Ben Browder played to a packed hall of fans at this year’s Starfest, some of which expressed gratitude for him showing up in Colorado instead of making them travel to another city. Browder is famous for playing the crowd, and he was in his full element last Saturday, even pretending to float in space when he noticed the background of the stage was a star field much to everyone’s delight.
ScienceFiction.com was there for his Q&A and here’s some of the highlights of that session:
Three Questions He’s Tired of Answering
1. Working with puppets is easier than working with most actors. He is, however, weirdly good at fighting with puppets. This, he knows, because a Henson told him so.
2. No, he did not replace Richard Dean Anderson on Stargate.
3. Claudia Black is indeed awesome.
Browder’s Favorite Episode of Farscape?
Browder is and always will be a big fan of the series he starred in, so his answer to this question, without hesitation, was “The next one.” It’s no secret that Farscape was cancelled at a bad time (the last episode title being changed to “Bad Timing” to reflect how the cast and crew felt about the sudden cancellation), but it looks like Browder is still angling to do more episodes or even another miniseries. We’ll just have to see if SyFy ever relents and make more Farscape.
Is He a Nerd?
He was a football player, a track athlete, and a wrestler. He also played D&D…. which was the only one thing the newspaper cared to interview him about. He answered the questions, but only on the conditions of anonymity.
Now, he’s out of his geek closet and is proud to admit that he rolls ab0ut an 18 for ego.
When asked if what part he would like to play on Firefly, Browder tells a story about how Fillion once gave him a signed autograph stating “To my inspiration, who taught me so much about life and pottery”. Needless to say, I think all of us want to see that picture. Pics or it didn’t happen, Browder!
Browder also talked about how the two both auditioned for the role John Crichton in Farscape, which Fillion did not get, and mentions with mock chagrin “but look how many parts he’s got since then!”
Browder tends to get a lot of flak for being an O’Neill replacement, but he states that he only adlibbed one line, and that was in his first episode where he said, “Bullets Bounce!” Supposedly, the line was supposed to be “okay”, said calmly while Teal’c shot at a wall. Browder decided that a military man would be a lot more horrified by that prospect, and claims it is the one and only line he ad-libbed and was able to keep.
Browder on Star Trek DS9?
Unprompted, Browder told the crowd about how he auditioned for Star Trek Deep Space Nine once upon a time, but was rejected on the grounds that he wasn’t a “science fiction actor”. He then laughed with the audience as he recounted the numerous science fiction shows he has since been in, not the least of which includes Stargate, Doctor Who, and Farscape.
Matt Smith’s Soft Hands
Browder didn’t talk much about Doctor Who, aside from the fact that his kids respected him more for being on one episode of Doctor Who then they do for his tenure on Farscape. His recollections of the filming mostly centered around how soft Matt Smith’s hands were and how he thought Matt Smith was truly weeping over the death of his character.
It was only after the director yelled cut that he came to realize he had, when falling over, clipped Smith’s shin, and the actor was crying in pain… not for love of the art.
When asked about filming in the Artic Circle for Stargate Continuum, Browder talked about their sleeping arrangements in a very small box, describing it thusly: “I’ve kissed everyone on the show but Rick, but I’ve slept with him.”
He then went on to describe the Artic in beautiful detail, talking about the ice sculptures that no one will ever see again, and the place no one will ever walk again. He ends it, however, on a more humorous note.
When filming the long shot of he and Amanda Tapping walking through the ice and snow on places they weren’t sure were exactly stable (three people had fallen through the ice last year), they learned that the helicopter filming them had no idea where they were. To get their attention, the two made snow angels.
An Inspiring Message about Farscape and Our World
Though it was mentioned in the middle of the set that went over by a half an hour, I wanted to save this part for last because it is a poignant, and deep understanding of why the fans of Farscape remain to be such loyal fans.
He says that it is because the world we know, as we grow up, is never the world we thought it was. Just as Crichton has to carry on in a world that is only just familiar enough for him to function in, he has to confront it an all its terror and beauty. He draws a parallel to our own lives, stating that the world is never what we think it is, and we just keep moving on, and experiencing all the same terror and beauty that Crichton does in Farscape.