IN THE 1976 motion picture
Network, actor Peter Finch opens a window and shouts out
the famous line, "I'm as mad hell, and I'm not going to take
this anymore!" In the hit syndicated television series Earth:
Final Conflict ex-Marine Captain Lili Marquette feels like
doing the same thing when an alien race called the Taelons arrives
on Earth and extends the hand of 'friendship'. While most humans
are enamoured of the creatures and thankful for the miracles they
perform, some, like Marquette, suspect the Taelons are harbouring
a far more sinister agenda. As a member of an underground movement
known as the Resistance the captain has pledged to drive the
aliens from Earth.
Like her character of Lili
Marquette actress Lisa Howard is a bundle of enthusiasm and energy
in real life. She has enjoyed playing the captain during the
programme's first two seasons but longs to reveal more about her.
"It's been fun keeping Lili mysterious and having the viewers
wonder about her rather than immediately laying everything out on
the line," says Howard. "I know who she is as a complete
person, however, so it's sometimes frustrating for me to play only
parts of her.
"I was afraid that
the audience was going to get bored," continues the actress. "First
of all, they're not going to know who she is and by the time they
find out they're not going to care. I've had to trust them [the
show's producers] a lot, but, God, the creative team on this show
is so spectacular that they're easy to trust. I have enormous
respect for them and they've crafted this character quite nicely."
Howard had heard about a
new Gene Roddenberry project six months before casting for Earth:
Final Conflict began. She subsequently became busy in Los
Angeles guest-starring on several television sitcoms which
included a recurring role as Judd Nelson's spoiled high-society
ex-wife Margo in the comedy series Suddenly Susan starring
Brooke Shields. When her agents sent her a script for a new
one-hour Science Fiction series being filmed in Canada she
declined, preferring to stay in California and continue her work
"My husband and I had
just bought a house in Los Angeles so I really wasn't interested
in going back to Canada for an extended period of time," she
recalls. "When the Gene Roddenberry project came along my
agents just assumed I wouldn't be interested so they never
bothered to send me a script. Kevin Kilner [Captain William Boone]
is a friend of my husband's and we had met socially on several
occasions. Last May  my husband got a call from Kevin who
said, 'Gee, I'm looking at all these tapes of Canadian actresses
for a part in this new series. Why isn't Lisa's tape in here?'
"Kevin got me on the
phone and said, 'Please, won't you just read the script and think
about it?' I said, 'OK, but I'm really not interested'. Of course,
once I read the script I knew I was in trouble because I really
liked it but it still wasn't enough to convince me to audition.
Kevin knew his ace in the hole would be [executive producer] David
Kirschner, so he arranged for all of us to go out to dinner. David
is such a compelling, creative individual that you want to drop
everything and work with him and that's exactly what happened."