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Ask Ben Browder
Conducted on 13th December 2001

Here it is - you asked, Ben answered! Much to our delight, he didn't pick and choose from what we sent him, but addressed them all. Ben's answers are in bold. We quoted single questions exactly, and grouped a few similar questions together, noting where we combined and paraphrased those questions. All of the FAQs are combined and paraphrased and to protect the innocent, we left the names off the "worst" questions. Happy reading!

THE QUESTIONS, AND ANSWERS

My question is actually from my 10 year old son (Patrick) - and is probably
out of Ben's aegis,but he was looking at the Aeryn star tonight and he said
- "When Moya Starbursts - why doesn't she bang into stars?"

- from Sue (WITGOB) and son Patrick

The real answer is... I don't know. Sounds like something that is going to happen to us sooner or later though. I'd like to run that question by David Kemper... but feel sure the next episode would see us in the belly of a star.



Of all the Farscape episodes for which you've not yet done a DVD commentary, which would you most like to do one for, and why?

- from Beverley Spindler (Bexa)

"Won't Get Fooled Again"... From beginning to end one of the most intense and satisfying shoots for me on Farscape. Started with a great premise... great script... perfect director... everyone brought his or her best game to the shoot. I like it when I can rave on about the good things. This is not a comment on the relative strength of the episode, just my experience of making it. I believe it's a positive that some people hate the episode. You can't please all the people all the time... if you try you'll no doubt produce mediocrity.



When John refers to Chiana as PIP what is that in reference to.

- from Lisa Ramsey

Pip was a substitute for "Squirt" which was in the original script. It seemed at the time to be more endearing (though of course, I am probably wrong and the writers were right) and had the added benefit of being Dickensian in origin... thereby lending me a well educated air that I otherwise do not possess.



Who or what is the antecedent for John naming his pulse pistol
"Wynonna"? ... (And do we finally have the spelling right? )

- from Thinkum

Winona Ryder. I continue to screw up the spelling of that one. All important inanimate objects should be named after beautiful women. My biggest regret is that I never seized upon the opportunity to name the Farscape module... But in my soul, I call her "Betty".



What is the most important thing you can take with you from Farscape as an actor? In other words, what tecnique or tip or way of working have learned from Farscape that has the most impact your acting and is something that you can use in future projects?

- from CrystalMoon

I've learned it's not about Ben Browder, it's all about the story. Story is king. The actors' function is to tell a part of the story and if the story works you'll come out fine. If the story doesn't work, you're pretty much screwed no matter what you do. So... I reckon you try to work with the best people you can, and try to tell the best story you can, and try not to get caught up too much with yourself.



How did you go about making Moya Crichton different from Talyn John, because
they were different weren't they? How did you manage to focus on the
character to get such subtle differences and maintain them? Impressive in
the way that Moya Crichton was not liked as much but then you completely
turned him round in Fractures to get everyone empathising with him.

- from Sue Hudson

I can't really say I thought they were that different. Their situations were very different and they reacted to those situations. Kinda feeds my notion that the story is King... Same actor, same character... entirely different response from the audience. As an actor, the challenge was to try and remember which story you were in and remember what you didn't know (if that makes sense). The different coloured shirts helped out there, if I forgot which guy I was playing, I could look down and Bingo!... Once you have the story in your head it's simply a matter of playing out the situation.



What is the Shakespeare role you would most like to play? And why?

- from Toni

Falstaff; Pies...Beer... And the best rounded for comedy, wit, and pathos.

It is well known that you are a fan of the Bard. Since his plays
are not time or culture restrictive, they could easily be adapted to
Farscape. What Shakesperean play would you like to use as a Farscape
episode?

- from Nora N. Hogan

Not sure an entire play could be easily adapted. Themes and plots, certainly, but Shakespeare is heavily character driven, be a difficult one to one trade character wise. And the thing I most love about Shakespeare is the language... I'd have to be convinced we could pull that one off. Certainly something to think about though.



Crichton's been involved in some pretty bizarre situations. Is there anything the writers have come up with that you absolutely refused to do? Do you have a line that they know not to cross, like Claudia's no nudity contract stipulation?

- from Susan Haberer

No. The writers cross the line all the time, that's their job and they're good at it. I would hate it if they felt hamstrung in their writing because of something they felt I wouldn't do. We can always negotiate the line crossed after it's written... but I'm generally game for just about anything.



Name a few books or stories over the years that have really struck you, stayed with you, or perhaps caused you to perceive things in a new way.

- from Robyn Bender

Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer... I think most of us are secretly waiting on the island of misfit toys for Santa Claus. Somewhere there is a boy or girl who will love us... even if we are "just a misfit."

The Ring Trilogy... I read it a time when my imagination soared with it.

Atlas Shrugged... It was given to me by my girlfriend, who said I was her "John Gault"... Then she broke up with me half way through reading and I had to finish the book to understand what she meant.

Ulysses by James Joyce... Cause I STILL can't make sense of that book and it humblesme.



Crying, acting out pain, torture, great stress; What techniques do you use? To what extent do you have to go there mentally? Or can you just cry on command?[2 questions combined and paraphrased]

- from CrystalMoon, Maria F.

That's personal... though I might be coaxed into sharing it with a therapist.



Are there any scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor that you really wished had made it into the final edit?

- from Angie Hewitt (BritAngie)

We have stories I preferred in their longer, original cut. Some of them bordering on 60 minutes. However, we have only 44 minutes of screen time. Given that we CAN'T go longer... the lost scenes are all lost for good reason... To tell the best story in the allotted time. It would be nice for the audience to see the long version of some episodes, but not the scenes out of context. So there are many scenes I wish had made the final edit... but none that I would choose in preference to what is there.



If you were selected to be in the crew of the first Mars landing, and were allowed to bring any 10 CD's to listen to--keeping in mind that it will be at least two years before you get back to earth--which CD's would you take? (Can't take more than 10 due to weight and space[!] limits).

- from Olivia Hicks (oblivion7)

I'm not much of a music critic; my tastes are psychotically eclectic. And imposing my choices on an unsuspecting public would be irresponsible... PASS.



Which Farscape episode/scene makes you cringe?

- from Chelyn (whatchamacallit)

None of them and all of them... depends on my mood and who's watching. That's the honest answer... there are days when I love Jeremiah Crichton.



Which question are you asked most often, and which question do you wish would be asked instead?

- from Beverley Spindler (Bexa)

Most asked: What's it like working with puppets?
Wish they'd ask: ... What kind of trick is this? That's not my job to come up with the questions... it's my job to answer them. We'll have the reporters union all over our backs if I start coming up with questions.

What is the one question you are tired of answering in interviews?

- from Danielle Cormier

Anything to do with me... Haven't they heard enough already?... Let's talk about Claudia Black.




FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
(All questions combined and paraphrased)


What is physically the most difficult/dangerous scene you've had to film? Line of dialogue? Element of playing the role? What is the most difficult scene/line/element from an emotional standpoint?

- from Hattie, AerynJohn, Christine Cox (imloco2), FarGrng, Angie Hewitt (BritAngie), Suzanna Post, Robyn Bender

Most Dangerous: The exploding Jakench cockpit. From episode 221.
Most difficult line: "Kirk was fiction. I'm real." From episode 316
Most difficult emotional beat: You'll know when you see it in episode 322.

All of these were written by Bloomin' David Kemper.... I sense a pattern here.



What was your inspiration for Green Eyed Monster (was the idea mostly yours or did it come from several people)? What have you written before? What would you like to write in the future (Farscape or not)? As a member of the writing staff (as well as an actor, but especially as a writer) what would you like to see/not see for Crichton in the future? How much say do you get in character development?

- from Rob Berg, Tracey, Lauren (OboeCrazy), Helene Faherty, Angie Hewitt (BritAngie), D M, Christine Cox (imloco2)

This should be an essay question... have to answer it another time.



How did you end up pursuing a Psychology degree and how did you end up going from that to acting as a career? Had you not gone into acting, what (if anything) in the Psychology field would you have pursued? What has really stuck with you from your study of psychology? How have you used that background as an actor?

- from Kelly, Nora N. Hogan, Iilene, Fanny Rabie, Robyn Bender, Elizabeth

This is another essay question...



Surfing:

Favorite break? Old Man's

Favorite board? My new 9' Becker

Big waves or a little more tame? Below head and a half.

How long have you been surfing? 4 years.

Anything you want to wax poetic about? Nope. Surfing is awful. Don't try it. Stay out of the water. Remember the sharks!

- from Loki, Amy, Nathan Tinnin, Christine Cox (imloco2)



Life in Australia: Specifically, how alien/foreign does OZ seem to you? As Helene puts it, do you feel more like an alien in normal environment or normal in alien environment? How much of the "foreignness" has changed from the day you moved there until now?

- from Mary Fitch, Helene Faherty, Birgit, Alexandra Rostoker

Australia feels like home for now. I get more culture shock when I return to the USA. Can't really demarcate the changes being here has brought about. You should ask this question to someone who knew me before Oz. Self-analysis is too difficult and I'm basically incapable of it, being that I am completely biased in my behalf and would think all of the changes good ones.



A few people asked (some challenged!) you to answer the Bernard Pivot Questionnaire (Inside the Actor's Studio):

1.What is your favorite word? Yes

2. What is your least favorite word? Issue

3. What turns you on, inspires you? Women

4. What turns you off? Pettiness

5. What sound or noise do you love? The Breathing of sleeping children

6. What sound or noise do you hate? Whiny voices

7. What is your favorite curse word? Fuck

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Race Car Driver

9. What profession other than yours you would not like to participate in? Industrial Cleaning

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear god say when you arrive at the pearly gates? "They're all here."

- from Jeana Byrd, Beverley Spindler, Elaine M. Spyker, Loki



GENERAL FAQs
(Those submissions asked many times that reflect the curiosity of forums, chat rooms, and fans in general)


Where you were and what you were doing during the September 11 terrorist attacks and general thoughts on the attacks. [We were really hesitant about the appropriateness of this topic, but enough people are curious that we thought you should know should you choose to say something].

I have yet to be able to even fully verbalise my thoughts and feelings regarding September 11th. So I would not suppose to begin a written statement on this subject. Perhaps one day...



General impressions of fandom, fan culture, conventions, BBoards, etc. Do you lurk on the boards? Are you as curious about fans as fans are about you? Do we surprise you? Inspire you? Frighten you? Make you go "hmm?"

Hmmm? (There's an extra m in there)



What's a drannit? Many of us take for granted that it's just a word; The scene called for Aeryn to call John something that she would view as common knowledge or slang but he and the audience would have no idea what it is. A number of fans though seem convinced that you've worked out a definition or it has much deeper meaning than "just a word that we/Crichton aren't familiar with." Settle it for us?

No.



WORST QUESTIONS
(Hey, Ben asked! See below)


[Sweeping the can-we-be-a-little-less-specific category...]

"How would you have reacted if you were in "John"'s
shoes?"

Much more heroically.



[Sweeping the category for celebrities-are-gods-and-live-fairy-tale-lives...]

"Having read many interviews and transcripts of chats it appears that you have
a great family life, an exciting place to live, a job that you love and
co-workers that you have a great deal of affection for and who enjoy working
with you. My question is, what's it like to like happily ever after?"

No Comment.



[Paraphrasing and combining several questions, even if the topic is, well, questionable]

"What's it like to kiss Claudia? What would Claudia say it's like to kiss you?"

[Note; we answered this one on the site, stating, "We suggest you kiss another human being. It's a lot like that. Trust us."]

I actually find no two people kiss alike... uh... er... No Comment.



Any number of questions which amounted to "Ask Ben to Ask Claudia," most sexually loaded and most under the apparent belief that there is little or no distinction between acting out a romantic scene on film and romance in real life. Actually, we have heard it's quite the opposite; that filming a romantic/sex scene is about as un-romantic as it gets (heavily choreographed, 6 spotlights on your genitals, 150 cranky set workers looking on). If so, maybe now's your chance to set the record straight? ;-)

No Comment, and you can quote me on that.

Ben


FURTHER INFORMATION...
Don't forget, you can always discuss Ask Ben on our forums. If you have any questions about it, feel free to ask them there! Click here to go to the forums.

We would like to thank everyone for their submissions to this contest. We regret that not every question could be answered, but Ben is only human, so please remember that. As per the original rules, we picked those entries we felt were most creative/unusual, as well as some frequently asked questions. As for the worst questions, Ben did ask for a few. Please be aware that this was simply for a little bit of humour, and it is not our intention to insult anyone by including their question as one of the "worst." That would be why no names are attached. Honestly, we don't recall who
submitted them. We're laughing with you, not at you!

NOTE ABOUT COPYRIGHTS, AND POSTING THIS ARTICLE ELSEWHERE
If you plan on spreading the word about "Ask Ben" (and feel free to do so), please feel free to link to this page directly. However, we expressly ask that you do not post this article, in whole or part, elsewhere. That includes any websites, forums, mailing lists etc. If you would like to quote an excerpt, please e-mail me first.

SPECIAL THANKS...
We would like to thank Ben Browder for making this all possible, and I (Dani) would personally like to extend my thanks to Mary Wood - she knows why!
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