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Feature: Farscape - Ben Browder

The Benefit of Leather

Ben Browder as long-lost astronaut John Crichton He's been trussed-up in leather, and doubled too! What more could one want from hunky Farscape leading man Ben Browder...? Well, how about another script by him for the now-in-production Season Four?

Ben Browder, known to the Sci-Fi world as John Crichton, an astronaut who's become lost in a whole new region of Space, is on his way home from the Farscape set in Australia. Thanks to the joys of time difference, it's 8am in the UK. His interviewer has recently got up and is keen to apologize for the fact that he might sound a bit sleepy. "It's seven o'clock on a Friday evening after a long work week and if I don't sound awake, then that'll be two of us," laughs the actor, sounding impressively bright and cheerful from the comfort of his car home.

Of course, Browder is also something of a pin-up: yet determined to make light of his sex symbol status, the actor is self-effacing about his appearance. "It's the lighting and the make-up, man, that's what it is. I get out of bed in the morning and I look exactly like you, buddy. In fact, you're probably better looking than I am when you get out of bed in the morning. It doesn't really play in my life; kind of a shame really, it'd be nice to be a sex symbol…"

In the third season of the show, though, it wasn't all about Browder's screen presence. In Green-Eyed Monster, the actor wrote his first script, an episode popular enough that he was asked to have another go in Season Four. This explains his tiredness this particular week, as he's been acting in his own episode, the seventh of the forthcoming season, and performing writer duties.

"I thought it'd be easier the second time round but it's absolutely nerve-racking, because you're shooting stuff and you're thinking, ‘Oh God, is this gonna work, is this not gonna work?' and you're hung out to dry because you wrote the script. And when you're shooting a scene and there's something wrong and I'm in it, I'm going, ‘All right, the script sucks. No, wait, maybe my acting. No, wait, wait, maybe it's just something else.'"

There's a limit to how much the actor can reveal about his effort, however. "With this one it just involves a lot more components than the last one did. I tried to keep a very small, contained show the last time and this time I've introduced a lot more elements. David [Kemper, executive producer] said to me, ‘No, no, no, I want you to write something bigger this time'. So I'm sort of sticking my neck a little further out this time than I did before."

Okay, so no plot. Who is featured in it? "Well, Crichton's in it. In fact there's a lot of people who are in it," responds the actor unhelpfully. "It involves all of the cast in one form or another and in doing that I tried to give everybody something that they hadn't done before. At least up to this point in the shooting, we've succeeded. I've yet to see any of the characters do what we've seen before. And you'll know what I mean when you see it." He laughs again, remembering something. "We have the single greatest puppet gag I've ever seen in my life…"

by Paul Spragg

Read the full four-page feature, plus new interviews with a host of Farscape stars and producers (Wayne Pygram, Gigi Edgely, Tammy McIntosh, David Kemper, Rockne S O'Bannon…) in:
Cult Times Special #21

Image © The Jim Henson Company / Sci-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

Taken from
Cult Times Special #21, see below for ordering options
Cult Times Special #21
Spring - Farscape 2002
ships from Apr 11 2002
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UK £3.99 / US $7.99

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