Sexual Siren

Chiana - Moya's new recruit (for UK viewers)

Interview - Gigi Edgley

“I’m not like that at all!” insists Gigi Edgley, alias Farscape’s high speed street kid Chiani

by Ian Spelling

Selected from Starburst #263

When asked to describe Farscape co-star Gigi Edgley, Ben Browder spares no hyperbole. She is, says the show’s leading man, utterly insane and utterly brave. She will, he is quick to add, do anything and do it all-out.

“Oh my God,” Edgley shrieks when informed of Browder’s words. “I’m not that kind of girl at all! But I’ve been dreaming of such a luscious job for a long time and, really, I’m only a year out of University. So when I got a chance to play on a set with this amazing cast, with these incredible creatures and the make-up, and with the time and the effort that goes into everything, I just went, ‘Oh my goodness, this isn’t any sort of naturalistic thing. This is four balls, so let’s play!’ Even in my audition I just went crazy. And it’s worked out very well.”

That audition came just as the insecurities of an acting career were beginning to undermine the natural energy which spills over into Edgley’s unpredictable on-screen persona. Despite credits including the Australian TV series Water Rats and Day of the Roses the young actress had yet to win a break-out role.

“I’d been in Sydney for four or five months, living off nothing,” Edgley recalls. “I’d done a couple of guesties on a couple of Australian shows and I thought, ‘Oh God, is this what’s meant to be? I’m living by my heart. I’m working my ass off. What’s happening?’ And then all of a sudden I got this scene under my door for an audition.

"It said Farscape. It has this explanation of this alien whose mantra was ‘Survival’. She’s been in the hell-holes. She’s very mercurial. I thought, ‘This sounds great.’ So I got ready for this audition scene and I’d never experienced a more challenging audition in my life. It had every kind of emotion in there that you could possibly imagine.

Being an alien

“I wandered into the audition about three days later and thought, ‘I’m going to get this. I’ve got to get this. This part is fantastic.’ So I put the nose ring in. I spiked up all the hair and said, ‘Yeah, I’m an alien! I’m an alien!’ And when I got there there were all these other girls looking very conservative. (Director) Andrew Prowse was there to greet me and I’m sure, when I walked in the room, he thought, ‘Oh God, what have we got here? This is interesting.’

"I played around with him for about three-quarters of an hour and then wandered off into the Sydney life. Then, after about three months of recalls and make-up tests and optometrist fittings for the contacts, I still didn’t know if I’d gotten the role. I was a nervous wreck the whole time. Finally, my agent said, ‘Look, if you don’t tell her if she’s got the part, she’s not coming in tomorrow for the next make-up test. And they said, ‘Oh, yes, she’s got it. Didn’t anyone tell her?’ So that’s how it all happened.”

Well, not quite. When she started work on her first episode, Durka Returns, Edgley thought that Chiana was yet another guestie, a one-shot deal. There was ‘a hint’ that the character might reappear, but no one uttered those words specifically, and there was a moment it seemed the part might be over before it even started...

Images © The Jim Henson Company
Feature © Visual Imagination 2000. Not for reproduction
Get the full feature when you buy Starburst #263