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Feature: Farscape's Claudia Black

Back in Black

Claudia Black as Aeryn Sun At the Armageddon Pulp Culture Expo in Auckland, New Zealand, Farscape’s Claudia Black (Aeryn Sun) was among the most popular of the 17 guests of honour. She was also the hardest to pin down!

Only able to provide a few hours in her busy schedule in between Farscape shooting back in Sydney, Claudia still managed to make the guest talks and autograph tables, pleasing a couple of thousand eager fans. During a group discussion held on the Sunday afternoon, with fellow Farscape actors Lani (Crais/Pilot) Tupu, Jonathan (Rygel) Hardy and Wayne (Scorpius) Pygram, and later in a brief post-con interview, Black spoke of her philosophies on playing Aeryn and other assertive female roles.

“Aeryn was always an appealing character for me,” she explained, “because she seemed to have the most potential for growth and change. Where character is concerned, the conundrum of series television is that the actors will be waiting for inspiration in the writing, to make the character grow. In the meantime, the producers and writers are waiting for something from the actors, to inspire them to write in a certain direction.”

Black cited Farscape’s Season Three episode The Choice as an example of the result of that successful connection between actor, producer and writers. “The Choice was challenging – the scene where the Taylon Crichton dies was very emotional – but it was also very rewarding. For that, I had to earn the producers’ trust; they needed to know I could carry an episode before they would give me something like The Choice.” Sometimes though, the difficulties of the episode were not what one might expect. “It was mostly challenging because I had to keep trying to stop my dribble from going all over Ben…”

In the guest discussion at Armageddon, the actors were typically questioned on recently filmed episodes and what audiences could expect from Farscape in the near future, and as expected, no one gave anything away! Later though, Black did speak about a certain episode in Season Four, penned by co-star Ben (Crichton) Browder. “We just finished shooting and I had a lot of fun on it. Ben let me do a lot of ad libbing and I felt very satisfied creatively because I was able to make some original, fresh choices. It was the most fun I’ve had in ages. I just hope my bits don’t end up on the cutting room floor; that’s always a possibility on television, when running times are crucial.” Watch out for this and other episodes in Season Four. Apparently there are some interesting stunts featuring Black and Browder in the sand dunes…

Then there was Revenging Angel (dubbed ‘the Loony Tunes episode’), voiced by the actors and in cartoon format – featuring D’Argo (Anthony Simcoe) in the form of Wyle E Coyote of Roadrunner fame! Black was ‘on leave’ for most of it, but it seemed the Powers-That-Be really wanted to include Aeryn, even if her appearance was just a little short and sweet. “I liked the opportunity to do a bit of voice work in Revenging Angel,” Black agreed. “The cartoon idea always appealed to me; I enjoy the Farscape experiments, especially when we pull them off!”

by Kate Barker

Read the full interview, plus a look at
Farscape so far and where it migt be going. . .
TV Zone #153

Image © SciFi
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #153
August 2002
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