Commentary Transcript By Becka Comer
This is the commentary for "The Choice" from the U.S. DVD released by ADV Films.
The commentary was done by Claudia Black.
As you all know, extemporaneous speech is a lot different from the written word. We all use a lot of 'ums' and 'ahs' and such. I've taken a few of those out to help the wording flow a bit more smoothly. Other than that, I've tried to get everything down exactly as Ms. Black said it.
Plain text is Claudia, italics are mine.
Previously on Farscape - 'What attacked Talyn was a retrieval squad'...'Aeryn, my name is Xhalax Sun. You were conceived in love'...'The squad is under the command of Special Officer Xhalax Sun'...'Aeryn! You should not be the one to do this!'...'Massive radiation. I couldn't stop it'...'Don't worry about me. I've never felt better'...
And now on Farscape -
Opening scenes on Valldon. Many species walking and lurching about, voices talking and moaning. We see a very wet John Crichton standing still amidst all the confusion and activity.
Hi! I'm Claudia Black. I play Aeryn Sun on Farscape. By the time you hear this...you will already know that season four was the last season of Farscape that was filmed for television. So it may be the last time I ever get to play Officer Aeryn Sun, Special Peacekeeper Commando, Icarion Company, Pleisar Regiment.
This episode is very dear to my heart and even more so in retrospect. We were all given our opportunities to do a character piece, episodes that were written specifically for our character. But I had an incredible season. Season three was, for the most part, Aeryn's journey and even though I was biased and I thought Aeryn was the most interesting character to play, she just...I was given and my character was given so many opportunities to tell stories that year. The Choice is certainly no exception.
We find her at a point where both Stark and Crais and, well, especially Stark and Crais feel very strongly for her emotionally, almost romantically for Stark and definitely for Crais. In the previous episodes Aeryn's had to say goodbye to John Crichton, who was cloned, but she's spent her time with one of the Crichtons, fallen in love with him, and he has now died. So she's not returned to Moya. She's gone to get some R&R somewhere. We find her on a very strange and dark planet that I'm sure draws references from Bladerunner and other such excellent science-fiction films, television.
Screen fades in to show a very haggard Aeryn, drinking fellip nectar and sitting in a window surrounded by flashing neon lights and graffiti.
Here's me in my Stevie Nicks dress. (laughs) A bit of leg showing there. Sure they told me you couldn't see that much when they were shooting the shot! (laughing) There was, um, someone down the bottom there catching the bottles as I threw them out.
We tried to draw in as many references as we could from previous episodes. This was directed by Rowan Woods. We reference fellip nectar, which Aeryn talks about when she's sitting with Crichton on Earth in episode sixteen of season one, where she says that beer is like fellip nectar. That's what she's drinking now.
(Pause) Aeryn has moved into the room and is communicating with someone through a comms panel on the wall.
We can see Aeryn's gun there on the table there. She's sort of thrown away her soldier uniform and she's obviously been drinking herself into a stupor. Got to a point where she's had so much to drink she's sort of sober again.
She goes on a Shakespearean-like journey in the episode. There's a scene coming up which I refer to as the Ophelia scene, where she sort of unravels in front of Crais and Stark. Rowan's quoted as saying that I, my work, in this episode is due to a lot of preparation. I beg to differ slightly. I am a procrastinator. I was very nervous about this episode and, um, but I did have a feeling about what I wanted to do and Justin Monjo wrote this and I...we're a great team. Justin always asks his actors...Well, I mean, this is my relationship with him at least and I presume he does the same with others. He would always ask me if there was anything I wanted to change, any suggestions I had, and he gave me a lot of room. And I made suggestions, which he ended up taking on board and putting onto the script.
Drew in a lot of elements: melodrama, in terms of the sort of soap opera-style things that happen in this episode, the relationships, the characters who come back.
(Pause) We see Aeryn lying on the bed in the dingy room. She sits up and is startled by an old man sitting in her room. It is John, of course.
(Scenes from The Locket, of the old John and Aeryn happy together.)
That's me under several inches of makeup.
Linda Cropper's a fabulous Australian actress. I was so excited when I heard she was going to be my mom! John Gregg is also divine. Raj (Ryan) is hysterical! You'll see him downstairs. He's the guy at reception.
(Pause) Old John goes over and sits on the bed, disturbing Aeryn.
Poor Ben, having to get back into this old man's makeup again! That's the Hot Flesh makeup, something that the Creature Shop designed in Australia. It's a more translucent style of makeup than the foam latex. I think that it's more successful for makeup such as this when you want the makeup to articulate with the face muscles underneath.
So, it's a haunting episode, and appropriately, lots of people do come back to haunt Aeryn.
Continuing flashes of scenes from The Locket. We see old Aeryn put a hand to her chest in pain. Our young Aeryn does the same, as if she's reliving those moments.
It's also evidence here in this episode that what happened in The Locket somewhere is real, and Aeryn starts to remember it now. In this room this is the first time she really properly registers images of what happened down there, in that alternate universe, alternate reality. So Rowan asked me to mimic in that room some of the actions that I was doing as old Aeryn. It was our intention to sort of blur the lines between fantasy and reality so that the audience could, um, relate to what Aeryn was going through.
Took a big gamble with my choices in this episode because I really pared everything down, simplified it a great deal. And it's a big risk because we shoot it non-sequentially and once it's all put together you have to make sure that you've allowed, you've created some sort of pace, an arc, and that there's a drive and an energy to the piece. By simplifying everything down it can ...you've run the risk of boring the pants off everyone. So I hope you guys aren't asleep! (laughs)
(Pause) Talyn Lyczak enters Aeryn's room.
By saying that I simplify things a lot I mean precisely this: Aeryn's reactions are numbed, she doesn't react in the way she used to. She's sort of very calm, very quiet. There's a lot under the surface and I think that makes for quite a powerful performance in some ways because it makes the audience do a bit more of the work, to try and work out what she's thinking, what she's feeling.
Here's Aeryn's being told that if Aeryn wants to contact someone who's passed over to the other side, who's died, she will be able to do it on this planet. No one(?) is really sure whether that was why Aeryn came to this place; whether she's in denial and she's still wanting to talk to people who passed over, especially Crichton, or her father.
When I referred to, uh, soap opera elements or melodrama, this is precisely where it comes in. The whole issue of Aeryn's mother and father coming back, especially her mother from the dead, who'd been killed, supposedly, in the previous episode, or one of the previous episodes, and her dad, who she never knew, suddenly reappearing, it, um, it runs the risk...We get very close to soap opera, but we try and subvert the cliches as much as possible. And that's pretty much what I was doing with my work here, was to sort of pare everything down so that I could, um, you know, just to make it as real as possible.
Stark and Rygel have just arrived on planet.. They communicate with Crais. He orders them to stay on Valldon until they find Aeryn.
This being the planet it is, Stark is starting to hear Zhaan's voice because she had died earlier on in the season.
There were some very dark elements in this episode on page. And some of them I think we had to tone down on the day on set. They were a bit, um...This guy bleeding from the eyes, for example, I think that was toned down from what it originally was.
Rygel suffers a disturbing encounter with the bleeding eyes guy. He accuses Stark of telling the guy about him. Stark asks if the bleeding guy had touched Rygel.
Touch is the main theme of this episode, what one can touch, what one can't. If you make physical contact with some of the people, they can pass over information to you psychically, and vice versa.
There's Aeryn's mom, Xhalax Sun, so the audience knows before she does, she's alive.
Scene shows Talyn Lyczak and Aeryn in her room. Talyn is sitting and Aeryn is once again in the window.
That's probably the only time you ever see me showing any leg on this show! (laughs) (Apparently, she forgot about the bikini.;)) It's one of the great things about Farscape is, um, Terry Ryan, our costume designer, was always fighting for me to be a true warrior, which meant, for the most part, keeping my clothes on. It was terrific to sort of focus on the job. We needed to wear protective leathers, Ben and I, because we were always doing a lot of our own stuff in the action sequences. This was an opportunity for me to be a bit more feminine.
Here this man is claiming that he is her father. It's like a DNA test that they do, for him to prove it.
Behind me (Aeryn is still sitting in the window) there is a matte painting with holes and then lights placed in, like fairy lights, behind to give it a bit more dimension. We would also use a lot of what we refer to as 'atmos', which is sort of atmosphere with smoke machines. We use them a lot on Farscape, and it just sort of softens everything. The way the light plays with the smoke creates a wonderful atmosphere. That's neon, obviously, behind us.
All of this, the lobby set, was one of the largest sets, I think, we used. It was huge. That (reception desk/area) was made from scratch.
(Scene shows Rygel and Stark speaking with the receptionist.)
This is Raj here, with his sort of Monty Python-esque meets Riff Raff from Rocky Horror appearance and performance.
That's a Diagnosan who, um, we first saw in the last episodes of season two and the first episode of season one.
Stark and Rygel have come looking for Aeryn. This is a rare episode, actually, where we see Rygel soften. His agenda is one that's motivated by concern for Aeryn, and that they actually need her. He actually talks to her in a few scenes' time in a very gentle way, which we don't normally see from Rygel. The relationships between the characters on Farscape was something that really made the show different and unique. And it gave the performers an opportunity to really make interesting choices with their work. Three-dimensional characters. We were given the opportunity to make them three-dimensional. Aeryn on the page, while she was very interesting, even in concept, um, I knew that it would take a while to actually create some dimension to her. I hadn't...no permission, really, to, um, develop her until the writers said so because Aeryn was very emotionally closed and it was up to them as to when she would start to unravel or open up, or both.
The strangest experience, only a few days ago, actually, where I completed my additional dialogue recording, or post-sync for Farscape...uh, my last-ever session of post-sync. Watching the two characters of Crichton and Aeryn up on screen together, obviously after this episode 'The Choice.' Aeryn's reunited with the other Crichton and their relationship goes through it's various twists and turns. But to see them up on screen and realize that those characters kind of... They live on in these episodes as we re-watch them, but their development is arrested from the point at which we finished filming. And that's when things like fan fiction become interesting because it gives...people take the opportunity to extend, to help the characters live on. But, uh, really can't say. That may be very well the last time that we actually see Crichton and Aeryn played by me and Ben. They may very well do a movie with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, but until that time... It was a very odd experience realizing that they are two people that are separated from me and Ben, which, who you might become accustomed to watching up on screen, on the little screen, on the screen for eighty hours.
This episode was, um, you know, re-watching it now, I'm reminded of the complexities if all the...you know, the structure, the infrastructure of this show and the way the characters' journeys unravel and how they all interconnect. There's so much history now for all of these characters. We created this whole world, an entire universe with archenemies and friends and lovers and now it sits out in the ether on DVD and that's about it.
We're also sitting on the other side of a great success, regardless of the fact that the show is no longer being filmed. In season one, before we started the show, all the actors always have to make a gamble, really, about, you know, how long they personally want to be committed to a project and how long they, it will actually go for. We hadn't been told that it had any ort of pre-sale. Basically knew it was being made for the SCI FI Channel. And the Henson involvement was the major draw card for me. We didn't...I remember Ben and I talked about it in the first season. We didn't think it would go beyond another season because it was so expensive to make; we were over-budget in the first season, which was bound to happen. There were so many elements that we hadn't accounted for or didn't, couldn't, have expected. And it's, it's a real testament to everyone involved, especially Brian Henson, who fought so diligently for so many years to get it renewed each season. And the support of SCI FI, really. I mean, they encouraged us to make a unique program. They wanted us to push the boundaries more and more, make it an edgy program because there was a misconception at the start also that with Henson's involvement, it was bound to be a children's show.
The tone of the program altered radically in season one. Round about episode seven it started to turn away from the lighter side and into these more dark areas, which is so highly illustrated in this particular episode. Although we give our characters sort of very classic science fiction sort of aspects to their personalities as the heroic American astronaut, and, you know, the tough warrior chick. Archetypal characters. Surprisingly enough, we subverted a lot of the cliches and --
(Claudia breaks off suddenly here. The screen shows Aeryn walking through the halls of the hotel on the way to her room. She passes a rather passionate couple going at it in the hallway.)
Uh! Mmm. Sorry! (laughs) Distracted by that bit of alien love in the corner.
Um, you know, we subverted the cliches and tried to make these characters different and ignoble and... Crichton doesn't always win, he doesn't always get the girl, and Aeryn doesn't always behave as she should.
Aeryn enters her room. She sees John, our young John in jeans and a white tank top, sitting in her window.
Here we see her in one of her weaker moments. We're not quite sure whether she summoned Crichton or whether he's there because it's the nature of the planet.
Here is what I refer to as 'the Ophelia scene.'
Stark and Crais have arrived at Aeryn's room. She is talking with Stark through a grille on the door. Stark threatens Crais with a pulse pistol. Aeryn exits her room.
I spoke to Rowan Woods on the Friday and we were due to shoot the scene on Monday. I said that I was really nervous about this scene because if I couldn't make this scene work, then what I was doing in the episode was pretty much lost.
The Ophelia scene:
No. Guess who I've seen? ( beat ) Crichton. And guess who else? ( beat ) My father. Any microt now Stark, you're going to see Zhaan.
You stop. You listen to me. He... ( looking toward Crais ) he never killed Xhalax. He was preparing to betray us.
That is not true. I made a deal for all of us.
Enraged, Stark levels the pulse pistol on Crais again.
Stark turns his attention back to Aeryn.
Now... you must come back with us. I will look after you. I want to look after you.
( gently ) That would be really nice.
( softly ) Oh. Please.
Tentatively, he gently touches her shoulder-- she flinches away from his touch.
Don't touch me.
Her tone is still gentle, but just beneath the gentleness, a slightly dangerous coldness... Stark pulls his hand back.
Aeryn. Xhalax is alive.
( laughing ) Come on.
Aeryn slides off the boxes, crawling on her hands and knees, between Stark and Crais...
Come on. Come on Crais, you can tell the truth.
Standing on her knees in front of him, sliding her face just past his, she tosses her hair back with a slight shake of her head, her fingers toying with the collar of his jacket, pulling him slightly toward her... uncomfortably, he looks away, glancing down.
Stark scurries over, taking her by the arm, trying to lift her back to her feet.
You get up! Get away from him!
( softly ) No, that's all right. He wants me.
Tossing her hair back again, she places one foot on the ground by Crais's knee. Pressing her lips together, she pulls him close against her, pulling on his jacket.
Isn't that right? You always wanted to take me from Crichton and now here's your chance.
Crais looks at her carefully, temptation and hope warring with confusion. Aeryn pulls herself closer, a soft hand cradling the back of his neck, his eyes close tightly as she whispers in his ear.
And you know what, Bialar?
Cut to close on Aeryn, her eyes clenched tightly shut, her fingers gripping the back of his head, her lips brushing his ear as she speaks in a pain-soaked whisper.
If I squeeze my eyes closed... tightly enough... you could be someone else.
This is not the way Crais wants her, and he grunts angrily, trying to pull away, but she grapples with him, pulling him back against her, wrapping arms, and one leg around him, mimicking the embrace of the lovers she spied moments ago.
No! Come on, right here! Right now! Give it to me. Give me what you've got!
Stark grabs her, trying to pull her to her feet.
You're coming with me. I'm taking you now!
Aeryn lurches to her feet, fury in every line of her body, she shoves him down the hallway, slamming his back against the corridor wall.
Don't... you... touch...me!
Cut to long shot on corridor, still kneeling, Crais is half-turned, watching. Cut to close on Aeryn, her face full of cold fury. Pulling the wicked black bladed knife from somewhere, she holds it aloft, poised to thrust downward into Stark's eye.
I swear that I will spear the last eye you have left.
Watching her fearfully, his eye cuts to the blade. Her anger, still present, but her voice becomes soft, but not soft enough that Crais cannot hear her.
Do you know what makes you so much worse... is the fact that you think you're so much better than him. Always pressing... against me.
Cut to close on Crais, his eyes close... in shame-- perhaps sorrow, perhaps a bit of both. Cut to close on Aeryn, the anger draining from her pale features.
Stealing looks.... Get out of here.
Lowering the knife, she walks away. Cut to long shot on corridor, Crais attempting to rise to his feet. She assists him, hauling him roughly to his feet and shoving him backward down the hallway.
Both of you... ( enraged ) get out!
This scene in particular I talked to Justin Monjo about and at a bit at the end I was trying to explain to Justin what I wanted Aeryn to say to Crais. Um, he'd already placed in the scene the fact that she was taking advantage of him and that she was so lost that she...and so unraveled, that she was practically willing to have sex with Crais in the corridor. Just so that she could feel something, so that she could touch something. As I was referring to earlier that whole concept of touch. And I was trying to explain to Justin. I said, "You know, it's just like if she squeezes her eyes closed tightly enough he could almost be someone else." he said, "Oh, that's good! I'll put that in." (Laughs) I just sort of wasn't expecting him to. But, um, it's a good line.
(Pause) Scene show Xhalax Sun and Talyn Lyczak meeting together.
I'm so critical of my work. When I look at it back, it's sort of agonizing, really, to do these commentaries sometimes. That previous scene, the Ophelia scene, is, um, I don't know. I look at it and I think, 'God, I had to ADR all of it! I had to revoice all of it because there were all these extras in the background shuffling around, making noise.' It's always so hard to go back in afterwards and revoice it. On the day, I'd say that it was probably a little better, a little more natural, and you do the best you can afterwards. But looking at it back, it's a good piece. It's rare that the characters on this show, or the actors on this show, will get scenes or episodes that are exclusive to them. It's certainly lucky to have the opportunity of that scene.
Scene shows Aeryn having flashbacks of being with Crichton on the false Earth created by the Ancients.
This is Aeryn remembering what she saw on the simulated Earth environment with Crichton.
We see onscreen Aeryn and Crichton in her window together. Crichton is sitting, Aeryn is standing, drinking fellip nectar. She moves to sit down next to John.
That was, here comes the product placement, it was either - it was blue Powerade in place of fellip nectar, which was a little hard to find.
You guys all know this scene. Aeryn mimics John's movements from 'A Human Reaction' when he first kisses her in their hideout on the false Earth.
Here Aeryn wants to make contact, wants to touch. We've reversed the roles so that Aeryn is doing what Crichton did in that scene.
That was Crichton and Aeryn's first-ever kiss in episode sixteen.
This is where it seems most likely that Aeryn's possibly going to jump off. That was the intention of the scene on the page.
We see Rygel float up on his hoversled to Aeryn's window.
Rygel comes and actually offers some support.
(Pause) Talyn Lyczak comes to Aeryn's door, knocks.
Originally that scene was a lot longer on the page. Rygel told her this whole sort of story, backstory, about his life and it just didn't seem appropriate. So we cut it down quite a bit.
Talyn Lyczak enters Aeryn's room, carrying the container holding Seer Cresus. It opens to reveal the Seer. Aeryn slowly claps her hands, with a half-amused expression on her face.
Rowan was disappointed but also loved the choice that I made. But it was one of the best creatures that we'd seen all season, and I blew it off by having a very sarcastic response to it. But utterly appropriate, I think, at that point. Aeryn's just, as I said before, numb. And then it creates a journey for her in this scene because she actually starts to become affected by it, what the Seer tells her.
The voice of the Seer was done by Mario (Halouvas), who's one of the puppeteers. It's rare that they're allowed to actually do the final...the actual voice for the creature. That's Mario's work in both the filming and post.
Aeryn reaches out to touch Seer Cresus on the head.
Oddly enough, most of the creatures, whether they're animatronic or makeup on actors, pretty much coated all over in K-Y jelly. Dave Elsey was always embarrassed to have to order a lifetime supply of it every year. Tried to convince them what he was using it for, but they never believed him.
(Pause) Onscreen, we see the Seer appear to be 'channeling' Crichton.
What's interesting about that moment, where we see Crichton come out of the Seer's shell, is that whether this is part of the ruse of the, of Aeryn's father and mother, or whether it's real, what's interesting is the fact that it's something that wasn't manifested by Aeryn. Because each time she's walked into this room, she's either conjured Crichton or he's been there because of, because it's the environment that she's in, it's that sort of planet. But now she's starting to realize that there are forces outside of her that can conjure him. That brings her closer to either being totally destroyed by her grief, or finally being able to turn the corner and deal with it.
(Pause.) Talyn Lyczak exits the room, leaving Seer Cresus behind.
That's something that I learned to do on Farscape, which was odd, was to cry out of one eye. (Laughs) Which is partly motivated by the fact that my makeup artists used to kill me if I cried too much because I was wearing a water-based makeup. (Laughs) But I also had to sort of find a way to express how a character who doesn't normally cry would cry, rather than make her a blubbering mess every time. Make it like a slow-release tap, so smooth, closed off for so many years that when it finally comes out, it's just in little drips.
Aeryn flops down exhaustedly onto her bed. John joins her and begins massaging her shoulders.
I love this scene.
"Was it easy to be a hero, leave me behind?" "You never think you're gonna die. I didn't know." Aeryn, smiling through tears, "You - you did!" The lovers laugh together and kiss.
This is our 'From Here to Eternity' sequence.
(Pause.) Scenes from past episodes as Aeryn remembers the times she and John were together.
Ben and I had an extraordinary chemistry from the very first minute we met, at least did at our audition together. We just worked so well together. One of the saddest things about saying goodbye to Farscape was saying goodbye to my working relationship with Ben, saying goodbye to him. It's gonna feel like leading-man infidelity if I ever get another role and I have to work with someone else. And he said the same. It's the thing producers are always looking for, and they just hit the jackpot this time with our combination. But they knew when I came in for the audition that he had wanted to work with me. He went back to America saying, "There's only one girl. There's one girl that's right."
We weren't sure if I would be able to take the role. I was still doing 'Pitch Black' and there was an overlap. They weren't sure that they could delay filming long enough for me. Well, they did in the end delay and they were running behind slightly anyway. I was in at my wardrobe fitting, and Ben walked in with a kid on either arm, in a tangle of children, and said, "You made it! I'm so glad you could do it. Thank you so much." And shortly after he...you know, when I came in for my makeup test a couple of days later, dragged me in onto the sets. We really became such great buddies, without even knowing we were buddies. We never hung out socially, really. I'd see the family occasionally as a unit, but... We had an extraordinary friendship. I've told him I'll be stalking him on email. I hope that I'll be able to work with him again. I'd love to.
We worked a lot from a writing perspective on the floor because we had to sometimes. Things would change. Sometimes the creatures hadn't turned out the way we were expecting or the way the writer was expecting. Or the writer had written the episode so much earlier that...before the creatures were actually made. And so there'd be ad-libbing and there'd be some structural work done. Ben, as you probably know, has written a few episodes for the show. We contributed to the writing process and I'm very proud when I see scenes where we had a hand in it. A very respectful hand, I should say, because it's very important to respect the role that the writers play. But we circumvented a lot of the usual processes. Often on shows I would, before changing a single word, pick up the phone and check with the writer; but that was okay. It got to a point where they were expecting us to do things because they were running behind. They just didn't have the turn-around time because we had to start filming each year faster than they could really get the scripts.
So I'd love to work with Ben again, maybe behind the scenes of a show when we're too fat, old, and ugly to be in front of the camera. Which will be very soon!
(Pause) Aeryn and Xhalax confront each other in Aeryn's room. Talyn Lyczak has just been killed by Xhalax.
Linda was wearing a wig. They wanted her to come back looking like she'd been through several wars. They wanted her to have alopecia. The DOP thought that it was actually the actress balding! (Laughs) So he spent the whole first day trying to avoid shooting her from certain angles (laughing). So funny...when I finally mentioned to Ross, he was like, "Oh." You know, the amount of energy he expended trying to make the actress look good, and it was intended! I mean, with a face like that, with that sort of scarring, that shouldn't... The hair's the least of your worries.
This is one of the things about Farscape that I love, that the relationships were always so twisted. To have her mother come and admit that she really wanted to cause her daughter pain. They're so emotionally dysfunctional, these women, and it's fabulous to see what happens to them based on the choices they make. Hence the title of the episode.
Onscreen we see Crais, Rygel and Stark in the lobby, arguing with the receptionist.
In the background there behind Raj, is a fabulous sort of sculpture of an angel. And that's one of the times I really wanted to tear something off the set and take it home with me. A lot of people in art department to make this sort of stuff work. The difficulty is for standby props, when everything's made from scratch because it's in space and we really have to sort of create the world from scratch, he can't just sort of find something on his truck, necessarily, to fill the set. So when we ask for a prop, we've got to think about it in advance normally, if we need something, because someone's got to actually make it.
Aeryn: Of course, I hoped... that he might be Talyn. Just as I'd hoped that I might see Crichton again... ( weak laughter )... but in my heart... I knew that that ( pointing at the body on the bed ) was not my father. And then you walked in. You know, we Peacekeepers think that we are so remarkable. Soldiers without... equal. Precise tacticians. Pure bloods. But, I've realized, we're not remarkable. We do nothing for love. Not one thing.
I've had emails and letters from fans saying that some of the scenes that I had to do for Aeryn when she was grieving over Crichton affected them so profoundly, partly because, or perhaps mostly because, they had just gone through the death of a loved one themselves. And it's times like that when you - when you realize how potent these sorts of shows can be when they do focus on character rather than sometimes story or the science of science fiction. Farscape was special because of that. Because the characters took a front-row seat. And we as actors always had to remind ourselves to make the most of those scenes and make them...find the truth in them, take them seriously because they did strike at the core of the human condition. And on a good day we really felt like we were saying something important. I love that previous scene for that because it's Aeryn at her most soft and gentle and vulnerable. So yeah, the relationships were so extraordinary. Quite possibly a large part of the appeal to audiences.
I went through a secondary adolescence on Farscape. Giving four years of my life to anyone or anything hadn't happened before, except for school, which was mandatory. We were amazed when it went on for another season. We just thought it wasn't possible to make the show and not run into debt constantly. But, um, it found it's - it's home, it found it's niche. The audiences started watching. And what was interesting for me as a performer in the first season, everyone was so nervous and it was a co-production with lots of countries involved and everyone wanted to tell us how to do it, how to make the show. And unfortunately, how to play the characters. We were all so confused. I mean, they put Gigi Edgley through the absolute wringer with her accent because some people wanted her to do it with an American accent, others with an Australian accent. From one day to the next, from one scene to the next, she'd be asked to change her work. I'm amazed she survived. i think, oddly enough, even though she went through such incredible adversity in her first episode, some of the best work that she ever did was when she was making her choices herself, and trying to do it her way.
It's really hairy prospect of having people interfere with the actor's process. Tony Tilse was always an excellent director to work with because he was very supportive. He really wanted his actors to take big risks and he encouraged us to collaborate. He says he's finding it very hard nowadays because he expects the actors that he's auditioning on other shows to bring something to the table, to offer things up.
For me in the first season playing a warrior chick, okay, I could play someone who was strong, character-wise; physically, as I may have mentioned before, I'm very uncoordinated. So playing a soldier, I've not had any training in martial arts. I did ask for it at the very beginning. I said, "I can organize it," and they said, "No, no, no, no, no! We've got connections with the SAS, or whatever. We'll do it." Which was Special Services... And, um, never happened.
(Slight Pause.) Onscreen we see that Xhalax Sun has just been shot by Crais. She and Aeryn are in the window, Aeryn holding Xhalax up. She releases Xhalax, who falls from the great height of Aeryn's window.
There's my mother dying. There's a very funny outtake doing that one day. We both fell off. I didn't catch her it time (laughing). We both fell off onto the safety mats.
But, um, yeah, I mean it's unfathomable to me that I was able to find my way through the quagmire that was season one, of everyone telling us how to do everything. The more money that's spent on something, the more nervous people become and the more they tell you what to do. Finally, I don't know, from somewhere inside found the confidence to go back to doing - follow my instincts and do it the way I'd always wanted to play her with the additional problem of not being able to open up the character in certain ways until the producers and the writers saw fit. She was a character that was very important to the show in that regard, because it was her development that was necessary before they could really romantically put her with Crichton and see any chance of the relationship working.
Ben and I are desperately romantic souls. So whenever there was an element of potential sleaze, we would always convert it into something which we thought was more romantic. We've had a lot of comments about it, we've had a lot of response from fans about the romance between Crichton and Aeryn. That is partly to do with the fact that we're softies; grew up watching lots of romantic comedies. We always wanted to draw in the elements of tragedy, which is on the same coin as romance, just the other side.
(Pause) Tag scene. Aeryn is getting ready to leave Valldon, back in her tight braid and Peacekeeper leathers. John stands at the window, looking out.
This was a surprise for me, this scene, when I read it. I wasn't expecting this to be what happened to Aeryn. Her way of dealing with things is to say goodbye to Crichton and put on her soldier's uniform again and go back to being a Peacekeeper after several seasons of claiming she wasn't a Peacekeeper anymore. It's all she knows, it's what she's decided to go back to. It's the only thing she's got that will probably pull her through without Crichton. For me, I was never quite sure whether she was letting go of her denial or just feeding another one, a different form of denial. Because she doesn't fit in anywhere, she doesn't fit in the Peacekeepers, can never go back to being one.
(Slight pause) Aeryn turns to John.
Here she says, "You have to go now." She needs him to leave so that she can move on. And what will follow in the next episode is an incredibly sad scene where she has to reunite with the living Crichton and she can barely look at him, let alone speak.
Farscape was a show that was made to satisfy a lot of artistic and creative urges, but it was made first and foremost for all of you. If you've been watching this DVD, you are most likely a fan of the show. So I'd like to thank you directly for everything you've done to support the program. There's been a phenomenal amount of press in the wake of the news that Farscape was to stop filming. You've generated an incredible amount of publicity and interest, reaching a broader audience than most science fiction shows ever do, and it's been an incredible ride.
If we don't see Crichton and Aeryn again, I s'pose I'd like to ask you guys who spent so much time making this show, looking up at the stars and it's time to sort of get our feet back on the ground, back on Earth again. So I s'pose what I beg of you is to start placing your money and your energy, not so much in trying to save Farscape, which is now gone, but more to saving something else which is precious, and that's Earth. Think green for us and we'll be around a little bit longer to do some more work for you, keep entertaining y'all.
So I'm going to sign out from Houston, Texas. It's the first time I've done my commentary here. Thank you to ADV Films for distributing the DVDs so that it can live on. Thank you to Brian Henson. Thank you to Ben Browder for believing in me from the beginning. You've been the most extraordinary leading man. Thank you to the entire cast and crew, you are family. And thank you to all the fans, again, and I'll see you on the next big one. Aeryn has been the most incredible character to play. I've been truly blessed. Thank you for loving her; thank you for supporting me.
Goodnight and thank you.
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By Becka Comer
This is the commentary for "The Choice" from the U.S. DVD released by ADV Films. The commentary was done by Claudia Black.
As you all know, extemporaneous speech is a lot different from the written word. We all use a lot of 'ums' and 'ahs' and such. I've taken a few of those out to help the wording flow a bit more smoothly. Other than that, I've tried to get everything down exactly as Ms. Black said it.