SERENITY - JEWEL STAITE, ADAM BALDWIN AND GINA TORR
MAKING OF TOO MUCH OF IT
The stars of Serenity discuss the making of the movie Ė and the making of the
making of for the DVD, which is now released in Australia. That was just too
much pressure for Gina Torr.
Sometimes the dialogue in sci-fi films can be very clichťd, it wasnít the
case here. Did you know that it was going to come out as funny as it did?
J: We got lucky, Joss is such a great writer.
A: But the sci-fi element is just a setting. You have these nine very strong
characters that are able to function or dysfunction on this space ship, and
thatís really whatís interesting, for me anyway, just to watch actors struggling
to win that conflict. Itís Jossís writing and we just kind of play and run with
G: And what is so interesting about the writing too, is that he has taken
this futuristic world that he has created and all the circumstances that have
sort of fed into this world that you see in front of you, and an element of that
is what we sort of refer to as ĎJoss speakí. It the English language ever so
tweaked enough to make you a little crazy (laughs) as an actor, but it sort of
informs everything else surrounding it, so maybe a line that you may have heard
before doesnít sound the same. Because it doesnít sound the same it holds a
different weight, or it resonates differently in the ears, and I think that just
makes it more interesting.
A: He writes with a unique rhythm. If you can key in to that rhythm, you
can be successful.
J: Yeah, once I got used to it, it became really easy. I canít help
myself doing it off set, that broken English he sometimes writes for us.
Thatís a good thing about the movie - it has real dialogue, but what do you
think was so special about the series that it had to be made into a feature
A: I think there are three elements that I see. One is certainly Jossís
dedication and love for these characters, he really wanted to tell the story.
Number two would be his ability to reach out to Universal Studios after the show
got cancelled and number three which is very important, is the fan base. The fan
base that found the TV show and bought all those DVDs made Universalís decision
that much easier.
Adam, was it hard for you to balance the humour but still be the toughest guy
on the team?
A: Jayne is this guy who says what everybody wishes they could say. Heís
that big elephant in the room that will just spew the truth and I think people
relate to that. My inspiration was really drawn from the shoot-them-up westerns
that I grew up watching, like The Wild Bunch and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,
Once Upon a Time in the West and great character actors like Eli Wallach, Jason
Robards, guys like that who I modelled Jayne after. But Joss gave me some really
fun words to say and I just got to drop my voice like this.
How was the fight camp for you?
A: Iíve been at fight camp all my life.
J: I didnít have to go to fight camp.
G: I went for a day (laughs), and thatís mostly because I have a
relationship with the stunt coordinator and he knew what I was capable of and it
was fine. But most of the action rested on the shoulders and legs and arms of
Nathan and Summer.
J: We rehearsed all day long, the dialogue and the scenes for the first
two weeks, and then after that long day of rehearsal Nathan and Summer had to
leave to go to fight camp. At the end of a long day on set they had to go to
fight camp. I felt sorry for them because I could lounge by the pool after my
workday was done and they had to go to get bruised and tired out. But I was a
little envious when I saw the final product (laughs). It looks really good. So
all their hard work definitely paid off.
Q: Did you ever feel silly for acting against the green screen because
nothing was there?
J: I donít think that I ever felt stupid, but it was definitely difficult
to react to things that werenít there. I remember filming the sequence where we
were going through Reaver territory and we were watching the ships out the
window, and thereís nothing there except the camera guy with lights, so that was
challenging, but as an actor itís always fun to be challenged and see how that
plays out when the special effects are in place.
A: But there was minimum green screen used here. They had actually
animated this whole chase scene where we were going to be as a form of a story
board and they had also animated the trucks, the support vehicles behind it, so
everyone knew where the positioning was going to be. And thatís what we did
first. So it was this very well organized machine in place because we were on a
tight budget, relatively speaking for this kind of a film, and it was good and
right, and here we go again. Rough cuts are tough to watch sometimes because of
the skeletal mock-ups of the space ships look a little like ďoh? Well, okay,
itís a rough cutĒ. But that all got smoothed over.
G: Itís hard for me to watch myself on screen but because there are so
many elements missing when youíre shooting something like this, Iím happy to
watch it because I donít know how itís going to look when itís finished. So Iím
outside myself being engaged in this world that I participated in but never
really saw all of. The end product is great, but when youíre in it, you have to
use your childlike imagination (laughs).
What is your favourite scene or moment in the movie?
A: My favourite moment is a quirky little moment with River and Simon when
he says to River ďam I talking to Miranda now?Ē and she just looks at him like
ďno, idiot!Ē But my favourite scene to shoot was that whole initial chase scene
on the Ďmuleí, that was just great. Thatís some of the most fun work I ever had:
it was hot, hard, it was great.
G: My favourite moment is when Serenity comes up on screen and all our
names scroll down (laughs) ďoh, yes! It is real.Ē I still get a rush, I still
get the smile.
It sounds like you had so much fun during shooting, so there must be some
funny moments behind the scenes?
G: I think itís probably with other people because Iíd see that second
camera crew coming and Iíd just go off in the other direction (laughs). It was
too much. Itís too much pressure. This whole Ēspecial featuresĒ on the DVD has
sort of spun thisÖit used to be youíre Ďoní between action and cut when you were
doing the movie, and now ďcut!Ē comes and here comes the other camera crew. So
Iím not in it that much.
The women are in very prominent and strong roles in Serenity. What did you
think about it?
G: I was happy about it. Clearly when you are looking into the future...as
far as weíve come now, you have women in the trenches now, they are in Iraq and
in the work place. If you project that 500 years into the future, of course we
are going to be in positions of power and even more capable because we are part
of the workforce. As human beings we have to use each other and what weíre best
at. And my character Zoe is clearly a fabulous, kick-ass, capable soldier. Why
wouldnít you want that person to be your right hand?
J: I love that Kaylee is young and fresh and naÔve and comes from a small
town, a little bit lower class, but when she gets next to an engine she becomes
this brilliant, amazing mechanic. Itís fun. Itís hard to say that techno babble,
though, itís not so fun (laughs).
Sheís a little sexually repressed too?
J: Yeah (laughs). She wants some loviní, thereís nothing wrong with that.
Sheís a regular girl, she just likes machines. A lot.
ďIím not going to die nowĒÖ
J: I love that, thatís brilliant.
A: Itís a testament to Jossís creativity, he loves writing strong women
characters, that flows from him. He casts some pretty women too.
February 16, 2006
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