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Chat: Lani Tupu

Subject(s): Lani Tupu, Farscape Actor
Dated: November 8, 1999
Source: SciFi.com


Moderator: here we go!
Moderator: Lani Tupu...welcome to the chat tonight...
Moderator: DO you have any opening words for us tonight?

LaniTupu: Welcome world! Welcome 'scapers. HELLO!

Moderator: <elhaym> to <Moderator> How difficult is for you to perform two characters so different?

LaniTupu: The thing about Pilot and the thing about Crais that I particularly love is their purity, and the fact that they're both at other ends of the spectrum from each-other.
LaniTupu: And I guess being a primary-colored person (there are no grey areas), so it is easy to access qualities from both Pilot and from Crais.
LaniTupu: Pilot's qualities are that he loves to serve, and he gets great pleasure looking after Moya and the responsibility he has with her.
LaniTupu: He loves adventure and basically he wants to see the Universe.
LaniTupu: Crais, on the other hand, is an incredibly passionate man. One of the things that perhaps is a flaw for Crais is that passion.
LaniTupu: Which I love playing.

Moderator: <Ooshati> to <Moderator> Did you audition for both parts simultaniously?

LaniTupu: The answer is no.
LaniTupu: I auditioned primarily for D'Argo!
LaniTupu: It was the most thrilling audition I've ever done.
LaniTupu: The audition process took from 2-3 months and Anthony Simcoe and I auditioned simultaneously throughout that process.
LaniTupu: The result was that Anthony received D'Argo.
LaniTupu: And -- god bless David Kemper and the rest of the auditioning body -- I was given and offered Captain Crais.
LaniTupu: which I am absolutely thrilled about.
LaniTupu: The next part of that process was that I was offered an opportunity to audition for Pilot.
LaniTupu: And the result of that was that I was offered Pilot.
LaniTupu: And here we are.
LaniTupu: I feel doublely blessed.

Moderator: <Ricks8> to <Moderator> Lani, as the voice of Pilot: is your voice altered at all, or is that 100% you?

LaniTupu: The voice of Pilot is altered. If you listen very carefully you can still here my tone, but it's at a higher register.

Moderator: <Red-Fraggle> to <Moderator> Who do you like playing better and think is spiffier, Pilot or Crais

LaniTupu: spiffier...(laughs)
LaniTupu: They're so much a part of me, I can't separate the two. They're equally spiffy!
LaniTupu: LOL

Moderator: <Ratguy> to <Moderator> Mr/Ms Moderator, I was wondering about Mr Tupu's name, its very unique and I was wondering if he would mind telling us its origin/derivation
Moderator: <WarriorWoman> to <Moderator> Is Tupu a Polynesian name . It has such an exotic flavor to it.

LaniTupu: (laughs)
LaniTupu: Tupu IS a Polynesian name. It's origin is Samoan.
LaniTupu: And I have both Samoan background and English/New Zealand background, which is where the exotic flavor comes in.
LaniTupu: So if there are any relations online: hello!

Moderator: <Utinni> to <Moderator> Lani, are you much of a science fiction fan?

LaniTupu: I'm a sci-fi baby...it's not a genre that I'm particularly familiar with.
LaniTupu: But being part of Farscape now, I'm looking at sci-fi shows from a completely different light.
LaniTupu: What I love about them is the imagination that takes you beyond the conventional, everyday story.
LaniTupu: Sci-fi literature I've read in the past would be:
LaniTupu: Stranger In A Strange Land and Dune.
LaniTupu: Those are the two I remember off the top of my head that were kind of formative.

Moderator: <MrRoboto> to <Moderator> Besides yourself who is your favorite character on show???

LaniTupu: (laughs)
LaniTupu: Rygel.
LaniTupu: Rygel is a get-down, dirty, selfish SOB.
LaniTupu: He makes me laugh.

Moderator: <Ricks8> to <Moderator> Lani, which is you favorite episode?

LaniTupu: Apart from That Old Black Magic, the last four episodes as a bunch are probably my favorite to date.
LaniTupu: And, also, going into the 2nd series, there are some wonderful stories I'm working on now.
LaniTupu: All I can say is that: hang on to your seats, the wait will DEFINITELY be worth it.

Moderator: <Kieriahn> to <Moderator> ::waving:: Hi, Lani! Are you physically on the set, reading Pilot's lines for the actors' benefit, during the filming?

LaniTupu: Hi Kieriahn!
LaniTupu: Initially I started out doing that, and then I had complications with my schedule, so now I'm just in studio doing voice-over.

Moderator: <juno24> to <Moderator> It seems that alot of sci-fi actors have had classical/ stage training before coming to sci-fi tv; is that true in your case?

LaniTupu: The answer to that question is yes. I trained at the New Zealand Drama School...1000 years ago.
LaniTupu: And the emphasis was on the classical training.
LaniTupu: Very much based on the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
LaniTupu: And when I left my training, which really began after school, the first role that I had was "Orlando" in "As You Like It"
LaniTupu: Last year, I toured with the Bell Shakespeare Company doing "The Tempest."
LaniTupu: What stage training has done for me is given me a wide experience of different roles.
LaniTupu: With that, it's developed my vocal training as well as physical -- and physical I'd define as having to do with stamina. You need stamina, you definitely need it for a long-running series.

Moderator: <Myrl> to <Moderator> have you ever thought of directing a Farscape episode yourself?

LaniTupu: I would love to direct an episode of Farscape.
LaniTupu: However, the directors we have -- Andrew Prowse, Tony Tilse and Rowan Wood, and Ian Watson -- are world-class directors.
LaniTupu: And are doing a fantastic job.
LaniTupu: I'm very happy to just leave it to them. (laughs)
LaniTupu: I have enough on my plate, anyway. :)

Moderator: <Rehanna-Aeryn> to <Moderator> Did you ever want to do anything besides act?

LaniTupu: One of my other passions is painting. I love art, I love oil work.
LaniTupu: And I understand that you've got a fabulous art gallery that's just opened in LA. I had a look-in at MOMA when I was in NY two years ago.
LaniTupu: American art is wonderful.
LaniTupu: If I could sing, I'd like that. I wouldn't mind singing for five minutes. If I could be a tenor, that's what I'd be.

Moderator: <optimusp> to <Moderator> Do you think the Peacekeepers are as ruthless as other menacing bullies of the galaxy? ie. The Empire (SW), The Borg (ST), i forget the ones from Galactica, etc.

LaniTupu: The Peacekeepers are WORSE.
LaniTupu: (laughs)
LaniTupu: There are some storylines that I will be working on in the future where you will see Crais going back in time before Crichton arrives on the scene, and he gets par-tic-u-lar-ly nasty.
LaniTupu: (laughs)

Moderator: <Ratguy> to <Moderator> Mr. Tupu, just curious, do you personnally believe that there may be life out there (beyond planet Erp/Earth)?

LaniTupu: Aw, heck yes.
LaniTupu: It would be arrogant to think that there is only human civilization.
LaniTupu: I definitely believe that there's a power and a force out there in the universe.

Moderator: <Cheetah> to <Moderator> Q For Tupu: Do you and Ben Browder ever talk smack about your characters' on-stage battles?

LaniTupu: The answer to that question is no....Ben and I arrive on set, literally, and square each-other off on set. So we never get together to talk about who's got the upper hand at that time. Unless it's in the context of the story.
LaniTupu: The great thing about our characters is that there is a constant battle of wills, and that keeps it alive for us as actors.
LaniTupu: And, in another context, I think Crais would welcome having someone like John Crichton around -- to bounce off each other, to be friends.

Moderator: <Scapefan2K> to <Moderator> I think we've asked the other actors on the show but do you ever play practical jokes on the others?

LaniTupu: No, I don't. (laughs) I'm frightfully serious.
LaniTupu: Which is what happens to Crais -- Crais needs to loosen up, which is where Ben's character comes in.

Moderator: <Aeryn-wannabe> to <Moderator> LET US TALK...........................boxers or briefs???

LaniTupu: what boxers? what briefs?
LaniTupu: it's very hot down here, you know. Loose and casual. ;)

Moderator: <truth> to <Moderator> We know that Claudia likes Lucky Charms, Ben likes surfing, Anthony likes trashing hotel rooms...do you have any favorite things/haunts you could share with us?

LaniTupu: I love, when I have the time, going to see movies. I'm a real movie buff.

Moderator: <grf> to <Moderator> Do you spend much time visiting the bulletin board?

LaniTupu: Up until the last month and a half, I have been but not as much as I'd like to. It has to do with my work commitment.
LaniTupu: It's really thrilling to see the number of fans out there.
LaniTupu: And I'm very impressed with the analysis and response to Farscape.

Moderator: <WarriorWoman> to <Moderator> Lani, any pets at home?

LaniTupu: Yeah. I did have two Burmese boys (as in cats), a blue and a red. And the red is now up in "the big cattery in the sky."

Moderator: For those of you just joining us, we're chatting with Lani Tupu, who plays Crais (and also does Pilot's voice). If you have any questions, just send them to me as a private message.

LaniTupu: His name was Sinbad, and we now have Angel, the Burmese Blue.

Moderator: <Unicron> to <Moderator> What do you do when your not working on Farscape?

LaniTupu: When I'm not working on Farscape, I'm in preparation for my teaching. I teach actors' screen skills. I have a business which is called The Screen Actors' Studio, and I run that out of Fox Studios.

Moderator: <Vegeta> to <Moderator> Has any particular actor/actress had an impact on your career?

LaniTupu: Yes....going way back, people like Richard Burton, Oscar Werner, Ralph Richardson...American, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro...Sean Penn, I think Sean Penn is a fantastic American actor.
LaniTupu: And Johnny Depp is doing some really interesting stuff as well.
LaniTupu: Women: Jennifer Jason Leigh is fantastic...Deborah Karr, Elizabeth Taylor, they set the standard for great acting.

Moderator: <Weapon0> to <Moderator> When is your birthday? So, we can celebrate it on the BBoard.

LaniTupu: It's actually just past -- on the 4th of November.
LaniTupu: (laughs)
LaniTupu: 35 years old...and I have been kissed. ;)
LaniTupu: LOL

Moderator: <XFilesgrl> to <Moderator> Happy belated birthday!!
Moderator: <Myrl> to <Moderator> happy late bithday Lani!
Moderator: (and more... :)

LaniTupu: Thank you, thank you very much!

Moderator: <PhantomComputer> to <Moderator> First time I saw you played an obsessed spaceship captain on Farscape. Next I saw you as an obsessed religious leader on The Lost World. Do you feel that you are being typecast as... obsessed?

LaniTupu: LOL!
LaniTupu: Yeah, I think there's something in there.
LaniTupu: Maybe it's the alignment of the planets.
LaniTupu: I love bad-guys roles, though. I find them kind of liberating.

Moderator: <Cheetah> to <Moderator> Lani, random question out of the blue, do you like (or did you at least as a kid) Winnie the Pooh?

LaniTupu: Absolutely. Yeah, my mum used to read me that when we were five.

Moderator: not six?

LaniTupu: oh -- the book is called "When We Were Five."

Moderator: ah..i forgot.
Moderator: <Psyrix> to <Moderator> Who is your favorite "bad guy"?

LaniTupu: I think one of my favorite bad guys is Alan Rickman in Die Hard.
LaniTupu: He doesn't play one-dimensional.

Moderator: <Alienia> to <Moderator> Hey Lani, what was your favorite scene that you have done??

LaniTupu: I think the two favorite scenes of mine are in ep. 22. One with Ben and one with Rygel.

Moderator: <Pleistoscene> to <Moderator> Lani, have you done any voicework in animation? If so, what are your credits?

LaniTupu: I haven't done any work in animation -- yet.
LaniTupu: I do voice-over for various commercials in Sydney, but I would like to do animation.

Moderator: <Ooshati> to <Moderator> What were your first impressions of the Pilot puppet and set?

LaniTupu: Absolutely in awe.
LaniTupu: When I first met Rockne S. O'Bannon -- hello, Rockne, if you're listening in! -- Rockne described the whole concept of the show (and this was when I was auditioning).
LaniTupu: When I was given the role and I went on set the first day, it was a great thrill. To see the reality of it all was just amazing.
LaniTupu: And I think the puppeteers seen working on Farscape are world-class.

Moderator: <Gmmas> to <Moderator> Inquiring minds want to know: just how many arms and legs does Pilot have?

LaniTupu: Six arms. And Pilot's lower body is bonded to the ship. I think there's a episode coming up which explains Pilot's past...
LaniTupu: so look forward to that story.

Moderator: <Psyrix> to <Moderator> Would you like to see Pilots character expanded upon in the series?

LaniTupu: Yes, I would.
LaniTupu: I think there's a large part of Pilot we don't know about. And Pilot is the one person on the ship that sees and hears EVERYTHING.

Moderator: <Sojushisan> to <Moderator> Lani, Does Pilot have any hobbies?
* Moderator smiles *

LaniTupu: I think what he'd like to do is see some breakdancing.
LaniTupu: (laughs)
LaniTupu: I think what he'd like to do is put on a pair of sunnies and have a sun-bake in the solar system.
LaniTupu: Go to the beach somewhere on some planet...and just chill out.

Moderator: <Ooshati> to <Moderator> Are there any on-set anecdotes/funny stories that you can tell us about?

LaniTupu: Um...yes, but I think I'll save them for a live interview.
LaniTupu: (laughs)
LaniTupu: For the camera.

Moderator: <MrRoboto> to <Moderator> BTW I LOVE FARĄCAPE! No offense to the network or the producers but honestly how long do you think the show will last?

LaniTupu: I think it'll last as long as the fans are really into the story, and loving it, and it could go on forever.
LaniTupu: Farscape has just begun.
LaniTupu: So who knows where it will go?
LaniTupu: And the creative team of writers have fantastic ideas -- David Kemper is in there, leading the way. Gabby, Harry, Justin, Grant...they're all creating these wonderful stories for us to play in.
LaniTupu: So, you know, like in Star Trek, no one's predicted where Star Trek would eventually end up.
LaniTupu: And maybe Farscape will be similar in that aspect, but creatively different.
LaniTupu: I think it's unique, yeah.

Moderator: <StarAnne> to <Moderator> Could you tell how many episodes have been filmed so far for season 2?

LaniTupu: We've just completed episode 2. The third one is underway even as we speak, this week.
LaniTupu: And the fourth one will begin next week.
LaniTupu: The madness has just begun. :)

Moderator: <optimusp> to <Moderator> Lani. In one sentence, how would you sum up the last four episodes of the season, w/o giving anything away?

LaniTupu: In one sentence?
LaniTupu: um...with regards to Crais, "He'll hate it."

Moderator: <JaneGael> to <Moderator> Hi Lani, thanks for stopping by our corner of the world. I read that you are a founding member of the Walkers and Talkers Theatre Group, are you still active with them?

LaniTupu: Hello Jane!
LaniTupu: Thank for the question. No, the company has disbanded. The name "Walkers and Talkers" came out of a late-night drinking session where a bunch four actors decided that our profession had to do with walking, talking and trying not to bump into the furniture.
LaniTupu: LOL.
LaniTupu: We ended up with a mass of debt and that's where it stopped.
LaniTupu: ...which we eventually paid off.
LaniTupu: (laughs)

Moderator: <Sojushisan> to <Moderator> Hi Lani, well you may be serious, but Pilot seems to have a sense of humor! Do you go for that on purpose or is that just how it comes out? B/c of the writing? <g>

LaniTupu: It's a mixture of both. The writing allows Pilot an observation of the others.
LaniTupu: And also an out for me as an actor to observe the others in a completely different light.
LaniTupu: Pilot kind of sees everybody as a bunch of hopeless babies lost in space.
LaniTupu: Which allows him the freedom to take care of everybody.

Moderator: <valleyofstags> to <Moderator> Hey Lani. Will you ever get a chance to play a scene with yourself. Pilot talking to Crais? How would you handle it?

LaniTupu: There's one episode in the second series where we read through the other day on set, and I had to laugh because it was the first time Crais comes into contact with Pilot, and vice-versa.
LaniTupu: Pilot required a different kind of attitude, so switching from one character to another (to Crais) is kind of schizophrenic.
LaniTupu: Maybe that's why they gave it to me.
LaniTupu: (laughs)

Moderator: <elhaym> to <Moderator> When doing a scene do you tape the voice first and then do the scenes or the inverse?
Moderator: talking about pilot here, i think

LaniTupu: In reality, what happens is that they'll shoot Pilot on set and then I'll go into the studio, maybe a month and a half later, and look at the scene and then add my voice to it.

Moderator: <elph> to <Moderator> Do you want to see Crais get more psychotic in the seriies, lose a little more grip on reality? *grins*

LaniTupu: (laughs)
LaniTupu: I'd like to see Crais gain clarity. I think what Crais is after is enlightenment...or the Japanese have a word, "sartori."
LaniTupu: He's just misunderstood, floating around the universe without a buddy.
LaniTupu: (evil laugh)

Moderator: We're coming up to the bottom of the hour here, Mr. Tupu. How're you holding up? A few more questions okay?

LaniTupu: Oh yes.

Moderator: <Ooshati> to <Moderator> Do you work with the writers on the development of your characters?

LaniTupu: No, I don't work with the writers on the development of the characters. Even if it were possible, there's very little time in terms of the overall schedule for script development and consultation.
LaniTupu: So, what the writers are writing are fantastic storylines anyway.
LaniTupu: I think their ideas are fantastic, and I couldn't top those ideas.
LaniTupu: I might, for instance, add an idea which might be picked up and used further down the track, but I'm very very happy just being able to realize their stories.
LaniTupu: It's great fun.

Moderator: <PhantomComputer> to <Moderator> Mr. Tupu, do you have a favorite scene which ended up being cut from the aired version? ... Bloopers can be included, if you wish

LaniTupu: We had what is called a "goof tape," on which there are some wonderful outtakes, which may be -- further down the track -- might be aired, I don't know.
LaniTupu: But most of the scenes that I have shot have stayed in. Thank heaven.

Moderator: <schuyler> to <Moderator> Lani, do you have any ideas for a script that you would like to see played out?

LaniTupu: Oh yeah -- I think there's one story, which I'd like to play around with.
LaniTupu: Crais is a master strategist, and I'd like to see him save the universe with a massive battle scene which he engineers.
LaniTupu: (laughs)
LaniTupu: and I'd call it "Dark Side of the Moon."

Moderator: <AmberPilot> to <Moderator> personal question... do YOU surf the web?

LaniTupu: When I have the time, yes.

Moderator: <QuietI> to <Moderator> Lynn would like to know, when are we going to see a no-shirt scene with Crais? :)

LaniTupu: LOL!
LaniTupu: Yeah...when I get off the hamburgers and fries.
LaniTupu: Being Polynesian, I get Poly-belly.

Moderator: <XFilesgrl> to <Moderator> If you could summarize your character Crais in one word, what would it be? How about Pilot?

LaniTupu: Pilot: adventurous, and willing to serve (as I might've mentioned before).
LaniTupu: Crais: conflict, passionate...and fair and loyal.

Moderator: <Carrie> to <Moderator> How long does it take to film an episode?

LaniTupu: We try and film an episode inside 10 days. It gets a little out of hand as subsequent episodes begin, but basically we're shooting inside 10 months, 22 mini-feature films, all shot on 35mm.
LaniTupu: Post production, of course, will take longer.

Moderator: <Vegeta> to <Moderator> How long did it take you to get down the choreographed fight moves in 'That Old Black Magic' against John?

LaniTupu: I did a choregraphed session for two hours, then Ben and I did one more rehearsal before we shot it. Then we took two days to shoot that particular episode.
LaniTupu: The director was Brendon Mahr, and the stunt coordinator was Brian Norris.

Moderator: <Rehanna-Aeryn> to <Moderator> If you could be in any movie or tv show, who would you be and why?

LaniTupu: Oooh...well let me just say this: rather than answer that question, I'd like to be in a storyline with any of the major actors or filmmakers who are around now.
LaniTupu: I'd like to work with Martin Scorsese, for instance. To have the opportunity to be in a story with any major director out there now, and to be in that story with other actors who I'd like to play with would be a wonderful opportunity.
LaniTupu: In fact, I'm kind of heading towards there -- let's say, early next year when my four episodes run and the new season begins -- so if there are any directors out there with stories, I'd certainly love to be a part of them.
LaniTupu: As an actor, I'm just incredibly thrilled being a part of a storyline that perhaps would be a benchmark for the new millennium.
LaniTupu: With Anthony and Ben and Claudi and Virginia and Gigi, I feel fantastically blessed to be part of a story that will be with us from the year 2000 onwards.
LaniTupu: Very lucky.
LaniTupu: So THAT'S the kind of story I want to be in. And I'm in it.

Moderator: <Scapefan2K> to <Moderator> When you go places do people recognize you as being Crais from FarScape?

LaniTupu: Thankfully not yet, because it hasn't aired in Australia yet.
LaniTupu: However, I'm counting down the days and weeks when it will begin being on air.
LaniTupu: because it does change once it goes to air.
LaniTupu: And, at present, I like the anonymity.

Moderator: Well, thank you Mr. Tupu, for joining us (and staying late). I hope you enjoyed the experience...do you have any closing remarks?

LaniTupu: Thank you for the opportunity for being in the chat room and listening to your comments and questions, and thank you for being loyal supporters of Farscape.
LaniTupu: And sorry that you can't see the final episodes of series 1 but they're worth waiting for and you won't be disappointed.
LaniTupu: And my closing remarks from Crais would be: Deeper into the uncharted territories! Signing off, Crais. God bless.
LaniTupu: (that was in Crais voice, trust me)

Moderator: Thank you for coming everyone...