Saturday August 5, 2000

Welcome Address:  Rockne S. O’Bannon

Rockne popped on the stage to huge applause from the audience. He took a small survey to find where the audience had come from to attend the convention and, not surprisingly, most were from California although there were fans from Canada, London and Japan as well as several eastern states.

He spoke a bit about the SciFi BB (which now has total posts of over 150,000) and read the very first BB post from Gepta:

It sounds a little cheezy but....

“So is this show created new for the Sci-Fi channel? It sounds a little dumb,but it's got Kent McCord, mabey he can make it fly. Anyone ever seen Adam-12? Awesome show, watch it on TV land.”

Needless to say, this elicited a huge laugh from everyone.

History of Farscape: Rockne S. O’Bannon, David Kemper and Brian Henson 

They reminisced about the very beginnings of “Space Chase” – the original name for Farscape – and how they pitched the idea to the networks with little success. David Kemper had such faith in the show that over the next 5 years he had a clause written into each of his contracts that if Rockne ever called to tell him that the series was a “go”, he would be released from the contract.

They originally wrote 5 scripts, one of which we haven’t seen. Yet.

Memories of developing and casting the Farscape characters:  

The woman in the cat suit who was short listed for the part of Aeryn Sun but lost out to Claudia. They told this story to illustrate how easy is would have been to “just miss” a perfect role/actor match-up. 

The actor auditioning for the part of Crichton whose forehead began to bleed part way through the audition. Everyone scrambled around looking for a band-aid for the poor man until someone finally came up with one suitable for a motor cycle accident. So the guy goes on with the audition, never having seen this industrial sized bandage stuck on the middle of his face.

Zhaan was originally Zen and played by a man. 

As initially conceived, Scorpius would be Crais’s lieutenant. He would be a type of evil Mr. Spock – smarter and stronger than his captain, but not as subservient as Spock was to Kirk. He was also going to be at least partially animatronic. D’Argo would be fully animatronic.

Oh, and that actor with the bandage on his forehead? He got the part.

Ben Browder 

Rockne introduced Ben Browder as “the best actor I’ve ever worked with”. Ben arrived on stage with a handful of notes for his opening line. After reading each (a la John Crichton), he tossed the card into the audience. Some of my favorites were:

“You can be more.”

“What is the matter with you people?”

“Whoa!”

And everyone’s favorite – “Humans are SUPERIOR!!!”

Ben was charming and interesting to listen to. He answered tons of questions about Farscape and his career (he joked that he’d like Harrison Ford’s career), how he adapted to life in Australia and working with the various cast members. One little 7 year old girl asked him if he had a son. Ben told her that IF he did, he’d fix him up with her.

He spoke about “Out of Their Minds” and especially THE scene between Anthony’s Chiana and Ben’s Rygel. Apparently they didn’t rehearse it very much, so what we saw was pretty close to a first. Ben said Anth was very good in that scene. “He really likes me”.

He also revealed that most of Crichton’s names for Rygel are his own ideas.

Oh, and Ben now has a beard. A good one, not like that dead animal in “Jeremiah Crichton”.

“I’m Too Sexy”

This was a short video done to the song “I’m Too Sexy” that was a fast paced sampling of scenes from the episodes.  It was wonderful!

Farscape Trivia: Stump the Experts

Fans were given a chance to ask questions and try to stump David Kemper, Ricky Manning and Lily Taylor. Only one person actually stumped them but for the life of me I can’t remember the question.

Lani Tupu and Wayne Pygram

Both of these men are wonderful in front of an audience. Wayne is tall, slim, totally bald and as handsome as Scorpius is ugly. He said that playing Scorpius was a very liberating experience for him – he was wearing black leather – and that the Scorpy character was supposed to be on only 4 episodes. But he liked playing the role so much that he worked extra hard to make himself needed for more than that.

Lani is also tall and very handsome, more rugged than Wayne and has wonderful long dark hair. That terrific beard is really his own! He told us that his original audition was for the part of D’Argo and that he plays Pilot like a “harassed accountant”.  When asked what it felt like to have his butt kicked by Aeryn, he had a one word answer. “More!”

Scorpius was created to have a built in weak spot (his problem with heat) that the other characters aren’t aware of but the audience is. And that thingie in his head is a coolant rod which he needs because when he gets emotional, he gets hot. In the beginning, part of his makeup included contact lenses, but Dave Elsey  (the Creature Shop guru)  was looking at him one day and told him to take one out., then to take the other one out. Then he decided that Wayne’s eyes are much colder without the lenses so they abandoned that idea. (I don’t think his eyes are cold, but they didn’t ask me). Another  interesting thing about his makeup is the fact that it’s so good you can see him blush through it!

Remember the scene on Pilot’s planet with Velorek? Well, when someone asked Lani to say something “in Pilot” all he said was “Stars”. It was wonderful and got a huge round of applause. He also told us that he doesn’t do pilot’s voice on the set during the actual filming, but adds it later in post.

 

Screening of Look at the Princess part 3

For those of us who hadn’t seen the show Friday night (and those who did, too – I didn’t notice anyone leaving), LatP3 was shown on a large screen in the auditorium. Wow!

Fans selected to recreate a scene from “The Flax”

Four men and four women were selected to work on THE scene from “The Flax” . They were paired up, given a script and told to rehearse.  The scene will be reenacted during the con tomorrow and prizes will be given to the winner. More on this later.

Tribute to Rygel

Another music video, this time starring our favorite Dominar.

Bloopers

A hilarious 10 minutes of bloopers and hijinks from the set. A few of the highlights:

Rygel and Zhaan lying head-to-head on the floor (from I, E.T.) sharing a cigarette 

John and D'Argo sharing a lovely waltz – or was it Ben and Anthony?

Claudia’s phone ringing in the middle of her big kiss scene with Rygel

 

Kent McCord

Kent McCord (always a favorite of mine) told us how he had received a middle-of-the-night phone call asking if he was free. He was on a plane for Australia the next day!

When asked what Aeryn said to Jack in “A Human Reaction” he replied, “All I’ll say is that I hope it happens when I go back to Australia”. Hmmm.

A fan wanted to know if he is old enough to be John’s father and he told us that he has kids older than Ben.

And apparently Kent McCord’s taste in Hawaiian shirts is better than Jack Crichton’s.

Tribute to Aeryn Sun

This was a musical video featuring Aeryn Sun and was wonderful, as were all of these short films.

Claudia Black

Claudia stepped on stage to enormous applause and a few shrieks. She gave a couple of screams in return, and then treated us to a sample of the Sebacean language. (It sounded even stranger coming from Claudia Black than it did from Aeryn Sun.) Claudia is much more feminine than Aeryn. She wore a beautiful jacket and skirt and the Peacekeeper walk is gone.

During the question and answer period she told us that she does some (but not all) of her own stunts. She did the rock climbing but not the fall in part three of “Look at the Princess”.

She retold the story of how she became Aeryn. Her first thought on Ben Browder went something like – uh oh, another American actor. But now she thinks he’s the best actor she’s ever worked with.

 

Autographs

Ben001.jpg (19969 bytes)Gold seat ticket holders were able to get autographs from Ben, Kent, Lani, Claudia, and Wayne (who drew a tiny Scorpius on my cast photo since he wasn’t in the picture). Everyone was extremely gracious and had a few (or more) words for each fan. Exhausting as it was for them, they didn’t stop until everyone had an autograph. 

Intergalactic Dance Party

The party had dancing to music played by a dj, hors d' oeuvres, and visits by Ben, Claudia, Lani and Wayne, who were the judges of the costume contest. It was a tough decision because they ended up with five winners instead of two. I couldn’t hear everything that went on, but I did hear Ben pick a great Gilina costume for “attention to detail”. The second pick was a John Crichton PK Commando costume – really well done. Wayne immediately chose a little PK Barbie – a great costume right down to the red hair. Two other little fans won for their Zhaan and Aeryn costumes. I hope they all enjoyed their day backstage on Sunday.

It was a bit hard to see because of the crowd, but I did catch a glimpse of Lani dancing with a fan. They all stayed for a short time after the contest talking with fans and posing for pictures.

 

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