Thursday, July 1, 2010

Smart Actors

I’ve been slowly working my way through all the seasons of FarScape and now I’m finished.   I feel a bit bereft now that it is over.  I can see why people were totally hooked on it when it was on.

The DVDs that I watched had a lot of “extras” including commentary.  I’m a commentary geek so I listened to it all.  I LOVE commentary, especially commentary by writers and directors.  I don’t get nearly as excited by actor commentary.  A lot of times it devolves into snarky “hey, remember the time I screwed up my line” commentary.  Most (not all) actors seem to shy away from talking about the craft of acting and how they shape their characters and seldom do they talk about the other facets of making the show or movie. 

The commentary for FarScape is different.  The actor commentary was outstanding.  Ben Browder (who played John Crichton) and Claudia Black (who played Aeryn Sun) provided exceptional commentary.  What smart actors!  Ben Browder could explain every technical detail of the show as well as the motivations behind his own performance.  He was better at explaining the direction and production of the series than the commentary from the directors and producers.  he even explained the writing as well as the writers.  And Claudia Black should give seminars on the craft of acting.   Her analyses of the choices she made in creating the character of Aeryn Sun made the character even more real for me.   I remember at least one episode where she did the commentary alone – and I’m not sure I can remember seeing any other DVD where an actor was allowed to do solo commentary before.  And a couple of times she was paired with one of the non-actors to do commentary and she drew those persons out with really good questions.

I wonder if Ben and Claudia did any commentary on the Stargate seasons they were on?  I’d find those DVD just to hear that commentary.  

I checked imdb to see what each of them are up to these days.  I saw Claudia Black a few weeks ago on an episode of NCIS and she’s got a film in post-production, but it seems she’s mostly doing voices for animation these days.   Ben Browder is working on a web series called Naught for Hire.   It’s hard to understand why he isn’t in another regular series.  He’s the perfect all-American looking actor. 

Here’s a scene I liked between them: