A Snurcher's Guide to Farscape

Burbank 2002: Day 1

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Event Schedule:

Fan-produced music videos

Wayne Pygram

Fan-produced music videos

Anthony Simcoe

Musical performance by "Number 96"

Full Weekend Schedule

1. Fan-produced music videos

The very first video of the convention was one of Hank Shiffman's, "What A Wonderful World". Others included "Intergalactic", "Who Wants To Live Forever", Enya's "Only Time", "Warning Sign", and a musical salute to Scorpius set to "[It's All] In Your Head", which was hysterical.


2. Wayne Pygram

Wayne opened by passing along warm feelings from Ben in Australia.

Someone asked if Wayne would have liked to have had Scorpius in John's shoes with Aeryn. Wayne responded that just watching Ben and Claudia was too much for him; it was enough that he got to be in Ben's head [as Harvey].

He left the leathers behind this year when packing for the convention, because he "couldn't fit in them anymore". He also got pulled aside at Australian customs, because the heel of his boot came loose, and they thought he was trying to smuggle a bomb in his shoes. After this appearance, he was off to find a cobbler.

Has he been on any rollercoasters since filming "Infinite Possibilities"? Simcoe was trying to organize a trip to some roller coasters while they were in California for the convention, and said, "Wayne, we're going to Magic Mountain, are you interested?" Wayne's "No!" was both emphatic and heartfelt.

Where was his character headed on the show? "They brought me onboard the Mother Ship. We were headed somewhere next season." One of his main interests in Scorpius was to reveal new layers, but another was maintaining the hidden agendas. Scorpius started the season on all fours, and he just carried forward a sense of "there's something going on". Scorpius lets the others feel like they're abusing him and controlling him, but he's actually giving his power away in order the win in the long run. Turning the tables on them would have come in season five.

The first two weeks after cancellation they knew what was going on, but news now is limited. The money Scapers have raised is overwhelming -- don't stop! Spread the word about the last eleven episodes. It's science fiction, so anything can happen. Get out there and spread the word. Wayne's personal gut feeling is that there's going to be an effect from all the efforts. Ending the show when it did - it's better to get out early that too late, but this was TOO early. "Ironic and peverse that we're cancelled and our profile is now higher than it's even been."

What's next for him? Wayne changed to a deep, gravelly voice, and intoned, "ROCK'N ROLL!"

He hasn't tested for anything since Farscape; he decided he was going to have a break. He's in a "let's not panic" mode. He was offered a job on a telefilm working with Peter Andrikides; Anthony and Gigi did the project, but Wayne wanted a break, so he declined. He just wasn't ready to go back to work.

Wayne had some major skin issues this year, for the first time.

[The situation is ] still upsetting; he hasn't stepped away far enough to get into a new life yet. "We're all out looking for work, developing new work." Does that mean he'll never wear the makeup again? Not necessarily! The good thing about the show finishing like it did: thank the lord he'd finished his scenes before the call came, because he couldn't have been able to work. When the curtain came down it was shocking and difficult to deal with, but it gave [them all] a bit of a push into new things. One day Farscape *is* going to end, it just wasn't when we wanted it to -- life is like that.

Total elimination of "them damn Scarrans" - that's where he would have liked it to end. Scorpius has "destroyed 3 galaxies looking for dad, but he's still out there".

On the relationship between Scorpius and Crichton: "we got to a point where we have a contract for our future. We're a balance - Crichton cannot exist out there in that reality without me, and my future is dependent on him. We come to a meeting of the minds, and an agreement about our future, built on fear, respect, and common knowledge about things." Wayne sees Scorpius and Crichton as very similiar, one-off types: John is the only human out there, and Scorpius is the only Sebacean/Scarran hybrid. They're both outcasts, struggling for survival. "What are we going to grab onto? Each other. As much as he wants to be rid of me, he keeps coming back to me -- love is like that." In response to a bit of laughter, Wayne hastened to exclaim, "It's not that sort of love!"

Will we see any of the Farscape family in the third Star Wars film? Probably not; the movie is in preproduction, all roles have been cast, and shooting starts in January, so no likely prospects there. We would be "very lucky to see me in Star Wars".

Not everything [about Farscape's plot development] is set in stone, and that's why so much hits the floor.

He's actually been sick for 6-10 years, but was only just diagnosed in January with celiac (sp) - he's allergic to wheat and grains. Since last Christmas, he's lost ten kilos. The massive weight loss led to lots of concern at work, which prompted him to start getting blood [and other diagnostic] tests. During the first six weeks of Farscape season four production he was very ill; he kept eating bread products to gain weight, but of course that was exactly what was causing the problem in the first place. The Creature Shop recast his head for the helmet this year, WHILE HE WAS ILL, so halfway through the year his helmet was too small, and he needed pliers to get into it. He was so claustrophobic about having the cast redone that he just lived with it, but it was extremely tight.

"Beer is poison to me, [but] there's plenty of other things to drink, I've discovered." He was very sick on stage at last year's convention, from drinking beer (which of course is a grain product).

He was promised Scorpius' boots when the show ended, but when he went to get them everything had already been put in permanent storage due to the abrupt cancellation -- so he would really look forward to getting back into costume!

With every month that goes on it gets harder to put the Farscape family back together. "Benny's going to be a big star", and it's going to help Wayne because it leaves more work for him in Oz.

The lesson in life is to get out of bed and have a life. You cannot prepare for this sort of stuff, but it prepares you for life, for other suffering. Ultimately we're going to have to deal with the big stuff, like friends dying, so this is nothing - just training for life.

He was astonished that something that started out as a whim (Harvey) became integral to this [show]. Nobody had thought Wayne could do comedy, so he just had a ball. He got to do slapstick, and indulge himself, so he misses Harvey as much as he misses "the big boy, the man himself". Crew members kept asking him, "when are we going to bring back Harvey?" It was a difficult thing to balance, bringing Scorpius aboard Moya. "He's not meant to be there." It became a delicate dance, dramatically.

There's a great moment [in "I Shrink Therefore I Am"] when Scorpy and John are chasing something, and John gives him a weapon. Ben said to him, "Wayne, I just feel really uncomfortable with you behind me, with a weapon!" Wayne replied that if the weapon has no bullets in it, there's no worries. Boom, solution. Out of the problem, they found something interesting.

Harvey isn't something you can dispell quickly. "In the end, we're going to get back to some real drama."

Would he do a guest stint on The Lost World again? A very hesitant yeee-ahhh... He played three different roles in the second episode of that show that he did, and feels that he has to be careful because he can't afford (professionally) to be known as "the guy who wears suits". "It's one of those things. it's delicate."

The nature of the hot flesh, "it's alive, it's like living flesh, it's very humanesque-ish -- after a big night out!" He got beyond the makeup with Scorpius and Harvey. Without poo-pooing makeups of other shows, those more traditional makeups are easier to get lost in [i.e. lose your sense of the character], because they make expression more difficult. Hot flesh doesn't impose that limitation on him as an actor. "If I'm going to get back in a suit, it's going to be THAT SUIT."

There will never be an absolute time by which you can't put this family back together again. Other shows have been resurrected after years. There's no finite time window. The difficulty with Farscape is that people will go on, and physicality changes -- it would already be tough for him to fit into the suit again. Where do you pick up the story? Do you go back? Do you go to a later point? At some point he'll hit a nursing home, so hey, you have to watch out for that.

Wayne calls himself a luddite when it comes to webpages - no mobile phone, no computer - knows NOTHING about websites. As an example: the friend with whom he's staying in LA made him get a cellphone; when Wayne went to charge the phone he plugged the charger into the headphone socket instead of the power slot.

Best day ever on Farscape? In all seriousness, every day was a good day. Some days were more difficult. Some days he was yelling at Browder. But he did enjoy every day. Some were intensely hot and difficult. But every day was a bonus.

Scripts were coming late, and they had a very tight schedule for the second half of this season, and that led to him "having words" with Ben for the first time. "Three weeks before end of season, we were all at each other's throats." Wayne was on all fours, doing something to accommodate the camera at the director's instruction, and Ben was repeating the offstage directions, so he turned on him. But they made up on the phone that evening. "Noses are repairable". Everything was fine from then on. There are days that are horrible, but at the end of every week, he looked back and enjoyed it.

The concept of Harvey as a hero and villain coexisting in one character came out of the idea of the implant in John's mind. They just kept pushing it farther, making it more outrageous. It didn't come out of conversation, but just evolved, which he found one of the most satisfying things as a performer.

The nickname "Commandant Cleavage" was not in the script. "Ben makes up 95% of that stuff."

Was Wayne holding back a laugh in a particular scene? More than likely! "You start [with the script] in the morning and by the end of the day it's all moved [to ad lib]." The writers put in a hint, and Ben makes it up on the day.


3. Fan-produced music videos

The next set of videos included one by Jonelle Pfleiger (age 12). Her letter was read aloud, in which she wrote that after seeing a couple of Farscape videos she wanted to make one herself, so her mom helped her to do it. She chose the song "Kiss" by Prince, because Farscape has a lot of that "kissing and sexy stuff". The actual video was extremely well done -- one of the best of the weekend.


4. Anthony Simcoe

Last year Anthony sported bleached blonde hair for the convention; this year he had almost a buzz cut.

One fan had created an extremely detailed D'Argo mask and come to the convention in costume. Anthony got one look at him, and brought him onstage, where he had the fan turn around to prove that, "the important thing about Luxans is that they all have cute asses."

Anthony's band is not called Sunspot (as listed on Creation's posters and promotional materials), but Number 96; the name refers to a very steamy Australian soap opera. Stephen Edwards (from the Farscape Lighting Department) plays guitar, Gerry Kortegast is on bass guitar, Wayne is on drums, and Anthony does vocals and guitar. He describes the group as a "dirty rock guitar band", saying "we ARE loud". The concert Friday night is their first public gig, so "you have to be gentle with me -- it's our first time".

A group of fans from Florida, who run a graphics business, created a huge mockup for an advertisement for "D'Argolicious Bubblegum", complete with 'Toon D'Argo on the package. Their suggested slogan was "chew it until it turns clear". Anthony brought them up onstage to show off their poster mockup.

Before opening the floor to questions, Anthony cracked up the crowd by saying he would forestall the obvious question: his makeup application time started out at 4 hours, and eventually came down to 1.5 hours by season four. He used to sleep for three hours during makeup application.

Due to the early hour at which he had to show up for makeup, he only saw the sun on weekends; the first time he saw sun on the weekend, he "turned into a werewolf, and ate nothing but corn chips and chocolate for the next two days."

He joked about his sun deprivation for several minutes: "try getting this body on the surfboard -- it ain't a good look!" The one time he tried it, "light bounced off my alluring stomach, went up to the windshield of the plane, came down and burned the cornea of the pilot, the plane came down, it was a terrible tragedy, everyone survived but quite a bit of money was lost, Quantas was not happy..."

Last year at the convention, he pretended to start undoing his trousers while up on stage, as part of a joke. A fan brought up a photo of this, to which Anthony responded, "I guess I can't deny it now." His mom calls him a show-off; several times during his appearance, he pretended to be speaking with her on the phone. "Yes, Mom, I undid my pants in front of 300 strangers in California."

Coming into the chatroom is just about connecting with friends; after the cancellation it was a grieving process, a sharing process, and an honor and pleasure to be there.

During the filming of "Out Of Their Minds", a number of factors led to him collapsing on the set. An ambulance was called to take him to the hospital, and of course the medics wanted to set up an IV. He really detests needles, and this dislike, combined with his (at that point) impaired thought processes, made for a chaotic situation; "I reverted to a 3-yr old child". As he was leaving the set for the hospital, he was yelling, "I'm going to tell my agent on you!" Everyone on the crew teased him when he came back: "Luxans, not scared of needles. Simcoe, scared of needles".

Comments during moments when the audience was convulsed with laughter:

  • "It's all about dignity, isn't it?"
  • "I'm never going to work again..."
  • "I hate to make you think worse of me, but I'm a really crass individual."

A large screen at the rear of the stage displayed enlarged images of whatever was happening onstage, for those sitting farther back in the room. At one point, Anthony turned around, caught site of himself, and shrieked, "I just saw the big me!" Of course, every time he turned to look at the screen, his back was to the camera, leading him to further exclaim, "I can't see my face!" He played with the image for a few moments, turning his head this way and that. "How bald AM I? I thought you went bald from the center -- it's sort of off to the side. It's really disturbing me. Also, the right side of my face is falling off. I have to stop doing prosthetic makeup."

In season 1, Anthony [as D'Argo] parried bad 80s music videos, and put them into the back of scenes during filming. D'Argo is a head-banger, "the man is listening to Kiss"

Regarding the prosthetic headpiece: What seam in the makeup? "I know it may surprise you, that it 's under that leather strap..." The headpiece has velcro and press-studs on the sides to secure it.

How would you like the series to end? "D'Argo becomes a god, enters a solar system inhabited only by blonde 18-year-old girls, and D'Argo is worshipped and loved there...and Ricky is writing this down..." (Ricky Manning was sitting in the front row, teasing folks as they went onstage.) "Save Farscape: D'Argo the Love God." "It'll be posted on the internet tonight, at www.simcoeporn.com."

Note to Americans: while "g'day" originated as "good day", it now ONLY means hello, NOT goodbye!

He loves San Francisco, "it's a lot like Sydney".

Anthony riffed a bit on hair replacements; "you shouldn't glue stuff to your head...unless you get paid a lot of money for it!"

Since the cancellation, he's done a telemovie, and a play (which was very well-received); then when the play finished its run he caught a flight to the States [for the convention].

On dressing up as Jool in a season four episode: "Jool's corset is really uncomfortable, but it's really the flaps on the side that are the problem; you can't sit down, plus the boots come all the way up your thigh, so you can only walk around all day and play with yourself".

His D'Argo costume in the end was very comfortable, just hot.

A scaper had brought her infant daughter (named "Aeryn") to the convention. Anthony popped down off stage to see if she wanted to say anything, but she was mainly interested only in tasting the microphone. Anthony quipped, "Yummy, microphone for tea!"

On the evolution of D'Argo from Scottish Pirate to Luxan during the show's design phase: the second he put on the original costume, they said, "this sucks".

When an Alaskan scaper asked him a question, he commented that he'd never seen snow.

"I didn't want to be anyone else other than D'Argo the whole time I was there. I thought, it's a long career, and I'm going to be working in Australia for the whole of it. I have no desire to come to the US [to work]." Playing D'Argo was such a joy that he never wanted to do anything else.

Working on Farscape is a marathon, and there's no time for rehearsal. One of the few episodes that got rehearsal time was "Out Of Their Minds", when they got to teach each other the physicalities of their respective roles. The actors got to pick who they wanted to swap bodies with for that storyline. On teaching Gigi the secret of speaking like D'Argo: "D'Argo always overstresses one word: 'I've got to go to the maintenance bay and KILL someone.'"


5. Musical performance by "Number 96"

Anthony and the band played for just under an hour, and his earlier description of the group as a "dirty guitar rock band" was absolutely accurate. The performance was a big hit with the fans, who wanted more -- as did Gigi and Lani, who were out rocking in the audience. Anthony came back out and did a solo ballad, accompanied by guitar, and then the whole band returned to perform a song that was so new, Anthony had to look at the words while singing it. After the performance, their demo CD was for sale in the lobby; Anthony, Wayne, and the rest of the band had all signed each CD case, which was a really nice touch. One particularly interesting note: the CD was produced by SubVision, the group that scored the first season of Farscape episodes.