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Commentary Transcript
"I, E.T."

By Mary Wood

This is the commentary for "I, E.T." from the U.S. DVD. The commentary was done by Claudia Black and Anthony Simcoe.

About the transcript...

I do my best in these transcripts to stay true to the conversation, though I do clean up some of the stutters, "uhs" and "ums" for the sake of readability. The DVDs show the entire episode which isn't always run in it's entirety on TV (especially if you're in the U.S.), so there may be scenes referred to which you aren't familiar with. Text in italics refers to the show itself and what's happening on screen. Text in brackets [ ] is my own description of what's happening versus actual dialogue. E.g.; what you're seeing on screen, intonation of the speaker's voice, clarification of what the speaker is referring to, etc. Text in stylized brackets { } is text where I'm not too sure what the speaker is saying and I've either taken an educated guess or left it blank {…} when I have absolutely no clue.

Claudia and Anthony were much more laid back and playful than Rockne, Brian, and Ben in the Premiere commentary. This one really has to be heard to be truly appreciated, but I've done my best to capture the spirit of their banter. You would get sick of me quickly if I noted every time one of them giggled or laughed, so suffice to say that they're pretty much chuckling through most of the commentary, and I've noted wherever the laughter is exceptionally hard and/or crucial. I've read complaints that this commentary was too much fluff and not very informative. I beg to differ, especially after having meticulously typed it all out. I think the problem such folk are having is that Claud and Anth are so very animated during the "fluff" bits, they tend to be what sticks out in your mind when you listen to it rather than the more serious, more informative stuff. I found a lot of insightful discussion about the making of the episode, the people involved, the casting of Farscape, acting methods, and loads of other "serious" topics. I personally get just as much out of the "fluff" stuff like "The Pleasure Vibe 2000" (did that get your attention?). Claud and Anth's casual conversation makes you feel like you're there in the room with them, kicking back, hearing about a normal day on the set of Farscape.

Enjoy!

Commentary dialogue shows up in normal font.

{Bits in stylized brackets consist of that dialogue where I'm not too sure what they're saying. If you've seen it and can enlighten me, please do so!}

Show dialogue and screen happenings are in italics.


The transcript...

Claudia: I’m Claudia Black and I play Officer Aeryn Sun on Farscape.

Anthony: And hello, I’m Anthony Simcoe and welcome to this DVD commentary for episode two of Farscape.

[Opening scene: The crew are congregating in a corridor as a siren of some kind is inexplicably going off]

Claudia: The memories are flooding back already! Ok, act like there’s a really bad, loud noise.

Anthony: In fact we had one of the assistant directors doing the siren during the rehearsals which was really not helpful at all. In fact this is one of those scenes that got broken up over quite a few days. We had to shoot a few shots through this corridor … and then when we get to the end we’d run out of time and we found we had to just keep doing pickups for that scene over and over again.

Claudia: I think we also ran out of corridor. We sort of {Dr. Who} a lot of stuff in the corridors at Farscape.

Anthony: It’s a typical Farscape syndrome; we’ve run out of corridors again. We turn around and move back.

[Zhaan has found the source of the siren. It’s coming from inside the walls and accessible only through a narrow panel which Zhaan, D'Argo, Aeryn and Crichton can barely get their head and shoulders through, much less reach the device.]

Claudia: Yeah, and here we go this is a classic pick-up shot anecdote: Bend down and look like you’re looking at something strange and get up again and we’ll pick this up later [shot from inside the panel of each of them in turn looking inside the panel].

Anthony: Now that shot there, you see their heads sticking through and looking up into the guts of the ship was actually my very first B-unit day shot—

Claudia: [heartfelt tsk] Oh!

[Aeryn sticks her head through the panel niche to look at the device]

Anthony: And there’s your B-unit day shot.

Claudia: My first B-unit day.

Anthony: It’s very exciting to work on B-unit cause it’s a smaller crew. B-unit is the crew that goes along and picks up all these smaller sections of the story. So the A-unit’s off with the main story doing all the big stunts and the big scenes and the B-unit is the unit that goes in and picks up all that smaller stuff.

Claudia: Or as affectionately termed, “Chutney Unit” where you pick up all the bits and pieces. Either that or “Feral Unit” cause everyone’s a little bit wilder.

Anthony: Pilot’s always shot by B-unit as well, so he’s never shot by the A-unit, or rarely shot by the A-unit team.

Claudia: I’d just started Farscape at the time I was completing Pitch Black so right here they were sort of working overtime to get rid of the circles and bags under my eyes. So when I watch these early episodes of Farscape I’m just constantly reminded of Pino having to wake me up cause I was asleep on the side of the set I was so exhausted. But originally Aeryn had been cast elsewhere and they couldn’t get a person they wanted, and I came to it as a reader helping other people audition at the casting agency and put down a tape cause they thought I was perfect for the role … just in case. Went off to complete Pitch Black and got a call halfway through Pitch Black to come down and screen test with Ben Browder. And we ran the lines just before we went in to tape it and Ben turned to me and said, “You know what? This is perfect. We don’t need to rehearse this. Let’s go in and put it down on tape.” And the rest as they say is history.

Anthony: I auditioned for this show over a really long period of time, over about six months during which the show was called “Space Chase” and it came down to about seven auditions. At that time I was auditioning in an English accent because that was the brief. D'Argo was originally conceived as like a Scottish Pirate and that was an idea that we lost pretty quickly. So we had to do about seven auditions over six months and then finally when I got the job I was … what was I doing … I was directing a play in Sydney and they gave me the go-ahead and I had to be in London five days later and here we are.

Claudia: You were very lucky you were saved by the project of Farscape cause you were due to direct me in a play … with a couple of friends.

Anthony: I was?

Claudia: Yeah!

Anthony: Oh I was due to direct Claudia in a play very shortly after.

Claudia: We organized a dinner for you to come ‘round and talk to all the little eager actors waiting to be directed by Anthony Simcoe and you never showed!

[both laughing hard]

Anthony: I had a bigger offer somewhere else.

Claudia: I think you were in London getting your life cast on.

Anthony: Needless to say the project never went ahead.

Pilot: [telling the crew he’s not sure if Moya can land on the planet or not … the leviathian’s ability to do so is only a rumor] …though, no one knows if it’s true or not.

Crichton: Well if she can’t, she can’t. We can stick our legs between our legs and kiss our asses good-bye.

Anthony: It’s fascinating for me looking at the make-up here on this show because it was such an process to get the makeup ready for Farscape. We had a very quick pre-production time considering how late I was cast for the role. Had to fly over to London, get something called a “life cast” which is where they cover your body in alginate and form a perfect mold of your body. And then they integrate the makeup on top of that. But because I wasn’t in London except for the life cast – I flew over then flew straight back to Sydney because of the play I was directing – they didn’t have that much time to do tests. So in these first episodes, I’m completely constricted by movement and by the suit. I can barely stand up, let alone look left and right. The suit is incredibly heavy and quite cumbersome. They did a fantastic job of … we certainly had a lot of improvements to make and at this stage it was still next to unbearable to wear.

Claudia: I didn’t think you were actually capable of leaning back and pulling out your own qualta blade because you were so restricted.

Anthony: No…

Claudia: It was a really tragic sight!

Anthony: Terrible for a warrior not to be able to get his own sword out. Oh, here is my favorite CGI shot in Farscape.

[Moya crash-landing in the swamp]

Claudia: Beautiful.

Anthony: Absolutely wonderful Garner MacClennan, Paul Butterworth absolute genius in season 1 {…} and here we go, crashing into the water.

Claudia: Oh, just fantastic!

Anthony: That is … that is such detailed, wonderful work. I mean, that’s one of the shots I always think about when I describe what I call “the Farscape syndrome.” It’s someth… the production qualities are so high, that people often compare the CGI and the effects in Farscape to science fiction cinemas and say “Oh, yeah, this that and the other,” and you’re thinking “Wait a minute, this is a television show. This is something that’s turning over every week or every ten days a new episode and to get this much detail and level and beautiful CGI shots in like that is really a fantastic accomplishment. A real credit to Paul Butterworth.

Claudia: And of course at this stage we were shooting in episodic blocks, so this episode we called episode two – screened further down the line in America the first time ‘round – and episode four, “Throne for a Loss,” were filmed in one block by the same director, Pino Amenta. And it was an impossible task that we’d given him. Episode one and three were filmed together as well in the same block but with different directors. But Pino had this extraordinary task on his hands to try and deliver two episodes without knowing essentially what kind of show he’d come on board to. And he had a wonderful sense of humor and he dealt with the stress so beautifully but it was such a huge job.

Anthony: It was a mistake to shoot the show in blocks. We only ever did it twice with episodes one and three as a block and two and four. The reasoning behind it was that in Australia, normally with drama, you shoot in blocks like that. The reasoning being that you shoot out of set. So you may say “For these two episodes, we have five scenes on command in episode two and we have eight scenes on command in episode four, so let’s shoot those thirteen scenes together and then we’ll clear out of that set and move on to the next one. But this in the end just became a logistical nightmare.

Claudia: Yeah, I mean the logistics of shooting with Rygel you know … I mean six people I think it required on the floor to deal with him and there were people who hadn’t worked as a team I don’t think before. Or if they had, it was a new technology. And green screen … all the elements coming together. And the CGI, we had no idea what would be put in in post. We’d been given sort of {…} drawings or the image was explained to us. There were so many elements coming in that were unknown, it had to be sort of done in post.

Rygel: [explaining the cons of mud versus water] It grabs you. It sucks you down. You want to know about mud? I know about mud!

Crichton: Guy knows mud.

Anthony: Pino Amenta directed this block. Very difficult job; he wasn’t involved in the pre-production of the series, so in effect he was the very first director to come in cold to direct Farscape. And everyone universally agrees – and we even talk about it to this day – is that what Pino brought to Farscape that has stayed on and on and on is the level of comedic fun, the irreverence, the silliness if you want for … for want of a better word. Pino was fantastic at getting us to make comic choices and at this stage we sort of had another for science fiction in our head cause we had never made science fiction like this in Australia and we thought on science fiction, yes we can have these sort of quirky moments, but it’s meant to be science fiction. Isn’t that sort of lofty and serious? And then Pino’s like “No! Absolutely not! This show can not be like that! It’s gotta be silly, it’s gotta be irreverent, it’s gotta be funny. Look for the gags, look for the lightness.” And Pino was really the person who drove that into us and that legacy has stayed with us always.

Claudia: I think there was a nervousness perhaps because we were dealing with animatronic and it was important to make them lifelike so that the audience could connect to them. You know, you can take it so easy to look at those creatures and believe that they’re cast members with a heartbeat, so Pino took it beyond that point and made us all players in a troupe.

[The crew is asking Plot if there is any kind of numbing agent they can use for Moya]

Pilot: Clorium.

John & Aeryn together: Clorium

Zhaan: It’s an element.

Pilot: It is one of the six forbidden cargos. Leviathans cannot transport it because it numbs them.

Claudia: I have … as Aeryn I have quite a few scenes with Pilot and the puppeteers are enormously sensitive and as an actor it’s important to do what we call “offlines” which is the lines for them when we’re not on camera. Um… to make them as dedicated as possible because the puppeteers are sensitive enough to pick up on your performance and respond to it even though there are sort of five or six people in control of the puppet on screen at any given time. And Pilot’s face, it’s so articulated that I’ve actually included on one of my reels a scene where I’m crying with one of the puppets … which wasn’t a difficult thing to do at all because he’s a member of the cast, Pilot, really now. He’s so lifelike.

Anthony: The wonderful thing about having animatronics on set is that when you have creative minds contributing to a scene it’s not just you and Rygel per se, it’s you and the six people that operate Rygel. So you have all these wonderful ideas that you can spark against with this incredibly creative team and sometimes we have the time to really get together and make it work and sometimes we have to fly by the seat of our pants. But that’s ok because we’ve all got a great trust with one another. This … the puppeteers are a puppeteering team. They’re not really … they’re not really locked down to one character, although there’s someone in charge of each. So there’s John Eccleston here on series one operating Rygel with the puppeteering team. And then Sean … was it Sean Masterston that’s in charge of Pilot?

Claudia: UmmHmm.

Anthony: But it’s with the same puppeteers. So Sean is actually working Rygel and John is helping out on Pilot, sort of moving through different animatronic characters together. And then sometimes they’ll get some animatronics on the set. I mean, I remember in episode one with The Proprietor, everyone was so against the wall with getting things ready, The Proprietor puppet only arrived on set two hours before we had to shoot and the puppeteers had to go and do a good job with that without any rehearsal and of course they did a fabulous job and it looks wonderful. So it’s fantastic working with the puppeteers and they’re very well supported by the Jim Henson Creature Shop and it’s fantastic.

Claudia: We’ve found actually that the best way to make the puppets come alive is to touch them, is to have physical contact with them. It makes an enormous difference if you can get Rygel into your arms or into your hands, you instantly have a stronger relationship with him than something that’s got wires and rubber.

[D'Argo, Aeryn, and Crichton are creeping through the bog/woods of the planet at night, trying to get a fix on where to start looking for the clorium using the Peacekeeper particle analyzer they’ve brought with them]

Anthony: This is the very first night I ever felt comfortable in my suit because it was freezing and my costume is so incredibly hot, that everyone is after every take is ... blankets are coming around and hot drinks and coffees and people are being shunted into vans and I’m just going, “Hey, I’m cool.” “Anth, you want a hot drink?” “No, no. Bring me a Coke.”

Claudia: Yeah, we were freezing … Ben and I were freezing to death. It was about three in the morning, we were sitting in the car listening to Jeff Buckley feeling very sorry for ourselves!

Anthony: And also it’s our first prop with flashing lights.

[Both laughing really hard through this whole section, starting with their reference to the particle analyzer which kind of looks like a really high-tech … well, read on.]

Claudia: Oh, and no one wanted to touch it! We were all saying, “I’m not touching that thing…” That became the Pleasure Vibe 2000, that thing … that was the nickname for it.

Anthony: The Pleasure Vibe 2000!

Claudia: And it was like, “Dude, dude, I’m not touching that prop! There’s no way you’re givin’ that to me!” So we all took it in turns and at the end I think you lost buddy.

Anthony: But at the end of the day it never came back.

Claudia: Oh yes it did! They just turned it upside down and put some new lights on it.

[D'Argo, Aeryn, and Crichton ducking in the brush as the planet’s militaryesque natives search the area]

Claudia: Ooh, Xenons!

Anthony: Oh my god!

Claudia: Ooh! I think we flew them over on a plane, but they’re {…}—

Anthony: Long shafts of light in science fiction? No! Don’t tell me it’s true!

Claudia: Oh, wow! This is exactly like the X-Files only different!

Anthony: … And smoke … Yeah, this is so like the X-Files that it’s absolutely nothing like it.

D'Argo: We need to draw them away from the ship.

Aeryn: We need clorium!

D'Argo: Aeryn and I will distract them. You find the clorium and we’ll all meet back at the ship.

[D'Argo and Aeryn proceed to spread out, attracting the aliens’ attention, Aeryn with a brown leather bag over her shoulders]

Claudia: Farscape is the most physically arduous project I’ve ever been connected with and I would say that my { propreiception} as a child was never particularly good, I was a little geek and never caught a consort. And playing sort of … intellectually I knew that I could portray Aeryn. It took me a couple of episodes to really work out what to do with her and I knew that physically she needed to look enormously strong and capable and physically adept. When you’re running around with a bronze leather satchel you know, a little 70s looking pouch around you, it’s very difficult to look butch! And I’ve had no sort of physical training, I had no martial arts training and it was a concern of mine. Had I the time leading into Farscape and pre-production I certainly would have done some martial art and I asked to meet with some army people to train but it never happened. So I just had to sort of [high, innocent voice] make it up as I went along!

Anthony: I’ve got to say while I remember that a couple of shots back where D'Argo and Aeryn are sort of making sounds to distract the bad guys … [gets a huge laugh out of Claudia] … Ok, I hate DVD commentaries where they’re just commenting on how great everything is. Let me be the first person to tell you that those two shots are completely crap. And every time we see them, we’re very embarrassed. The script says “D'Argo dives out of a bush and distracts the bad guys …

Claudia: [Claudia makes a couple of bad alien sounds which cut Anthony off and get him laughing even harder] And the biggest problem we had –

Anthony: What type of sound am I gonna make? [Moos like a cow]

Claudia: No but the biggest problem we had was that we couldn’t make Earth-related sounds. We couldn’t go [makes some hybrid owl/chimp sound]

Anthony: Or, “Hey, you! Yeah!”

Claudia: Or [whistles] or whatever which is from an Australian show called “Skippy” which is the equivalent of “Lassie.” It was so hard to find some sort of signal or noise that I think in the script that was the problem. In the big print it was so funny, it had been written [sarcastically serious tone] “Aeryn and D'Argo make alien noises to alert Crichton’s attention.” Oh, what the hell is an alien sound?

Anthony: So all we can say is we’re sorry.

[It’s daylight now and Crichton has found a … house/building of sorts]

Anthony: This here is a scout hole just in the Northern Beaches of Sydney with some CGI planted in over the top of it. What I really remember most from doing this is I just felt so sorry for Pino, the director. Because if ever a shoot was rained out … I mean this … we were … it was pouring buckets of rain while we were shooting this and we could hardly get anything done!

Claudia: Come to Australia! It’s the sunniest place in the world, you’ll get more outside broadcast days than you could ever have imagined in the States!

Anthony: [Makes thunder/downpour noises] Rain! Wrong!

Claudia: As we say in Australia—

Anthony: The answer to that question is … wrong!

Claudia: … “sucked in.” We say “sucked in.”

[Aeryn and D'Argo reach Crichton through his comm badge]

Claudia: Oh, and here we have, you know, use of the comm badges. We never really established the premise by which some of these work.

Anthony: [Laughing hysterically now] Because none of the directors cared! That was what was horrible!

Claudia: No, they were frightened … no one wanted to establish anything.

Anthony: We walked on set and we had … Ok, do we touch the comms, do we ignore the comms, do we talk into the comms, do we talk out of the thing? One director would say, “Yeah, tap your comm.” One director would say, “Don’t touch your comm, just speak out into the thing.” One director would say, “Don’t touch it but point your head … push your head towards it and speak into it so people know what you’re doing.” And it was an absolute nightmare.

Claudia: Which of course the fans thankfully worked out for us on the Internet. They worked out a way that sort of logistically it could … it would be possible that these comms worked, despite all the different things that all the cast members were doing with their comms –

Anthony: They had a perfect theory worked out. [Geeky, American accent] “Yeah, well of course it’s like that because, la la la la la la…” And we learn from that, we learn from the board [presumably the scifi.com bulletin board?]. If we haven’t worked it out we go, “Oh, don’t worry. They’ll solve it on the board.” And they uh … so please, keep doing it ‘cause we love that stuff.

[Fostro finds Crichton in the barn]

Claudia: This was an extraordinarily rigorous sort of makeup job, an extraordinarily rigorous sculpt for what essentially looks like a humanoid alien, but what they did was extend the ears out the sides of the characters’ heads. Um, and it’s an incredibly difficult process as I’m sure Anthony can describe, but for a child what would that be like to sit in a chair and deal with that prosthetic application?

Anthony: It’s so hard to deal with prosthetics as a child, and it’s equally difficult for the makeup artist because they’ve got very fine detailed work to do and the patience of a child isn’t always fantastic, although this kid was fantastic. Um, but still, it’s very difficult to work prosthetics on a child because you’ve got the working hour problem. It may take a couple of hours to put the makeup on, you’re only allowed to work child actors for so many hours a day in Australia, so you have a very, very short window of opportunity to work with this kid.

Claudia: And with the rain!

Anthony: And with the rain, and the prosthetics, and the kid, we’d come up against a lot of brick walls in this episode. In fact to be honest, I would say that it’s probably one of the most difficult episodes that we’ve had to shoot.

Claudia: Yeah.

Anthony: We weren’t very happy campers. But we got the result in the end and that was fantastic.

[Crichton has just chased Fostro out of the barn and into the house. Fostro has a weapon aimed at him.]

Lyneea: [off camera] Fostro?

Crichton: Is that your mom?

Fostro: Mom!

Crichton: No, [Crichton steps forward, Fostro tenses on the weapon] Fostro! No!

[Fostro fires the weapon, stunning Crichton who falls to the floor, one arm out in front of him.]

Anthony: Oh, and the fake arm. Yes, the Creature Shop did a wonderful job of the arm here. So that’s a fake arm made by the Creature Shop they did a … an alginate cast of Ben’s arm, and then they individually punch every single hair in that hand and that’s where the real detail work comes in. They punch in each of those hairs and do the paint job to make it look like his arm so you can get this gag … coming up … here.

Crichton: [Awake, but imobile] I can’t feel my body!

Lyneea: Oh my gods!

Claudia: Mary Mara who American audiences might not recognize because of funky makeup—

[Crichton tries to lift the arm in front of him, but it just sort of wobbles loosely in the air…]

Anthony: There we go, there’s the arm moving now. Get that rubber effect.

[… and falls back to the floor]

Anthony: Keep that rubber effect.

Claudia: It’s workin’!

Anthony: [Geeky voice] It certainly looks like rubber my friend!

Claudia: I like the finger position that it lands in as well [hand had landed with all but the middle finger curled in]. That was serendipitous, wasn’t it?

[Lyneea has the weapon now and is keeping it trained on Crichton who is now starting to regain control and get up.]

Anthony: Now this thing that they’re pointing, it reminds me of the “Blake Seven” guns. I don’t know whether you got that in America, but that’s this British science-fiction show called “Blake Seven” which I’m an absolute fan of.

Crichton: Please, I already told your boy I’m not here to harm you.

Lyneea: Where are you from?

Fostro: He’s from space. He must have come down in that thing you were tracking last night.

Crichton: My name is John Crichton, and I’m from … [points upward]

Claudia: Mary Mara is an actress who might most recently be remembered for her work on “Ally McBeal” and I’m not sure … I’m sure she has a very extensive {C.V.}.

Anthony: I think she had a recurring character on “E.R.” as well. I’m not sure though.

Claudia: But she’d been attached to a very emotional episode of “Ally McBeal” concerning a child I think who’s sick and it was very well known in the States.

[Cut back to Moya. Zhaan is coming into Rygel’s quarters to talk with him.]

Claudia: Look at Rygel’s eyebrows, they were outta control in this episode. Rygel sort of underwent a metamorphosis and evolution if you like technologically and aesthetically and his eyebrows were just I think a little bit –

Anthony: Well his eyebrows are playing up there actually. Little bit of a shake going on.

Claudia: Yeah, he’s got a bit of a twitch, certainly.

Anthony: All the Creature Shop things went through a massive development – D'Argo, Rygel – simply because the pre-production for a show like this is immense. One of the problems that they had in getting Farscape up is that the normal process for making a television show is that you pitch it, someone picks it up, you make a pilot, then you go to another stage of decision making, and then you move on to see whether you’re going to make a series. But to do the pre-production required on a show like Farscape, there is no way any company in the world would invest the money to put into just a pilot. So they had the added difficulty of having to secure a season before they’d even made a pilot, which made it a very difficult show to sell.

[Begin first scene with Aeryn and D'Argo sitting in a tree, above and out of sight of the military guys searching for them.]

Claudia: Oh, this scene. Oh, this scene, this brings back some shocking memories! This is kind of me at my absolute lowest of the low on Farscape! I was exhausted … massive dramas left right and center, and after completing they said, “Right now, we’re going to stick you up a tree.” Very difficult to balance in the top of that tree with Anthony and his enormous costume.

Anthony: It’s actually very high up. It’s a really high crane shot. This … it’s not one of those things where the camera is tricking you that it’s high. It’s actually … it’s high and the camera is making it look … we’re really high up in the tree.

[D'Argo grabs at something behind Aeryn’s back]

Claudia: And each of the directors have what they call “tokens” for CGI and Pino had just allocated where he was going to use them. That was the very extensive shots at the beginning of the landing of Moya so he simplified everything else which followed. And in this scene it was scripted that a bird was supposed to fly past and D'Argo was supposed to stick his hand out and strangle the bird, uh ... and we sort of had to discuss this while sitting up the tree what we were gonna do.

Anthony: Cause he had run out of tokens, so he…

Claudia: The end—

Anthony: So I had to do the cheesy, [geeky voice] “Well, it’s actually behind your back.” [Both laugh hard] … [D'Argo voice] It’s ok, I’ll kill it anyway.

Claudia: Yeah, I think … and this is what we were referring to in those good old days as “Euro scenes.” They were scenes that didn’t necessarily make the cut in the American version that went on air here. The European version runs slightly longer because of advertising time … or lack of. So—

Anthony: Yes, so I think for many Americans this will be the very first time that they’ll be seeing this scene.

Claudia: Or some of them. In the early episodes there may be scenes here on DVD release that you haven’t seen.

Anthony: What’s interesting also about that last scene is you can see the contacts still in D'Argo’s eyes. Not many people notice this, but D'Argo starts out wearing green contacts as a part of the makeup and I really didn’t like this cause I believe that you read the emotion of a character through … many ways, but one of the ways is through the dilation of the pupils. And I thought, cause I’ve got so much rubber on already, can’t you at least give me my pupil changes? And so we had that bit of drama. Also very, very uncomfortable and after we shot that scene up in the tree I went back to the makeup van and unfortunately some makeup remover got in my eye and I had to be rushed to hospital because I’d actually burnt my cornea. And so from that point – I was only in hospital overnight and I was back at work by I think the following Wednesday – but we had a problem because the doctor said, “Well you know, this is actually a very serious accident. You can’t wear any contact lenses –

Claudia: [Mock frustration, American accent] Oh, Dammit!

Anthony: – for a couple of months. I go, “I’m in the middle of a series … I’m in the middle of an episode!” And a block of episodes if you like – so this is two, so it’s two and four. So what’s interesting is that you’ll see in episodes two and four of Farscape, scenes where I have the contacts in and scenes where I have the contacts out, and after this point we just kept the contacts out all the way up until series two … in series two which I had to {wipe} them in again, and I didn’t like is and so I got them out.

Claudia: It was such a shocking scene, that scene. I was sitting up at the top of the tree and they accidentally … someone just said, “Ok, we’re bringing you down” and they brought this huge, long st- … you know, metal ladder up to the tree, smashed the ladder up against the top of the tree to make sure it had contacted with something – and it had, it was my hand. And I was sort of really trying to portray a strong character up there on the tree and all I was saying to myself was, [serious, trying not to be frantic voice] “Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Please don’t cry in front of about a hundred and fifty people who think you’re playing an incredibly tough character.” And Anthony was sort of behind me squeezing onto my arm saying just, “Here’s a new sensation. Think about this. Think about this.” It’s like, “Let me punch you in the head so you don’t think about your hand.” [Anthony laughing hard] Nightmare.

Anthony: I was trying to make her laugh but I think she was in a little bit too much pain. She wasn’t having a {bar} of it.

Claudia: [Choking back sobs] Ooh … um … my … fing … er … hurts … and … I … go … eh … oh …

Anthony: [Desperately consoling] Uh … it’s ok … settle down … uh…

Claudia: So of course you had to one-up me you bastard and go to hospital after that.

Anthony: I was craving the attention.

[Crichton is telling Lyneea he’s not sure where he is and maybe if she could show him some astrological charts…]

Crichton: … constellations, galaxies. I might even get a fix on the Milky Way, maybe even Earth.

Claudia: Oh, and just … each day Ben and I used to count our bruises as we got off set and I remember one particular fight scene in an episode shortly after this where I’d said – no, it was episode three. When Aeryn – sort of a replicant – … Crichton comes into command and he sees her and he thinks it’s Aeryn but it actually … in actual fact it’s just a replicant and they go into this fight scene. And our stunt coordinator left set and he’d left somebody else on set and in between … the communication kind of got lost somehow down the line because I’d said to … I’d asked them to ask Ben to move several feet away because I was going to do quite a … sort of a exaggerated kick up into the air as if I was kicking him in the stomach. And I’d warned Ben just before we went to the take to make sure that he’d been given that information and he didn’t understand what I was saying. And I was gesticulating, saying, “Move back” as sound was rolling and they’d called “action” and I said, “Just a foot or so.” And he registered something that he’d heard me, so I thought, “Ok, fine.” So I step in to do the kick and of course make contact with Ben Browder’s ribs! And it took him a while to trust me after that but you know, there’s so many battle scars that you walk away with on this show and I remember … I was doing a scene with you Anthony, further down the track in season one. And they said, “Ok now, to just overlap what the stunties have done, could you please take a leap through the air and slide across the floor.” And I said, “What do you mean ‘slide across the floor’?” And they said, “Well, just throw yourself onto the floor and land.” And I said, “But I’ve got exposed arms, I’m wearing a singlet, what do you mean land on the floor?!?” [Both laughing hard] I was such a girl! I never did that again, I now relish every opportunity to throw myself around, I don’t … I’ll never do that again!

[D'Argo and Aeryn in the tree again, waiting for word from Crichton and musing on how he’d said this planet reminds him of Earth]

D'Argo: … no interplanetary travel, retrograde technology, fossil fuel-burning ground vehicles. He is a savage.

Aeryn: Hmm.

D'Argo: Does that bother you?

Aeryn: No. Of course not. Look, he’s had plenty of time to find the clorium. I’m going back.

D'Argo: Signal me immediately if he’s there.

Aeryn: And if he’s not there?

D'Argo: I will go find him. [Aeryn laughs at him] You think I will not?

Aeryn: I think I’ll be searching for both of you in less than an arn, eh?

Anthony: The voice was the biggest struggle in trying to find the character of D'Argo. Because we didn’t want a Worf type of sound which is a very clear, very beautiful voice and I really didn’t even want to make the voice beautiful like that. I wanted to make it much rougher and harsher and have a little bit more what I would call ‘dirt’ in this sound. But we just couldn’t find the voice and it was very difficult to rehearse with me out of makeup because the voice is such an integral part of the whole character that you really need to be in makeup to judge whether the voice is working for you or not. And we tried and tried and tried and people were really starting to panic because we hadn’t made a decision. And then one night I was at home mucking around with friends doing a … my version of movie trailers. So I’d be doing things like, [exaggerated movie-trailer voice, which happens to be the D'Argo voice] “It’s here! Jim Henson Productions presents [makes explosion sounds] the most exciting series on television! [makes more explosion sounds]” You know, stuff like that. And I thought, “Wow! I’ve got to go into work tomorrow and see whether I could possibly get away with doing my movie-trailer voice as my D'Argo voice. And I went into work and I said, “Andrew! Brian! I’ve come up with it! I think I’ve got the voice for D'Argo! [in D'Argo voice] I think D'Argo should sound like this.” And they’re like, “No. Absolutely not. He’s not going to sound like that.” And we actually didn’t make a decision until we got on set, very first day that I had to shoot as D'Argo, in the makeup. We still hadn’t made a decision. Andrew Prowse, the director, was so busy with other things I think I asked him at the right time because he had a million other things to think about. I went up to him, I said, “Andrew, [D'Argo voice] I really think that I should speak like this.” And he said, “Alright, go, go, do it.” And so, bang! We rolled the cameras, I was on and I started speaking like that, and that’s how the voice of D'Argo came around. I mean, when I watch these first episodes, I can still hear that the voice hasn’t really settled into what eventually became the very solid D'Argo voice. Also it’s [severe D'Argo voice] always much deeper down here, whereas … as time went on, [softer D'Argo voice] we developed an aspect of D'Argo’s voice that sounded a lot like this, which was still rough and dirty but a lot lighter.

Claudia: [sounding turned-on] Ooh! [both laugh hard] It was interesting because the accents and voices of the characters became not just the domain of the actors to work out, to experiment with, but also those of the producers because it was a co-production. We were representing England, Australia, and America. Um, the Aussies are very proud, we were all hoping that we could use sounds that were closer to our home voices. I personally have a sort of a bit of a mix. My voice is more Australian than English, but it has sort of a blend of several sounds. Sort of an English family {waver} but brought up in Australia. My mom and dad are Australian but their forefathers were not, and we were always taught to speak [exaggerated U.K.-ish voice] “round and forward” when we were growing up. And I always wished I was this fabulous actress in Australia, Sandy Gore, who appeared in our show in season 2, [Sandy Gore voice] “who has the most fantastic voice.” Um, and she’s one of my idols. And I remember reading an article about Sam Neill, he was doing “Event Horizon” and all the actors were approached and they were asked, “In space, in the future, your country would be represented by what flag? You can choose or you can design it.” And Sam Neill chose the Koori flag, the Aboriginal flag to wear, to represent Australia. And I remember thinking, “Well obviously in space there are … not only can you not be heard when you scream, but there are no precedents.” So I wanted to create a sound that was international and incorporated many elements of the show – the English and the Australians who were represented – and Aeryn’s got quite a hybrid voice. Which of course then caused problems for Peacekeepers – people who had to come in and play Peacekeepers – because they didn’t know what kind of sound to create because they couldn’t use my voice as a model because it’s naturally such a melange of sounds. But it seems to work for the character.

[Rygel has been extracting the beacon from Moya while Zhaan’s been sharing Moya’s pain, but it is proving to be too much for both Moya and Zhaan.]

Anthony: What’s been amazing about shooting Farscape for us is the sense that we’re really doing it in a bubble because we’re shooting in Australia and Sydney – series 1 we shot here in Fox studios and series 2 we ended up moving to our own studios. But to hear back the success of the show overseas was really quite surreal because it wasn’t on air in Australia, we had no contact with anyone who was watching the show, people would asking us, “Oh, what are you doing now? I haven’t seen you in any films or anything recently, what are you up to?” And you’d say, “Well, I’m doing this science fiction series now called Farscape.” And they’d go, “What’s that?” “Well, it’s this American cable show.” You know, fine, ok, let’s go to there and that’s the end of that. No one knows how it’s going, and in fact we didn’t really either … we hear, “Oh, ok, it’s going really well,” but we have actually no contact with the success of the show.

Claudia: Working completely in a vacuum.

Anthony: So it was really interesting to … we’ve actually just finished our very first Farscape Convention yesterday, which was very interesting to interact with people who actually watch the show, which was fantastic.

[A military commander is questioning Lyneea about the presumed extra-terrestrial object she tracked last night, trying to divert them away from Crichton and Moya.]

Commander Ryynax: I don’t understand. When you first contacted me, you were extremely excited about your readings.

Lyneea: I’m still excited.

Claudia: One of the interesting things about starting Farscape was working out the tone of the show and what kind of energy we wanted to put across. And of course there’s enormous physical energy with explosions and fight sequences and the most important thing was finding an energy between the characters. So there’s antagonism, there’s uh… conflict. But there also needs to be a spark. You need sexual sort of … you need a sexual sense in there and you also want to see a humorous spark from living within a seed of humor living within each of the characters, cause I think it’s incredibly endearing. And over a long series, you want to be entertained, you don’t just want to see explosions and pulse rifles going off left, right, and center and we were treading a very fine line between the comedy elements of the show at that stage and the action. And I think in season 2 it develops to a point where there’s a lot more improvisation from the actors contributing and pushing the line of the humor more.

Anthony: We look back on these episodes and actually think that we hadn’t … that we didn’t push the comedy enough. There’s hints of it there and Pino certainly brought it out of us, but there are some moments where I’m sure we would play it very differently today. As Claudia said, part of finding the tone of the show.

[Aeryn has just returned to Moya and is looking for Zhaan and Rygel]

Rygel: Here, Aeryn! Here! [Aeryn runs into a room to find Rygel tending to Zhaan, who is lying down and very weak]

Aeryn: What’s wrong?

Rygel: We need to take off immediately. The ship is collapsing and Pilot is refusing to follow my commands.

Claudia: Oh, here are all the kids who get stuck up on Moya. There’s always two or three who get stuck up on the ship while everyone else goes down to location so they can separate the workload for a bit of the ensemble.

[Rygel doesn’t want to continue cutting the beacon out of Moya. When Aeryn reaches to grab him and make him do it, he takes a bite out of her arm.]

Ahh! Being bitten by a puppet! Ooh, scary! Ooh, hurt. [Anthony laughs hard] I remember on that take, just getting Rygel to look like he was swallowing something took half a day because the motion … Rygel’s obviously got no neck movement. So sort of, putting a chunk of foam covered in sort of tomato ketchup into his mouth was uh, yeah … oh, and look, he’s got no blood on his mouth now.

Anthony: Now it’s gone.

Claudia: Whoops!

Anthony: The {timing} works fast, that’s all I can say.

Claudia: They’ll never notice that!

Anthony: It’s part of the effort to try and make the puppets live as characters, to try and not make them too cutesy. So that’s why I think they’re very careful about making Rygel really one of the nastier or meaner characters and they inject those moments like biting the arm to try and remove the, you know, kid’s show like nature of working with animatronics. And that’s developed over time.

Claudia: Yeah, the antithesis of Muppets: What would Kermit never do? I know, bite someone’s arm and then swallow the flesh. Brilliant. Let’s use it.

Anthony: There’s a plan!

Claudia: And these puppets, as you know we’ve mentioned before, they’re much more articulated. The technology’s advanced so much and you have different puppeteers commanding different elements of the puppets. Someone’s dealing with the eye expressions, someone’s dealing with the ears and the twitching there, and the mouth movement is done by the puppeteer – his hand is inside the puppet. Oh no actually, and it’s animatronic as well. The technology I think changed from season one to season two.

Anthony: Yeah, season one, John’s—

Claudia: It was puppeteered. The mouth was puppeteered.

Anthony: Yeah, he’s doing the opening and the closing motion with his hand that’s inside the puppet, and he’s doing the articulation of the lips with what looks like a joystick which is strapped around his waist like a belt, and as he makes each vowel sound he’s pushing this joystick a thousand miles an hour in different directions. It’s a truly incredible thing to watch. It’s like watching an incredible musician playing a piano or a violin or something like that. The amount of dexterity and precision needed to just do a normal sentence is incredible. You have no idea how fast that joystick has to move unless you’ve actually seen it. When I first saw it I was completely blown away, cause I thought it’d be, “Ahh yeah, push it there, push it there, move your hand and it’ll be fine.”

Claudia: Yeah, ‘hand in the sock.’ But it’s the most exceptionally difficult task for this result.

Anthony: His hand that’s not inside the puppet is working a million miles an hour just to get one sentence out.

Claudia: It was also … it’s traditional I think with the Henson group and certainly with puppeteering in the old days that the puppeteers’ voices would be used. So we were used to John Eccleston’s voice, and it informed the character of Rygel to an extent. So we didn’t really meet Rygel – a the real Rygel – and get to know his character properly until Jonathan Hardy came in …

Anthony: The wonderful Jonathan Hardy.

Claudia: … and voiced … yeah, beautiful Jonathan Hardy. His eyebrows look exactly like Rygel’s. It’s fantastic! I can understand—

Anthony: Jonathan Hardy has the largest eyebrows … in the universe.

Claudia: They are so out of control! When people meet him … an a.d. came up in the lunchroom – I think I’ve told Jonathan this story afterwards – I was talking to Jonathan at lunch and one of the a.d.s came in to tell me I was needed in makeup and he lost concentration midstream in a sentence cause he noticed Jonathan’s eyebrows, and afterwards came up to me and said, “Dude, dude, that man has the most out of control eyebrows I’ve ever seen!”

Anthony: He is the most wonderful actor. Absolutely incredible to work with, and he has the most energy and commitment of any person I’ve ever met in my life.

Claudia: And he has such a difficult job because he has no physical relationship on set with any of the performers. He has to go into a sort of a dry, cold, ADR booth and bring life back into the character of Rygel a second time after it’s been done beautifully by the puppeteers and we didn’t really get … become acquainted with Rygel until that final element had be put into place and that required seeing some episodes finished in post, and we didn’t have that luxury for quite some time as we were shooting season one.

Anthony: It’s one of the fantastic things about working in science fiction – and also one of the challenging things – is that much of the story is completed in post production. So, often we’re working with green screens, looking at walls where there will be characters but there aren’t any now. And so dealing with that is a particular … I wouldn’t say skill but leap of imagination. It’s often interesting to finally see the finished product with all the explosions and the rig removals done and the effects. What was I guess more challenging at this point in time is that we hadn’t seen any of it finished. Now that we’ve been doing Farscape for quite a while, we have an idea about the visual look of the show in terms of CGI. But at this point in time, all we had were sketches and drawings, so we didn’t know what sort of shape the CGI would take on, what sort of life it would bring to the show, cause it extends the universe so much – the universe of the show, the CGI work. So we really were working cold. When we were told that there’d be a hologram of Pilot, we didn’t exactly know how that would look. In fact I think they experimented with a few different types in the show as well – of the hologram.

Claudia: Yeah

Anthony: But that was what was more challenging at this point in time. It’s interesting for me watching these early episodes because I got this amazing phone call once from Rockne O’Bannon – the creator of the show. And he was complimenting me, but in complimenting me he let me in on one of their plans that I wasn’t meant to know about because he said to me, “Anthony, we love your work on the show, we think you’re doing fantastic, because we originally just wrote D'Argo as the guy who’s come in, scream, and leave. You know, a background warrior type guy. But you’re sort of trying to find more naïve and more vulnerable parts to the character and we think that’s fantastic. Do you mind if we explore more … that part of D'Argo?” And I said “Yes, please, let’s go down that direction.” So I think in these first episodes, you’re really seeing the archetypal warrior much more than you do in future episodes, but you are starting to see the hints of vulnerability, of me trying to find or trying to inject moments of compassion and softness if you like. Because if he did continue in the show just as the blustering tough guy, then he would become very, very boring … very boring to play. So it’s really interesting for me to look back on these episodes, cause not only had we made that decision to go down that path in quite a full on way, also at this point in time I’m physically very bound by the costume cause we hadn’t really fixed up many of the issues, so I can’t really turn my head properly, I can’t see properly, I can’t move. So, there’s lots of constraints going on there that I’m really happy that we were able to deal with in future episodes. I’m still proud of what we’re doing here, but it’s really is just a genesis of where we’re going to take the character of D'Argo in the future.

Claudia: I was so lucky when Farscape came along because the casting directors had said to me, “You are so perfect for this role but I don’t know if we’ll ever cast it here in Australia. The other characters are being cast here besides Ben’s, but I think you’ll miss out. But let’s put you down on tape just in case they change their minds.” And of course I do now play Aeryn, but Brian Henson actually said to me, “You weren’t what we envisaged. We didn’t imagine that we would hire an actress like you to portray this role. You’re more mature, you’ve been around the block a bit, and we wanted originally Aeryn to be more naïve. So we need to take your lead on this. You give it a go and we’ll develop the character around you.” And I said … and I’ve been told several things. I’ve been told that she was kind of like a robot, that she had no emotions, and then I’ve been told … which is a more interesting choice dramatically and as a performer that she is … she is like a human but she’s been taught to suppress all her emotions and she’s never had a forum in which to display and express more sensitive emotional sides to her character. And I thought personally that she had the most interesting character arc to portray because she has such extremes, such polarities within her nature. And although I didn’t endow myself with the strength and confidence to really take the lead and create Aeryn Sun, it took until about episode seven – PK Tech Girl – where I really felt that I started to nail who Aeryn Sun was. And I was so nervous at the beginning that I had to accommodate everybody’s wishes and hopes for Aeryn cause I knew she was such a fantastic character. I just wanted to really do her justice.

Anthony: With the time, one of the things we hadn’t really discovered or fleshed out properly at this stage was the age of D'Argo. Because if we were going to keep D'Argo as sort of a more 2-dimensional warrior, then I guess he’d be aged somewhere in his thirties, but that … I thought that was going to be quite uninteresting to play. So what I decided very early on was that D'Argo would be like a sixteen year old, and you don’t see many flashes of that in these early episodes but as time goes on we get more of a chance to explore it. But every single opportunity I could get to display that sort of naivete, I pushed it in. It’s someone who wants to be something other than what he is. He might become that one day when his learnt more lessons, but at the moment he’s got too many hang-ups about who he is and who he can be to fully explore that.

Claudia: The life of the aliens in the Farscape world … it’s kind of like, it’s akin to dog years. Uh, a Sebacean lives approximately 200 cycles or the equivalent of about 200 years. So uh, we’re going to age a little more gracefully on this show than most.

Anthony: And Crichton’s always worried about dying before everyone else. You’ll be alright Ben.

[Crichton is saying goodbye to Fostro and Lyneea as D'Argo waits in the background.]

Fostro: [Handing the comm he found in the barn to Crichton.] Here, this is yours. [Walks over to D'Argo to say goodbye to him.]

Claudia: [sarcastically] D'Argo’s looking very interested over there in the background.

Anthony: Oh this kid was freaking out during this scene, so I—

Claudia: Ok kid, just stand there and act like you’re in a conversation with a—

Anthony: He was having a real … a bit of trouble walking from there … he’s a beautiful boy but when … and absolutely wonderful, but I think by this time he was just a bit tired.

Claudia: Yeah, this is afternoon.

Anthony: So, I was over there trying to just to keep him happy while Ben and Mary are trying to do their scene.

[Crichton gives Lyneea a quick kiss]

Lyneea: That’s how your people say goodbye?

Crichton: What? Your people don’t do that?

[Lyneea licks her lips and coyly shakes her head “no.”]

Fostro: Goodbye D'Argo

Anthony: At this stage, in that suit, I was dying. It was so uncomfortable. I think actually this is the stage where I got heat blisters all over my neck. So there are actual blisters from my chin down to my adam’s apple because I used to have to wear a helmet underneath the thing … they had to strap one underneath my chin that caused heat blisters.

[On Moya, Rygel is still cutting away at the beacon. Zhaan is desperately trying to hang on and share Moya’s pain and Aeryn is helping hold Zhaan up while fluid lines are rupturing along the wall next to them.]

Claudia: Oh, it’s really difficult to film sequences where Zhaan would be around elements like water because Virginia Hey is covered in paint which will obviously run in these sorts of extreme environments. And they managed to put us into sort of water twice I think and then they thought it wasn’t such a terrific idea. Episode three when Aeryn’s suffering from heat delirium when … and the two chicks are in the shower together … it made a great image for sort of advertising purposes, but I think the practicality of it soon sort of necessitated a change of direction. And whenever you’re working with special effects on set you always then have to go in and redo your dialogue because they need a clean track. We’re now doing at the moment, about I’d say 60-80 percent of our dialogue again because of the studios that we’re shooting in. A lot of the stuff that you see in the show is very action-based and what you’re doing … your commitment as an actor to the activity will inform the vocal quality with which you perform. And it’s very difficult to then get back in to the ADR booth and redo your dialogue without the physical action attached to it.

[Wide shot of Pilot’s chamber.]

Claudia: I love this!

Anthony: Ahh, yeah. One of the very first composite shots of Pilot’s den. Yeah, in actuality of course all we have on set is the barrier around Pilot and the puppet itself and then all the rest is added in with a plate shot and with CGI.

Claudia: And that was the first time … we were shooting for weeks on end before we saw that shot complete.

Anthony: Yes, that was wonderful for us to see how large that area is and extensive, cause when you’re on set shooting it, you imagine that Pilot’s in quite this contained space. But in fact it’s really large.

Claudia: And it’s only in … I think towards the end of season one and early in season two that the environment of Pilot’s den has been sort of broadened by the directors who have been cheating … sort of what would exist below, just below Pilot’s den and around it.

[Rygel has finished cutting the beacon out of Moya. Aeryn is sitting next to Zhaan who is lying on the floor and barely conscious.]

Aeryn: Zhaan. Zhaan. It’s done.

Zhaan: [smiling weakly] Ouch.

Crichton: [through Aeryn’s comm] Aeryn, let’s go.

Claudia: This is at the very early stages of the Crichton and Aeryn relationship and earlier on in the episode you’ll see that we were sort of bashing against bulkheads together and developing that unresolved sexual tension, Moonlighting-in-space type banter. Uh, Aeryn doesn’t quite know how to deal with Crichton. She’s been brought up in an environment where she had no parental guidance, she was taught that emotions are not to be expressed or displayed unless they are those of anger and … you know, more negative warrior style emotions. To be very focused, to not think about anything sentimental or romantic because it will get you killed in the heat of battle. And she’s intrigued by him, she’s incredibly intrigued by Crichton, but she’s very threatened by what he represents which is the removal and … the removal from her environment and the necessity for change to survive.

[Shot of Moya leaving the swamp and flying back into space.]

One of my most treasured memories of Farscape was in the very first week, and Anthony Simcoe and I were standing in the wings about to go on set. And I remember you saying, “I can’t believe I’ve spent my entire childhood wishing to be on a show like this, wanting to pretend for half of my childhood that I could be out in space, and I’m about to walk on to set, on to command, and say, ‘Pilot, prepare for starburst.’”

Anthony: It was my favorite line in the whole thing. I just wanted to get out there. [D'Argo voice] “Pilot, prepare for starburst.” It’s like, yeah!!!

[Credits start to roll]

Claudia: Thank you very much for the opportunity to do this commentary – I love listening to DVD commentaries myself at home. And I hope you’ll take the time over these credits to have a look at some of the names of these people who are involved in season one and creating quite an extraordinary journey for all of us.

Anthony: And cheers. Thanks very much, hope you enjoyed it.


References and trivia...

Mary Mara

The "Ally McBeal" episode to which Claudia refers is titled "Angels and Blimps" and first aired on 8 February, 1999. It centered around a boy dying of leukemia who, upon meeting Ally, asks her to help him sue God for giving him this disease. Mary Mara plays the boy's mother and Haley Joel Osment ("The 6th Sense") plays the boy. It was both one of "Ally's" most humorous and tear-jerking episodes, often cited by fans among the favorites.

Sandy Gore

Sandy played the judge in season two's "Dream a Little Dream."

"In space, no one can hear you scream."

Claudia makes a passing reference to this pop culture bit. If you don't know where it's from, you should be ashamed of yourself! It's from the original "Alien" movie. The phrase caught on well with many purist sci-fi fans. A staple in sci-fi tv and film is loud explosions and noises in space. In reality, there is no sound in space as sound waves require an atmosphere to travel through. So, it's true; no one can hear you scream in space.

Aeryn's accent

I personally found it interesting to hear Claudia talk about her accent and Aeryn's accent. I am American, and have often prided myself on being able to pick out nationalities and even regional dialects in accents. But Ms. Black's accent completely threw me for a loop. Whenever I was tempted to say, "I guess it's Australian?" the next sound out of her mouth caused doubt. To my ears, the main difference between Aeryn's accent and Claudia's is that she puts a little more "street" into Aeryn. I've heard her say in other interviews that Aussies think she has a little British accent and Brits pin her as Aussie. I'd love to hear from any Brits and Aussies out there how both Aeryn's and Claudia's accents sound to them! Incidentally, I've also heard Claudia do an American accent, both for Farscape and other shows. Sorry to report that so far, I've yet to hear her nail it. She still sounds – to this discerning American anyway – like an Aussie who moved to the States some time ago and hasn't quite lost the Aussie accent.


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