Episode 1.09: DNA Mad Scientist
Transcribed by SETI_fan
CB: Welcome to DNA Mad Scientist Commentary. I'm Claudia Black and I play Aeryn Sun.
BB: I'm Ben Browder. I play John Crichton.
CB: (re: needle in the eye) This is very disturbing for a lot of people, even though --
BB: It was disturbing on the day, but I didn't need a stunt double.
CB: (as needle enters John's eye) Oooh! (pained)
CB: Really good CGI. (laughs)
BB: Were you nervous? ‘Cause you, you'll do this later. I was nervous as hell when they stuck that thing in my face.
CB: Oh yeah.
BB: 'Cause they got so close and they -- Look, the eyes are the only thing on me that still works! (laughs) Don't mess up the eyes!
CB: I just love how they cut back to Aeryn and she doesn't really flinch, she just kind of, yeah. I think the, uh, the way this story starts we've all volunteered you.
BB: The, uh, probably, yeah. (laughs) 'Let's use the guinea pig!'
CB: Yeah, exactly. The Erp boy.
BB: That tall guy there (Namtar) is, uh --
CB: Adrian Getley.
BB: Yeah. He's not really that tall. Um, he's playing Namtar, who is the DNA mad scientist. You look at how tall he is; he's actually on stilts. In order to achieve the straight look of the lower leg --
CB: They're inverted, weren't they?
CB: Aren't they backwards?
BB: His, his toes are pointed downward, like he was on point for the entire episode, and this was during the phase when, when the Creature Shop was just beginning to torture people (Claudia giggles) and, uh, I think they, they tried to kill Adrian, or at least hobble him (Claudia groans sympathetically) and, uh, they, they didn't have a quick way to get the legs on and off, so even on his coverage like there (Namtar seen from the waist up) where you're not seeing the legs, he's standing on stilts.
CB: We used to have -- there would be people to rush in behind him to make sure he didn't faint, 'cause we were all so -- this was in the middle of the summer, the Australian summer, and even though this was at Fox Studios still at this stage and we had air conditioning, it was still really hot.
BB: Yeah, but this set was actually out in a loading bay area which --
CB: Which didn't have the air conditioning.
BB: Which was not fully air conditioned. They were still concerned about sound, so they wanted to turn... (laughs)
CB: The air cond.
BB: Turn the air cond. off all the time. It... it got hot.
(Namtar: I will do each of you in turn, but lovely Zhaan, I have chosen to do yours first. The galaxy map appears)
CB: I love this CGI sequence.
BB: Yeah, this, this is really beautiful CG from Garner-McClennan, who did season 1 CGI special effects for Farscape.
(Namtar: Enjoy. My genetic database holds information on nearly 11 million species. It is simple for me to take a genetic sampling of a being... )
CB: This episode brings out so much emotion in the crew. They've been thrown together, they don't -- they never wanted to be together. They all want to go back to their homes and this is the first episode where it's possible, and here Zhaan gets a chance, everyone gets a chance to, sort of, dip their toe in the water and think about what it's going to be like to get home. They're no longer lost.
BB: It's really interesting looking back to see the Zhaan makeup and see how beautiful it was.
CB: (quietly) Oh, just stunning. (something indistinguishable from Ben) A very identifiable aspect of the show that people would say, 'Oh, was that the one with the blue alien?'
BB: Yeah, she was the poster girl for Farscape.
BB: Yeah, and it, it's just the most stunning makeup job by Leslie Vanderwalt.
CB: You have Aeryn sitting there quite -- standing in the background quietly because she can't go home. And that's a very contentious issue for her in this episode.
BB: And I can tell it's a mid-season episode because of the grey T-shirt. (both laugh)
CB: And you look so young. Your hair's short. Yeah...
BB: (mumbles) The hair would kind of... short, long or -- it just depended. My entire characterization was in my hair or my shirt. It, like, built the entire performance around th --
CB: (re: Aeryn's wild, loose hair) I think I have things living in my hair. Look at that. (Ben laughs) We developed shortly after, I think, the battle pony, which became famous apparently in playgrounds. Ian Watson, one of our directors, was saying that his daughter had taken the expression to school and everyone would go out and play in their battle ponies.
BB: Their battle ponies.
CB: (amused) Yeah... a la Aeryn. Little Aeryn Suns running around everywhere. (re: Namtar) Now the voice... I'm trying to remember how they did that. I think they had Sean Masterson, our puppeteer, doing the voice on set.
BB: They did.
CB: And then someone else in post. It's amazing how many people it takes to bring a Creature Shop creature to life.
BB: Now he's (Namtar's) just said, 'One of your Pilot's arms.' At this point, (Claudia laughs) I think our audience was thinking, 'Well we know they're not going to -- '
CB: 'Well, that's not going to happen. Of course it's -- '
BB: They'll, they'll take a fingernail clipping.
CB: That's right, or they'll find a way to talk them out -- talk him out of it. You know, wh -- They'll have a discussion about giving one of their own arms, being very butch, and then, you know, they'll find a way to foil him, they'll break into the laboratory and get what they need without an arm.
BB: That's right. They're gonna find a way around it --
CB: Not on Farscape!
BB: Because it's completely unreasonable to ask for that.
CB: That's right, so --
BB: And I'm sure the audience at home was going, like, 'Oh, well, how are they gonna get around that?'
CB: (laughs) Well, they don't. (Ben laughs) They just bulldoze right through it (Ben laughs) and this is what sets Farscape apart, this episode, because it, it takes such a dark turn. You see that the characters are very selfish.
BB: Yeah! And Andrew Prowse, who directed this episode, was ecstatic --
BB: --that we were going to do something as horrid and as dark as chopping off an arm.
CB: No one loves to subvert things more than Andrew Prowse.
BB: So, this is an asteroid we're parked against, is that right? Yeah.
CB: It's a base.
BB: It's a base on an asteroid.
CB: (re: the bar in Namtar's base) What is, what's the name of the bar -- Is it Dam-Ba-Da in Star Wars?
BB: (laughs) That's what we --
CB: I kept looking for the guy with the blue nose playing the clarinet. (Ben hums the Cantina Theme and Claudia laughs.) Yeah.
BB: (re: John drinking and reacting to the taste) Crichton is still, uh, experiencing a lot of new things, like the taste of this particular drink... Is this raslak? Is this the first taste of raslak?
CB: I don't know, because we had raslak in, uh...
BB: Well, you kids can listen to the thing and call me up and tell me whether it's raslak or no. (Claudia chuckles) (re: the credits for guest stars) Adrian Getley... Sarah Burns, she's also in a prosthetic.
(John: I mean, sure, he can't pinpoint the exact location, but am I even in the neighborhood, here? He sure as hell pinpointed the others, no problem.)
BB: (laughs) John, getting all petulant. (Claudia chuckles) John's doing his petulant phase, going, (goofy voice) 'Everybody else gets to go home, but I, you know, what am I gonna do? I'm gonna sit here and drink alien beer.' (laughs) He's really bitchy, isn't he?
CB: And Aeryn's just sitting there thinking, 'Well, you know, at least you're not Irreversibly Contaminated.' (Ben laughs)
BB: Yeah, no, Aeryn can't go either.
BB: 'I know where to go, I just can't go and it's your fault.'
CB: 'So, shut up, you silly man.'
BB: And I sort of had an internal objection to all the whinging that Claudia was putting out at this phase in the series. 'Guys, quit making him bitch about stuff. It's cool!' (laughs) (re: John getting in Aeryn's face) Oh, look, I'm getting in close.
CB: Ah, it's a proximity alert.
BB: (re: chopping Pilot's arm off) And now we're right at this part (laughs ruefully) Okay, kids at home, turn your head around. I -- I -- I -- They're -- They're -- They're fairly emotional about it, but they're gonna do it nonetheless. Lookit, just go on in and chop off an arm.
CB: It's an interesting question, though. I mean, Aeryn, Aeryn doesn't have to have a part in it because she knows she can't go home anyway, but if she could have had a chance to go home, giv -- volunteering one of Pilot's arms, would she be there? Later on in The Way We Weren't, it's referenced again because Zhaan's so upset about Aeryn being wh -- responsible for killing a Pilot and a Leviathan.
BB: Did you see the fluid flying on the chop?
CB: Yeah. And, uh, and here Zhaan, who's our spiritual element on the show is, you know --
BB: Holding the arm down.
CB: --participating, yeah, she's --
BB: 'Oh, no, no, I'll make it hurt less. You're fine. It'll grow back. Don't worry about it. You're a lobster.'
(D'Argo: How much of "a while"? Namtar: I sense you don't completely trust me, but you needn't worry.)
BB: (re: shooting through the tank with Pilot's arm in it) Look at all this foreground. These foreground shots, there's always something in the foreground, shooting through something.
CB: Prowsey's dirty shots.
BB: Prowse is really big on that.
BB: There's sections in the series where all you can see is the foreground.
CB: Well, he came from --
BB: (laughs) It's a radio play.
CB: It's a Wildside background for Prowsey. It's shooting through planes of gla -- you know, plates of glass, through offices.
BB: Nah, I think he just didn't like seeing us. (both laugh) 'As long as I can cut around the performance I'll be fine.' (re: Kornata) There's Sarah. She's an --
CB: Eye-gor, Froderick.
BB: (laughs, with German accent) Froderick.
Both: (re: Pilot-mutant, in revelation and disgust) Ahh!
BB: Now we see what the guy's up to.
CB: My -- This was the first time that my mom actually came to set to visit me (Ben chuckles) while we were filming and it was unfortunately on a day when -- where I'd, you know, transmogrified into Pilot and I had, uh, the prosthetic makeup on and I looked like a cross between a wombat and the Sydney Opera House and Mom was too freaked out to look at me.
(Pilot: Don't concern yourself, Crichton. I will be fine. My species has superior regenerative abilities. Crichton: So, you, um, you let them cut off one of your arms. Pilot: I didn't exactly "let" them.)
BB: I don't think Crichton's really happy about all this. (chuckles)
CB: It's nice that Pilot's personality's coming through here. He's not as pissy as you'd expect him to be.
BB: No, Crichton's more pissy about it, and angry.
(John: How can you not be angry -- insanely angry? Pilot: When one of my species is bonded to a leviathan, we give our lives to the service of others. Ship first -- then those who travel aboard her. Crichton: No matter what those aboard do to you? Pilot: My species is incapable of spaceflight on our own.)
BB: This is also during that phase of the series where we're getting a lot of backstory. I don't think we actually know, till Pilot has just said this that his species is --
CB: That's right.
BB: Is incapable of spaceflight.
CB: That they're separate.
BB: So we're finding out, we're getting a lot of, a lot of backstory, mythology-type elements.
CB: Which then come into play more strongly in The Way We Weren't.
BB: Oh yeah.
(D'Argo: Do you have something to say to us? Zhaan: The decision was a hard one, Aeryn. Our actions, even harder. But it is done. Aeryn: How could you? Pilot is defenseless.)
BB: Ah! Little bit of emotion from a Peacekeeper.
CB: Finally, yes.
(Aeryn: You attacked one of your own.)
BB: Aeryn comes off a very noble character in this episode.
CB: Yeah, I mean it's -- it's the beginning of when she really bonds with Pilot, especially after this.
BB: Yep, the one on this ship that you're closest to.
CB: That's right.
(Aeryn: Pilot will not help you after what you have done. D'Argo: Pilot is a servicer.)
CB: Pilot has no expectations of Aeryn.
(D'Argo: I'll see to it.)
CB: So interesting, actually, as an actor having for the most part of the beginning of the season, the show, my emotions dictated by the opinions of, of producers. I mean, Aeryn was very -- everyone was very fascinated by her character, thought she had a very interesting journey in the show and they were very specific about when she could emote and when she couldn't. One would come to me and say, 'She's a robot. Kind of play her like a robot.' And another person would say, 'No, she's a human being, but she just, she just doesn't know how to be a human being.' And another person would say, 'She never shows any emotion. She's just cool as ice.' And another person would come in and say, 'You've got to show emotions. It's going to be a completely boring performance.' So we've taken all those notes onboard.
CB: Aeryn was a little confused for a couple of episodes.
BB: That -- That's part of the TV process.
BB: Yeah, of a series developing where there, there's a lot of opinions coming round and, at a certain point one learns who to listen to and who not to listen to.
CB: Well, the biggest lesson was just to listen to myself. My instincts were fine, I just had to clear, you know, regardless of what anyone was saying to me. I wasn't trusting myself.
(Crichton: Look, you know, I'm not entirely useless here, you know. I happen to be learning.)
BB: You know, I think this is the first time I let him, that, that John got drunk, or stayed drunk for a while.
CB: Yeah, I think Prowsey was the one who used to always let us get drunk. It was his episodes.
BB: Yeah, I'm not sure that other people liked it much.
BB: But it seemed to me to be a reasonable response.
CB: And I like these earlier scenes with Aeryn and Crichton because they're sort of comrades. There is an attraction, but at the moment, they're in the same position.
(Aeryn: I've always been one among many. A member of a division, platoon, a unit, a team. I've never been on my own, John. Never been alone. Ever.)
CB: First admission of vulnerability from Aeryn Sun.
(John: If I find a way home -- I'll take you with me.)
BB: Whoa, look at that.
CB: Look at my eyebrows! (Ben laughs loudly) No wonder the makeup artists wanted to attack me with a pair of tweezers! But yeah, so... (Ben chuckles) They -- They -- They -- They have a common... angst.
BB: People are watching for the drama and angst and we're watching for the eyebrows.
CB: Yep, peer editing.
BB: I'm looking at Claudia or I'm, I'm thinking 'Wow, I was hitting the caterer that day, wasn't I?' (laughs)
(Rygel: Just items that I've procured since our escape to aid us in our bartering. Of course, when I return home and reclaim my birthright... )
BB: There's also another thing which, um, this episode, which I think is fairly indicative of season one, there were more scenes where there was talking going on.
CB: Yeah, two-handers.
BB: The two-handers, and it was necessary, particularly necessary at that point, so that we were constantly explaining the world, explaining who I am, what I am, where I've been.
CB: The dynamic of the characters.
BB: Yeah, and the sort of rules of the universe. Awful lot of that in, um, in season one.
CB: And this episode particularly we start to, you know, we're having these two-hander scenes so we can understand everyone's agenda and sort of understand why, rati -- how they rationalize why they, they allow, you know, they took Pilot's arm.
BB: Yeah, I mean, we don't know the characters well enough right now to take things on face value.
(Zhaan and D'Argo discuss what they would give for a way home in a scene cut from the US version. Zhaan mentions she would sacrifice her neuma(sp?) to go home. D'Argo replies, "Namtar has no use for that out here.")
CB: What's a neuma?
BB: I don't know. (laughs)
CB: A soul, I guess.
BB: You see, it you have someone else in the room you can clarify this sort of thing. 'Read the Companion.' (Claudia laughs) 'I actually know the show. It was a soul.'
CB: I pres -- I presumed it was a soul.
BB: I mean, yeah, in context that's what it would be, but it does have a certain sound that it might be something else.
CB: And int -- But interestingly enough, it turns out to be absolutely right. Zhaan gives -- makes the ultimate sacrifice for the rest of the crew, and especially for Aeryn so that she can be with John, so... it's... you know. She's true to her word. (breathes) God, she looks gorgeous. It was a weird process for Virginia because it went through so many different permutations when they were just trialing, um, how, how to approach the makeup and the different stages of it, and, and people would just stare at her because it was so, you know, drawn to the makeup. It was stunning and then I think she felt like a monkey in a cage with people always wanting to look at her. And how could you not?
BB: There's a lo -- a lot of differences in, in how the makeup's evolved. You can look at Anth's neck. That's a single piece, um, which has basically got him tied in for the day. There were great difficulties in the beginning of finding ways to keep Anthony cool and these early versions of the suit are qualitatively different in their look, but also in construction.
CB: And the diff -- the amount of appliances that, you know, went onto the face; appliances being each foam piece that gets joined to another, or another part of the face.
BB: Yeah. When, when he started this process, he was in Makeup for wh -- at least three hours.
CB: At least.
BB: And by the time he finished, he was in Makeup, I think, for less time than we were.
CB: Yeah. (Ben laughs) That's right.
BB: Nah, he was -- They got it down to about an hour, hour and a half, which was incredibly rapid application for such an extensive prosthetic.
CB: And those rings that you see on the collarbones as well, is important to his character. It signifies that fact that he was, you know, bound by the PeaceKeepers.
(Namtar uses his powers to sweep glasses off a table in anger. Kornata screams. Kornata: Namtar, your anger! Release me... please!)
BB: I'm always amazed at how writers decide on a voice or a style of language for alien characters, particularly minor characters, like Yoda. (laughs)
CB: (as Yoda) Yes...
BB: (dead-on Yoda impression) Righteous you are.
CB: I love, yeah, I love the syntax.
BB: But yeah, she has, she has a similar kind of odd, syntactic quality.
BB: You know. You know you're in the presence of an alien because --
BB: (mutters unintelligibly as Yoda)
CB: (as Yoda) Funny they speak.
BB: (as Yoda) Mmm... (chuckles)
(Namtar: What made you change your mind, my dear?)
CB: (re: Aeryn sitting in Namtar's chair) Here we go.
BB: Ah, look!
(Aeryn: I know that there are other sebacean colonies beyond the known territories. I want you to find me on where I -- I can -- Namtar: Fit in?)
CB: (worried) Don't do it...
BB: See, whenever you go by yourself --
CB: That's right.
BB: --into the mad doctor's lab, something bad will happen. Aeryn obviously has not seen many horror movies.
CB: No. Never go out at night, (Ben chuckles) if you can help it, and never go alone.
BB: Get out of the house. (laughs)
CB: Have you checked the children? It's ah, fantastic. I mean, this really was the first time for me that, that Aeryn was softened, that you could see how vulnerable she was, and she was always this huge mix of incredibly tough warrior and hopelessly lost and vulnerable girl.
BB: (re: Pilot DNA appearing in Aeryn's eye) Oh, look, it's like a little solar system in your eye. Nebula. Stars...
CB: 'Cause, that's the universal pain coming --
BB: How did you do that?
BB: (breathy voice) 'I held still and let the CG department do their -- '
CB: It's cool. What I love is the fact that she opens her eye, she closes it, she opens it again and the CGI is still there, and then on the next blink, it goes. It's just a nice detail. I really like what they did there.
(Rygel: I, of course, will return home first. D'Argo: You? Hmm -- Rygel: I bartered for the coordinates to this asteroid. I made the first contact with Namtar.)
CB: You ever talked about why you're not wearing comms, or visibly?
BB: (retorts) Where're yours? (both laugh)
CB: No, I just followed suit.
BB: Heh, alright. There's actually a good reason why I'm not wearing comms. My comms, uh, were really problematic in that there wasn't a good place to put them.
CB: You kind of touched them on the T-shirt.
BB: So I ended up attaching them at one point to the belt.
BB: But the comms were -- some of them were basically safety pinned on.
BB: Let's be honest, it was a safety pin back there.
CB: Or they were double-sided tape.
BB: I was always getting beat up and hitting the floor so much that I was doing two things: I was breaking the comms and the comms were coming loose and jabbing me. I was getting acupuncture by comms. I -- at a certain point I just said, 'Why don't I just hide the comms behind the belt?'
CB: And we'll just presume that they're there.
BB: Yeah. You know, one day Andy Playford comes in. Ady Playford, our --
Both: props guy
CB: Props master, and he goes, 'Here's your comms,' and I said, 'You know what? I'm hiding 'em.' (Claudia laughs) And from, basically, you know, unless I needed the comms, I would suddenly produce the comms from behind my belt or wherever it was, if you really needed to see the comms, but from early on in season 1, you never see Crichton's comms. You never see Aeryn's comms.
CB: No. I just sort of --
BB: You just sort of --
CB: --copied you.
BB: You just sort of talk at the air.
CB: Look at how old that skin is of Rygel's. He looks sort of, you know.
BB: They needed to re-skin him.
CB: Yeah. He went through a lot in the, uh, Tavlek episode. (Ben laughs) Being buried in the dirt.
BB: It was a rough episode.
CB: Yeah. (laughs)
BB: Yeah, I mean, they're trying to figure out how often, at this point in the series, they need to re-skin Rygel. His neck --
BB: Look, he's different. He's a different structure, the animatronics that he's based on are different. (re: gorgeous shot of John in his tight grey T-shirt as Rygel flees) Good god, look at the arms on that guy.
CB: I know! Ruff! (Ben laughs) Rrrar!
BB: Ah, you're not looking (unintelligible) a little too big for the camera there, fella.
CB: Well, some of these --
BB: You nee -- You need to realize that most actors are, like, 130 pounds, dripping wet. (Claudia chuckles) They are! I go work with these guys and I look at 'em and they look, they look scrawny! Until you see them onscreen, [then] you go, 'Wow, they look fit.' But these guys who look buff on camera are little guys!
CB: I know, they're emaciated.
BB: (laughs ruefully) I'm not a little guy.
CB: (re: Aeryn reacting to the Pilot senses) We also had big technical problems because we'd established in episode three of season one that Sebaceans lack the heat gland necessary to regulate temperature and, and they get Heat Delerium, which would mean that they can't really sweat because it would appear that they were overheating and gonna die, which was difficult when you're shooting a show on -- in Australia in the summer when it's gonna be very hot.
(Aeryn: This is not a sebacean thing. Crichton: Well, you gotta give me a clue here, Aeryn. Is this something new or is this just your usual P.M.S -- Peacekeeper Military Shi -- Aeryn: Frell you.)
CB: I think Aeryn just said, 'Frell you.'
BB: Ah! (excited) Did she say 'Frell you'?
CB: I think so, and apparently the first time it's ever said on the show, ah --
BB: Is it?
CB: I didn't really take to 'frell' until I think I said, 'Frell me dead' and I realized what a fantastic way it was to (Ben laughs) get around certain expletives.
BB: I thought, I thought it was the best of our words. 'Frell' was a great substitution for another word.
CB: Fantastic. (re: Rygel in his quarters hovering over D'Argo) That's a very expensive shot having a rig removal on Rygel. We were all trying to find ways to bring Rygel in and out of scenes, how we could, you know, block him into scenes, so it wasn't demanding extra coverage. We had a limited amount of time for each scene.
(D'Argo: If you return to Hyneria, you will want to wrest your throne from your cousin. Rygel: And I will.)
BB: Yeah, but you know, at least you've got a character who can be up along the wall and you can play a scene in a different way.
BB: Bit it is problematic, but we were doing that! Season one Rygel would come in and out. We had these big greenscreen rigs and he had his own crane. (laughs)
CB: Oh yeah.
BB: The puppeteers would come in, you're like 'Oh my gosh,' you know, and everybody covered in green.
CB: But he reads as the character who's most capable of moving quickly and getting into small spaces, but the practical issues of --
CB: --making that happen.
BB: Yeah, he's the one that's most mobile, but in reality --
CB: The least.
BB: Ah, now him and Pilot. Pilot is only slightly less mobile than Rygel.
CB: But we have less expectations of Pilot. In the script Rygel was always zipping in and out of places.
BB: Pilot's not supposed to go anywhere.
CB: Yeah, that's right.
BB: But this was a problem and at some point I'm sure in some DVD commentary, you know, Brian and Rock can address what were they talking about in how they were gonna deal with Rygel? You know, it's a difficult thing to pull off and I don't think, actually, a general, general audience will understand how technically difficult and stupid it is to design a character that moves around like that. But the value you get for it is, is the people who know go, 'I can't believe they did that.'
CB: I know.
BB: 'That's just amazing.'
CB: It's a real challenge.
BB: Rygel, Rygel being what Rygel is, it sort of establishes wh -- a bar to jump over for the entire series.
BB: They had discussed and actually built 3-D, uh, CG 3-D builds for Rygel --
BB: --even as early as season 1.
BB: and it was not commonplace at the time to have -- at the time, this was pre-Matrix, this is pre-use of 3-D characters in action sequences, this wa -- That was cutting-edge to build a 3-D Rygel at that time.
(Aeryn, back in Namtar's bar, glances under her shirt and sees gray tissue forming.)
CB: First signs of Aeryn changing, going through the change. That makeup on the stomach was the first phase and it didn't require a foam latex application. It just was latex, glue, and painted.
(Namtar: I have temporarily changed my nerve receptors from pain to pleasure.)
CB: Oh, how convenient. (both chuckle) 'I'm such a super-freak alien.' What you find out about Namtar is he's taken, he's taken bits of different species all over the universe to make himself the ultimate creature, so he really is quite a formidable nemesis.
(Namtar: You are in the latter part of phase one, I suspect. Aeryn: Phase one of what?)
BB: See those big old hands? He's got humongous hands.
BB: And it was, I remember on the day, um, Andrew talking with Adrian and I probably threw myself in the middle of the conversation, being the nosy guy that I am, about how to use the hands that are that large onscreen, and you actually have to be pretty delicate with it, and for someone like Adrian who's stuck with the, with animatronics buzzing in his head, on stilts, to maintain a modicum of (laughing) not overacting with your hands that are two feet long.
BB: You know, it's a delicate task.
CB: And the dissonance of not saying the words yourself, having someone else -- you doing the movements and someone else doing the voice, off...
BB: It's gotta be completely psychotic.
BB: Or the person in the suit has to be absolutely psychotic.
CB: I think it's a bit of both.
CB: If you've met anyone from the Creature Shop.
BB: (laughs) It's Dave Elsey's requirements for employment.
(Aeryn: ... the hydraulic fluids, the -- Pilot: You hear all that? Aeryn: Not so much "hear" it as -- sense it. Pilot: But how?)
CB: Here we have Aeryn saying that she's basically --
BB: (re: Aeryn's mutant hand) Ooh!
CB: --turning into Pilot.
BB: Nice glove. It's a Michael Jackson... (laughs)
CB: That's right. Now look at this, with the little chicken wing... (re: Pilot arm on Aeryn's stomach)
(Aeryn: It's not so much the noises as my own thoughts.)
BB: Yeah, I remember the chicken wing, and I'll come in in a little while and have a look at it. (re: John entering) Ah! There I am.
(John: Hey, Pilot. Maybe we can find somebody down there who can figure out what's wrong with you. Maybe this Namtar guy -- Aeryn: No. Crichton: Damnit, Aeryn, I'm trying to hel -- )
CB: Aeryn just doesn't want to tell him what's wrong. She's gonna, he's gonna see that she's hideous and deformed.
BB: But he doesn't care. He loves her anyway.
CB: (re: revealing the Pilot arm) The chicken wings! Ah, yes.
BB: See, this is a guy you want, you wanna be with. (in Australian/Travolta voice) 'Aw, baby, I don't care that you've got a chicken wing growing out of -- '
CB: I'm trying to get him into bed and look what I've got to -- you know.
BB: (same voice) 'I don't care if you've got chicken wings on your chest baby, I love you.'
(Aeryn: I went back there. I wanted him to find me a place where I could belong. I didn't want to get left behind. I'm so scared.)
BB: They talked about reshooting sections of this scene because we're shooting in low light at a time when we weren't shooting at low light a lot and on a fairly long lens, meaning that there's not a lot of depth of field, and uh, there was a take in there where you turned away and you had tears, more tears in your eyes.
CB: Uh-huh, yeah.
BB: Then that take, the take they used, the take where the -- she turned the faucet on for the first time, I think. Yeah, yeah, they took the leash off and --
BB: The faucet was on. I remember the discussion about it, but we had focus problems because of the low, low light.
CB: That's right.
(Zhaan: ... there's no reason why you and I should be at odds with each other. Zhaan lures Rygel with food)
BB: Lookit, look at Zhaan doing the, the Nebari thing!
CB: (puzzled) That was... ?
BB: She's doing Chiana!
CB: (laughs) What do you mean?
BB: She's... tempting him.
CB: Tilting the head? Oh...
BB: She's being sensual and now she's gonna turn the screw on him. (re: Zhaan playing with Rygel's mustache) Oh, look, see?
CB: They're all evil.
BB: I can see Gigi doing that.
CB: Yeah. Manipulating each other. You don't see Zhaan do this often.
(Zhaan: I believe talk is -- overrated as a means of connection between two consenting beings. Rygel: Uh -- you know, I'm not really a body breeder.)
BB: The people that you're looking at are not part of a crew.
CB: Ah, they're a bunch of escaped prisoners who have been thrown together and they all have, you know, they all want to go home and the desire is brought out very strongly in this episode. It's also contrary to what we know of Zhaan, here, I mean she's th -- she's the peaceful, you know, spiritual being on the ship and yet she is seen here as being entirely capable of manipulation, um, because at the end of the day they owe each -- they owe each other nothing. They've all just agreed (Ben grunts agreement) to be on the ship. Moya didn't really want them anyway, but Moya wanted to escape from the PeaceKeepers, so they all -- even the ship has an agenda, oh, and as long as Pilot can keep, oh, keep Moya happy, then they are allowed to travel on her until they can all get home and basically Pilot has agreed to get them there if they, if they can go hom.
BB: And the significance of that is that it defies the sci-fi convention or the standard, which is that --
BB: Of the military hierarchy which alm -- almost every sci-fi, space-based show has, is a military hierarchy. In fact, when I was auditioning, I almost didn't get the part because, uh, there were factions in the decision-making process that felt Crichton should be more military or stand-up. They --
BB: They literally wanted, you know, he should be military and... you know. That wasn't, wasn't the thing that interested me, so obviously I wasn't doing that in the audition process.
CB: You're more interested in what, what happens to him and how he changes and how he develops --
BB: Yeah, and you know, so instead of being that 'can do' guy, that 'can do', run-into-the-firefight guy that doesn't flinch, you know, Crichton is something else. The dynamic which was created by Rock and David Kemper and Brian Henson is a break from the traditional standard of science fiction.
CB: Right. No, I mean this isn't about NASA or IASA. It's about one member of (Ben chuckles) IASA.
BB: Ee-ASA? Eye-ASA? My-ASA. It's not -- (Claudia laughs) You know, it's not about --
CB: It's about a guy who's taken from Earth, he represents humanity rather than a particular agency.
(Namtar throws John across the room with his powers)
BB: I kinda figured on that shot they'd use some CG sort of effect.
CB: Yeah, I know.
BB: Because he wasn't actually hitting me, he was supposed to be --
CB: Just the power of --
BB: A wave of force.
CB: Well, they established it before in the laboratory where he waves his arm and all of the glasses smash without him having contact with them, so it's been established.
BB: Yeah, but just with that shot you sort of think, 'Did he hit him or was it just a really bad stunt?'
CB: Look at this, Aeryn's being drawn to him [Namtar]. She looks like the French Lieutenant's woman and she's being drawn towards him without, you know, against her will.
BB: She's like, 'Come on, just scratch it (re: Pilot tissue), scratch it, it's really itchy.'
CB: (both laugh) (innocent voice) 'Please, sir.'
(Namtar: I assume though that you are also developing the heightened perceptions... )
BB: I think she just fancies him.
(Aeryn: Please stop this... )
BB: (scoff) My gosh. He's, he just did the whole Dracula thing on ya, didn't he?
CB: Yeah, yeah, yeah, it was great. It's --
BB: (Dracula voice) 'You are in my power.'
CB: It's a very, it's a real, it's a very vampire moment.
BB: (almost Scorpius voice) 'You are mine now. You will be developing skills which I will be able to use.'
CB: (re: shooting a hole in Namtar) This is a great CGI here. I remember reading this in the script and thinking, 'Ooh, this is gonna cost a lot of money.'
BB: (laughs) I think it did cost a lot of money.
CB: That's... I think it did.
BB: Oh, it's good and look at the little quivering stuff. That's really wicked CG from Garner-McLennan.
CB: Terrific stuff. Prowsey really wanted that reverse shot with the goop dripping down.
BB: Yeah. (Namtar heals himself) You know what, I never thought about it, but we're actually in a horror movie here.
BB: Yeah, and you now how I know? (Claudia chuckles) The candles. (Claudia laughs) Other thing about those candles? They all look really great.
CB: But they asphyxiate everybody.
BB: That's right. Those, those ones were actually the ones that choke you, that, that leave so much --
CB: Well, you guys did a scene --
CB: You and Wayne Pygram.
BB: Oh, that.
CB: The Nosferatu scene.
BB: The Nosferatu scene in season three [season four -- ed.].
BB: Towards the end of season three, where they had a whole bunch of candles burning.
BB: And the space became so clogged with, like, soot that we had to stop shooting.
CB: The production office couldn't understand why (Ben laughs), very funny. 'Why can't you keep shooting?'
BB: 'Because everyone's choking.'
CB: 'Because everyone's dying.'
BB: Those candles are the same process. We had to snuff them out at the end of every take.
BB: Because they filled -- they filled the room with so much toxic whatever's coming out of those candles that people couldn't breathe.
CB: The other thing about the show is we constantly have something called 'atmos' going, pumping through which was --
CB: --and so, we were, we were breathing that in for four or five years, so everyone would go home blowing their noses and it'd be like we were working in a coal mine. It was extraordinary (Ben laughs) the amount of atmos they needed to pump through these big spaces.
BB: (gruff Southern voice) 'I been hacking up Farscape for years.' (cough, cough)
CB: Moreso once we'd moved out to Homebush. This season here we were still at Fox, but once we moved out to Homebush there were vast spaces that didn't have, you know, temperature control and all those things so the smoke just constantly had to keep pumping through to...
(Rygel: I didn't hear all you were offering, I'm afraid. But then, I guess it's a moot point anyway, isn't it? D'Argo: How did you get out? Rygel: You really think that I could spend all those cycles locked up in one of these cells... )
CB: Okay, now everyone's turning against each other --
CB: --being imprisoned by, supposedly, not their other crew members, but supposed friends.
BB: They're all turning against one another.
(John is awakened by Kornata.)
BB: Oh, Kornata, Kornata and --
CB: (very amused) Look at the size of that hand! That's fantastic, sure. (Ben laughs) Except (unintelligible) kept small.
BB: Yeah, yeah. 'I've always wanted hands just like that.'
(John chases Kornata.)
BB: I had to slow down. She couldn't move fast, so I had to, I had to really slow down my run there.
CB: Especially when you --
BB: She's just hobbling along and I'm pretending to run fast.
CB: When you're doing the Quasimodo limp, it's a little hard to do a dash.
BB: (chuckling) Well, she called, I'm like 'Don't run too fast, 'cause I've got to get to her at th -- at this point where the beads are.'
CB: I just love how her brains are exploding and they're being contained by leather straps. Ah, Farscape...
BB: Oh, Dave Elsey. Dave Elsey, the man who runs the Creature Shop.
CB: His wife, Lou, designs all the creature costumes and, and when we finally get into Scarran World --
BB: Gosh, I thought you said, you were gonna say she just brings that stuff from home. (both laugh)
CB: Yeah. 'Look, honey.' Um...
BB: 'Honey this'll be perfect for the show.'
CB: It's fantastic how much everyone loved what they did for a living and I remember one day looking at Lou and she was standing on the side of the set when she'd got all her babies dressed, all her Scarrans were there and in all their finery and she just, uh, I can't quote her exactly, but she said she was just so excited to finally see all of her dreams realized on, on -- in one day, one scene, all of those creatures together on the set.
BB: Think about people's dreams. 'My dream is to see this realized.' And you know, for Lou and Dave Elsey, this is their dreams being realized.
CB: That's right. I -- It's just, their creative imagination and the diversity of the human population in action here on Farscape.
CB: The twisted world of the Elseys.
(Kornata: He used us all! Crichton: Is there anything we can do to help her? Kornata: He controls my lab, all my equipment. If I'm away for more than an arn, he comes looking for me. He knows that I am the only one -- Crichton: Is there?!)
BB: (re: odd POV) So this is, uh, this is Aeryn-Vision at the moment? Oh, no, you're looking through the curtain.
CB: Yeah, that's right. Well, it is the --
BB: This is the day your mom came to set.
CB: That's right.
BB: Your mother was sitting right off to the side.
CB: Yeah, she was horrified and this was a great horror cliché, fantastic one, it's, you know, the creature behind the curtain. We didn't want to reveal her until the final moment in front of Crichton.
(Namtar: You must be willing... )
CB: And it's a big deal. Prowsey and I talked about this, about Aeryn's vulnerability and you know, she's lost, she can't go home, she tried, she came to Namtar to try and find another Sebacean colony. Now he's basically killing her, she's going to have to reveal herself in all her... you know, unglory -- I know I just invented that word, but she's going to have to reveal herself to Crichton as this... beast. The one man who may have sort of given her... (re: Pilot claw coming from behind curtain) Oh, look at that, a bit of KY jelly.
CB: Oh, the slime. You know, the one guy who may give her some future is not going to see her and probably run a mile. And Aeryn never wanted to fall in love with anyone and when she meets him, he's a real problem for her. He represents everything she's afraid of. Finaly have to reveal herself to him as a monster... (chuckles) (Ben laughs) It's a big deal, you know! It's not, we're not just talking about your average zit before going out on a date.
BB: 'I wanna sh -- I want to show you Lou Elsey's dream dress.' (laughs) That's what happens when you let other people dress you. You've gotta be careful about that.
(D'Argo accuses Zhaan of trying to make a private deal with Rygel in a scene shortened in the US version.)
BB: You know, it's interesting with the structure of the story how first they turn the crew against Pilot, and then they turn the crew all against each other. And they're all willing to go against each other, just to serve their ends.
CB: Yeah, Namtar's, you know, within a second he understands that they all have a need and he plays on that.
(John: "Pilot, this is Kornata. She's here to help Aeryn.")
CB: She's sick of being Namtar's guinea pig.
(Kornata: You're magnificent!)
CB: I think that's a lovely moment to have one al -- well, she -- I don't know if she was human, was she? Kind of a --
CB: Yeah, was her character -- can she -- can we tell? (Ben laughs) But to have one, one alien creature appreciate another, you know, normally the show is told from John Crichton's perspective.
BB: Yeah, no, that's really nice, yeah.
CB: And I always loved it when she, she comes in and she says, 'You're magnificent.'
BB: (re: the ClamShell) Man, we even put Pilot in that little shell in season one.
CB: And here she is wanting to celebrate his magnificence and the rest of the crew just wants to chop it off and sell it to get home.
(Kornata: If you import the maps into the ship's data stores, it'll erase everything there. Pilot: Erase Moya's memory? Crichton: Rygel?)
CB: So rarely past season one you use Pilot coming through on CGI on the Shell. It's a great idea, but it just became so expensive.
BB: We were spending our chips in other places as well.
BB: (chuckles) We were shooting a lot more things up at the time.
(John fights Rygel for the crystal.)
CB: Oh, here we go.
BB: Look at Rygel doing the biting thing.
(John hits the crystal from Rygel's hand.)
BB: Ah! We were, we were.
CB: It's a great shot.
BB: Doing this fight, trying to figure out how to get that thing out of his hand --
BB: And I was suppo -- It was scripted that he, 'you, you have a fight with Rygel'... Trying to figure out how to fight with Rygel, his arms are, like, three inches long and the script says, 'Rygel smacks Crichton away,' I'm like, 'He can't smack me away! The only thing he's got is his teeth.' So, you know, you do it, do it so Rygel's biting, biting, and then the lure in front of him, then smack it away.
CB: (re: last glimpse of the galaxy map) Look at this. All of their dreams falling to dust. This is where, finally, all their hopes just... heh, shattered into a million pieces. They're back to being outcasts in the Uncharted Territories.
(John: It would have destroyed all of Moya's data. It was never meant to work. Pilot: Crichton?)
BB: This was in the days when John was saving the day?
CB: When he, yeah, but also being the harbinger of doom. (both laugh)
BB: But he was saving the day. He didn't save the day often once we got past him going in the Chair. He didn't save the day as much.
CB: But, yeah, and he really set himself apart in that moment. He's like, you know, 'Only I have the clarity to see that this, this was dangerous and we're all being had,' and the others were too blinded by their desire.
BB: Yeah, but you know he doesn't do it in a pure fashion -- Actually the music here is nice. (as Kornata and John enter Namtar's chamber)
BB: They've used it in "A Human Reaction". I really like this riff out of SubDivision.
(Namtar: I warn you I don't have time for you now. I will need simply to kill you. Crichton: I'm not here to attack you. Crichton: I know that there's nothing I can do to you. I'm here to see Aeryn.)
CB: 'I'm here to talk and distract you.'
BB: Yeah, that's what he's doing. He's there talking and distracting. He did a lot of that.
BB: 'I'll just keep talking.'
CB: 'I'm an American, so I'm just gonna talk for a while.'
BB: 'See, here's the thing... '
CB: (laughs) 'Here's the thing... '
BB: 'You know, as a writer, I only have words... ' (laughs)
CB: (re: revelation of Aeryn as a Pilot) Here we go... Little glimpse of the creature.
BB: I don't see what your mother's problem was with this.
CB: Come out, little one.
BB: Maybe she was flashing back to the day you were born.
CB: I got to puppeteer my own claw. I got to join the Creature Shop for the moment.
BB: This is --
CB: Look at this! Come on, give me a kiss.
BB: Come on, you're a wombat.
CB: Give me a kiss!
BB: You're a wombat!
CB: I suppose a shag's out of the question now.
(Namtar: Is that how you speak to someone who is fast approaching perfection?)
CB: Look at her. Bless her!
BB: What did we call you, a rabid wombat?
CB: No, uh, a wombat/Opera House.
BB: Oh, that's right, the wombat/OperaHouse, 'cause --
CB: 'Cause I had the shells on either side of my head.
BB: And the shells look like the Sydney Opera House.
CB: Yeah. And the nose was like a wombat... Look at it!
BB: Aw, come on, you're cute. Your mother was flashing back. Th -- That's what you looked like the day you were born. You're cute!
CB: I'm the next candidate for Extreme Makeover. (Ben laughs) 'Well... It's just got funny pigmentation, and my nose is a bit, kind of flat, (Ben laughs) my teeth are a bit pointy and I've got this weird claw of an arm.'
BB: (announcer voice) 'Claudia Black on The Swan' (Claudia chuckles)
(Namtar: How many generations of your species have lived and died to lead to you?)
CB: Oh, we had this whole discussion about Mengele and that sort of --
BB: Oh yeah!
CB: --morality of this speech.
BB: Yeah, the Mengele/Nazi connection. Hm.
BB: But, you know, we discussed a lot of what went into every script, wh -- you know, just so that we could understand what it was, if nothing else.
CB: What we were saying.
BB: There was actually philosophical literary discussions about the script.
BB: As opposed to 'Alright, where do you want me to stand? Okay, who, who do I say that to?'
CB: Well, you know, each, each speech Crichton would make would determine, you know, who he was and how he was responding to his environment and what he stood for. Yes, he represents humanity as I said earlier, but he's also an individual who has a quirky sense, a quirky understanding of things. That's what makes the show unique. He was kind of just your average guy, you know, and I think the show would have a different tone.
(Namtar: This Mengele sounds like a visionary! John: He was a monster.)
BB: Well, the show is actually deeply philosophical,
BB: Without being a sort of directed philosophy that says --
CB: Like Star Trek
BB: 'You must believe this.'
BB: There's a lot of gray area and a lot of topics are raised and explored but not answered for the audience, which I guess is why we would be discussing it.
(Namtar screams and devolves)
BB: And there he goes.
CB: Couple of different creatures.
BB: I, I, I really like this because I thought, 'Yeah, this guy's dead.'
CB: I think Elsey actually had to create -- they had to sculpt those other faces that you see there. I don't think it was purely CGI.
BB: No, they weren't. They were sculpted.
(Reveal Namtar as a rat)
BB: Isn't he cute!
CB: That's fantastic. I love that. It's one of my favorite Creature Shop creations.
BB: I know, and the smoke off him as well.
CB: To think that's how he started.
BB: (re: the smoke) Somebody with a cigarette underneath. (weird voice narrating Kornata carrying Namtar away) 'Here we go. Knch!' (sound effect as Namtar's suit falls to the floor)
BB: And there's his clothes on the ground.
(Namtar is put away and Aeryn emerges.)
CB: Oh! Come, give me a kiss!
(Aeryn: Help me! *groans*)
CB: (laughing) God! I can't believe that's me! And there, that's me puppeteering my claw.
(John: Kornata! *tries to begin injecting*)
CB: As we shot it, and we wanted to keep it in one set up, so they couldn't get someone else in to do it --
BB: Well, you'd want to do it anyway. You'd want to --
CB: That's right.
BB: --control your acting. You'd've pelted the puppeteer that tried to be your claw. (Claudia laughs)
(John tries to inject Aeryn's eye)
BB: Crichton is nervous as hell!
CB: I know, I love it. It's fantastic. I love it when he's trying to hold it still and --
(John injects and it takes effect)
CB: Ooh! Oh! Look at the eyeball move!
BB: Oh, yeah! Your eyeball, they moved it and the move -- that was good. Well now, think of it, can you imagine the military 'can do' guy going, (deep voice) 'Okay, hold still. I got you.'
BB: (deep, bland voice) 'I've got you. Everything's going to be fine.'
(Kornata: You've saved her life.)
BB: He still doesn't believe it.
CB: (re: sticky, gooey claw) Here we go.
BB: Aw! Lookit the goo! The goo!
CB: I was getting into that.
BB: I know.
CB: I was, 'Come on, give me more! Give me more! I want it to look really gross!'
Both: (as Aeryn writhes) Oh!
CB: Look at that.
BB: I'm trying, I'm trying to hold you without getting gooed to death.
CB: Especially if we had to go for another take.
BB: And we did have to go for another take.
BB: It was always another take.
CB: (re: the food cubes, happy) Smiley face!
B:The smiley face! The foo -- f -- (stumbles over word and enunciates) food cubes.
CB: Now, these food cubes, I know this is a bit killing the mystery, but they're called 'Hawnalis'. It's a fruit. H-A-W... an Asian, um, some kind of like a sweet... biscuit.
BB: Nah, no, they're food cubes. You just --
CB: (whispered) Shut up! (Ben laughs) I loved them, actually. Not many people liked them, but I always thought they (unintelligible)... I think it's like a plum.
(John: Food still taste funny? What was the worst part? Aeryn -- )
CB: Apart from turning into a monster and (Ben laughs) having a big nose and horrible teeth?
BB: (laughs) 'Apart from the fact that my mother doesn't love me anymore?'
(Aeryn: ... keeping the body alive. But what Namtar did to me -- it was -- )
BB: I'm hanging out to find out.
(Aeryn: It was me... the real me... )
CB: Aeryn finally having a sense of self. When she loses it, she realizes what she's missing.
BB: And, ah, Crichton's still selling that Earth thing at this point in the series.
BB: 'Come on, you can come back. Pluse, it's season one, season one, that journey to Earth --
CB: And there's, there's still a vast difference between them there.
BB: Ah! Here comes the shilquin.
CB: (voice higher than I've ever heard it with delight) Ah, the shilquin scene!!! (laughing)
BB: D'Argo has been, for a number of episodes, building something in the Maintenance Bay.
CB: And it finally is revealed and this is the right moment. Anthony Simcoe, for those of you who don't know, is a musician. He composes his own songs, he plays guitar, he sings. He's performed at some of the conventions I believe, and uh, for us -- We did at some charity benefit at one stage at Homebush, and so they wanted to -- Often when you join a show, the producers will say, 'Well, what are your hobbies? What can you do, because we'd love to bring some of that, incorporate is somehow into the show.' And in a science fiction show, there's not much from Earth you can bring if you're playing an alien, so they decided to, uh, create an instrument that does... work, does play, that in principle was like a guitar.
(D'Argo: It is not a weapon.)
BB: This is also a scene which shows that there's more to D'Argo than his Qualta Blade.
CB: That's right.
BB: (stammers) In the same way that the writers are texturing the characters to be harder, they're texturing them with other interests, without --
BB: --constantly hammering the audience in the head with it and it's a really elegant way for D'Argo to say 'I'm sorry' without having to say 'I'm sorry.'
CB: I love this shot too. It's beautiful.
BB: It's great.
CB: It's the first time, I think, we reveal Pilots Den. And there's a lot of talk in this episode about the soul, about self, so here's D'Argo's spirituality. Zhaan, who you presume is spiritual turns ugly and then talks about giving her soul to get home.
CB: It's all about what you're willing to give and what you're willing to sort of accept about yourself.
BB: It's a very groovy episode in a lot of ways.
CB: Yeah, lots of cool aliens.
BB: And it is probably the turning point of Farscape where it started to mature and become what it was that it was going to be and what the people in Australia making it wanted it to be.
CB: Yeah, I mean we, we established the characters for eight episodes and in this ninth one we stripped them bare down to their most base selves, and then we get -- we sort of build them up again for the next three years. It was a goody and that dark tone, I know it made Andrew, you, me much happier to be working on a show that was definitely not a kid's show by this stage. (chuckles) I think we'd proven that by this episode.
BB: I think we pretty much killed the afternoon crowd with that one. (Claudia giggles, then sings along with the theme song over the credits) (Ben, in kid's voice) 'Hi Mom, can I watch Farscape?' (deep voice) 'NO!'