Sci-Fi Stream Interview with Ben Browder

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Are we rolling?

Are you happy?

This is evil John Crichton from Los Angeles.

The thing about the show is that it is not one thing; it's not one thing week to week. We make Farscape like you make a film. The script comes down and the directors take it and they give notes back to the writers and then that bounces back and forth until it finally makes its way to us on the floor. And then we talk to the directors and the directors talk to us and then it might go back to the writers for one thing or another. The collaborative process by which Farscape is made is unique in my experience in television. It's a bold way to make television. And what happens, because we make it like a film, is it week to week it often has a different tone - a different feel. One week it feels like a action piece; the next week it's a romance; the next week it's a comedy.
Chiana in FT, "Where's your hand, slug face?" Rygel, giggling, "It's, it's down there!"


So, the only thing which is constant is the characters, which are threaded through the story, and then the long arcs, which are often gently seeded. We're not hammering the audience over the head with an arc. So, the show itself evolves in a kind of--I hate this word, but I'll use it--organic way. And the creative process by which the show evolves and there's not a real sense that it's gonna to be the same in season three as it is in season two. It wasn't the same at the end of season one that is was in the beginning. And there is an evolutionary process; the characters evolve, the show evolves. We may change our style of shooting for one episode. There are some things on tap for season three, which are fantastic! That are being banded about, talked about in the writers office. And there's some stuff that we're doing, ah man, turn this thing off, turn if off! I want to talk to these guys about it, it phenomenal.
It's the creative process of the show. If you look that the way filmmakers in the seventies made films and the way most American films that you that most actors, want to be in. That Hoffman and DeNiro and Pacino and their directors, Levinson and Coppola. All these guys, there's a collaborative process which goes on and that's what the writers and directors do with us on Farscape and it's a fantastic environment. So, it's not as though we're exerting influence on the show, it's just the culture of Farscape.

Princess Katralla in LATP part 2, "John, I will stand beside you for eighty-cycles with love in my heart and long for the day when we may revive. "

The end of the Look At The Princess trilogy, the second part, when Crichton is getting ready to be encased in carbonyte, no he's gonna be turned into a statue. It's Han Solo, I know it's Han Solo, you know it's Han Solo, everybody out there knows that and John Crichton knows that. And the writers, David Kemper had written this line from Chiana going, "I love you. " And there was no scripted response from me. It was just a "I love you" and a hug, and I hadn't even thought about it until we started to shoot it. And I think it was during the first take she goes, "I love you. " And from the back of my head I could hear Harrison Ford going (Crichton responding to Chiana)"I know. " So, I just said, "I know" and without realizing even where it came from at the time that I said it. I guess, somewhere out there, see these things, these pop-culture references, sneak into our lives without us even knowing it. So, I just responded, "I know. " And I went, after the take, damn, that was Harrison Ford, man! I just stole again! We steal religiously, some of it is plotted out and some of it is just laid up there for us to take.
You get into the cases like the Gecache cockpit, also in that episode, where there are probably six pop-cultural references in the piece. I think one of them was probably in the script, but you know, Mel Brooks. Any classic reference, Mel Brooks, the Three Stooges, any sci-fi reference I admit it I look to sneak those in because I think we all know them. Or if we don't know them we should know them. We should know Mel Brooks because he's funny. When Crichton needs people to back off and stay away from him, and he doesn't have any weapons and they have weapons, and he just goes, "Freeze or the white boy gets it!"

Crichton in LATP, "Get back or the white boy gets it! Oh man don't let them kill me. . . you people are so dumb!"

Okay, that was me, which is cool. You know, they let me get away with that stuff. I'm getting away with this. Can you believe it?

Smart Crichton in MTC, "I understand why you're doing this, but. . . "(sees the real Crichton)
One of the things 'Anth says about prosthetics, and he's entirely right, is what do you get for free. And when you go into prosthetics you get a lot for free. It also allows you to do things that someone with my face, even with this beard, is not going to get away with. There's tons of thing I can do in prosthetics that I can't do as myself. And I don't care what anybody says, you get a tremendous range to play, you do things that, you know. . .You do stuff in drama school, you play old or you play a gorilla or you play this and it's experimental and sometimes you'll do them on stage. But in the course of a film and television career, most actors never get a chance to do it. Going into prosthetics allows you to do it. And playing scenes with myself, which is a massive mental exercise, it's an incredible challenge that they laid up for me to attempt. So, you know, where else do you get to do that? Only on Farscape. (Smiling)
Old Crichton in TL talking to the Scorpius in his head, "I'm gonna do what I'm wanna do!" Scorpius, "No Crichton, no. I need the worm hole knowledge that you have locked in your brain. " Crichton, "Ha ha. That's great, Scorpy. You ain't ever gonna get that. I'm dying. I'm dying right here on this planet and you ain't ever gonna get what's in my head. " Aeryn's granddaughter, "Still talking to those visions in your head?" Crichton to Scorpy, "Loser!"
There was an interesting thing. I didn't know how I was going to do my old man voice and I probably missed it. But once I got the makeup on, I started looking at this guy; I fell into old man Crichton and couldn't get out of it. I just went, you know, I just went old, scaring people. I wandered around, the other thing about being old on a movie set is nobody says hi to you, or a TV set. Because it's a youth industry, people did not know it was me. I'm padded out and I'm walking around, and I'm walking round like an old man. I only went into the prosthetic the day we started shooting and I hadn't seen it before and we hadn't tested it. Dave Elster, our resident genius, and Dave and Karl are putting this stuff on me and my normal makeup artist, Sheldon, is helping. And they're putting it on and I'm starting to see this person. For a while he starting to look like a convict, looked like an old convict for a while. Then he got hair and he turned into a very crochety version of one of my grandfathers, basically.

You know, I just couldn't get out of who he was. I'd wander around and I'd go down to the writer's office and sit in there and I just got to say things that you never get to say. You know, you get to flirt with women, (in old man's voice), "Young men don't under. . . women, women are fine, young men don't understand how to treat a women. C'mon over here. " You, and you can get away with it! Me doing that, it would be sexual harassment, but old man Crichton got away with it because he's an old guy. He was born way before we had these kind of sexual policies. So, I was terrible. (Old man's voice), "Hey you're lookin' fine today, come over here. Mmm, I like, mmm, I like the way you're lookin'. You smell nice, too. Come here, come here and just hold my hand. There you go. " Me doing that is kind of like, what the hell is he doing? That's kind of stupid. But once you put the makeup on, you totally get away with it. And it just freaks people out.

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Special thanks to Farscape-one. de, which is a great fan site, for providing the video download making this transcript possible.

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