
just a morning wake-up call. That was usually around 8:00, so sort of
leisurely, if you will, but you never got to bed before usually one in the
morning. You know, you'd get up and do your daily tasks of living, a little
bit different and unique in space, of course, and go down and suck down a tube
of dehydrated borscht or, you know, mashed potatoes or some strange breakfast
foods. And then you'd get to work. You'd check the schedule, and you were
working from day to night, essentially, trying to do experiments and also
trying to keep up with repairs that needed to be done to keep the space
station alive. You'd got to bed at night exhausted. I'd strap myself to the
wall. I used to sleep upside-down on the wall, a piece of Velcro around me,
close my eyes and I'd sleep like a baby.

GROSS: What were some of the experiments you had to carry out?

Capt. LINENGER: Had about a hundred and twenty different experiments, looked
at a lot of microbial sampling around there to see of any contaminations, see
if I, for example, introduced any new bacteria to the space station with my
arrival. Lot of protein crystal growth experiments, metallurgy, melting
samples, trying to get very pure alloys because up there, of course, you don't
have the problem of settling of the heavier elements down to the bottom, and
you get a very pure alloy. You know, grew wheat up there, trying to look to
the future of when you do space travel long distances and long periods of
time. Just fascinating experiments, really, that really kept you hopping.

GROSS: Let's get back to how you slept--you slept upside-down attached to...

Capt. LINENGER: Slept upside-down, inverted--you know, a piece of Velcro
around me. And the reason I did that is because there was a good fan on the
floor. In space, warm air doesn't rise. There's no convection current, and
so you have to have a fan to move the atmosphere around or you will breathe
yourself into an oxygen-depleted and carbon dioxide-rich bubble, and you'll
wake up with a severe headache, hyperventilating, gasping for air. So I would
sleep inverted, a piece of Velcro around me, just sort of dangle on the wall
with a fan blowing in my face.

GROSS: Did you sleep well in a gravity-free environment?

Capt. LINENGER: I slept pretty well. There was actually some sleep
experiments I was doing. I had an eye sensor on, for example, to look at my
rapid-eye-movement sleep. I had electrodes on my head most nights, and if you
looked at my sleep patterns, as the mission progressed, I was having less and
less deep sleep and much more rapid-eye-movement sleep. And I would say on
the last month of that five-month mission, I would wake up feeling very tired
and my sleep quality was going downhill.

GROSS: Do you think that was stress and anxiety, or something related to the

Capt. LINENGER: No, I think it has to do actually with your biorhythms,
losing their sense of day and night. And in space, you're around the planet
every 90 minutes, and every 45 minutes, you're getting a sunrise/sunset,
sunrise/sunset, and so you're going through about 15 of those a day. Your
body has a very hard time setting the biorhythm, and you start drifting from
your Earth-linked biorhythms of the 24-hour day. You know, even the concept
of time, when you think about it--it's an amazing world up there. We live in
24 hours in a day down here. You get up in space and you realize that that is
an artificial thing that we've created because we're Earthlings. You get in
space with--in orbit every 90 minutes, and you realize 24 hours is meaningless
with day/night cycles every, you know, 45 minutes.

GROSS: One of the things that I found really interesting is that you were
expected to recycle urine for water.

Capt. LINENGER: It's a closed ecosystem, and you need to recycle everything
you can. We would take our urine, collect it using basically a fan device,
some valves--close the valve down. We'd take the urine, convert it to water.
We'd be called by Mission Control Moscow to say, `Drink that water; it's good
stuff,' and we'd say, `Yeah, you drink it; we don't want to drink it; that's
our urine.' And instead we would take the water--H2O--split the hydrogen
off--you--what's left over is oxygen. We'd vent the hydrogen to space; that's
an explosive gas, don't want that around. And we'd breathe the oxygen, so
essentially it's, you know, your urine to water, water to oxygen, and
essentially you breathe your urine up on Space Station Mir.

GROSS: It does sound better than drinking it.

Capt. LINENGER: You know, I've drunk a lot of bad things. I've gone through
Navy jungle survival school and eaten snakes and roots and everything else,
and you know, I finally convinced myself, you know, I can drink my urine to be
an astronaut. But I could not drink anyone else's urine, and the cosmonauts
felt much the same way. And we decided we would use that urine water to make
oxygen. We would, though, use some sweat water, if you will. When you run on
the treadmill, you perspire and that would get into the atmosphere. We'd
condense that water, purify it and use some of that water for rehydrating our

GROSS: My guest is retired American astronaut Jerry Linenger. He spent five
months aboard the Russian Space Station Mir. More after a break. This is

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest is retired American astronaut Jerry Linenger. He spent five
months aboard the Russian Space Station Mir as part of a joint
Russian-American mission.

You studied the psychology of isolation and you worked in isolated
environments for a long time. You were in the Navy for about 20 years, so
you've worked on ships, you've worked on deserted islands, so you knew
something about isolation. Describe how isolation in space is different from
what you ever faced in the Navy.

Capt. LINENGER: You know, I tried to prepare myself, and I'll tell you, past
life experiences are what helps you out to get through new experiences like
being out in space and being a spaceman. But nothing I had done--you know,
living on islands or going out to sea on a submarine or any of those past life
experiences really prepared me for that profound isolation. And I'll tell
you, it was a five-month test for me--you know, seeing if I had the right
stuff--if I could hold up, stay efficient, work hard.

GROSS: Did you go through any bad depressions?

Capt. LINENGER: I did not. I did observe some people that had serious--what
I'd call clinical depression up there. It is a psychological battle. My game
plan--I watched someone that we overlapped with--one of the cosmonauts who
looked like he had held up well, and he was at the end of his fifth month of
stay on Mir. And I tried to mimic him for the first few months. And the main
thing I learned is to try to stick to a schedule, try to stay, for example, on
Earth time--go to bed at midnight Moscow, even though it was meaningless up
there, exercise religiously, try to keep some routine in your life. When I'd
run on the treadmill, I'd have my CD playing and I'd close my eyes and
visualize myself back on Earth sort of, you know, running through my old
favorite routes to sort of escape. And during those moments, some great
things happened, too. I could feel the presence of my dad there with me.
He's deceased. He was there with Uncle Bill. They told me they're proud of
what I'm doing. So anyway, you do what you can to sort of escape, meditate,
if you will, and get away from that shock of isolation.

GROSS: You know what surprised me? You say the Space Station Mir had a good
bar, and that although you didn't partake, that two Russian cosmonauts, you
know, did a fair amount of drinking. It's against NASA rules to drink while
on the job, but you say you also didn't want to diminish your senses in any
way when anything could happen. But I was surprised to hear that they did

Capt. LINENGER: They have a smuggling operation. It's sort of, you know,
everyone knows it's happening and they sort of ignore it. But, for example,
when I unloaded my space suit, I was going to do a space walk in a brand-new
Russian space suit. When I unloaded it from a resupply ship, there was a
bottle of vodka stuffed in the sleeve. So I would say this, though. It was
the only place--my entire time in Russia there and in space, it was the only
time that no one cared whether I drank or not. Over in Russia, there is toast
for this, toast for that, and if you don't want to partake, it's still sort of
the way it was back in the '60s here where, you know, people hitting you on
the back, saying, `Hey, come on, you've got to drink, we're all drinking.'
But up in space, with a limited supply, I think my crewmates were glad that I
did not partake. But they never got rip-roaring drunk or anything like that.
It was more of an after-dinner, try to relax and before they went to bed.


Capt. LINENGER: But I didn't like the idea of not being a hundred percent
because it was a very dangerous environment up there.

GROSS: I would imagine being hung over in space would not be pleasant.

Capt. LINENGER: I don't think it would be good at all. There's enough space
motion sickness going around up there that, you know, you need to adapt to
that that's something you probably don't need. There's a lot of flying up
there, too, and drinking and flying don't mix very well, so it's probably not
in my mind, you know, a good idea.

GROSS: Let's talk about the big fire that nearly destroyed you, your fellow
astronauts and the space station. What caused the fire?

Capt. LINENGER: The fire actually originated--it was a large canister made
out of metal, sort of looks like a garbage can, if you will, and it's filled
with a slurry of oxygen-rich chemical. I'm in my module typing on a laptop
computer up on the ceiling, I hear the blang, blang, blang master alarm going
off again. I hit the enter button, I sort of look around and I'm almost a
diagno--or could do diagnoses up there. And I look around and I notice the
walls aren't moving, so I know we haven't lost what's called latitude control,
we're not tumbling. I notice my computer's still working; we haven't lost
power. I hit the enter button, I push off to go turn the corner to go look at
the master alarm panel. Before I can get there, Vasily Tsibliyev comes flying
fast around the corner. And I yell out (Russian spoken), and he says (Russian
spoken). I ask, `Is it serious?' He says, `Yes, very--fire.'

He really didn't have to respond because behind him, I just saw a big trail of
smoke coming, just billowing out of the module. Continue forward, get to the
caution/warning panel. Look down, looks like a Christmas tree lit up. We've
got fire warning lights flashing, smoke warning lights, low voltage lights. I
looked down the lane to the module, sort of like looking down to the back end
of a school bus, if you will, and out of that solid-fuel oxygen canister is
coming a big flame. It's about three feet long; sparks flying out the end of
it; smoke billowing out. Within about 30 seconds, I can't see the fingers in
front of my face. The smoke was just everywhere fast. I look down at the
hull--it's made out of aluminum. Aluminum's about an eighth of an inch thick
and that's our protection against the vacuum of space. I look down, realize
if this blowtorch of a fire points down, it's going to puncture the hull,
rapid decompression, quick suffocation. I actually said out loud--I said,
`Not good,' were my first words, you know, understatement of my life.

Turned back, went to get an oxygen mask; smoke everywhere, can't see the
fingers in front of my face. Start feeling my way along the bulkhead, feeling
like I'm about 25 meters under water, no air, feeling lightheaded. Finally
locate my personal respirator, grabbed the rubber mask out, yank it over my
head. I activate the oxygen canister by throwing a lever. I breathe in and I
get nothing. Checked the position of the lever again. It's set correctly. I
breathe in again. Mask collapses around my face; I've got a failed
respirator. Throw the mask off. I look around as I'm feeling my way along
the wall, trying to find a second respirator. And I yell out actually. I
say, `Kathryn, I love you,' to my wife. And I say, `I'm really sorry.
Looks like I'm not going to make it back.' Still...

GROSS: But you did. You found another respirator.

Capt. LINENGER: I did get to a second respirator.

GROSS: And the fire burned itself out in--What?--around 14 minutes.

Capt. LINENGER: Well, we went through one fire extinguisher. We went
through a second fire extinguisher. I went through a third fire extinguisher.
I was heading back for the fourth one when Vasily yells, `Fire's out,' and
about 14 minutes of burning. I'll tell you, in a closed space station, 14
minutes is a long time with a flame flying.

GROSS: What are some of the unique qualities of fire in outer space.

Capt. LINENGER: Fire--for one thing, it's not flame-shaped. Warm air
doesn't rise, so when a flame burns, the warm air does not rise and fresh air
does not come in underneath it. Instead it burns in its pure state as a
sphere, and it will burn up the layer of oxygen around it and put itself out
if you're not replenishing that oxygen by blowing a fan on it or if the--you
know, the other way it can happen, though--the source itself can have oxygen,
as in the case of the fire on board that was out of control. That was a
oxygen-rich chemical, and it had all the oxygen it needed. But other
objects--you know, if you light a piece of paper up there, it will eventually
burn the oxygen in the boundary layer around it, and it will put itself out
without any effort on your part.

GROSS: So how much damage was done to the space station by the fire?

Capt. LINENGER: The fire melted some of the valves and that, behind it. The
heat was intense. But as far as anything debilitating and long term, once we
cleaned it up and turned filters back on and swabbed everything down--you
know, you don't want the particulates floating because you're going to be
breathing them for the next four months--really the long-term effect of that
was negligible.

GROSS: You couldn't very well get out the smoke by opening up a window.

Capt. LINENGER: It goes through your head, I'll tell you. With that flame
roaring, I went by a window, and first instinct tells you open a window;
second, you think call 911 and get the heck out of here--you know, gets
through your head also. Unfortunately, the rescue vehicle's on the wrong side
of the fire and it's melting metal and so there's no option to go that
direction. But yeah, all those things that, you know, just by
instinct--getting low, for example. Immediately I go low to get a gasp of
fresh air. Unfortunately in space, warm air doesn't rise, smoke doesn't rise,
smoke is everywhere. So all your Earth instincts do not serve you well up

GROSS: Captain Jerry Linenger spent five months aboard the Space Station Mir.
It's scheduled to return to Earth early next month. Our interview will
continue in the second half of the show. I'm Terry Gross, and this is FRESH

(Soundbite of music; credits)

GROSS: Coming up, a near collision in space with an unmanned cargo ship
traveling at 18,000 miles per hour. We continue our conversation with retired
astronaut Jerry Linenger. Anthony Hopkins tells us about creating the role of
Dr. Hannibal Lecter in "Silence of the Lambs," and Henry Sheean reviews the
new sequel "Hannibal."

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Let's continue our interview with retired astronaut Jerry Linenger. He spent
five months aboard the Russian Space Station Mir in 1997 as part of a
cooperative mission between the US and Russia. Mir is scheduled to return to
Earth early next month after nearly 15 years in orbit. Linenger's book, "Off
the Planet," has just been published in paperback. I spoke with him last year
about life on Mir.

Now you disposed of your trash by doing what?

Capt. LINENGER: Well, we would get a resupply ship up there. It was--it
looks like an old capsule--like our old Mercury capsule would look like. It's
filled with the supplies we need; food and some extra water, space suits,
whatever we needed, repair parts. After we unloaded it, we would then use it
as sort of a garbage truck. And we would take all of our discards and stuff
it into that capsule and it would detach from the space station. The ground
would control it--Mission Control Moscow. They'd fire some thrusters. It
would re-enter the atmosphere, burn up and, essentially, disintegrate all the

GROSS: Now, once, after you sent away the Progress, filled with your
decomposing garbage and broken equipment, Russian ground control told you that
it was gonna redock with the space station. Why?

Capt. LINENGER: The Russians were interested in testing whether we could do
a manual docking of this unmanned resupply ship. And that sounds like you
can't do that because it's unmanned, but it was a remote control setup where
there was a camera inside the capsule and a monitor inside the space station.
And so my crewmate, Vasily Tsibliyev, would stand there with control sticks,
look at the monitor and would manually fly the spacecraft in, as if he were
sitting in the spacecraft by looking at the view in the monitor.

Unfortunately, the monitor failed. And so you have a spacecraft coming at you
at about 18,000 miles an hour that, regardless of how hard we looked, we could
not locate; Vasily firing away at the thrusters trying to brake this thing.
When we finally realized it was coming at us at an uncontrollable speed; very,
very tense moment. Sweat pouring from his brow. We'd run back to the window.
You know, trying to describe which direction that capsule was going when he
would put an impulse in was very difficult because there's nothing else out
there; no other objects that you can say, you know, `It's going right, left,
up, down,' because all that is Earth description and it doesn't work in space.

So the Progress went zooming by us. Missed us by what, from our vantage up
there looked like a matter of, you know, 10 or 15 meters. And we held our
breath as it whizzed by, hoping it wouldn't crash into any of the solar panels
or into the hull of the Mir. Very tense moment.

GROSS: What'd you say to Russian ground control when you survived?

Capt. LINENGER: Well, Vasily, the commander, was beside himself. He let the
ground know exactly how we felt about an untested procedure, trying to dock
this 18,000-mile-an-hour spacecraft sort of in the blind. And that was
probably was one of the low points of my time up there, actually. The broken
trust between what the ground was doing in Moscow and what we cosmonauts and
astronauts were trying to do up there in space.

GROSS: It sounds like, on the whole, relations between the astronauts and
ground control was not very good.

Capt. LINENGER: The relationship was very strained. And it was a matter
of--you know, you really have to trust the people on the ground. Again, I got
to emphasize, the ground in this case was Mission Control Moscow, not Mission
Control Houston. And you got the impression that they wanted to keep that
space station alive at all costs. And you also had the impression that we, as
the crew up there, better just do exactly what they say; hang in there with
that space station, again, at all costs. And maybe the space station was more
important than we were.

GROSS: Now you took a five-hour space walk when you were aboard the Space
Station Mir. Can you describe what the procedure is--like, what were you
walking on or through or...

Capt. LINENGER: First of all, you know, walking in space--what an incredible
thing. You're, essentially, a spacecraft. You're out there by
yourself--dangling, in my case, on the end of an arm--you know, 18,000 miles
an hour. Earth below. The heavens around you--the stars. You see probably
four times the number of stars you'd see from the best vantage point on Earth.
It's just a, you know, yahoo feeling of `wow, incredible' and something
that--you know, I can look at it, I guess, frame by frame in my mind. You
almost don't forget the split second by split second. It's such an
incredible, incredible experience.

The actual mechanics of it--you climb into the back door of a space suit;
latch it. As scuba divers know, you're worried about the bends. It's a very
similar thing. The space suit's gonna be at half normal pressure. And so the
first thing you do is breathe 100 percent oxygen to get the nitrogen out of
your blood so that you don't get bent when you go out there, which means
nitrogen bubbles forming in your arteries and causing physiological problems.

The next thing I did is get my two tethers ready. I've got carabineers, if you
will; hooks on the end of about a four-foot rope. I open the hatch up, push
it open and then start being a mountain climber; start hooking my hooks on
exterior parts of the space station, working my way along the surface,
dragging a 500-pound experiment behind me as if it weighed nothing.

GROSS: Now when you first got outside the spaceship, what did you experience

Capt. LINENGER: Physically, you know, it's just--the sight is overwhelming
just to be out there dangling as an independent spacecraft. And it's just a,
you know, total, uplifting experience. As the space walk progressed, I had to
climb on the end of an arm. When that arm got swung through open space, I
felt the feeling of detachment. I felt that I was out there all alone.
Spacecraft--as I looked back, you know, Space Station Mir is looking like a
Tinker Toy. And I had a feeling of total detachment.

And it also hit me, gut level--I felt the speed. I felt 18,000 miles an hour.
And I felt as if I was falling off a cliff, just screaming with speed. And I
did what I think 99 percent of the people of the world would do, you know. I
just grabbed on for dear life. White-knuckled terror. You know, fear
overwhelming. And mumbled to myself, `Not good, again,' which was one of my
expressions I used a lot on Mir. You know, and then I told myself, `Hey, I've
got five hours of work to do. I've been training on bottomless swimming pools
for the last six months before the flight and I'm gonna get this job done,

I tricked myself. What I did, I looked down at the Earth. I looked back up
again. I said (Foreign language spoken)--counted to five in Russian, looked
back down at the Earth and I said, `Jerry, it's OK to be falling at 18,000
miles an hour as long as you don't hit the bottom.' And, rationally, I knew I
was in orbit. I was going 18,000 miles an hour, but we're gonna keep
orbiting. I wasn't gonna hit the Earth. Took the fear, tucked it away in a
compartment in my brain that I was glad I had, let go my grip and got swung
out and continued with my job.

GROSS: Did it feel good after this exhilarating, but frightening, five-hour
mission to get back into the Mir?

Capt. LINENGER: It's--with some regrets. It felt good to get back in. I'll
tell you, though, on the end of the arm on the way back, I swung out. I had
that feeling of overwhelming fear, overcame it, went and did the job. I got
swung back in the other direction--same point in space, same sensation. This
time I just yelled out, `Yahoo!' I attached myself with my tethers and my
carabineers, pushed myself off, dangled and said, `My God, this is incredible.'
You know, a ride at Disneyland. There's nothing like this.

When I got back inside, closed the hatch, got out of the suit, it was a good
feeling of accomplishment, which, I will tell you, is what kept me going on
Space Station Mir; that sense of accomplishment, that you're getting something
done that's worthwhile. You're out there colonizing space. That's what gets
you through the hard times.

GROSS: Well, you couldn't exactly celebrate afterwards with a hearty meal.

Capt. LINENGER: No, but I did suck down some dehydrated, you know, mashed
potatoes. And my favorite out of a tube is the Russian, you know, jellied
piked perch. If you want to try a real delicacy, Terry, that's what you want:
jellied, piked perch, I mean, sucked out of a tube. You know, I won't go near
that stuff again in my life. But up there, anything was fine and, you know,
it's OK, but you get done with that space walk--I went back to my module. I
actually wrote a letter to my son, John. He was one years old. And along the
way I decided that, you know, it's important to let your sons and daughters
know what you're doing in life and that you love them and what you stand for;
what you hope and dream for them. And I wrote him a note that night, and I
said, `John, your dad has courage.' Letting go of that pole when I was going
18,000 miles an hour and feeling the speed, that took courage. Got to my
wall. Strapped myself on. Closed my eyes. Slept like a baby.


My guest is retired American astronaut Jerry Linenger. He spent five months
aboard the Russian space center Mir. More after a break. This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest is retired American astronaut Jerry Linenger. He spent five
months aboard the Russian Space Station Mir as part of a joint
Russian-American mission.

You returned to Earth from the Space Station Mir on the space shuttle with
American astronauts. Would you describe what you experienced, physically,
after five months in space, re-entering the Earth's atmosphere on the space

Capt. LINENGER: Re-entry, itself, is just phenomenal and, you know, it
boggles the mind what we can do when human beings collectively set their minds
to something. Mission Control Houston is controlling at that point, of
course. We're in shuttle. We're over Australia. We flip the shuttle upside
down--inverted engines pointed in the direction we're flying; the direction of
the velocity vector. They give you the go for deorbit burns. You fire the
engines. You feel the shudder. You flip yourself back over. You start
plunging through the atmosphere; a big fireball all around you; bouncing up
and down. Just a wild ride all the way in. If you don't like turbulence in
an airplane, you would not like re-entry in the shuttle. It is the ultimate
turbulence. You're just plunging through that atmosphere.

Myself--people are very concerned. The astronaut before me said he felt like
he weighed 2,000 pounds on landing; couldn't lift his arms off the mid-deck
floor. Russians routinely--they reach into the capsule, pull them out after
four or five months in space, plop them on a bed, roll them into the medical
tent. So during re-entry, I'm getting calls from the ground. `How you doing
in the mid-deck, Jerry?' I'm moving my hand up and down. I'm actually
feeling pretty good. I'm dropping my ink pen a lot, because I'm used to it
floating as I set it out there. But lifting my arms--and they're feeling
very, very heavy, but, nonetheless, pure joy, exhilaration. I'm heading home.
Charlie in the flight deck yells out, `Jerry, tallyho, West Coast.' And I'll
tell you, it just feels good to be over the US again. Serious calls come in.
`How you doing?' I say, `I'm doing great. It feels good to be home'--five

GROSS: Were you able to stand up and walk out of the capsule?

Capt. LINENGER: Well, the shuttle does its final turn, which is a manual one.
We do the landing, roll out, deceleration. They open that hatch. I'll tell
you, that air comes in. After five months breathing air made out of urine,
maybe that's why it was so wonderful. You know, the fresh, Earth air hits you
and, my God, it's just--oh, you know, it just tastes good. The flight surgeon
comes on board, says, `Jerry, I've got two guys out here--stretcher. You can
sit here for an hour or two hours--whatever you need. We'll come get you when
you're ready.' And I said, `Tom, you know, I've been in space for five
months; overcome a lot of difficulties. Started something; I'm going to
finish it. An officer in the United States Navy, and we don't get carried off
on stretchers. And I'm gonna walk off this thing or I'm gonna crawl off this
thing, but please don't touch me.'

Stood up--I tell you, my chest started heaving like I've never felt it. My
vision started going gray, closing in, closing in--felt like I'm pulling too
many Gs in an F-14 or something--about to black out. And right at that
moment, my chest kicks into a gear I didn't know I have; remember what
gravity's all about; pump the blood back up to my brain; open my vision back
up; shuffled forward. And I'm sure I wasn't walking pretty, but I was on my
own two feet--90 degree turn. Climbed over Mt. Everest, which was actually my
seat about a foot high--felt like Mt. Everest; felt like you were sitting on
my shoulders. Crawled out the side hatch. Two big guys there with a
stretcher, surprised to see me; said, `Welcome back, Captain Linenger.' I
shook their hands; told them, `Man, it's great to be back.' I walked away.
They did a couple claps for me; said, `You make us proud, Captain Linenger.'
And it felt good to be on my own two feet and walking again.

GROSS: Jerry Linenger, thank you so much for sharing some of your experiences
and perceptions with us.

Capt. LINENGER: Thank you, Terry, for having me.

GROSS: Captain Jerry Linenger spent five months aboard the Russian Space
Station Mir. It's scheduled to return to Earth early next month. Linenger's
book, "Off the Planet," has just been published in paperback. Our interview
was recorded last year.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Filler: By policy of WHYY, this information is restricted and has
been omitted from this transcript

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Review: Henry Sheehan reviews the movie "Hannibal" and compares
it with the original "Silence of the Lambs"

Film critic Henry Sheehan has a review of "Hannibal," the new sequel to "The
Silence of the Lambs." "Hannibal" stars Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal "The
Cannibal" Lecter and Julianne Moore as FBI Agent Clarice Starling,
the role originated by Jodie Foster. "Hannibal" was directed by Ridley Scott.

HENRY SHEEHAN reporting:

Whether we're talking about the movie or the lip-smacking, Midwestern
cannibal, "Hannibal" is dull and gross. Using the crude technique pioneered
by William Friedken in "The Exorcist," director Ridley Scott leads us to acres
of barren exposition with only brief stops at oases of blood and gore, so
"Hannibal" is an unworthy successor to the extravagantly overpraised "Silence
of the Lambs." Despite the immorally slippery and stylistically overdrawn,
that movie at least had a keen sense of structure.

Young FBI Agent Clarice Starling, on the track of a serial killer, had to
split her time between two story lines. In one, she pursued a sexually
perverse madman who had kidnapped a politician's daughter. In the second,
she confronted Hannibal Lecter, an imprisoned, cannibalistic killer, who, in
a cat-and-mouse game, gave her insight into the mind of her quarry.

"Hannibal" may have been written by David Mamet and Oscar-winning Steven
Zaillian, but structurally it's a mess. The action opens with Agent Starling,
now played by a prissy Julianne Moore instead of an ice-cold Jodie Foster,
supervising a deadly, botched drug bust. Her superiors, who are manipulated
by an evil billionaire, both censure her and put her back on the trail of the
escaped Lecter. On the trail, though, means sitting in a basement for much of
the movie watching old videotapes. Lecter, meanwhile, is in Florence,
flouncing around under a pseudonym and angling for a job at a classics

These sequences, in which director Scott shows off his talents for turning any
street corner into a dramatic forum, are supposed to be a showcase for Anthony
Hopkins. After all, much of the movie is constructed around and the
advertising campaign relies upon Hopkins reprise performance as the
lip-smacking Lecter. The Florence sequences don't really have anything to do
with the rest of the movie. Starling eventually figures out that Lecter is
there, but mostly, the killer toys with a crooked Italian police detective
played by a still-gauntly handsome Giancarlo Giannini.

But this focus on Hopkins only exposes his shortcomings. Whatever he was in
"Silence of the Lambs," Lecter is now more movie monster than human. He
dresses and acts theatrically, and he doesn't just speak a line, but purrs,
murmurs, declaims or accuses with brio. He's a first cousin to a road company
"Phantom of the Opera."

In this scene, Lecter gloats over Giannini as he shows him a gruesome
Renaissance painting of a hanging.

(Soundbite of "Hannibal")

Sir ANTHONY HOPKINS (Hannibal Lecter): Oh, I should have shown them this one.
I can't imagine how I missed it. Remember, I told you about it. It's a
rendering I found in the Capponian Library. Can you make it out?

Mr. GIANCARLO GIANNINI (Rinaldo Pazzi): There's a name there.

Sir HOPKINS: The one I told you about. It's your ancestor, Commander
Toray(ph), hanging beneath these very windows, Machisca di Pazzi(ph). On a
related subject, I must confess to you, I'm giving very serious thought to
eating your wife.

SHEEHAN: The giveaway is that whenever Hopkins stops talking the already
obtrusive music wells up. Visually Hopkins is even more at sea as he strides
through Florence, his round, ruddy face adorned with an oversized
borcelino(ph), his stocky body encased in a billowing capelike coat. He looks
like nothing so much as a happily tipsy tourist who has just been mugged by a
boutique sales staff. Through creaky contrivance, Starling and Lecter do
finally get to duel face to face, but by then the movie is dragging so much
that the filmmakers begin emergency injections of gore.

None of this amounts to much. It's too bad because "Silence of the Lambs" did
pick up on the whiff of terrifying perversity between Starling and Lecter.
The two enacted the bond between a sexually abusive adult and a grown-up
victim of child abuse; a tense and terrifying relationship. But though Moore
is generally a terrific actress, as Starling she gets lost in fussy and
self-conscious display. When she and Hopkins get together at the climax for a
dinner of living human brain, there's no sense of emotional bondage to
accompany the grotesquery. The overwhelming sensation is of futility; of a
bad hand played out to its last card, a joker.

GROSS: Henry Sheehan is film critic for the Orange County Register.


GROSS: I'm Terry Gross.
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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