My Interviews such as they are ……….
25 July, 2009
Me : When I first read interviews in 2000 I was impressed that you seemed proud of Farscape. It has been ten years has this sentiment changed or mellowed at all?
Ben : No. In some ways I am more impressed by Farscape as time goes on. The Show is still beautiful and unique (unique still being always valuable, to quote Scorpius). I can still see the warts, but nostalgia aside I am amazed that such a show as Farscape was ever made. No doubt I am biased. I still love Farscape.
Me : What stage character could you see yourself playing now that you wouldn’t have considered ten years ago?
Ben : One that’s 10 ten years older. When I was leaving drama school, on most resumes the actor would list their playing range… usually 18-30 years old or some such nonsense. So I guess I should be looking for a part that’s 35 to 50 years old? I’m not ready to play Leer yet, I never had designs on Hamlet, I’d have to pack on 50 pounds to play Falstaff… hmmm, maybe Iago, that’d be fun.
Me : Any news you can share on “Going Homer”?
Ben : It’s still moving in the right direction. Farscape took five years from pitch to production. Hopefully it won’t take that long, but the story keeps getting better and there has been no drop in enthusiasm for the project. I had a college professor would always said “things always take longer than they do.” I’m still not sure I understand what he meant, but if something is worth doing, sometime it takes longer than you would think to get there.
Me : What is your take on why shows like Farscape and Friday Night Lights which are critical successes and have strong fan bases struggle for airtime?
Ben : Fashion? Timing? Luck? Anyone who can answer that question could probably be the King of show business… providing their timing was right and they were exceptionally lucky and had really deep pockets. Honestly? TV and movies are an oddly human endeavor, as such they succeed artistically or financially according to the murky gyrations of human dynamics. Measures of success are all relative. We define the success of one show versus another by a number different and sometimes conflicting criteria. When and where a show can air can be entailed by contracts and commitments that an audience is unaware of, in other words legally, maybe NBC can’t air Friday Night Lights in another time, or the producers can’t take the show to CBS. If all this sounds like confusing drivel, I will merely quote Shakespeare in Love to say: “It’s a mystery!”
Me : Are you writing?
Ben : Yes.
Farscape 15th Anniversary Interview with Ben Browder 2014
I was lucky enough to get to interview Ben (I also interviewed him for the 10th anniversary here). remember I am a microbiology lab tech not a journalist!
Me : In 2009 I asked you if your pride in Farscape had changed and you replied No and in some ways you were more impressed as time passed. So same question after 15 years— to me as a fan it seems your pride and love of Farscape remains steadfast– is it?
Ben : I remain faithful. I still love Farscape, warts and all.
Me : Along the same lines when the show first aired and you interacted online and at conventions did you imagine a future with fans continually discovering Farscape anew 15 years later?
Ben : I never really thought about the future, I was too gobsmacked by the initial reaction and fan support. It kinda freaks me out that people younger than my kids have just discovered Farscape… or more freaky, tell me that they grew up watching Farscape. Is it really 15 years? That’s almost the exact timeframe for the debut of Star Trek to its first movie. Guess its time for the reboot.
Me : I asked some close friends for some question ideas and this is one –Have you ever had a Farscape dream? Many of us have “work” dreams when working long or intense stretches and you certainly did alot of that when the show was filming!
Ben : I had a few work dreams back in the day. The classic actor’s nightmare is that you show up for work, naked or only in your underwear, and don’t know your lines… Oh wait, that wasn’t a dream, that actually happened to me on a couple of occasions on Farscape. After 15 years… it is possible given the malleable nature of memory, that what I take as true Farscape work memories are really only my dreams from those short sleeps between work days.
Me : Would you have liked Crichton to return to Earth had there been more seasons?
Ben : Only for a visit to pick up chocolate and milk. The uncharted territories are home for him now and far more interesting than Earth… In my opinion.
Me : What is your take on all of the outlets for for original television/films today (HULU,Netflix,Amazon etc.) is this a good thing as there is more work or does it hurt the market to be flooded? (hope that makes sense!)
Ben : Its great for the audiences, more choice. Its great for creativity as there are more formats and styles being produced. It does tighten budgets, making shows like Farscape a more expensive gamble. I think it does mean there are fewer (or none) blockbuster series like MASH, Dallas, or Cheers were 20 to 30 years ago. Networks used to aim for that show that was “must see TV” because everyone was talking about it around the water cooler the next day. DVRs, on demand, and billions and billions of channels have virtually eliminated “must see” TV. But there are few pleasures greater than binge watching “House of Cards” or DVRing Game of Thrones and re-watching the juicy bits
Me : In this era of remakes, what classic TV character would you like to play?
Ben : Archie Bunker cause he’s so politically incorrect. Fred Sanford cause his “heart attacks” were epic. I Hotlips Hulahan… I don’t really want to play Hotlips… I just love the name and wanted to see it in print as MASH was the greatest TV show ever. Honestly… we may be in the golden age of TV right now… The last 15 years have seen some epic TV shows.
Me : If you were to write a non-John centric episode of Farscape which character would you choose?
Ben : Aeryn. Because Claudia Black kills it every time and no matter how bad my writing might be she would make me look good
Me : I asked the Twitterverse for questions and here they are:
Lynelle : Why aren’t you on Twitter?
Ben : #Fear. I really fear what I might say given that my #filter for stupidity is #broken. Also… I generally have a problem saying anything in #lessthan140characters, as I usually need to go around the horn to get to the #point of what I meant to say and then I’d have to #apologize and #trytoexplainwhatIreallymeanttosay. Twitter might teach me brevity, but aside from poetry, which twitter is not, brevity is not my strong suit or interest. If I get a job which requires twitter I shall try to learn twittering, Hollywood seem to think its important, though more likely for the publicity than for it’s socially redeeming qualities. There are certainly some very clever twitterers… But most of twitter strikes me as #BS. Not that I have anything against #BS. #Itsprobablyreallyimportant #Becomingaludite 🙂 #Olddognewtricks
Dona Rae :What winter Olympic sport would he like to play?
Ben : Hockey! I can’t play Hockey and really can’t skate… but its my favorite Winter Olympic Sport. My only real hope at this stage of my athletic career is curling… I’m pretty good with a broom and yelling at rocks.
Sar33na : f Stargate sg1 had continued what direction/story lines would he have liked his character to have?
Ben: I’m actually really intrigued by what Mitchell would have been getting up to during the 1930s. As you may suspect, Mitchell may actually be related to himself, because of the quirks of the time continuum… But given that he was running around in the 1930s for a decade or so… I would love to have him breaking into the Stargate project as it existed back then. Maybe he was there when they dug the gate up
RaySP : Any new TV or film projects?
Ben : I did a horror film which is due out later this year… Not sure what its eventual title will be. There are a few potential things swirling in the air, but my biggest project is getting the kids through high school and college.
Me : What are you reading now?
Ben : Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. The Black Death, The Intimate Story of a Village in Crisis, 1345-1350 by John Hatcher. The online Sermons of my old friend Robert Fields who is an Episcopalian Priest in Brevard North Carolina. A few Scripts. The Yiddish Policemans Union by Michael Chabon. I seem to be having trouble focusing one thing at a time.