Date of publishing: 11th
Born in Australia, Claudia Black has spent her youth
in Sydney and became famous by playing in number of
TV productions in Australia and New Zealand, such
"City Life" or several guest roles in "Hercules
- The legendary journeys" and "Xena".
She also played with Vin Diesel in the cinema movie
But she got an international renown by acting Aeryn
Sun in the sci-fi show "Farscape" with
Ben Browder and with the role of Vala in Stargate
SG-1. This interview has been conducted by Renee Burl
Download the audio interview
(Zipped MP3 file)
do not direct link to this file, link to the page
Renee Burl: What
did you like most about your Farscape experience?
Claudia Black: Working... was my
favourite part about working on Farscape. *laughs*
I really am a very busy person. I like to be active
mentally and physically and Farscape certainly employed
both parts of me, my body and my mind and it was exhausting
on both levels but really satisfying. You know, I
would go home feeling that I had truly worked hard
and we felt that we earned everything that came to
us and we as a team as well, it was very satisfying
when we could sort of problem-solve everyday and feel
that we'd won some battles. So it was, yeah it was
grueling but it was satisfying.
Burl: If you hadn't
played Aeryn who would you have wanted to play and
Claudia Black: John Crichton. *laughs*
He got all the fun lines for the first however many
seasons. I mean I don't know in a way on Farscape
if it would have mattered what character you played
because they were all so... interesting visually.
Some of the characters were just... I mean you look
at Zhaan, that make-up was, was seminal. The amount
of work and research and development and time that
went into creating Neeyala, I thought that was amazing.
They did give me the opportunity to wear a make-up
full-time and I graciously declined even if that meant
not appearing on the show at all. I just knew that
wasn't appropriate for me, it wouldn't work for me.
But I have to say, I mean Aeryn was such, I believe,
I might be biased but I thought she was the most interesting
character because she had so much potential and so
much scope and range so there was so much to discover...
with her, playing her and for the audience to discover
over those years.
Renee Burl: What
have you taken from your experience on Farscape and
incorporated into your new roles?
Claudia Black: I always liked to
take whatever I've learned technically as an actor
and move on to a new job as soon as possible so that
I can use those new skills and employ them immediately.
And I had that opportunity with Farscape because I
jumped straight from the Peacekeeper Wars to do Prometheus
Unbound episode with Stargate and I was amazed, it
was refreshing to see... you know, just the skills
seem invisible, they become inherent and you hope
that you don't loose them and forget them but everything's
like the first day of school every time you walk onto
a new set. I found that my ability to adjust happened
more quickly to accept my surroundings and relax and
give a performance that was focused and disciplined.
It was easier than it would've been before I'd done
all those years on Farscape. So it trained me to work
and be disciplined at a very, sort of, fast pace.
Renee Burl: Did
you find that your Farscape experience gave you visibility
or kept you from the visibility of the public?
Claudia Black: That's an interesting
question. We felt that we're working in a vacuum on
Farscape and that people thought we were all suffering
from some sort of group delusion of employment because
the network, the local network who had purchased a
percentage of the show to air it there wouldn't...
commit to an air date so the show was starting to
air in New Zealand and other territories and was obviously
on Sci-fi channel. We had no real visceral connection
to that or no real understanding of it because we
weren't meeting people who were watching it. We weren't
seeing it ourselves and it's still bizarre to me as
an actor, I think, "I'm on television sometimes"
and it really doesn't sink in. I go to work, I do
my job and it's partly because, I think, we worked
on Farscape for so many years not seeing it on television
around us and not having people on the street recognizing
us and talking to us about it. I feel like I have
in a way an ordinary job and I get very surprised
now in the States when I'm walking around in L.A.
and people say "Oh! You were in Pitch Black and
you were in whatever..." and I just forget that
there's that public aspect to the job which before
with Farscape never really, you know that issue never
Burl: Changing from
Farscape. Paul Goddard managed to get you to sing
on his CD and Move and Groovy were both really wonderful
songs. Any chance of more in the future?
Claudia Black: Paul, I mean actors
always faff about on set, you know we sing and we
tell jokes and we do whatever and you realize that
people do have other skills beyond what they've been
specifically asked to do on any given show. And it
was obvious to me that Paul had, he's an amazing actor
and he's very well known in the theatre community
and my mother knew his work and when my mother's friends
met him at our engagement party, my husband and mine's
engagement party, "Ohh! Is that Paul Goddard!".
So Paul had said to me "Just from your speaking
voice, Claudia, I know that you, I suspect that you
can sing." and I, and we would sing on set
together occasionally but it was a very personal thing
for me, singing, and I'd lost my, sort of nerve, singing
and I really didn't want to do it anymore and he sort
of coaxed me out of the cupboard with that one and
my voice was sort of very rough and very green again
and he said "Well it's more that sort of
the timber and the quality of your voice that I'm
after than any specific sort of technical vocal skills
at this point". I said "Well, that's
all you're getting, babe. *laughs* Ain't no skills
anymore.", but it gave me a little bit more
courage and I realized that I've missed music and
I, the fans had been asking "When are we
going to hear you sing, when are we going to hear
you sing?" and I just sort of plucked up
the courage to learn three chords on a guitar and
accompany myself with it for a convention and... that
was nerve wracking for me and it was really, I like
to put myself in a situation where I'm not feeling
entirely confident because it's really good to sort
of... I feel it's important to push myself and make
sure I take myself outside the box and take bigger
risks and so it was good to do that. And I'd love
to do a musical film I think, that would be something
I'd definitely love to do so I'll see what happens.
Renee Burl: That'd
Claudia Black: Yeah.
Renee Burl: In
your interview for the Scapecast podcast you mention
recording an audio book. What is the title of the
audio book and when will it be released?
Claudia Black: The author of the
talking books is George R.R. Martin, a very famous
sci-fi and fantasy writer and he's got such a large
volume of work that they're doing, I believe a three-part
compendium of all of his short stories to date and
the written, the print, will be released at the same
time as the audio books and, people in the community
are very excited. There aren't many female roles or
female voices so to speak in a lot of his stories
and the producer from the talking books studio asked
for me and I was delighted to go and do it. I found
the stories really interesting and way out and wild
and I was not familiar with his work before but I
found that really fun to do. Very exciting, very dramatic
and, of course, with the science fiction cliché
of impossible names to pronounce that was the one
tricky aspect *laughs* of doing a talking book as
opposed to reading them. I don't know how much he
personally reads his work out loud when he's doing
it but those names were nice and challenging.
Renee Burl: The
Farscape webisodes. Are you going to be involved in
Claudia Black: I've just recently
heard about the Farscape webisodes. I haven't specifically
been asked to participate. I am, however, due to give
birth in around two months time and I think that that'll
be my next project. Giving birth and bringing my child,
god willing, into the world. So yeah, I think I'll
be consumed by family matters for a while.
Renee Burl: A
Claudia Black: Yeah, a little busy.
With the toddler as well so, you know...
Renee Burl: How
old's your toddler?
Claudia Black: He's 20 months, 21
months now so...
Burl: You're going
to be very busy.
Claudia Black: Mmhmmmm.
Renee Burl: SG-1.
Do you miss it?
Claudia Black: I miss the people
of SG-1. I made some grand, grand friends and the
luxury of this business and the tyranny of it is that
you travel. So sometimes that travel brings me back
towards them and to them and sometimes it takes me
far away. Oviously, e-mail and internet being what
it is, text messages, all those things help to stay
connected so it's a good time to meet people around
the world and be able to maintain those friendships.
But it's the thing that I've always loved most about
the business I think, it's the travel and the people.
We all sort of agree we're all canny folks really,
we're just a travelling circus and you don't know
when you're going to see those people again. But both
on camera and off camera there are some certain members
of the crew I've made some, just delicious friendships
with people and just, it's so good for the soul to
connect with those people in person again, so... Yeah,
I miss not having that atmosphere with those people
everyday but I think there is a particular spirit,
there's a kinship in this business and you find that
type of a person whenever you go on to a new job and
it always feels like home, so... that you know just
this weekend I've been able to catch up with Lexa
and Michael and Chris and everyone. It's a real blessing
to see them again.
Renee Burl: If
MGM would greenlight more SG-1 movies in the future
would we see Vala?
Claudia Black: Oh, Vala can never
die! Vala's fantastic and she must be along for as
many rides as people want her along. She's just so
easy to play. She's, you know, it's... I think that
acting when at its best is being in the sandbox so...
she's the most playful character I've had the fortune
to portray so... and just as I said yesterday on the
panel, the Stargate panel, the buoyancy on set and
the atmosphere that those actors create really helped
in form my process and I really wouldn't want to attempt
comedy in a vacuum where other people aren't as supportive
or in as good a mood or taking it at the right level
of seriousness, taking the people you're working with
seriously enough to be there for them but not taking
yourself seriously enough that it becomes a, you know,
that you have an attitude that pervades on the set
that affects other people's ability to enjoy themselves,
so... yeah, I'd love, I don't know if I would ever
be asked back, who knows, but I think Vala is definitely
a character that's worth pursuing in the future.
Renee Burl: And
I would like to say thank you very much. I really
appreciated your time.
Claudia Black: Thank you very much,
they were great questions.
this interview on the forum