Posted: February 16th, 2016 | Author: ath389 | Filed under: News | Tags: Ben Browder, Farscape, Naren Shankar, The Expanse | No Comments »
This past weekend was the Gallifrey Convention in Los Angeles. Scaper and Whovian, Musicalgal attended and asked if I had any questions for Naren Shankar, one of my favorite Farscape writers. He is now the executive producer of The Expanse, Syfy Channel’s fabulous new series based on the books by James S.A. Corey (which I recommend). After the panel she got to ask him a few questions, including when was he going to cast Ben in a guest role? His reply, “I love Ben!” Questioned about the difference between working on Farscape and The Expanse , he replied that working on The Expanse felt a lot like working on Farscape, in the sense that cast and crew were close. Ben, Claude and others of the cast and crew seemed to enjoy each other’s company and the same holds true with the people who work on this show he stated.When asked about how he felt about returning to the scifi genre after a long hiatus, he explained that the project had been brought to him. He read the books and then met the authors and was excited about the story. Seeing that SyFy seemed to be committed to be doing serious scifi again, he was on board.
The panel consisted of Mr. Shankar, Ty Frank (co-writer) and Phil Plait who writes the blog “Bad Astronomy” for Slate magazine. Naren had brought some clips of the show to illustrate how the show strives to get the real-world physics of space travel as well as the impact of the vast distances of space during battles. There was some interesting discussion of the use and application of rail guns, plasma energy and firing such a weapon using a small fighter versus a large destroyer. And why using a weapon that throws projectiles is still the most effective weapon and why sealing small holes in space ships is relatively simple, but gravity and thrust presents its own unique challenges. Very cool stuff for the serious science buff.
Mr. Shankar conceded that they went with sound for the battle scenes, because though it may not be scientifically accurate, dramatically to lose the sound would lose half the impact of the stories they were telling. But by the excitement (yes there was a lot of squeezing) exhibited by Naren, Ty and Phil while viewing the clips, it looks like the show is achieving the goal of getting the science right.
Many thanks to Musicalgal for this report!!
Posted: February 12th, 2016 | Author: ath389 | Filed under: News | 4 Comments »
I got a chance to ask Ben a few questions about his Outlaws and Angels Sundance experience and here is what he said :
1) What was the most unexpected thing about the Sundance Film Festival?
How young everyone was… I suppose I should have expected that, Hollywood being a youth driven industry, and realizing that as folks age they seem to recede into the background like background radiation from the big bang. Sundance is a great big celebration of Indie film, in which “celebrate” could infer party. Its not a party geared toward your 50th wedding anniversary. More a party like “paaaarteh!!!” By 3 AM I’m usually ready for bed, Sundance goes until dawn.
2) The schedule sounds very hectic —- did you get a chance to see any other films?
Nope. We were busy with Outlaws.
3) You said in an interview you had been afraid to take the role. How much did it challenge your comfort zone and what was your first reaction when you realized what it would entail?
I knew what the role would entail when I was fighting to get the part. Fear is not a bad thing. How fear affects you can be good or bad. Pushing the bounds of comfort, or pushing the envelope (to quote The Right Stuff) can be awesome.
4) Many years ago at a Farscape con you mentioned Jeremiah Johnson as a favorite film. Did you have an opportunity to meet Robert Redford?
Still waiting to meet him.
5) How was it watching your work in a theatre full of people when you are playing a character like George?
6) Your physical transformation was amazing, how much, if any, input did you have on George’s appearance?
Quite a bit, but certainly not entirely, the transformation required input and guidance from others… George needed to not look like Ben, or anyone who looks like Ben. JT (the director) and I were on the same page about this. Hair. make up, lights, script and direction all contributed.
7) Now that you are a director has it changed anything about your approach on set?
I would like to think that I’m more respectful of the entire process than before… But who am I to say? I like to be fully involved as I can be. But, I’m not overly objective about my “approach” to anything. Ultimately, my job is to help tell a good story. At certain times, that means shut up and let others get busy while you hold the spear in the background. At other times, it requires that you take the bull by the horns. Hopefully, having directed, I have a clearer sense in which “time” I am operating.
Outlaws and Angels has it’s U.S. premiere May 25, 2016