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Brian Henson chats with Farscape fans

Courtesy of Sci Fi
April 22, 2004

On Thursday April 22, Jim Henson Company CEO Brian Henson treated Farscape fans with a special on-line chat hosted by the Sci FI Channel in the US.

Brian is Farscape's executive producer and the director of the upcoming four-hour Farscape mini-series "Peacekeeper War". The mini-series is scheduled to air in November 2004 on the Sci Fi Channel.

( ChatMod): Hi everybody, thanks for joining us. I'm Ben Trumble for SCIFI. Tonight we're pleased to be chatting with Brian Henson about SCIFI's original mini-series Farscape Peacekeeper War, coming later this year.

(GutPageant) to (ChatQ): Was directing the mini yourself an economic decision, or more a labor of love (or maybe a bit of both)?

( BrianH): It was a labor of love. And it was financed on the condition that I would direct it, but it was a labor of love.

(FarDareisMai) to (ChatQ): do you feel like the mini took the show where you had originally envisioned it being after five seasons?

( BrianH): I think it's fair to say that none of us knew where it was going to be after 5 years. I think that's part of the fun of Farscape.

(KozmikBloo) to (ChatQ): After being gone for so long, was it difficult for everyone to get back into the groove?

( BrianH): It was certainly a challenge to get all the sets up and to get everybody back in character. We started with such a big story and we shot it completely out of order. So we made it very hard for everyone, but the result is terrific.

(samati75) to (ChatQ): how much of a challenge was the actual direction of the mini and did you encounter any major problems, production-wise?

( BrianH): I think this is probably the biggest production ever mounted for TV and had all the associated challenges. Actually, we didn't encounter any major problems. Except that we very nearly used up all of the explosives in Australia. We used so many explosives that in the last week of shooting Australia was running out of explosives.

(sprqy) to (ChatQ): would we see more farscape after the mini? (BIG LOVE from Israel Scapers!)

( BrianH): Part of the plan was to bring Farscape to a place in the big story where we could now go in lots of different directions. We could make a movie, we could make a spin-off series, and I hope to do all of those things.

( ChatMod): A question from Italy --

(tako) to (ChatQ): In our country Farscape is unaired, so do you think we can hope we will be able to see the mini?

( BrianH): First of all I'm very impressed that Italy and Israel are awake and talking to us. I don't know if the mini-series is set to air in Italy. Hallmark our distributor in Europe and I don't know if they have a broadcaster for Italy yet.

( ChatMod): Italy...Israel....Germany...Russia...Japan -- the world is logged on here tonight.

(Stellar) to (ChatQ): Hasn't Henson recently entered into a deal with MGM to produce live action films like Good Boy? Does Farscape have a potential path through this?

( BrianH): Perhaps, although the MGM relationship is mostly for younger family films. But if the mini-series does well, I hope they might be interested in a Farscape series.

( ChatMod): I seem to have forgotten to mention OZ... and boy am I hearing about it! Welcome AU.

(SETI-fan) to (ChatMod): Welcome Brian! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! I understand that while you were able to get all of the cast back for the miniseries, not all of the writers and directors were able to return. Were you able to get most of the same make-up artists, Creature Shop artists, etc. back at least?

( BrianH): We got everyone back that we needed to make a mini-series. I directed the mini so we didn't need the other directors. Though they are very talented, I directed this one. As for the writing, Rockne, the series creator, and David Kemper, the runner wanted to write the series themselves. That's why we didn't use any of the other writers.

( BrianH): In terms of production designer and make-up designers and creature artists, we got the very best. For instance we used Ricky Eyres was the production designer for season 1 and we bought him back for the mini series. David Elsey, has always headed up the creatures and creature designs and he came back. He did all of the series and he came back to do the mini series.

Otaku-Smeghead) to (ChatQ): Will all the Plot threads be dealt with at the end of the Mini and Is Tammy Macintosh in the Mini?

( BrianH): We believe we've dealt with them all in a very cool way. Tammy is in the mini.

(Wormy) to (ChatQ): I realize it's unknown at this point whether the funding will exist to resurrect Farscape as a TV series -- to make the rest of season 5 -- but if the money and the interest was there, would the cast and crew be willing and able to make this "Unrealized Reality" happen?

( BrianH): Maybe, although we told the season 5 story in this miniseries. In our minds, this chapter of the story is over, but it's wide open to go over into the next chapter.

(Joff) to (ChatQ): Any hints as to Zahn returning in the mini???

( BrianH): I thought that answering the Tammy question was probably not a good idea. I shouldn't take any more like that.

(One) to (ChatQ): what was one of the funniest of most memorable moments on the mini series set and, as a uk fan, do you know when we're liable to get to watch?

( BrianH): The funniest moments were usually whenever D'argo forgot his line in a scene and I can't write what would usually come out of his mouth when he'd forget a line. I think it will be seen in the UK in December.

(KOBA-TV) to (ChatQ): Brian, I was one of the people who met you at the Jim Henson statue dedication at UMD. I was wondering how you felt when Rygel and Pilot were pulled out of their boxes?

( BrianH): I don't know what to say-- It felt great! They'd gone all the way back to England, sat in a warehouse and then came all the way back to Sidney. I think it was a good day for them.

(Trip) to (ChatQ): Brian, were you surprised at the amount of attention the cancellation of Farscape received from the media? It seemed like the show got more media attention after it had gone off the air then when it was actually running for the 4 seasons it was on.

( BrianH): I think that's true. Thank you very much to all of you.

(ricecakes) to (ChatQ): what is the schedule for releasing the complete season 3 and 4 DVD sets?

( BrianH): I should really know the answer to that! I think all of season 3 is out in some parts of the world. Some of season 4 is out in some parts of the world-- but I don't know where.

(njak) to (ChatQ): Did the actors get to take home the parts of their costumes they wanted? For example I have heard that Anthony and Wayne both wanted their boots.....and Hello from the Ohio Scapers!

( BrianH): Of course we all know that props and costumes belong to the production company and that none of our actors would actually keep anything. But of course, I'm being sarcastic.

(Claudiasharon) to (ChatQ): When can USA Scapers plan on seeing the mini?

( BrianH): October or November of this year.

(BritAngie) to (ChatQ): Hi Brian-firstly thank you for Farscape- Also can I ask-will we be seeing you guys at the Saturn awards again this year (as Farscape has received another nomination)?

( BrianH): I haven't received my invitation yet, but I would love to go.

(eddie22) to (ChatQ): Its always called a 4 Hour Mini-Series, so will it really last full 4 hours, or are there 4 parts with each 45 minutes? (Greetings from Germany!!!)

( BrianH): Hello Germany!! It's in 2 parts, 90 minutes each. But 90 minutes is actually 2 hours of tv time on commercial television. Because 1/2 an hour of the 2 hours is commercials.

(CaptWombat) to (ChatQ): Were any cast members reluctant about coming back for the mini?

( BrianH): They were all thrilled to come back But i think we got luck with people's availability.

(thecrow24-fromSPAIN) to (ChatQ): hi brian,in the mini we will find the duel scorpious/john like the 4seasons before? thanks

( BrianH): You'll have to watch to see. But, it's fair to assume that if there were dual Scorpius' i season 4, then there will be dual Scorpius' in the mini series.

(atlgirl) to (ChatMod): Brian, if money and distribution were no object, what would be your fondest desire for the future of the Farscape franchise? And Hello from the Southeast Scapers!

( BrianH): Definitely to make a feature film would be the most exciting.

(Snicka) to (ChatQ): Do you think scifi will start airing the episodes in order in the months leading up to the mini-series airing?

( BrianH): I don't know. we haven't talked about it that specifically yet.

(Nessus) to (ChatQ): Where did the funding for the mini come from?

( BrianH): It came from a consortium of financers who would not have heard of us if it weren't for all of the attention the fans bought to the canceling of the series. So thanks to all of you, the mini series was funded

(shammy) to (ChatQ): Do you know when we can expect to promotions for the mini?

( BrianH): I don't know. I don't know what the SCIFI promotion schedule is yet.

(fspusher) to (ChatQ): Do you have any other (non-Farscape) projects in mind that you'd like to see Farscape cast members work on?

( BrianH): They are all enormously talented. We don't actually develop projects with specific actors in mind.

( ChatMod): Brain, lots of people are asking if there was ever any thought of taking the Peacekeepers War elsewhere other than SCIFI?

( BrianH): Clearly SCIFI was always part of Farscape and it made the most sense for SCIFI to broadcast this chapter of Farscape. If anyone else were to broadcast it, they couldn't broadcast the episodes that lead up to this mini.

(greenfoam) to (ChatQ): if the mini is someone's first exposure to Farscape, will they find the backstory easy to pick up?

( BrianH): Our intention is that new audiences should be able to follow this, but they will have to concentrate hard.

(PKLadyhawk) to (ChatQ): Is there any possibility of a longer, director's cut version of the mini when it is released to DVD?

( BrianH): Maybe, but it costs a lot of money to finish additional scenes of Farscape because of the special effects. I can't promise anything. There probably will be additional scenes, but un-finished.

(Farscaper) to (ChatMod): Jersey Scaper here Since almost everyone has come back from the died in Farscape can we expect Talyn and crais returning ?

( BrianH): I'm not telling.

(Mementh) to (ChatMod): How believable will Farscape PK wars be? I mean we see John and Aeryn Supposedly KILLED!!! I mean how are they going to be brought back since we see some of them fall into the ocean

( ChatMod): We'll have a final question after this

( BrianH): On this one I'll tell. Rygel being amphibious had managed to gather every piece of them back.

( ChatMod): Brian -- final question...asked by many people. How much does the future of Farscape depend on the success of the mini and what can fans do to help it succeed?

( BrianH): The future of Farscape depends a lot depends on the mini. And we should all put our heads together to come up with ways to get the word out to everyone in the country, two weeks before the mini airs on SCIFI.

( BrianH): Thank you all so much for everything that you've done to make it possible for us to continue to make Farscape. It's been an honor to speak with you. Good night. And good morning to you!

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