Sci-Fi Stream Interview with Claudia Black part 1

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Creatively for me, I've had a fantastic year. It's been a great year for Aeryn. I've "found" her sense of humor or I've been pushing that angle. And I think there's been a more humorous element in the show in season two. And we've just been able to be a lot more imaginative this year. So, I've really enjoyed that aspect of it. The roll of Aeryn, I think when everyone read it on the page in the first, sort of pilot and the first few episodes, everyone knew that Aeryn had great potential. I was juggling with how much responsibility it was of mine to push those boundaries of her personality. And some things were definitely guided and restricted by how soon the writers wanted to open her up. Because a lot of her experience and her development comes from her association with Crichton. So in season one, I think I had to pretty much leave it in their hands to manipulate her emotions the way they saw fit. And then season two I just started to...took over the baton and I decided to push into the gray areas. And I'd say the light and the dark were the writers and producers domain initially and now I'm starting to fill her in from the inside out. That's been a great challenge, but I've...just as a performer, I've learned so much about expanding this character for serial television. Because, although the episodes have a sense of story telling as a continuity, each episode is itself contained, there's an opportunity for the performer to bring out quite a specific element of the character. So that's been fantastic.

I think season two I've ad-libbed much more than I did in season one. In season two, in episodes like Crackers Don't Matter; all that work; Aeryn sort of eating her crackers; some of the additional lines, that was all improvisation. So, that's normally been the domain of Ben Browder. Because he's the Earth boy he can put in the Earthbound pop cultural reference for the audiences' benefit.

Crichton from Crackers Don't Matter, "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice-cream!" From Picture If You Will, "He's toast, strike him off your Christmas list, stick a fork in him - he's done, he's over, the fat lady is singing." From Crackers Don't Matter, "Baskin-Robins, Ben and Jerry's, Good Humor. What's your favorite, Creamcycle or Fudgecycle?"

So that we can all stand around...and not understanding the Human, again.
Aeryn, perplexed by Crichton from CDM, "What?"

It was a great opportunity for us as performers to start putting our flavors into the episodes. That whole sequence where Crichton and Aeryn in CDM do the shoot-out in command, that...Ian Watson gave us the opportunity to come up with an ending to that scene. He said, "Somehow, I don't care how you do it, in the blackout we have to find a way -engineer a way- that your characters are knocked out. Or one of you is knocked out." And it was obviously scripted that Aeryn had to be knocked out so that Crichton could drag her out of the room in the following scene. He said, "I don't care how you do it, but go and talk to the stunt team and work out what you guys want to do." And that was our solution, the whole thing about checking all cartridges for the guns.

Aeryn talking to Crichton in CDM, "Do you have any spare cartridges?" We had a great time shooting that.

I think the best thing about Farscape, when I think about shooting in Australia, is that we are taking a few more risks with the story telling than I think we would be allowed with normal network television, certainly. I know there are shows like Sex In The City now, which push the envelope in an extraordinary way, but I'm proud Farscape is doing episodes like Won't Get Fooled Again. Rowan Woods is the master of the absurd on Farscape or the incredibly sinister. It was a beautiful symbiosis of Ricky Manning's script and Rowan Woods directing it. And Rowan just gave me opportunities. He said, "Okay, see, I need something weird when you walk into the room when Crichton sees you after the crash. What do you think?" I said, "How about these ridiculous rollers." Because, my hair is occasionally, when I wear my hair out, we set my hair in those huge rollers in the morning. "Ginormous" is a word we use in Australia, I don't know if you use that. We heard it recently, someone say, "Oh yeah, it was Ginormous!" I thought, excellent, I haven't used that word in a while. So, yeah, they put these ginormous rollers in to my head and I said, "what about those rollers? They're fantastic!" And they nicknamed me the walking wine rack when I'm wearing those. 'Cause you just stick a bottle of red and a bottle of white and I should be one of those girls at the bar who sits and says, "red or white, sir?"

There were also slight differences in the scenes. We wanted to start layering in hints that things weren't as they seemed. As the doctor, when Aeryn first examines Crichton, she doesn't examine him properly. When she looks in at his ear, she's about an inch away from him. We did several takes, but we went with the one I wasn't contacting his ear. And then in the second scene, when I look absurd, I'm actually examining him properly. So, the whole, quite subversive little clues in the episode that's not going, as it should.

And it was my first opportunity, actually in that episode, to work with Gigi Edgely where our characters weren't enormously aggressive with one another. There is a real sort of bitchiness between the characters and there is obviously conflict there and you need conflict in these shows to create some drama. But, Gigi and I had a great deal of fun because Rowan just put it in our hats. He said basically, "We need you to dance around Crichton and we need you to do this and we need you to do that." We just came up with things and we just had a fantastic time-had a great giggle with her. Really, Aeryn and Chiana, up to that point, hadn't had much to do with one another. So, I enjoyed that. So I asked David Kemper, "Can I do more with Chiana, I want to do more with Chiana!" She's sort of the last member of the team that I haven't...I had a great time with Virginia doing the earlier scenes. We used to giggle about the writing because the characters just hated each other so much. We'd come up to the set and we'd find new ways to be nasty without being too obvious. Finally, with Chiana after the three episodes of Look At The Princess, those wonderful bitchy lines between Chiana and Aeryn.

Aeryn, "It wasn't my door he was last seen sniffing under."
China, "Some women consider that a compliment."
Aeryn, "Some women have to."


It's some wonderful interplay between...but I enjoyed especially in WGFA the repartee between the two girls.

End of part one.

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