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Feature: Farscape

Scarred for Life

He’s been in Crichton’s way, he’s been in Crichton’s head, and he’s been in Crichton’s top 10 list of people he doesn’t want to be anywhere near. But in the new season of Farscape, Scorpius will be getting a lot closer to the lost astronaut as actor Wayne Pygram revealed recently to Jane Killick…

It’s been an unusually hard year for Wayne Pygram, the man behind the Scorpius make-up. “i’ve had some skin issues this year for the first time,” he says. “It’s dermatitis, basically. A very negative reaction. My skin just said ‘no’ one day, which is not uncommon. It’s over three years now and apparently i’ve been lucky to get this far given the workload. Some days I wear two different prosthetics, I may play two different characters – I do my clone or whatever – and that’s when I get into real grief.”

Not that he’s complaining. He’s full of enthusiasm for Scorpius and the way he can perform in the make-up which is made of a translucent material called hot flesh. “It’s so naturalistic. You can see me blush through the hot flesh because it’s so light. They’re also my real eyes, they’re real Human eyes as opposed to contacts looking at you and that’s what makes him spooky. I don’t go to work and try to work the make-up, I work in exactly the same way I would work without a make-up, which is lovely.

“Just yesterday I was looking at the monitor, they’re playing back some stuff and it’s a view of me from behind, which I rarely get to see. And, just wow! What a costume! I was looking at the view from behind with the spine and the tail and everything, it’s just a marvellous costume. Wow, thank the Lord they gave me that one. I feel so lucky. I still get those moments of ‘wow, the gods shone on me big time’.”

A normal day will see him picked up from his home at around 5.30am, then it’s straight into the make-up chair. “When we first started it was a two-and-a-half hour process. We can do it now in 40 minutes if we have to. Because the boys – Dave Elsey who designed the make-up and Colin Ware, Dave’s right hand man – have been doing my make-up from day one. As Dave says to me, it’s like therapy to him and Col, they look forward to applying my make-up. They almost do it in their sleep. I feel them, they dance on my face. They don’t talk, they don’t have to ask for anything, it’s like a subconscious operation. It’s 40 minutes now which is pretty wild, given it was two-and-a-half hours in the beginning. But my make-up has been simplified. I started with five prosthetic pieces, now it’s only four. Some pieces are now built into the make-up which were applied separately in the past.”

by Jane Killick

Read more from Wayne Pygram as he goes on to talk about the new role he has to play in:
TV Zone #155

© The Sci-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #155, see below for ordering options
TV Zone #155
October 2002
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