About six weeks ago, Claudia Black was interviewed on a morning chat program here in Oz called Morning with Kerri-Anne. It just so happened that fate had me on a rostered day off that day with nothing planned, and I happened to hear Kerri-Anne introduce what was going to be on the show for the day. Needless to say I ferreted out a video tape, stuck it in the machine, and didn't move until the interview was over. It really is a great interview, they talk largely about Farscape (Kerri-Anne is apparently a huge Sci-Fi fan), how Claudia got into the business, family etc. For anyone who loves Claudia's smile it's a must see, she hardly stops smiling and laughing throughout the interview.

Eprpgirl, March 30, 2003

Interview with Claudia Black
Morning with Kerri-Anne
February 6, 2003

She's been eaten by aliens, irreversibly contaminated, turned into a vampire, a warrior, mutated and she's won the award for the Sexiest Sci Fi actress. We welcome to the show, Claudia Black. Claudia, welcome to the program!


CB> Greetings, Earthlings.

KA> It's great, I've been a huge fan, because Farscape was the series and I have watched it for ages.

CB> Well, that's amazing to hear, because we felt we were working in a vacuum. It was very hard to find a place for Farscape, because Science Fiction quite a strange genre to place on television here, and It wasn't until recently that I went to Texas for some work and...just people in the street were recognizing me and I just got used to just quietly bumbling along. And to hear that people are watching it means a lot to us, because a lot of hard work and a lot of creative energy was put into it.

KA> No, I loved it, and I'd love a lot of sci-fi, but particularly I thought it was an "excellent" excellent program. We've got some vision of your character.

CB> Oh no.

KA> Because you're a tough girl, you're the macho warrior. The one who's sort of saving the world.

CB> Very Butch, never smiles. Yeah, she's a real laugh that one. (Claudia laughs)

KA> You work with some great people. In fact, Farscape, was it "the" most expensive production ever in Australia? Like, two million bucks an episode.

CB> Yeah. It was something like that, it was interesting, becoming victim to the exchange rate as well, because certain things would be possible one day and the next day certain things would change slightly. And...it certainly was the most ambitious project we've ever had in terms of fast turnaround television. Because we were shooting an episode every ten days, with the last three days overlapping with a "B" in it. And to shoot that on 35m cameras, it was an extraordinary feat. And I don't know if it's anything to boast that it was the most expensive show, but we certainly put everything on the screen.

KA> But you could see it. It looked like a fabulous production, and a very expensive production. It had that quality look about it. I mean there were some wild themes! (Claudia laughs) You know, eaten by aliens and all that sort of stuff. In fact, let's have a look at a piece of the show.

Clip of Farscape from the episode, 3.07 Thanks For Sharing. Aeryn discussing who it was that attacked Talyn.

...Vigilante with an immobilizer pulse. (Turning toward Crais) What attacked Talyn was a retrieval squad. Crais: They will not relent until they accomplish their goal - recapture Talyn. And to force Talyn's surrender they wouldn't hesitate to take Moya hostage. I will return to Talyn so that Moya can flee immediately. Aeryn: With Talyn's condition worsening, Moya will not abandon him and neither will we.

KA> Ah, Claudia Black is with us. Da-dada-da

CB> It's so funny doing this, it's sort of like soap opera in space. It's always very melodramatic, any moment we could die. So playing the stakes as that as a performer is really funny because you just...it's so hard not to crack up. It's like "the immobilizer pulse, but if we go through the ion backwash chamber we could die!" (This was done in a great takeoff of Sigourney Weaver's television character from the show in Galaxy Quest, very breathy, not like Aeryn at all) And then you go to an ad break and everything is always so serious. I saw Galaxy Quest and it destroyed me for about an episode. Because every day I would go onto set, I don't know if you've seen the film.

KA> Yes.

CB> And it was so hard to take everything seriously because once you've...We just really empathized with the characters on Galaxy Quest and being on those convention tours.

KA> And that was a complete, Galaxy Quest with Sigourney Weaver, was a compete send up of Sci Fi.

CB> Completely, but they did it beautifully. Because they really captured the spirit of what those conventions are like. There are people who dress up like your character, cross-dressed so there will be guys dressed as Aeryn, or women dressed as Ben. I mean, you can't blame 'em, he's such a spunk.

KA> Yes, I gotta say he's a cutie.

CB> Yah!

KA> He's the lead guy.

CB> Hmmm mmm!

KA> So tell me about those Sci Fi. conventions. Do you do a lot of work with those?

CB> Ah, I limit them only because we've spent so much time working on the set that the little time that I had in between I would try and spend time with my friends and family, they forget what we look like. And I do love to travel. That's one of the reasons why...the entertainment business was very appealing to me because I knew I would have opportunities to travel if I was working. If I was lucky enough.

KA> Well, where did it all start for Claudia Black, because you are Australian? And even I have gone 'you're Australian'. That's right, you've got such a cultured accent.

CB> Well.

KA> And I've seen the show, but you're an Aussie girl!

CB> Yeah, (showing off an Australian accent) I'm an Aussie and I eat Vegemite, heaps, (gives a thumbs up) and everything's tops! (Laughs) It took me...my grandmother's very much in denial about the fact that she was born in Australia. So we called her, she was either called Dutchess of Darling Point or she was called The Queen of Australia. Because she was "frightfully, frightfully" (upper crust British accent here) and she brought us up to speak very round and forward and it's taken me many years to sound like...this is about as neutral as I get, I think.

KA> So what about your mom and dad? When you said, "mom and dad I think I'm going to be an actor."

CB> Oh my god, mom...I come from a very long line of family members who went to university, they're all academics. I'm like the back sheep of the family, pardon the pun. And I thought I would have to book two ambulances to stand outside the house when I told them one night at dinner that I was leaving Uni. I lasted three weeks and the deadline at Uni for paying HECS was at the end of the third week. And I thought well, before mom and dad have to start forking out any cash for my tuition probably a good time to tell them I'm getting out. And they almost had a heart attack, it was just one of those amazing moments.

KA> As academics, what do they do?

CB> Ah, both doctors, actually.

KA> Mmm, mmm.

CB> Yuh! They're so scientific about everything, it's so funny and they're so practical. And my sister and I were always peace loving moonbeams and talking about, you know, all the new age stuff. We had these great passionate discussions over the dinner table about mom needing empirical evidence about things. And they're saying, "Yeah but if you can't really prove it how do you know it's not there?" You know, I mean...So doing a science fiction show...

KA> And then you go get eaten by an alien.

CB> Exactly.

KB> On a science fiction.

CB>Yeah, transmogrified with another creature and end up a mutation.

KA> So, what did they think of the show?

CB> They love it. I think, the way that unfortunately it's ended up being programmed it's the show is really for insomniacs.

KA> How long did it take them to tell their friends you're in the show? That's the benchmark.

CB> Minus twenty milliseconds. To finally have a daughter who's an "actor" (rolls eyes) who's getting paid to be an actor, that's a big difference, a very big difference. So, they're really proud, really, really proud. They've both come onto the set. And unfortunately the day mom came I'd actually been transformed into another creature, as you do.

KA> (Laughing) Could I see my daughter, please?

CB> Yeah, actually.

KB> Oh, she'd be the creature in the corner.

CB> Well, you know Pilot, the character Pilot.

KA> Yes.

CB> Who's sort of basically is in charge of the ship. But not very often, and that's why we always have something to solve because we're all going to die every episode. Pilot sort of looks like a cross between a wombat and the Opera house, I think. Cause he's got these things coming out of the side of his head and this sort of big nose. And so they put the makeup on me and I really did look like an Opera House Wombat. And mom turns up and I've got like this mutated stomach with a chicken wing thing sticking out the side. And they'd lubed me up, we used K-Y Jelly on the makeup. And they lubed me up with all this sort of slime and stuff and I sort of walked out the door. And mom just couldn't look at me, it freaked her out - she was really disturbed.

KA> (Pulling out an Aeryn action figure) And what's more you got your own doll.

CB> Yeah, and a mutated doll no less. That's a limited edition.

KA> I think I got one of my own. (KA pulls out a scruffy looking Barbie doll with her face taped to its head) Oh, she spots the difference, one of us works out!

CB> I'm jealous, I want that kind of doll.

KA> Am I having a bad hair day, or what? Hey, listen Claudia, great to have you with us on the program. All the very best.

CB> Thank you.

KA> I'm sorry the show's finished, cause I am a huge fan and I know it will keep rolling around.

CB> Thank you. There's more to come on air, so at least in Australia we have a bit to go.

KA> Excellent, good on ya.

CB> Thank you very much.



Morning with Kerri-Anne is copyright ©2003 Nine Network Australia

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Screen: 320 x 240
FPS: 30
Stereo sound (poor quality)
Length: 8 minutes
Posted: April 26, 2003

Windows Media - 15.4 MB
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A BIG Texas "thank you" to Erpgirl for capturing this interview, kindly mailing the tape all the way from Australia and helping me with the transcript.

Explanation of terms:

"B" unit. Camera crew that usually films secondary scenes for an episode, scenes that involved the Pilot puppet, on location, etc...

Uni. Short for University

HECS. University tuition fees

Vegemite. Kind of a sandwich spread, I think. This product hasn't quite made it to Texas, but we breathlessly await its introduction to our market.

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