Это беседа Брайана Дауни с Tony Tellado, журналистом, берущим интервью у гостей Timeless Destinations Convention, который пройдет в августе 2006 в Ванкувере, Канада. Аудиофайл интервью выложили на сайте http://scifitalk.com/ Sci Fi Talk 26 февраля, а 04 марта diar Janika выложила на своем сайте первые 17 минут английской транскрипции. Она была так добра, что разрешила нам тут же выложить текст на нашем сайте. Спасибо ей огромное! 13 марта она выложила весь текст и теперь enjoy!...
Janika: Below is a transcript of Timeless Destinations' interview with Brian Downey on Scifi Talk with Tony Tellado. I did not get permission to print this, nor is this (my) site affiliated in any way with Timeless. I am posting this interview for those Lexx fans who cannot download a 51 minute podcast or are hearing impaired. I am making this transcript myself-- it is not copied from anyone else. I searched Scifi Talk's podcast pages for a link to transcripts and never found one, so here you go. BTW, a link back to Tony's comment page on this interview can be found at the end of this post. You can go there and tell Tony thanx doing this interview and making it available to the fans! He's a super busy guy and has a lot of stuff going, but he does read your comments and appreciates your input. Sorry you can't hear all the laughing going on, this was a fun interview to listen to.
Tony Tellado: On this edition of SciFi talk, I have a conversation with a very funny and talented actor, Brian Downey, who is, of course, Stanley Tweedle on the television series Lexx. Sometimes you just don't know where a conversation is going to go, based on the questions you ask. Such is the case with my conversation with Brian Downey. Let's not waste any time and go right to it.
TT: We actually met before.
BD: Where did we meet?
TT: At I-Con, on Long Island in New York.
BD: In I-Con, Long Island, my God, that's been five-six-seven years, I don't know, long time ago.
TT: In '02.
BD: In '02?
TT: In '02, in 2002. You were there and we ended up, it actually was supposed to be like a press conference, but we ended up just me interviewing you. And I remember very well because, I guess this is the way your thought processes worked, you started talking about Warner Brothers cartoons.
BD: Did I?
TT: Yep! And you were talking about how Daffy and Bugs always do the Rabbit Season/Duck Season kind of thing.
TT: You know, I responded to that because I always thought that was funny, and then the thing about the frog, too, you know-- "Hello my baby..."
BD: Oh, the best cartoon ever! Yeah, I remember that. It still is, as far as I'm concerned.
TT: And actually ended up happening was, he was actually at the time going to be the symbol for the WB network. He IS the WB network symbol. Unfortunately, WB is gonna be no longer in September, so the frog is gonna be put out to pasture.
BD: Oh, so to speak. Put back in his box for another millenium.
TT: I think so.
BD: And all that talent! What a waste!
TT: Exactly. Maybe he'll be true to form as he was in the cartoon and just sit there and not do anything.
BD: Wait till the next fool comes along.
BD: That was interesting.
TT: Yes, that was a fun interview, we covered a lot of good ground. At the time I think Lexx had just finished or was just about to finish.
BD: Well, what month would that have been?
TT: That would have been March of '02, I think.
BD: March of '02, and we had-- if that was March of '02, we wrapped-- we were in Thailand-- and we wrapped the end of October.
TT: Oh, okay. So it was just a few months before.
BD: Yep. Essentially, yeah.
TT: What was that like for you when you knew that it was a last shot for Lexx and it was over?
BD: Well, it's kinda strange, but I think more of a sense of farewell when our last shots came up in Novia Scotia than in Thailand, although Thailand was like, that was it. That was the end. But, in fact, we'd already been through an end once before because we had what some people in the industry refer to as a guerilla crew in Thailand, a very small crew. We picked up some guys in Japan and in Thailand, really good guys for the most part. We picked up a couple of lighting guys, some grips, but not a whole lot else. Our crew, we had a sound guy, we had a camera operator, and a focus puller, two camera guys-- you need two camera guys. We had a person who was acting as a first AD, and a second AD, one person, Carolyn Richards, and we had a guy acting as producer/production coordinator, and Paul Donavan directing. That was it. And three cast people. Well, actually, we lined up with more than that because Rolf was there, Patricia was there for awhile. So Patricia, Rolf, and Louise in addition to Michael and Xenia and myself. That's a very compact unit.
TT: Yeah, I would say!
BD: That as opposed to Halifax, where we had 80-90-odd guys in the crew in addition to all of us being there. We had all those other guys. Some of these guys we worked with for four seasons, some for two, some for three, and some for that, even it it's just that entire year, but quite often happens in the business, there's a kind of a-- if not in reality-- it's felt to be a separation between cast and crew. Sometimes producers will tell crew guys not to talk to the actors. Don't talk to the actors. And sometimes they're told don't look at the actors. How can they not look at the actors, c'mon! Actually I just finished doing a shoot with Jessica Lange and JoBeth Williams, and somebody on the crew told me that very same thing, said some of us on the crew, we were told not to look at the actors. I said don't be stupid. Here's you and I talking, it's not a big deal. Some actors can be very testy about it. Some crew members-- I'm talking basically about teamsters-- they can feel very territorial about their position. And the feel like if not for them nothing would happen. But I've never felt that to be true and most of the guys-- I think all the guys that we work with in Halifax, and all of us that ever worked as actors, with I think maybe one or maybe two exceptions, that ever had any problem socializing, intermingling, talking, chatting about all sorts of things, making jokes or talking politics, or discussing the nature of the universe, global warming-- no problem talking about anything at all with any member of the crew.
TT: That's cool.
BD: Well, I think it's the way it should be, because my view of it all is that the whole process forms-- for lack of a better analogy-- it's like a circle. And a circle begins with somebody like Paul Donavan getting an idea. He once got this crazy idea about a show, and about a spaceship, and very strange crew members, and he thought about it because he like chaos theory, and everybody is really out for themselves in the end, and maybe our definition of heroes or heroism is just all wrong. And leadership has been defined in a way that makes for leaders not to be able to work, so other people take that position. I mean, what's George Bush doing-- leading the free world. He's got a guy like-- that is like Roy Rogers and Gabby Hayes. Except that Gabby Hayes got a few more brains. And he just like-- he's shootin' the wrong people.
(by this time Tony is doubled up laughing)
BD: I mean, c'mon. And then-- it's like talk about Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner-- the guy that gets shot apologizes! Wait a second! What do you mean, did something ricochet off him and hit Dick Cheney? What's he got to be sorry for? "Sorry, I didn't mean to get in the way of your lousy aim." He's apologizing, it's like he's saying "Well, I shoulda known better, it was Dick with the gun, I really shoulda known better, you know. I see Dick with a gun, usually I run." Is that what he's saying?
TT: I don't know, I haven't figured that one out.
BD: And then they don't talk about it for days. Dick Cheney go to Wyoming, goes to the -- do they call it a senate in Wyoming-- the assembly of representatives or whatever.
TT: No, it's the State Assembly, I would think.
BD: The State Assembly, go talk to the State Assembly-- they give him a standing ovation. Would they have nominated him for king of the world if he actually killed the guy? He shot a guy and they give him a standing ovation.
TT: Only in America.
BD: It's just, to me, it's like-- wow, this is so bizarre, you know.
TT: It is, it is. It is definitely a very strange situation.
BD: So anyway, as I was saying, you know, Paul gets an idea based on some things that were around him, because ideas don't come out of the blue. All these things get absorbed into your subconscious and the come spilling out at some point in the form of a -- maybe not a full blown idea, but at least a partially blown idea, it's like a balloon on the way to the party, but maybe it's not-- you know, the kids haven't got the balloon yet. So he gets this idea, and he develops it to a point where he figures he needs other writers, somebody to bounce ideas off, somebody that's gonna create and give him more push toward achieving what he wants to achieve. So the writers develop some ideas, and then they start to complete some scripts, and it gets to the point where Paul's gone out, he's raised money, he's got this idea, we did a demo. Then he's able to hire designers-- people that can do post production, like he explains to his designers what he wants in post production in terms of the computer generated images. Maybe hires costume people to design some things, give him some ideas. And all those sorts of things get refined to the point where they know they can start hiring other technicians, people that are gonna manage the money, people that are hired to manage some of the higher levels in the production team, they've been hired. So they start to work in a more complete way in getting down closer to the day when you finally get before camera, hires the cameramen, the lighting guys, the lighting designer, the guys that set up all the stuff in the studio, the guys that build all the stuff that goes into the studio. And then they hire actors. I didn't audition, Paul just gave me a phone call. He auditioned some other people. But that happens. And then we get onto the floor, we shoot some stuff, it goes to the post production people, it goes to the editing room, it gets cut, it gets refined, music is added by the composer. They've already had discussions, they know what kind of music. It all gets done, it goes to a final print, it gets sent off to a broadcaster, the broadcaster has his dates all lined up, and at some point the thing goes on the boob tube, goes on the television. People sitting in their livingroom watch it, they respond to us, they write letters or they give us ratings in some way, but personal contact is your only true affirmation, a real sense of the barometer of how people are liking it and what they like. So we get that kind of personal feedback, and then we give the feedback, we say thanks. And that's the circle.
TT: Yeah, it is a circle, isn't it?
BD: That's where it's complete. And I said to producers one time when fans were coming in 2001, I was getting t-shirts together, and I rented a couple of bars where fans could go, and we could get the crew together with the fans. Just have a sociable evening, a night with everybody there.
TT: That's nice. Yeah.
BD: And I said, come on, just toss 500 bucks in, just form production, come on. Everybody else is pitching in something. I'm footing most of the bill, but some of the guys are tossing on some stuff. They're gonna be there, they're gonna spend time, and they're going out of their way somewhat, what about you guys, c'mon, 500 bucks, what do you say? They wouldn't do it! And they thought they had reasons. Nigel and I said to these guys, listen, it's not the producers that keep the show on the air, it's not the actors that keep the show on the air, it's not the directors-- it's the fans that keep the show on the air. So you're just saying-- I'm more important. And what I said to them was that, listen-- I described the circle to them-- I said I defy you. If you pull any one element of that circle out, what happens? It falls apart. It falls apart, man, and that's it. I didn't convince them in the end, but that's the way I feel about it.
TT: Yeah. No, you're right, it is a circle. You take a piece of it out, and it's no longer, and it doesn't happen any more. It really is. There's a synergy there that's needed to keep it going, so it's like a well-run machine. So, you don't have that, it just ain't there.
BD: I think our machine wasn't so well oiled, but you know, we creaked along.
TT: It ran.
BD: It did run. Like the Model T. Not so many moving parts.
TT: It had the movies first, and then it became a full blown out series, and then the next thing you know it was on all over the world, really, and that's where your fan base is, all over the world.
BD: About 160 countries.
TT: Yeah, it's amazing, isn't it?
BD: It is kind of amazing.
TT: You know, I think those Friday nights on the SciFi channel, when there was your show preceeded by Farscape. I was actually telling Michael McManus about that-- I thought those were very special Friday nights, I really believe they were. They were really something special because you literally would tune in every week and not have any clue what you were gonna see. And that's exciting.
BD: It is. And I think it's a good turn for broadcast scifi to take.
TT: No doubt about it.
BD: The written word has always been a lot more adventurous and a lot more daring and in lots of ways a lot more revealing and a lot more poetic than broadcast tv. But I think it's good that people say look, c'mon. For instance, when we finished the four, and we knew we were gonna come back and do the series, Paul was asking different people for ideas, and I said one of the things that's always kind of bugged me-- we always had the rules, right? Gravity is presumed to exist, Stanley Tweedle shall never lose his hat...
(Tony cracked up)
BD: And what was another one, oh yeah, in all of our adventures-- I can't remember it exactly, but it was very much like this-- in all our adventures, we shall never encounter an entity that is more intelligent than human beings, unless that entity agrees to write that episode. I love that one.
TT: That's a good one. That a good rule.
BD: There's another one, too, which is kind of a dig at early Star Trek and still some stuff that's still going on-- in space there are no floating heads.
TT: Oh, okay, good!
BD: I like that one.
TT: That's a good one. There's a lot of floating heads out there right now.
BD: But I think it's become too easy, and I think it's a bit boring-- and boring I speak for myself of course-- to watch scifi shows in which the characters are organized in a militaristic kind of order. There's a captain who is the captain, and is word is the word, and there's a first officer, it's like-- well, you know, it was the USS Enterprise. It's a space ship. The empahsis was on ship, not on space. You know what I mean?
TT: Yes, exactly. Exactly.
BD: And it was that kind of order which I find-- man, there's enough of that in the world, there's enough of that on in the news, there's enough of that in so many other kinds of shows, cop shows, and all the kinds of others. And I thought, shouldn't space/the future be about limitless possibilities, not about limiting possibilities?
TT: Yeah, exactly.
BD: And see, that's what that military order does. We want to go to a place where anything can happen, and there doesn't have to be a reason.
BD: It doesn't have to pass through a certain kind of construct. It can just happen. I loved it. For instance, Barry Bostwick loved it, too, when him playing Thodin, you know, gets in a fight with Kai, has to be invisible, doesn't quite make it, and then he's gonna make this great dying speech, you know. He's gonna was Greek on us, offer-- outwax Shakespearean. And he just goes, "I, Thodin..." *plunk!* C'mon, man, you're dead! You're not gonna give a speech. So I thought, that's perfect. That's what happens, you know. You don't get to do what you want to do all the time.
BD: People are mostly self-serving in most situations, and heroism is not about taking on a bunch of bad guys single handedly. It's about saying-- Oh, I really don't want to do this, but if I don't do it, they're gonna get hurt, which is really gonna piss me off, so okay, I'll do it-- and that's what heroism is like, is an accident of an action, it's not the action you want to take. Nobody says-- I'm gonna be a hero and save the day. No, you say-- If I don't do this I'm gonna be screwed-- and then it looks like heroism.
BD: I think most people would never say that about themselves-- you know, I was very heroic in that situation.
TT: I think what's going to happen this year is something very special at Timeless Destinations, which you'll be appearing at in August, is that there's going to be a Lexx reunion. Actually, Michael told me that he hasn't seen Xenia since the show ended.
BD: That's probably quite true.
TT: So it's like the three of you will be together for the first time, probably in awhile. And then Ellen will be there, too, who was your Giggerota, of course. What do you think it's gonna be like for you when all of you are together there again? Will you think it will be like the old days, a lot of things will just come back to you, and you'll kind of fall into your old chemistries together?
BD: I really-- that's a virtually impossible thing to predict. I think my comfort level is just fine. I've seen everybody I think with no-- as a matter of fact, everybody that played on ongoing role in the show I have seen more than once since we wrapped. About this time last year, a bit earlier than this last year, actually, I was working with Rolf...
TT: Oh, there you go.
BD: Richard Donat, who did the original demo, and played in the first episode, and some other people. I've been with Patricia at conventions, and Louise. And I've seen them socially in Toronto. I've seen Jeff Hirschfield. Nigel lives in Nova Scotia, so I see him from time to time. Nigel does a fair bit of stage work. I saw Michael here back in maybe October/November, something like that I think. No, maybe even later than that.
TT: When's the last time you saw Xenia?
TT: Yeah, Xenia.
BD: When's the last time I saw Xenia? It would have been at a convention.
TT: Oh, okay.
BD: And I can't really remember, but Michael wasn't there, Xenia was there, and Louise and Patricia and Jeff. And I see Lex from time to time, Lex Gigeroff.
BD: And, of course I was working with Paul on The Conclave, and I talked to him, last time I talked to Paul I guess was back in September before he was heading off to spend from September till Christmas in Berlin with his family. So I've seen everybody, so to me it's like, ok, so now instead of seeing everybody like, you know, one here and one over there and one back here, it's like now we're together.
TT: Yeah. Yeah, it'll be fun. I think it will be great to see you guys, and to see you all on stage. I think the fans will get a real kick out of that, because if I understand, there will be quite a few Lexx fans coming, so that'll be nice.
BD: The one-- I would really really really like to see Bill invite Jeff Hirschfield, Jeff is great, and Lex Gigeroff. The two of those guys together, man, do they spin off each other, do they ever. And I'm telling you, it's just-- you might as well just sit down and shut up for an hour. And you'll be more than amused, you'll probably be on the floor laughing your guts out. And they're very bright, too, but the ideas just keep coming, and the repetoire-- those guys get along like a house on fire. They work really really well off each other.
BD: You know, obviously that was the impetus, I guess, for Paul hiring them to do the writing, the kind of work they do. Because they're just full of ideas and full of wit, and good intellectual strength. And I loved-- working with Jeff on stage is great, like we've done those things in front of audiences like taking questions and asking questions of the audience. And it's just a hoot because we, again, it's like we play off each other. I think one of the things that, as you sort of intimated a little while ago, there's a chemistry that becomes even more palpable when we're all together.
TT: Yeah, yeah.
BD: It's like we're a group, and we know we're a group, and we know we get along, and we know that the sum of us is greater than adding up each person's talent or strength. The sum of all that is stronger and better. And one other thing I've always liked about it-- I've worked on a lot of sets-- is that it is always very-- I don't know a better word than human-- it was very human, it was very down to earth, had some laughs, a lot of respect, a lot of care. All of those things that you think of as valuable human qualities were there, and everybody felt they were there. There was no question.
TT: That's cool.
BD: So I to this day pick up the phone and talk to Louise or talk to Jeff or talk to Lex and it's like hey, you know, it was yesterday, and it like we're just getting ready to talk about something, we're gonna go off to work tomorrow together. You know there's that feeling of it's a continuous thing. We had that feeling back then, and just because you're not working together anymore, the knowledge that you can get along, that you do get along really well just stays with you. It's a real kinship, it's like brothers and sisters.
TT: Yeah. Oh, no, it's great. When you have it, it's fantastic. I think what was great about Lexx, especially towards the end, I think it was really spot-on satire. Certainly we as Americans got our shots, but I thought we took it in the spirit it was given. It was very very funny and good satire, and we have no problem with our leaders being shown in a mirror, and it was all in good fun, and we certainly enjoyed that part of it. To me, that's the thing I remember most is that it was at times very good biting satire. It really was, it was right on target.
BD: The reason that America was played more than other countries was that we knew that was gonna be a huge portion of the audience for the show. It was gonna play in the United States. The deal had been made, it was a done thing, there and Britain, but we could have said exactly the same things about almost any country on earth.
TT: True, true.
BD: I mean right here in Canada now it's just stupid, you know. We have a new government, and they're not talking to the press. They've been told by the new prime minister and the deputy prime minister like there was-- don't talk to the press. They're not allowed to talk to the press.
TT: (derisive sound) Oh, God.
BD: Before they were sworn into office-- we have essentially a two party system, but there are any number of parties, it's much like Great Britain, that's a parliamentary system, so the three principle parties were the Conservatives, the Liberals-- which is not a description of their political leanings, that's the party's name from ages, from like a century and a half ago.
BD: It has nothing to do with modern politics. It's just a name. So. And Liberals aren't liberals, man, let me tell ya, they're sidewalks, they're about the bucks. Well, both parties are about the bucks. So, Conservatives, Liberals, and the new Democrats, which are definitely more in tune with the general population in terms of developing good social programs, making sure kids get education and child poverty becomes a thing of the past, and helping homeless people. Things that really should matter to everybody, but these people actually try to do something about it. So, it was a very close election, and the Conservative leader now is a very conservative guy. I mean, he's bad ass right wing guy.
TT: Oh, God.
BD: Stephen Harper, I know, it's not gonna be good for the country. And luckily Canada never has gone too far left or right, we're not that kind of country, so the fear that people express is just idiotic. But, before the government was sworn in, or the day they were sworn in, a guy from the other party crossed the floor of the House and joined the Conservatives, a guy from the Liberal party joined the Conservative party. --You did what?!-- And they say well, it's ok, he just likes jus. --He doesn't even know you!-- He's got a Cabinet post. He's now a Minister. His salary automatically doubled or tripled. This guy named David Emerson. And now there's a movement, the people that elected him are in an area in Vancouver, and they're calling for an unelection. They want to take a vote and unelect him.
(Tony cracks up.)
BD: They're expecting-- You ought a do it, guys, you ought a do it. All those people worked hard, they raised money for the guy, private citizens contributing to his election campaign, and before the House of Assemblies-- like the House of Representatives-- is even called, he says I'm not with those guys any more, I'm with the other guys. Things like 'you (beep)!'.
TT: It's amazing, politics. It seems to cross all borders. You could almost tell that story here in this country, too, it's amazing.
BD: Yeah, yeah, well, political opportunism is not, what I was saying, it's not particular to any one country.
BD: And idiotic leadership, or what we call leadership, is not particular to any given country.
BD: It's sad, but it's true.
TT: Yeah. Yeah, unfortunately. Now you did mention you worked with Jessica Lange, great actress, and also another great actress, JoBeth Williams. Can you talk about that project? I had heard you were done and I was gonna bring it up, but since you were there first-- so, what was this about?
BD: Well, it's a remake, and it's no secret about that it is because you can find it on the internet.
BD: Go to Jessica Lange's-- Jessica Lange, there's another brilliant brilliant brilliant young woman whose name is Tammy Blanchard, who worked with her. She's an Emmy award winner, and she's nominated for a Tony on Broadway for Gypsy.
TT: Oh, wow.
BD: And I thought how can you be nominated, you're like 12 years old. She's 29, I didn't know, but she has one of those faces that's gonna be young forever. And a demeanor, too, very nice woman. It's a remake of a piece called Sybil, the multiple personality...
TT: The movie? Oh, wow! Yes!
BD: Based on a true story.
TT: Of course, of course!
BD: Made, I think, about 20 years ago, maybe 25 years. Some time ago.
TT: Yes, it was.
BD: With Joann Woodward as the psychiatrist.
TT: Yes, that's right, and Sally Field, I believe.
BD: And Sally Field playing Sybil, and it was sort of pretty much the role that defined Sally Field as an actress to be taken seriously.
BD: Before that she was the flying nun.
TT: Yes. I know, I remember very well.
BD: But, you know, and I think she might have won an Emmy for that, I'm not certain.
TT: I believe she did. I believe she did win an Emmy.
BD: Yep. And this young woman, Tammy, is playing Sybil.
BD: Jessica is playing the psychiatrist...
TT: Wow, that's nice.
BD: Dr. Wilbur, who discovers and proposes the idea to the psychiatric community that this woman has more than, has like mulitiple, she has something like 16 distinct personalities.
TT: Exactly, yeah, yeah.
BD: And it's great, and I played Sybil's father, JoBeth Williams played her mother.
BD: Yeah. So we all got along great, it was a good shoot, and one of the things that made it enjoyable I think for everybody was the director. The director's name is Joe-- Joseph, I guess, properly-- Joseph Sargent.
TT: Oh, sure, he's a great director!
BD: He's an amazing director.
TT: Yeah, he's a good veteran director.
BD: The guy's about 80 years old.
TT: Oh, yeah, he's been directing for years, yeah.
BD: He's got the energy of a 16 year old-- "cat on the prowl".
TT: That's great.
BD: Yeah, he's really really sharp, and the lovely thing about him was that he saw and heard everything.
TT: Oh sure.
BD: And he knew how to describe the nuance that he wanted without giving what are called line readings.
BD: Like, well what do you think about this, and he posed questions, gave little suggestions-- that's not right there, we need to tweak it a little bit or pull it back a little bit, you know. Yeah, ok, I think I know what you mean. He was just-- he was amazing. I know that Jessica and JoBeth, they all thought oh this guy is so good. It's a real nice treat to be able to work with somebody who's that accomplished.
TT: Oh, yeah.
BD: And who is that good at his craft, at his art. I mean, he's just that good! The guy started working back in black and white tv-- Gunsmoke, Man from UNCLE.
TT: I believe he directed the original Star Trek, he directed some of the episodes.
BD: Star Trek, he directed Star Trek way back when , you know.
BD: And what else-- just piles of stuff. Just piles. He's got a list of credits that's, un...
TT: That's a mile long, as they say, and longer maybe.
BD: Yeah, it wraps around the world, I think, it's pretty long.
TT: Could be! The man's a legend, really, when you think about all those things that he's done, had that opportunity.
BD: And the thing is, a gentleman, too, great sense of humor, a real gentleman, never raised his voice, never had to. He's the kind of guy that you just, I don't know. He's got a certain kind of charisma, and people gravitate toward him, and people listen to him, people are paying attention. We also had Norman Stephens, who's a production guy. He was there on set every day. We did a lot of exteriors, it was freezing cold. Producers an have the option to go in, put their leg warmers on, have a cup of coffee, get out of the cold. But he stuck it out.
TT: Wow, that's good. That's nice.
BD: Yeah, he's a good guy, a real good guy. Done for the Wolper, uh, what do they call themselves, Wolper Production Offices, you know, David L. Wolper Company.
TT: Oh, yes, of course, yeah. So it's gonna be a miniseries, you think, as opposed...
BD: No no no, I think it's a...
TT: It's a 2-hour?
BD: A one-off MOW. It's for CBS.
TT: Oh, great! Great! Great!
BD: Yeah, play in the States. And coming up there's another one gonna be working on, actually starting a week from today, a week from yesterday, I can't remember, with Kate Beckinsdale...
TT: Oh wow. Nice!
BD: And Sam Rockwell.
TT: Wow! Sam Rockwell's great!
BD: Sam Rockwell's really good.
TT: Yes, he's very talented.
BD: We've had a couple of rehearsals together...
TT: Oh, he's just out there, man.
BD: And it's just ideas, ideas, ideas, and that-- I think it's a longish script that I'm not sure, I have a feeling that also will be an NLW, and for whom, I don't really know.
TT: Those are great people to be working with lately, that's really good! That's terrific!
BD: Yeah, it's interesting.
TT: Oh, I would say, I would say! If you saw Hitchhiker's Guide, you know that Sam Rockwell can be like all over the place.
TT: I mean, he took his own spin on that character and really did an excellent job with it, so I'm really very happy with his work-- really going back, even to Galaxy Quest, too which was...
BD: Ah, yeah, I gotcha, he was a lunatic, he was just (chuckling).
TT: Oh, man. I mean, he had this signature line in the movie when Tony Shalhoub's character, who's no slouch of an actor, either, was making out with the alien, and he goes, "Oh, that's not right!" You know? Kinda like you say what the audience would've said, too, no, that's not right. So, he had a lotof funny lines like that. He played the spoof of the Star Trek red-shirted crewmen who, you know, the crewmen that die every week because they're wearing a red shirt.
BD: That's a good (laughing)-- dead-- red shirt.
TT: Speaking of red and shirts and things, Michael mentioned that he actually has his Lexx costume.
BD: Oh, does he?
TT: Do you have any of your costumes from Lexx at all, did you save any of those?
BD: I don't think I do, actually, no, no no no, because it's, you know-- I know that, I knew that there were collectors out there, and there were fans of the show that really wanted to ahve something tangible, and I hung onto stuff for awhile, and then I just offered it for sale, so if somebody wants it they can have it, but I've gotta know they want it, and the only way I can really know they want it for sure is if they come up with some beans for it. And I've met some of the people who have been collecting things at conventions, and I know that they actually-- they really want-- they got it, they wanna keep it.
TT: Yeah, yeah.
BD: It's not an article for-- they're not thinking of it as an investment for resale.
BD: That's bound to happen from time to time. I know photographs that we've signed have shown up on ebay.
TT: Oh, sure.
BD: But for the most part it's-- and I like that idea. I like the idea of bits from the show going to people who like the show and they're gonna keep them and say, Yeah, geez, that was good!
TT: I got my little piece of Lexx, yeah.
BD: I got my little piece of Lexx.
TT: Yeah, and that's a great thing.
BD: I took my rock from the Grand Canyon, now I've got Lexx.
TT: Yeah, there you go!
BD: I got my diamond from Africa, now I've got this.
TT: Yeah, that great. That's great. Have you ever-- you have any of the episodes on dvd at all since they're out now, and you can enjoy them without commercials?
BD: All my stuff that I collected from production, it's all on VHS.
TT: Oh really, wow.
TT: The dvd's look great, I don't know if you've seen them. They look really good.
BD: I don't-- I've never-- Actually, I've bought them.
TT: Oh, man, they're so good.
BD: I just-- this friend, years ago, late eighties, I wound up, through a series of strange circumstances, spending about a month and a half in a little Greek village called Olympos, which is on an island called Karpathos.
TT: Yes! Yes!
BD: And the restaurant owner there and I, whose name is Vasilles Orphanos, and we got along great, and the day that myself and my friend were leaving he called a bunch of people from the village-- guess something like 150 people in the village-- pretty isolated kind of a spot.
BD: Way south, way south in the Mediterranean.
BD: That's sort of on a parallel with the island of Crete.
TT: Nice, very nice.
BD: Called a bunch of people, and they made a circle, and made us do this little dance, and they made us promise we will come back. Four or five years later, I come back-- "Brian, what you doing now?" I said Well, I'm doing a scifi show called Lexx. "Oh, bang, you movie stars (Tony laughed over this part) scifi show on tv. Where are you, must show, on which-- where can I find. I no see this anywhere on the tv." I said Listen, I get back to Canada, I'll send you some tapes. "Brian, you in Canada it's NTSC. Here is PAL, K?"
TT: That's right.
BD: I said OK, yeah, that's ok, it's ok, man, I'll work it out. Forgot all about it! I wind up going back again a couple years after that-- "Brian! No tapes!"
(Tony cracks up)
BD: Ah, man, I'm sorry, what am I gonna do. I'm not gonna find them on this little island. The entire population is probably only about 8 or 10,000.
BD: So we wind up doing, actually in 2001, we're in London and decided to pop over to Greece and see, you know, and do a couple of things. So I went to Forbidden Planet in London. Picked up as many copies as I could, there were 2 or 3 dvd's that I found there in the PAL form, because dvd's have even more formats around the world than VHS tapes do.
TT: Oh, they do, I know.
BD: It's just stupid. So stupid.
TT: Yeah, it is crazy.
BD: I took a boat up to the village, like a sort of mini cruise ship-- it's a day excursion boat, but it's a reasonable size-- get off the boat, everybody's going up to this-- did I say the town was called Olympos? It's not. The town's called Diafani.
TT: Diafani, ok.
BD: Which sits at the bottom of a mountain. On top of the mountain is another village called Olympos. It's called Diafani. So I'm walking down the gangplank, and from way back, way up by the restaurant-- there were 2 or 3 restaurants and a little hotel just set back a bit behind a few Greek sea pines there-- so I walk down the gangplank and I see this little figure jump up, starts to walk down towards the boat, and I know it's on of the Greek guys because of the way he's dressed, then he starts to run. And it's Vassilles. This guy is like five foot four, picks me up off the ground, spins me around, and the other passengers kinda say "woooo.... the little boys, they must have seen Brokeback Mountain."
(Tony loses it.)
BD: That was before Brokeback Mountain, of course.
TT: Of course, of course.
BD: They could see is in that kind of thing.
BD: And he's a friend of mine, he's a friend, you know. I've been here a bunch of times, so. Then we had a chat and finally I was able to give him some tapes. Now, I don't know-- or the dvd's-- "Brian the movie star has come! Looka mama mama!" It was funny.
TT: That's funny.
BD: That was, you know, was really heart warming, really pleasing.
TT: Yeah! That's amazing about the people you meet.
BD: Those are the only dvd's-- Lexx dvd's-- getting back to your question, do I have dvd's or what-- those are the only Lexx dvd's I ever bought.
TT: That's funny. That's a great story.
BD: There I go. None for myself, but now they're in Greece.
TT: That's right.
BD: I should hope. I know they are.
TT: He's enjoying them right now, maybe, you never know. You never know.
BD: You never know.
TT: Actually, I talked to Michael about this, the transition from Eva to Xenia. What was that like for you, you know, as an actor when that happened in Lexx?
BD: Paul Donavan had a very uncanny ability to put together teams that work. I've worked with Paul on a number of things, and I'm including crew guys, cast people, down to craft services and all that, that kind of stuff. Production sometimes handles that, but Paul always pulls together these key people. And over the years, he's made a couple of mistakes. He's hired some people that didn't produce and were a bit difficult, but of the thousands of people that we worked with just during the course of making four seasons of Lexx, I can think of maybe two, maybe three, I'm guessing there might have been three, jerks. But everybody-- just fantastic. And so, he knew that Xenia was gonna be just fine with the crew, with the cast, and you must remember that there had been, I think, about a year and a half between wrapping the first four MOW's, what's called season one now, and beginning season two, and we all know well in advance-- we knew, Paul kept us up to date, kept me up to date-- I was around-- about what was happening with Eva.
TT: Right, right.
BD: What she had decided to do. Sorry not to have her back, but respect her decision. There's somebody new coming in, we met her and she was a very lovely woman.
TT: Oh, yeah.
BD: So there was no feeling of-- there was no leap, it was just a, just like-- or stepping from this surface to another surface, which is just as smooth and equal. They both had different attacks on the character, but there was nothing of earth shattering significance that was different, you know.
BD: They both knew the character they were playing, otherwise Paul wouldn't have hired them, you know. And Paul would not have allowed that if there was, that there would be a huge leap in how the characters were played. Not how they looked, how they looked had to be different.
BD: And that had to be explained. How they played the character couldn't have been that much different. I mean, they didn't want it, I knew he didn't want it to be that much different. Every actor has a different, a slightly different take, a slightly different look, and it's gonna have a slightly different feel. And for some people, Eva was the only Zev that ever will be, and for some people it's Xenia, you know.
TT: Yeah. Yeah. I can see that. I take both actually, myself.
BD: Would you?
TT: Yeah, I take both.
BD: That'd be quite an evening then, wouldn't it?
TT: Well... It reminds me of Stanley in the Las Vegas hotel room.
BD: There you go! Or better yet...
TT: Or the potential of what could have happened to Stanley, but it was Stanley, so things didn't work out the way they worked out.
BD: Season three-- people had asked well, is Stanley ever gonna get laid? I said watch season three. Maybe Stanley's gonna get overlaid.
(Tony cracks up again.)
BD: With Peach and Plum, and have some Applesauce, and Blueberry Jam, whoever came through that door.
TT: Oh, that was great, I just had to throw that in there.
BD: Be careful what you wish for!
TT: That's right!
BD: Stanley was out of practice, you know?
BD: It had been quite awhile.
TT: Yes, he was, he was, but that was great. The Las Vegas one was one of my favorite ones, I think. That was with the mummy and everything, that was hysterical.
BD: Oh, yeah, yeah, well there were some interesting episodes.
TT: The President on Air Force One-- talk about good satire there, oh my God, that was one of the fall outa your chair kind of laughing moments, I remember them quite well. And Lexx gave me my share of those.
TT: So, yeah, it's great to have those, they're still out there, and Scifi needs to not forget that there's room for those kinds of shows as much as the more straigher (sic) more traditional shows, too.
BD: Well, see, the good thing about tradition is that tradition has to change or it stagnates.
TT: Exactly, yeah.
BD: And, I mean especially when you're talking about something that has a creative genesis. You know, somebody has to write it, and it's really sad when you see people mimicking, you know, copying other shows.
TT: Yeah, oh, of course!
BD: So, it's this kind of show, what are they-- Hey, you can't tell me for a second that there aren't people out there in the United States and other countries with terrific imaginations, great ideas for shows, and you get some yocko executive, you know. If it's not a BMW, he's not gonna drive it, if it's not a Porsche, he's not gonna park it in his driveway. These are the guys that stifle creativity, tha stifle the possibilities, because they do market studies. Well, you know what-- the markets change, too.
TT: They sure do.
BD: So there has to be more adventure, more creativity right at the top of the executive level. People say, you know what, I like this idea, I'm willing to bet that other people-- screw what the market study says. Who develops these market studies? Guys wanna select people that are most like themselves, for the most part. You know. They're not gonna talk to people in Alabama. They're not gonna talk to people in-- It's the same kind of intention or expecting the same reaction, because when these studies are set up there's an expectation. They have an idea of what the result is gonna be. And they adjust for surprises. You know what I mean?
TT: Yeah! Yeah! I agree.
BD: Well, that's an anomaly because people like, you know, in the northeast United States, they really like it, but that's just strange.
BD: That's an anomaly. We can't base our decision on that. I think, well, maybe you ought to.
BD: Maybe you really ought to, because they eat fish, and they've got, you know, that's brain food. So, I don't know. You know.
TT: I mean, thinking outside the box, that expression, I think in scifi especially, it's really called for, and I think, you know-- Like I said, it's great to get to have these traditional shows, but to think outside the box once in awhile like shows like Farscape and like Lexx did, and look at the wonderful results that we had, and it just-- you know there's room for everything in science fiction. It just doesn't have to be the same kind of thing.
BD: Well, I tell ya, check out science fiction film, science fiction tv, some of the newer stuff, and I know that the stuff that I'm watching was not in production until after all our stuff had been broadcast, and there are a lot of ideas that I see being lifted from Lexx.
TT: Oh, sure.
BD: And I'm happy that that's happening. I'm happy because it breaks some elements of that tradition that you were talking about in science fiction. It breaks some of those elements, takes them off and puts in something new and something that's at least gonna feel a bit fresh, and it's gonna reach a wider audience.
BD: The wider audience is gonna say That's interesting! That's good! I like that! And it may give that very, the impetus I'm talking about to executives in positions of power, people that can actually make or break a show, say we're cancelling this, we're keeping that, may give them the-- I don't know-- the cahonies to pull these off. In fact, they have no cahonies, they've got salaries, what do they need balls for? They've got money! It may give them the sensibility, a little bit of adventure. They can actually green light a show that really is different.
BD: I'd love to see-- I'd watch-- and it flash. (sic) You know? Anyway.
TT: But yeah, you're...
BD: I'm running on.
TT: No no no, that's good stuff, good stuff. Well, I really wanna thank you for taking the time out. I'm glad we had a chance to hook up and talk and reminesce, and just talk about what's going on now, too. And I think it's gonna be great, people can look forward to seeing you at Timeless with your former guest stars, and I think-- or costars, I should say.
BD: Costars, buddy!
TT: Yeah. Not guest stars! You guys were always around each other, but...
TT: But it'll be a lot of fun, and it'll be fun to see you guys on stage, and some of the old humor and the poking fun and al that stuff will come out, and it'll be great.
BD: Old humor! New humor! We've got it all!
TT: Yeah! So it's like where have you been, what's going on, that kinda thing.
BD: I tell ya, it's gonna be fun there with Ellen, because Ellen has always been very quick on her feet.
TT: Oh, she is!
BD: She's a sharp lady, and she's one of those people that I know has always responded to fans, always, you know?
TT: Oh, yeah. Yeah, she's great.
BD: She understands the same sorts of things that I understand, which is, man, people that watch the show, of course we owe them a huge debt of gratitude, of course we do. Can we make it up in some way? Frickin' right, we're gonna try.
TT: Yeah, I hear ya.
BD: We're gonna try.
TT: I like what you said the first time we did the interview about her when she was, about Lexx. I forget exactly how you worded it, but it's...
BD: Well, here's what she said, it's on a tape, it's on the "making of" for season three. She said she was looking at an image of herself, and this was shot in a production studio in Toronto, and there was a screen by her face, and on the screen there was her in a pot of boiling water.
TT: Right. Right.
BD: Shot in an old fortress in Berlin. Fire underneath and all that kind of stuff, and one of the things she said was that you know, ususally the expression is less is more, but in Lexx, more is not enough.
TT: That's right! That was it, that was it exactly. I thought that was a great quote.
BD: Cracked me up, it cracked me up.
TT: That is just, that is phenomenal. That is so phenomenal.
BD: She definitely gets it.
TT: Yeah, she-- yeah, it is, that's it in a nutshell. If you can sum up the show in one sentence, that's it.
BD: Yeah. Yeah. Speaking of that, I did a tape of some stills, I put some stills on VHS tape, and did a running commentary through the whole thing, and I'm looking and at the very end I put a little tag on, and the tag is "Nigel Bennett as Prince about to be lowered into a fiery pit hanging from a bar with candles all around." I'm thinking, holy Christ, man, how many tv series do you see like a guy being lowered into a pit of fire?
TT: Not very often! Well, thank you Brian, again, for taking the time, it was a lot of fun.
BD: Yeah, it was fun for me too, man.
TT: And hopefully I'll be able to get there and see you guys, as a fan of Lexx, too, I also wanna go and see all of you together and to see you guys on stage, too.
BD: We'll have fun!
TT: All right, man, you take care!
BD: Hey, you know that time in Vancouver is such a beautiful city.
TT: It was great, I was there last year. Beautiful city.
BD: It was just gorgeous.
TT: Beautiful city, I love Vancouver. It's awesome.
BD: Ok, buddy.
TT: Now you take care of yourself!
BD: Thanks for the chat, Tony!
TT: Any time. Bye.
TT: Bye-bye now.
TT: Besides thanking Brian, I'd like to thank Bill Wanstrom of Wanstrom and Associates for setting up this interview. And as we mentioned, don't forget Brian will be appearing-- along with this Lexx costars Ellen Dubin, Xenia Seeberg, Michael McManus-- at Timeless Destinations. Check out their website at timelessdestinations.com for more information on the convention as well as admission prices, and also the hotel. That'll be summer of 2006. Timeless Destinations, great convention, should be a lot of fun, I hope to be there myself. As we mentioned, you don't have to go to Greece to pick up the dvd's for Lexx, but in case you meet Vasilles down there, I guess you won't get the dvd's. But you can pick them up at your local store. For SciFi Talk this is Tony Tellado. Thanks for listening.
BD: This is Brian Downey. I play Stanley H. Tweedle on the Lexx. The Lexx is the most powerful destructive force in the two universes. Please tune in to Scifi Talk, because it's one of the last good things on this stupid type 13 planet. -Ugh!-
© LEXX - LIGHT ZONE март 2006 HELEN & Trulyalyana