Commentary Transcript By Becka Comer
This is the commentary for "Wait for the Wheel" from the U.S. DVD released by ADV Films.
The commentary was done by Claudia Black.
(Previously on Farscape. Scenes from Self Inflicted Wounds: Part One Could'a, Would'a, Should'a)
Self Inflicted Wounds, Part 2: "Wait for the Wheel"
(And now on Farscape)
(Opening scene. John hangs from the ledge in Pilot's den after an attack by the wormhole serpent. Later, Zhaan and Aeryn join John and Pilot in the den.)
Hi. I'm Claudia Black; I play Aeryn Sun on Farscape. Hopefully you know that!
By this stage it's episode four into season three. Um, might recap on a couple of things that occurred in episode one as I think this will be the first commentary of this season that you'll receive. Aeryn was dead at the end of season two. She's brought back to life by Zhaan, who, um, links herself with Aeryn's spirit while Aeryn is inside a pod, and she's frozen. This is, of course, to the detriment of Zhaan's well-being and also her relationship with Stark. So this sets a whole interesting sequence of events in motion. Zhaan here in 'Wait For The Wheel' is getting increasingly worse. Crichton in this scene has found an opportunity to get home through wormhole technology. And currently our ship has been fused with Pathfinder Neeyala's ship. She's a scientist that Crichton's just, um, negotiating with. We're not sure at this point what her intentions are.
He's also seen at the end of episode three images from 'The Three Stooges' which means that, um, within the wormhole there is knowledge about Earth and that's why Crichton now knows he can find the way home. This is the first real link he's had to getting back to Earth. Which throws a whole lot of interesting dilemmas in the mix for Aeryn, especially because she doesn't know if she'd fit back on Earth. She doesn't particularly like the idea of going with him, but she'll lose him otherwise.
And there's a lot of tension now because Zhaan has given her life for Aeryn. As Zhaan is, um, starting to lose her life in this episode, Aeryn is becoming increasingly more aware of the fact that Zhaan has essentially made such a massive sacrifice for her. And Aeryn's having to really consider everything she does and all the choices she makes to make sure it's been worth the life. And, of course, nothing really is worth the life.
When Aeryn is brought back to life in episode one, she is reunited with Crichton, but decides she can't afford to let other people die because of...because of her. So she wants to try to distance herself form Crichton. So they're a little isolated in this episode when we find them.
(Pause. We see Neeyala and another Pathfinder on board their ship.)
This is one of the first signs, really, for the audience, that Pathfinder Neeyala's intentions may not be entirely clear. It's an important relationship for Crichton, and this sows the seeds of technology which he will start searching for through the whole of this season and into season four about wormhole technology. And she is referenced further down the line.
And the actors playing those two key characters... Pathfinder Neeyala is played by Victoria Longley, who's a very well-known Australian actor, very interesting woman. Who decided for her character, who looked a little reptilian, that she'd do a special sort of s-s-s-s-s-s sound every time an 's' came up. But of course, unfortunately, none of the other guest actors did it! So she just sounded like, as an actor, she had a speech impediment (smiling). That was an intentional part of the (laughs) her work, not the way she actually speaks.
And Nicholas Hope, who's another beautiful Australian actor was in a very interesting and important film called 'Bad Boy Bubby.' Get it out on video, it's a real ride. He plays our sidekick in this (episode) and he returns quite a few times in Farscape, fortunately for us.
(Pause. In the opening credits, we see Aeryn firing on PKs in the shadow depository in 'Liars, Guns, and Money.)
This is one of David Kemper's favorite shots there, with the rifle.
It's a new title sequence for us; they get better every year.
(End opening. Title: Self-Inflicted Wounds Part Two: Wait For the Wheel.)
(We see Moya and the Pathfinder ship fused together, traveling through the wormhole. Scene opens with John, Chiana, and Rygel in the neural cluster.)
This episode was written by David Kemper and he tends to put a bit more science that fiction in. Normally we describe Farscape as being the other way around, more fiction than science. So, um, these are often the episodes that the fans look forward to because it's, uh, they challenge the brain a little more.
It's pretty dense; the scripts were a little difficult to unravel and make sense of because we don't shoot everything in sequence. So non-sequentially, with episodes three and four together without all the amendments in it was a little bit of a brainteaser to get it working on the set every day. Victoria Longley had a lot of scifi/science babble to get out.
(We see the scenes switching back and forth between John, Rygel and Chiana in the neural cluster and D'Argo, Aeryn and Zhaan on command.)
Now this particular scene employs a technique that David Kemper uses, I think, uniquely on the show. Very difficult on the page to understand it, but works perfectly, obviously, once it's cut together.
(Pause. Dialogue louder. We hear the crew discussing the sabotage of Moya and the possibility of Pathfinder involvement.)
So this is quite a sophisticated story-telling technique. It saves us some time. It means that the audience doesn't have to go through the labor of watching both locations, both groups of people in both locations talk through the same topics. So it's a nice, slick way of producing it.
(Pause. Aeryn coughs up a hairball courtesy of Jool. Scene moves to Jool bound and gagged, presumably by the crew of Moya.)
This is a new character for us. Jool, who arrives in the previous episode of Self-Inflicted Wounds. And she's got a high-pitched scream which can melt metal, which comes in handy. But no one's warming to her terribly quickly at this point. She sheds hair as well. She's an Interon and we don't know much else about her except she's terribly bright, so she's a good companion for Crichton.
Each season we come across women who could potentially challenge Crichton's affection for Aeryn. (In a funny voice): But it never happens!
(Dialogue louder. John and D'Argo are in the docking bay, then they move into D'Argo's ship.)
This is D'Argo's new ship, as well. Well, what becomes D'Argo's ship. It turns out that it responds to him better than anyone else. We find out that it responds to his DNA. It's a ship built by Luxans, but not for Luxans. (Laughing) It's the tiniest ship you've ever seen in your life! Anthony could never sit upright in it properly! And, uh, later on in the series, when we no longer have Talyn at our disposal, Lo'La becomes enormously helpful. It's good for him to finally have a ship of his own, too.
Incredibly enough, it (Lo'La) was the first set we put the most actors in at the same time. It was unbelievable having the puppeteers in their contorted positions on the floor at our feet. Very hot, as well.
We often don't know what is coming up on the stories. If something's of great importance, David Kemper, if he has a chance, will come and let us know or someone from the writing department will. But it's normally David, he's very excited about what's coming up and sometimes, it won't happen for whatever reason. Normally budgets, often about money. But he pushes the envelope more than anyone, really, in that department. And when people would say to him, 'No, it can't be done,' he would always ask, 'Why?' So, often that would happen on Farscape. We would, um, we would keep pushing the envelope and achieving the impossible.
So, when it comes to construction of things, like these sets, construction were often working on the weekends. I don't even know if they were paid overtime for this, but the hours these guys had to put in to turn around the sets was unbelievable. At one stage, we also had a fire, so, um, they would always be working around the clock.
So I don't know if Anthony was ever warned. He probably was told in advance that he would be getting, eventually, his own ship. It adds an extra dimension to the show visually. It's obviously primarily visual, so it's always important to try and have new things for the audience to look at.
This particular set (scene on command), when our ship merges with (laughs) Pathfinder Neeyala's ship, I walked in and just thought we were in a disco! It was flashing lights. And you can't really see it here, but they're an opalescent color, the white posts.
(Pause. Scene shows Zhaan and Aeryn arguing on Command.)
This is Aeryn's sort of final conversation with Zhaan. She can't understand why the soldier's life was spared and the priest will die. Starting to see Zhaan's condition worsen. They cut out of this scene a little early, god of timing, as always. But Virginia and I had had a chat about how we wanted to say our goodbyes, basically. And we ended up doing one of her ear kisses. A little science fiction chat about what our characters would do. It's very hard have contact with the characters that have got painting on, you know, 80% of their bodies. Got to really, on a practical level, think about how you can communicate physically with them. Virginia couldn't be around on a wet set; she couldn't be out in the rain on location. Kissing scenes she'd always end up covering someone in blue. It sort of breaks the illusion just slightly (smiling).
(Pause. Scene with Stark and Jool in Moya's corridor. Jool is bound but not gagged.)
Jool's character is the only one who survives. We find them on the ice planet where Aeryn was frozen. And her relatives, who were in pods, didn't survive. She obviously wants to get home so she's joined the Moya dilemma of, you know, a group if disparate...She's the only person who isn't an escaped prisoner at this point.
Stark was, in fact, an escaped prisoner as well. Met Crichton at the Gammak base when they were both interrogated on the Aurora Chair. And he's brought back in this season to develop his relationship with Zhaan. This is when Stark really starts to unravel and his mental state doesn't really improve beyond this point (laughing) for the rest of the show. And it starts quite a bizarre relationship that he has with Aeryn, where he becomes quite obsessed with her. There's sort of a transference that occurs because Zhaan's gone and now he starts to see Aeryn as, hopefully, a worthy explanation for why Zhaan had to die. So quite a sinister arc begins from here.
(Pause. We see Stark threaten and begin to attack Jool.)
It's a bit of an in-joke on Farscape, a joke that we have at the writing department's expense. That we open a script and when there's conflict it will say, 'He picks her up and he THROWS her against the wall,' 'SLAMS her up against a bulkhead.' There's a lot of conflict on the ship. It's a part of what makes the dynamics so interesting between the characters. Nothing wraps up in a candy-coated fashion at the end of the half-hour or hour.
So, at this point, I'd say it's pretty sophisticated, the relationship between everyone because...We still don't trust each other. Aeryn still doesn't know what Crichton is going to do, if he's going to leave her and go back to Earth. Everyone's priorities are...We're generally pretty selfish characters, though it's a miracle when there's a positive, loving relationship on the ship. Jool comes in, obviously, to provide more tension. And it's a miracle when the relationships such as Stark and Zhaan's develops. Crichton's and Aeryn's is always in hot water.
What changes in this episode, which is coming up shortly in one of the scenes, is the fact that Aeryn and Crichton's roles have sort of reversed. It started in 'Taking the Stone,' an episode where Chiana is an errant child and they become the parental figures. And Crichton becomes really irresponsible and childish and Aeryn becomes suddenly very sort of serious, responsible and concerned. And here we see that later on in the episode that their roles have reversed emotionally and Aeryn's now...The stakes are very high for her and she's starting to unravel and feel so much guilt and the weight of her responsibility now because of Zhaan's sacrifice. Crichton is starting to become a lot more sage and a lot more accepting and understanding of what's happening in this weird and wonderful universe.
(Pause. Scene in Moya's maintenance bay. Low-lying vapors obscure the floor.)
Ah, this is a Tony Tilse specialty, with the dry ice on the floor. It, there was a scene he did with Crichton and Chiana in an earlier episode where...I think it's actually the first episode where wee see Chiana, episode fifteen of season one, where they're having a little roll in the dry ice, instead of the hay.
And that's one of the other things about the complexity of the relationships. There's always something (laughs) slightly perverse in the subtext and in the body language of everyone.
D'Argo and Chiana had been in a relationship and we find out in episode two of, well D'Argo finds out for certain in episode two of this season that Chiana's been having an affair with his son, Jothee. So they're still having to coexist on the ship and whenever these adversities come up, when they're taken over by a virus or a bug, or their ship's, you know, a daily event, something like a ship merging with Moya happens, they have to sort of band together and protect each other. There's a lot of history between all of these people.
(Pause. We see an invisible hand (well, not really SEE) tracing a track of bluish-white blood down one of Moya's walls.)
There are some fantastic special effects in this episode. It's always very hard to do snakes and we really weren't certain how the serpent was going to work. Especially since on set we were looking at virtually nothing or (laughs) the CGI guys running around, the special effects guys running around on set with this sort of rubber snake head on a stick. Um, so it's miraculous in post-production.
We always used to try to find a justification for having new outfits, but we don't know where Zhaan's come from. I mean, occasionally we'd get down to a commerce planet, but Aeryn's not that interested in fashion. But Virginia Hey and P'au Zotah Zhaan are always in fashion and glamorous.
The show started, when we first started filming it was at FOX Studios, and we didn't realize how lucky we were until we were told we had to leave for seasons two and three and four. We then commenced a great search to find appropriate facilities and unless they're purpose-built as studios, they're always going to be less than adequate, especially in the area of sound. So, by the end of season four, I'd say at least 98% of our dialogue, if not 100%, for each character sometimes, were being revoiced, which is an exhausting process.
So this is all shot in sheds, essentially. Everything you see was sort of packed up and moved out to Homebush Bay, which is where we hosted the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. And that affected things, obviously, because in the year of the Olympics, it forced us to start late for the next season.
Basically we allocated one or two guest sets to different sheds in a compound where most of the facilities were being used by companies to store things. There was, at the Easter Show, which is held at the Olympic site, we had show bags full of chocolate and whatever. So we'd always see these trucks driving by with lots of goodies. And (laughing) I'd always sort of try to bat my eyelids at the drivers to get some free choccy. It never happened (smiling). So there'd be about two guest sets, so construction would sort of tear down the sets once we'd gone through A and B units on each episode and they'd start erecting the next one. Very fast turnaround for them, as I said before.
So, very noisy, the floors aren't raised so, they're cement and we'd often have to build a track because we couldn't get a smooth run otherwise, for the dolly. Steady cam operators we used a lot in these corridors. That seemed to be the most efficient way to shoot the stuff.
(Pause. We see John and Aeryn firing on the wormhole serpent.)
Here we go again with the serpent CGI. Tony just told me to sort of duck. That was all sort of quite technically directed. Most of the time we have a lot of range as performers as to what we do physically. And we're always looking for ways to save time for the directors, so we try to place ourselves in coverage, or at least, limit the coverage so it doesn't take too long to shoot everything. But once you start incorporating CGI elements, computer-generated imagery, you pretty much have to be told where to stand and what to do. The process has gotten more sophisticated, however, so there's a bit of leeway.
I keep using the word 'sophisticated' (smiling), but it is. The production values on this show were incredibly high. It could not have been made in any other country. Perhaps Canada, but it couldn't have been done in America for the same price.
(Pause. We see Zhaan, Chiana and D'Argo in the med-chamber.)
And all of these girls had a long time in makeup to get these looks working. It was an incredible makeup that Gigi Edgley's wearing now, who plays Chiana. I, at one stage in season four, had to get into that makeup myself and, uh, (laughing) for some reason they thought we were the same size, so they tried to squeeze me into her stunt double's costume (laughs). And (chuckles), yeah, that was an experience! So I said, 'I'm afraid you're going to have to make a costume for me from scratch.' And what you realize is that all of these departments have been hired to make us all, everything, look it's best. The sets and us in particular. So wardrobe has always designed costumes that suit the individuals. So they had to slightly redesign the Chiana costume to suit me.
D'Argo's makeup went though some changes, from season one to season two, especially, in his costumes. We were always trying to find ways to make Anthony more comfortable. We didn't have any proper air conditioning out at Home Bush in season two, and at one point, in the middle of summer, it was about 35 degrees Celsius which is almost 100, I think, or maybe even over? I don't know the Fahrenheit conversion. But Anthony actually collapsed and was rushed to hospital and was heavily, heavily dehydrated. So we had to start setting up some protocols for people, put some thermometers up on set. We had some Robby the Robot-style air conditioning portable units and Anthony had a chair set permanently next to one of them. He'd always go and cool down, lift up one of the flaps on his costume. And, uh, he had an expression, two expressions, 'D'Argo-ing up' and 'D'Argo-ing down.' And D'Argo-ing up was getting him ready for camera and D'Argo-ing down, obviously, was stripping off all the parts of him that weren't attached to his makeup, so that he could walk around in a pair of flip-flops and board shorts with the top half of him still in D'Argo.
(Pause. We see John and Jool fighting over a pulse weapon. John wants to give it to her and Jool won't take it.)
So these guys went through a lot. Tami, I think her makeup would have been at least two hours, if not three. That's not her hair. It's actually joined...The front part of the hair is joined to the appliance and the back of it, I think, was a full...No, actually, I'm trying to remember because she went through several stages with her makeup. Everything's a work in progress. We don't have time...We have makeup tests, but in order to get the actors in makeup and ready to start shooting, they pretty much have to do it as they go. So they would have brought Tami in for one or two tests, put her on camera to have a look, to see how the colors were all matching, and then pretty much it's developed as we shoot. So if any notes come down form the producers or the network, the Creature Shop will start refining the makeup. Jennifer Lamphee, who ran the normal makeup department, actually designed that particular makeup. Normally, it's all done by the Creature Shop.
And there is a distinction which not many people understand. The creature costumes, normally when you have a rubber face, the costumes have been done by Lou Elsey, Dave Elsey's wife, in the Creature Shop. These (speaking of the Pathfinder costumes) however, were, I believe, designed by Terry Ryan, but most of the time it was Lou Elsey's work. So when we see more Scarrens, they're all Lou Elsey's work.
(Pause. We see John and Aeryn in one of Moya's corridors. The wormhole serpent comes. John and Aeryn fire at it with pulse pistols, then turn and run.)
Again I was sort of being told to sort of look at something, fire at it for a minute and then run away. Tony used the digital camera; I don't think anyone else ever did, for mobility's sake. (Laughs) We always thought the budget...I-I should say in episode two, 'Suns and Lovers,' of this season was the first time we saw the use of digital camera, not a tiny handycam, which we were using in this case (scene where the wormhole serpent chases John and Aeryn and they take refuge in Lo'La).
He uses it often to indicate another creature's point of view. And obviously everything looks quite depressing in the offline, which is before all the post-production comes in and then it's all graded so that it's synchronized. So that it all blends in.
(Pause. We see Moya and the Pathfinder vessel merged and traveling through the wormhole.)
This is probably a reuse of a CGI shot. We just try and save our tokens for other scenes where we may nee extra CGI.
This is an on-set practical effect, that steam coming out if CO2 in front of Anthony's face. That unit started to grow, actually, when we realized the benefits of trying to get practical effects on the set because the CGI component was expensive and very time-consuming.
(Scene: Aeryn in space gear walks into a darkened chamber on Moya.)
Funny little helmets and spacesuits. These were actually a nightmare for the standby wardrobe girls to attach all the time. A silver band at the front had clips, which attached to the neckpiece, which attached to the main outfit. In the summer it always had to be undone pretty much after every take. So there was always a huge pressure to get everything done in the first take.
I think Jool's got a pair...a comms device wedged between her boobs there. This was sort of the beginning (laughs) of a lot of cleavage on Farscape. By season four, you're pretty much knocked in the eyes by the amount of boobs shown.
Which also means that the actors who have a lot of flesh exposed would be the least likely to be close to practical effects. They're like little charges of fireworks, really. We've had a few incidences on set, where, one in particular, someone took a proverbial bullet for me. One of the squibs didn't fire. We didn't call cut; the actors on set, myself included, weren't aware that the squib hadn't fired. It was triggered by a stuntman, he had a trigger in his hand. He'd press a button and he would self-fire. And this particular time it didn't go off. As I helped him come up from the ground, the squib fired and almost went onto me, but not directly. And someone took it right in the face for me, one of the head guys from effects, Lou Stefenal. He was fine, fortunately. Very close to his eye.
That kind of stuff happens all the time, so we have, sort of, lots of safety protocols. We always have an on-set nurse who's hired to try to tend to those accidents as quickly as possible to minimize long-term damage. I also got hit in the face, accidentally, by very heavy door in the last two weeks of shooting Farscape. Actually put on the goof reel! I didn't think it was very funny. It was quite a blow, actually. I was very lucky that I didn't bruise too badly.
There's always stuff going on. Apparently, the worst hours are the hours as the sun's coming up and as the sun's going down, when everyone's tired at the beginning and end of every day.
(Pause. We see Chiana and D'Argo in Moya's corridor. Chiana is limping and D'Argo picks her up. We see sparks shooting from the walls in the background.)
There's some fireworks, there in the background. That always means noise. So whenever you see practical effects like CO2 or fireworks, that means the actors have definitely had to revoice all of their dialogue. You can't just revoice lines where there's noise over them. Normally, you have to blend it in so that the lines on either side don't sound like they stand, don't make the ADR lines sound like they stand out like a sore thumb.
(Pause. John is working on his module. We see Harvey in the background wearing a tuxedo.)
Here are some of the...Here's a Scorpius clone scene. These got madder and madder. They're some of my favorite parts of Farscape, actually, because they were such an imaginative realm for these two guys to play in. And, uh, anything goes, really, in these scenes.
(Scene: John and Harvey outside on Earth, standing in front of a Ford truck. Both are wearing tuxedos.)
The outfits, the film references. That's actually Homebush Bay, that's outside one of our studios. You can see the red roof on the left-hand side of the screen. Those gates, there were just kind of rows and rows of sheds. We occupied, I don't know, about eight of them, I think.
The water at Homebush Bay was pretty toxic. We used to see men in white suits walk down to the water with test tubes and take a sample of the water and put it in sort of (?) and lock it up and walk away. They were always testing. I think factories around there in the sixties used to make Agent Orange and what have you.
So there's that, whatever that power pole is behind us, and there's a prison, and, um, what else? (Laughs) Yeah, hey! It was a fantastic area. And it was really funny because when they were doing the Olympics, they dug up this, like a swamp. You go over this bridge and there's a swamp before you turn right to head down to where our studios were on the water. And it stank! There was this horrible, sulfurous miasma that used to come off it every morning and in the evenings, especially in the summer. And, apparently they wanted to make everything look pretty for the tourists when they came up for the Olympics. So they dug up all this landfill and made these sort of pyramid-shaped mounds or hills which they then covered with grass. And apparently it was supposed to obscure the tourists' view of Silver Water Prison, which lay just behind where we were filming. And in doing do they uncovered The Stench, The Eternal Stench.
(Pause. We see Aeryn and Pilot in his den. Aeryn is trying to wake Pilot. She begins to kick him with all her strength.)
This is a really interesting scene here with Aeryn and Pilot. Having to...It's really tough love, her having to sort of inflict pain on Pilot to get him going. Tony Tilse, David Kemper and I used to talk about it afterwards, that it was a really interesting turning point to see her have to play two roles, of warrior and mother, really. People have asked if I've actually made physical contact with Pilot here. The answer, Absolutely not! In the first season especially, if you ever went anywhere near any of the creatures, it would, you know, there would be shouts from everyone from Henson. They cost more, Rygel cost more than all of the actors put together. millions of dollars worth of R&D that went into making creatures like Rygel. And they have what's called a sin, a prosthetic skin, which gets changed over every couple of months depending on the wear and tear. It's a full skin that has to be, you know...they ran the foam and then they have to repaint it to match what the skin looked like beforehand.
And the other reason why I wasn't kicking Pilot in that scene was because there's actually a person, a live person inside that body of Pilot, as well as four people below us operating the mouth and eyes.
So, it took a lot of effort but was definitely worth it, I think. Pilot grew on me more and more every episode, every season, every sensitive scene we had to do together. I thought he was the most glorious creature.
Not so glorious in that scene in 'The Way We Weren't' when he was choking me to death. That was done in combination of shots. We just got one of the claws, I placed it to my neck. Generally, when you're doing fight scenes with that sort of, you know, choking motion, the actor who's being choked will place the hand somewhere comfortable and make the hand, tense up the muscles in their hand to make it look like they're resisting the torture. We then cut to a very daggy(?) shot of my legs dangling off the ground, sort of flipping a round a little bit, sort of like a dying fish out of water. And then we cut to the shot where I sort of fling back, and a shot off some sandbox or something, and then we cut to the shot where a stunt double repeated it, I think. Or maybe I did it all. I can't remember if we used a double. More often than not we didn't use stunt doubles, if we could help it. Production value's always higher if you can see the actor's face.
It was a real evolution for me, doing Farscape, because I'm a tomboy in spirit but physically really quite uncoordinated. Playing a warrior, I mean, my dad rang me at one time and said, 'I just bought the DVD of Farscape and I was watching one of your fight scenes and you had a bit of a limp wrist.' So I (laughs) always sort of waited to see what dad said in my fight scenes before I give myself a pat on the back.
We're all pretty hard on ourselves, actually. As actors we all took ourselves, well, not ourselves, but took the work very seriously. And we were always reminded how lucky we were when guest actors came on and they'd see the sets and the costumes and everything. And not only were we lucky to be working at all but we were lucky to be working on a show where we had so much scope to be, to use our imaginations daily and to acquire all the incredible technical skills. We really spent more time now, on set, than most directors in our country. So it's been an incredibly valuable experience.
(Pause. Scene with John, Jool and Zhaan on Command.)
Normally when it's looking like a scene will have to be revoiced, because there's external noise; there's trucks driving past or birds on the roof, you know, or when the sun was out the roof would creak or when it was raining, obviously we heard that. The CO2 and fireworks, as I was mentioning earlier, that's gonna mean ADR. But sometimes the recordist would say, 'You know, if you raise your level a bit vocally, we might be able to get it.' In that scene there, there was no way. I mean, you had CO2 going, these incredibly loud blasts. It's like the fire extinguishers, basically, that's hat they used to use on set, just under our, you know, just to the right or the left of us they'd be shooting this really loud CO2.It was incredible on the ears. And as much as those guys shouted in that scene, there was no way they were going to get away with the original of sound.
It's every sound recordist's nightmare, this show. Apparently, one of the criterion for, like a criterion for sound awards is how much recorded sound was usable in the final product. And no one was going to get any awards for that, that's for sure (smiling). We have, though, recently received sound awards for Farscape, having said that. They do an incredible job in the post-production. And on set, obviously, but hardly ever usable.
(Pause. The final scenes on Command as the crew attempts to separate the ships and exit the wormhole.)
This is sort of the beginning of the end for us all. Oh, there's a prop we haven't used since Farscape season one, where Aeryn has to manually fly the ship. It always looked like a combination of a Ouiji board and a Nintendo game. Everything gets sprayed gold so that it's instantly Moya'd.
Here we realize that someone's going to have to operate the controls to separate the ships, and in operating them, they are expendable. So here Aeryn the warrior is vying for her position to do the honors because she just can't take the guilt anymore of other people suffering or dying because of her.
Zhaan talks them around here, and explains, quite reasonably, that since she's dying anyway and her condition is so badly deteriorating, that she should be the one to do it.
(Zhaan: No... n... No more. If I am so needed, and so valued, and so wise, then you will honor my words. You will obey me.)
Now Zhaan was an incredibly popular character on the show. As you would all know, this was actually Virginia Hey's choice to go, and as much as the producers didn't want to let her go, they honored it. She put in incredible hours in makeup, and she was tired, she needed a rest. And while she brought so much grace and beauty to our program, we understood that she needed to do what she had to do. We're lucky enough to have her back for some guest work, as a special guest. I know the fans were deliriously happy to see her back. And, uh, yeah, see was an incredible addition to the Farscape crew and obviously there from day one. So it was...Goodbyes are always horrible. And what you see now, on set, was probably infused with some real emotions.
We really call the audience's bluff, actually, because up until this point, and especially in science fiction, it's a genre where everyone can be exhumed, there's always a reason and excuse and a way of bringing people back. But in this instance, Aeryn had been killed and came back. Zhaan gets killed and for moths the fans were convinced that she'd be brought back to life and she didn't; so it was a huge shock when it happened.
(Pause. Close-up on Pilot.)
Ah, I think that's the first time we've ever seen Pilot cry.
And here's where we see, as I mentioned earlier, the reversal between Aeryn and Crichton. Normally, he would be the one who's out of control, who's not accepting the situation as it lies. Sort of loses her warrior way for a minute and refuses to accept that Zhaan's going to make another sacrifice.
(Pause. Dialogue louder. We hear Zhaan's spirit speaking to Stark as he kneels in one of Moya's corridors.)
And here Stark loses his soul mate. Having a moment of connection.
(Rygel's goodbye to Zhaan. John is holding a weeping Aeryn back.)
And there she goes.
This was all shot in one sequence. Tony just basically told us what he needed, what we should be looking at, what was happening every couple of seconds and minutes.
(Pause. Close-up on Stark kneeling in corridor.)
Paul's stuff here was obviously shot on a different day, probably by B unit.
(Pause. John and Aeryn's faces are bathed in blue light from the wormhole as they watch the Pathfinder ship with Zhaan on board.)
It's a blue light flashing on set to link us to the CGI component.
(We see Zhaan's spirit as the Pathfinder ship disintegrates.)
What's great about Farscape is we have a few moments of reverence. And then we've got work to do.
(We see Aeryn and John begin to struggle to get Moya free of the wormhole.)
Up we get. Got to do their part now to get themselves free. There's the Nintendo game! (laughs) So glad we got a close-up of that.
Oh, and lurch acting. We're always having to throw ourselves up against bulkheads and Ben and I found that the best way to make it sell was to just sort of bash into each other. That way we sort of created some kind of isometric force. Not terribly solid. I mean, the bulkheads are wood underneath and then padded with sort of like a foam that's then painted gold or silver or bronze. That's why it's always best to bash up against Ben, because he's a softer place to land.
(Pause. Scenes of destruction all over Moya.)
Command, especially from that angle, is one of the most visually stunning sets that we have. The first set, I think, that Ben dragged me on to the first day that I arrived at FOX Studios. He said, 'Come on! Come and have a look at this!' And I said, 'Well, I'm supposed to go in for makeup tests.' And he said, 'No, no, no! Gotta come have a look at this!' We barely knew each other. He was SO excited about it. He took me out there and he...He could understand, he had a better understanding than I did of what it was going to look like, eventually.
There was just sort of a skeleton and these beams coming across and all these construction workers sitting around in singlet tops, sweating away, you know. Unceremoniously either resting or doing their thing with hammers and nails. Very surprised with the finished result, I have to say. Amazing, amazing design by Ricky Eyres in season one.
I think the first set that I saw completed was Command. My first scene that I ever shot was on Command. And I'd just been flown in from the set of 'Pitch Black' up at Warner Bros. in Queensland. Turn up, got thrown into my costume, you know, walked onto set. And I really, I was overwhelmed. I didn't know what I was in for, and it was probably quite a big scene. I think it was the one where we were also using that prop thing, Nintendo-Ouiji board thing.
Pilot was up in a separate shed. I remember when I was first doing scenes and they said, 'Oh! You're going up to work with Pilot! (whispering) He's beautiful. Beautiful!' And at first I was surprised. Beautiful wasn't an adjective I would have applied to the image that I saw because he was made. And, uh, like everyone else, I grew to love these other species, all these other creatures.
(Pause. Scene with Stark and Aeryn in Zhaan's lab.)
Our first sinister moment together.
(Stark speaks of Zhaan's death, the peace of her passing.)
I think Aeryn needs to hear this as much as he needs to say it.
That was bittersweet, the scalpel with the good advice.
(Pause. Scene with Crichton sitting alone in Zhaan's burned out quarters.)
(Laughs) Originally this scene was scripted to have Ben sitting in one of Zhaan's outfits. And I don't think Ben could quite rise to it! Um, (laughing) probably wasn't the best image to have our hero draped in a blue veil. But a very touching scene, nonetheless...and her quarters are burnt out there.
(Tag scene with John and Harvey sitting together at a drive-in movie, watching The Three Stooges.)
Lord knows how much it cost to get that footage from The Three Stooges. That's CGI effect, I think, with that screen up on the wall. We used this 'Reservoir Dogs' theme a fair bit in the Scorpius/Crichton scenes.
They're often a great way to end an episode.
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By Becka Comer
This is the commentary for "Wait for the Wheel" from the U.S. DVD released by ADV Films. The commentary was done by Claudia Black.
(Previously on Farscape. Scenes from Self Inflicted Wounds: Part One Could'a, Would'a, Should'a)