Saturday Page Two

Producers/Directors Forum: Tony Tilse, Andrew Prowse, David Kemper and Ricky Manning

ProdDirForum04M.jpg (34292 bytes)They all came out and took their seats in director’s chairs on the stage and David Kemper asked for producer/director type questions from the audience.  

The first question asked was if there was any one moment in the show that worked out exactly as they wanted it to. Andrew Prowse talked about the scene in Look at the Princess, part 2 on the Jakench cargo ship that was shot in one take, with several cameras, lots of explosions, three actors, everybody’s fingers crossed. The bit about Crichton going out the airlock wasn’t in the original script.  


ProdDirForum01M.jpg (42480 bytes)They told one really funny story about Liars, Guns and Money, part 2: Tony Tilse had a great idea about setting several guys on fire for the escape from the Shadow Depository scene. In fact, they had four stunt guys who wanted to be set on fire. It was going to be really big and scary, but when he brought it up to TPTB, they said nope, no go because of fire laws and insurance nightmares. So Tony said okay, and went off to film the episode. During the filming of the scene, Lily Taylor came racing into the writers room screaming "He's got guys on FIRE down there!" The moral of the story seems to be agree with everything and then do what you wanted to do in the first place! DK said that it also shows that the writers aren’t “precious” about their scripts and that they encourage innovation.

Andrew Prowse originally came in wanting to be a writer for the show, but they said no, they wanted him to be a director. They told Andrew, Tony Tilse and Rowan Woods to develop a style for the show. So if you look at the style of the show one week, you’ll say oh yeah, that’s Farscape and if you look at it the next week, the style will be completely different, but that’s Farscape too. Farscape’s style is no style.

ProdDirForum03M.jpg (37081 bytes)Another questioner asked them what they want to do when they grow up. They don’t want to grow up! Why would you want to grow up? “Guns on the table”. In the writers’ room they use this phrase to mean: This is a stupid idea, don’t shoot me for it. Guns on the table. A lot of the best parts of the show come from somebody saying “what if”. If you’re afraid of looking stupid, you wouldn’t be sitting up there (on the stage). Actors can’t be afraid of looking bad. They all really like each other and there’s nobody stabbing anybody in the back and if anyone has an idea, they present it. If it works, they use it.

A woman wanted to know about the spin-off. Everyone on the stage looked a little confused for a minute, then it clicked, “Oh, the Farscape spin-off!” Right now Farscape isn’t being spun-off because they can barely keep up as it is. He started to say Andrew isn’t…but then stopped and said episode 3.22 isn’t even done yet. She then asked what they’d be doing if they weren’t doing Farscape. Kemper’d be eating soft food, Ricky would turn to his first love – dentistry.

According to DK, the next question was a great one. The man wanted to know at what point do they change something that’s in the long term plot. It goes to the heart of the show. David said that they all have a rough idea of where they’re going toward the end of season four, but things can change. For instance, Ben and Anthony can do a scene that might come off a little differently than expected so they change it a little. They “roll with the punches”, and it’s usually good. One specific thing that Andrew Prowse mentioned from Mind the Baby was the coolant rod in Scorpy’s head. That came about because there was a lot of interaction between Braca and Scorpius and they needed something to happen so they wouldn’t be just sitting there staring at each other. Dave Elsey had the idea of the coolant rod and they used it. They figured out how to do it – DK joked that it involved Wayne giving up a significant portion of his brain. This then became an integral part of Liars Guns and Money. They knew at the beginning of season two that at the end of season two, they would rob a bank to get D'Argo’s son. The thing in Scorpius’s head led them to realize that Crichton had a chip in his head. The whole thing started when Andrew went down to the Creature Shop to talk to Dave Elsey.

How did the episode with Crichton and Scorpius on the roller coaster come about? They (the directors and producers) had all been to that park and it just seemed to fit because they knew they were going to get rid of that Harvey. The park was closed for renovations when they went there to film it so they may have been the last people to go on that ride. They said to ask Wayne about the ride. It was his first time on a roller coaster. They wouldn’t tell us what happened because it’s Wayne’s story.

ProdDirForum05M.jpg (24585 bytes)The idea for ..Different Destinations came from them wanting to do a time travel story, but do it a little differently. The writers had all written for other science fiction shows, but they wanted Farscape’s version to be different, to say that you can’t go back. They spent about five weeks of discussion trying to figure it out.

Because Farscape is so open to ideas from everyone on the set, what are you going to take with you when you leave Farscape to work on other projects? Tony Tilse answered by saying that Farscape has taught him to think outside the box, to find another way of doing things. David Kemper said that he’ll never work on a better show. Andrew Prowse said that a lot of times on TV shows, you settle for second best because of the time constraints. But not on Farscape, absolutely everybody is trying to push the envelope and he’s never experienced that before   

Since there isn’t much science fiction in Australia, have you guys ever worked on it before? DK said that he and Rockne grew up with Star Trek and knew they wanted to write TV shows. The Australians on Farscape did the same thing, but they hadn’t had much of a chance before Farscape came along with the biggest toy set in the world. They have thousands of ideas they’re just dying to use.

ProdDirForum06M.jpg (38677 bytes)Another fan wanted to know why, since Moya’s so huge, have we only seen a few rooms – command, center chamber, sluice room, etc. Andrew’s answer: You’re  assuming that you’ve only seen a few. You’ve seen one of those on every level!

Which episode do you like the best of all the ones done so far? Froon said that’s kind of like asking a parent which is their favorite child and Andrew said that of course there are favorite children. David Kemper said that his favorite stuff is “moments”. The end of the Look at the Princess trilogy, parts of Won’t Get Fooled Again, Scratch ‘N’ Sniff because it’s so different and the same with Revenging Angel. RA was also one of Andrew Prowse’s favorites. Actually, when they were making RA, they shot enough “real” footage in case the cartoons didn’t work. One of Tony Tilse’s favorite moments was during Fractures when Crichton was going through the other-Crichton’s stuff.

The night before they made Rhapsody in Blue, they learned that they couldn’t get a piece of equipment they needed to do the shot of Zhaan and Crichton during unity. They sat up all night  eating cheese and crackers to come up with an alternative way of shooting the scene. Every day on Farscape, you just don’t know what’s going to go wrong. With so much going on, there are so many things that can go wrong, and they do go wrong. Finding ways to work around all this is one of the joys of working on the show and often things come out better in the end.  

Tammy MacIntosh

During her introduction, David Kemper told us that she’s done a large number of top Australian shows and that Farscape is really lucky to get her. He said that she was really scared backstage before she came out, but you’d never know it. She immediately won the heart of everyone in the audience. She asked each questioner their name, went over to their side of the stage and stooped down to talk to them. It was very person-to-person and very nice. 

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Tammy said that Farscape is a dream job! You’re an alien, you can eat however you want, you can drink however you want! The action is amazing, you have a great cast, and there are great scripts. She said that she had to go through multiple auditions to get the job and before the final one she was really nervous. Originally, her character was a bit more military and a stronger, more action oriented character, but alas, she said, it wasn’t to be.  

When someone asked her if she had done Jool's acrobatics herself in Scratch 'N‚ Sniff, she put down the microphone and did a few cartwheels and flips. In insanely high heeled shoes, too! She used to do acrobatics as a kid and she’s 31 now (and proud of it, too). She said that scene took six takes and got her thinking that she’s too old for that stuff.  

Jool’s color-changing hair was Tammy’s idea. Nobody could decide about the color, so she said why don’t you have it one color and then go red when she gets angry. She said that Jool’s been brought up with all the comforts, a nice house, a loving family and suddenly finds herself in a third-world country living in a straw hut that’s covered with urine. She said that Jool will adapt, she’ll have to. Then she asked if we’d seen the final episodes of the season yet. We tried to tell her we had, but she was too smart to believe that, so we didn’t get any spoilers out of her about Jool.  

In ..Different Destinations, when she drank that Felip urine, her odd way of drinking came from Tammy joking around with some friends the night before the scene was shot. The make-up and wardrobe people weren’t very happy about Jool’s flop in the mud during that episode. The wig alone costs a small fortune.  

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She actually does that dreadful scream herself. I always thought they added it afterwards with some awful blackboard-scratching device or something, but she gave us a demonstration, and yep, it’s really Tammy doing the screaming. Speaking of screaming, she talked Lani into doing the scream with her in Fractures. “C’mon Lani! They’re never gonna use it!” 

Jool was named after David Kemper’s grandmother, who was, according to Tammy, a very cool lady. 

A fan asked her about the day she was supposed to have been on the chat at SciFi. She said that she had gotten a little paint in her eye which resulted in a sty. She ended up having to go to an eye hospital and have the thing drained. That’s why Jool wore the eye-patch at the end of Fractures, claiming she got some Boolite in her eye.

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