An Evening With Virginia Hey

Virginia Hey

Hello! You're all wondering, where did she get the hair from? Are you?

I should embarrass you all by making you stand up and say My name is, and I come from ...

The hair - I'm not telling. Next! They're extensions. As you know I shaved my hair and my eyebrows for Zhaan. And they started to grow back last year through the hiatus, we had a six-month hiatus. It felt ever so nice to feel feminine again, to feel like a girlie, a big girlie wussy girl. And when it started to grow through it was a dark blonde colour, without the streaks obviously. And it was transparent, being quite fine, and I remember thinking, goodness me, you can see my scalp through this tufts of hair. I went to the chemist and bought some dark brown dye. I dyed it, and it actually looked quite chic. And I actually looked like I had a little bit of hair. And that's what you will see from the Farscape Convention at Burbank. I think they video'd that, so you can see me with my toothbrush hair. But at one stage I decided to dye it white, because I wanted to look a bit kind of street, I guess, very arty. So I dyed it absolutely white and I looked quite bald, because when you've got the white hair in the sunshine the light shines through it you look like a religious figure with a halo. Anyway, so when it was long enough to get extensions in I did, and a lot of the boys were going, Where did her hair come from? Well, they do these, you know the Afro-American folk sometimes put corn-rows in? They do about three rows of plaits in the hair, and then they sew hair onto it.

I did an audition, actually I did two auditions for Andromeda . Do you get Andromeda here? I was going for the part of a Nietzchien Princess. You know, it makes sense, with me being 6ft 11, the whole germanic Aryan looking bit. So, I thought, maybe I should be larger than life like a big drag queen. I thought I'd put my hands on my waist, very imposing, and everyone else was this tall.

So, now we've got that out of the way.

What did you just watch? Rhapsody In Blue ? Now, I wanted to ask you. I was just thinking about this. I've never mentioned before, but, and it's surprising with me talking, did anyone spot - Just before I ask the question, has anyone seen Road Warrior or Mad Max 2 ? Lots of people! What's it called here, Road Warrior ? It's Mad Max 2 in Australia, but in America it's called Road Warrior . So every time I mention Mad Max 2 they go Huh, excuse me?

Did anyone spot another actor besides me that was in Road Warrior in that episode? Okay, run it again.

Actually, I should have snuck out and said, you will get a prize if you guess. You get to bonk me! I'm a very generous girl. You'll have to go through Mo-Mo first, though. Mo-Mo will try you out, and if you're any good ... Does anyone know? Yes, come on then! Yo're really keen, so right, you're on! Actually, I should have said, Aww, nooooo but you're cute.

Does anyone else know who we're talking about? In Mad Max 2 he was, I can't remember the character's name. He wasn't called Humungous, because Humungous was his boss. He was played by Sheryl ... gosh.

Sh*t! In Mad Max 2 he played a character, and I should know his name, who had his fingers chopped off by a boomerang. He had cold sores and spots and so on. He didn't really have them. In this he played a crazy old priest who got knocked off by his own daughter, a nasty piece of work!

Anyway, I could probably talk all day while you're all chatting away.

If you could play a "Farscape" character other than Zhaan, who would it be?
Well, let me see, now. I quite like Pilot. Really. But who doesn't want to play Chiana? Chiana is great, or Scorpius. Scorpius is labelled deliciously evil. I actually would love to get dressed up in all that leather. It's actually an alligator. A horrible thought, but the costume department brought an alligator in and chopped it to bits. The whole entire costume is bits and pieces of an alligator, like the alligator's spine.

The costumes in Mad Max 2 are extraordinary, and I've always wondered WHY the Director of Photography and cameraman doesn't pan across the bits and pieces of detail on the costuming. I guess it's because there are much more interesting things for them to shoot. Obviously it's all about character interaction. As you know about Farscape , the thing that makes it really successful, I think, is the fact that it is not just an amazing looking show, it has everything else that every other successful Sci-Fi show has; amazing sets, obviously great script-writing and great direction, and great acting. Wonderful Visually great Special Effects and so on. What sets it apart, what makes it different, is the tension between all the characters, and character interaction. Each episode is like a feature-film. If you think about most crews of, the crew of space-ships, especially military space-ships, you think of a homogenous crew. They've all been trained together for years, and their one main aim is to provide safety and autonomy and cameraderie because they're fighting for one cause, the safety of the ship and each other. And that's in anything Star Trek or any other Science Fiction show it's always a crew who work together. But in our instance the whole of Moya is manned by escaped convicts. They don't necessarily even like each other, and each one of whom has been chucked away into the Penitentuary for murder of some description, or several murders, awful atrocities. So we have a certain number of crew members who will probably murder each other if given the chance. They feel that way, inclluding Zhaan. I don't know if she would murder someone, but she's very unpredictable. That's what I mean, they're all unpredictable. And it's not a crew like the Star Trek crew, all happy military or Naval officers. They all want to get home at any cost. And that is one of the things that make Farscape unique, that it's run by escaped convicts. I don't know of any other show that has a craft manned by escaped convicts.

What about Blakes Seven?

Blakes Seven ? Someone said that there was a character in that, a bald character, that they thought Zhaan was modelled after. I got a whole heap of the videos from the video store and had a look but I couldn't find her character. I didn't know what episode she was in.

Anyway, getting back to costumes. Farscape has got every imaginable amazing aspect that you can think of that is on top SciFi shows. Including, this is just a minor detail, it certainly is on stuff like Star Trek . But I guess I have a great huge arty streak, and every time I see the costumes and the creatures and the sets, let's face it pretty much everything, I totally adore it. I'm always hanging around Jim Henson's Creature Shop, always hanging around backstage looking at the bits and pieces.

I'm the only actress who picks up the props and goes Oh! This is great! What is it for? What are you supposed to do?

PROPS GUY - You just vibe into it, whatever you want to, really.
VIRGINIA - No, really, how does it work?
PROPS GUY - Oh, I don't know, its a - [then they give you some long-winded story about how they see it]
VIRGINIA - Wow! What do you guys take at night?

When I first met the Farscape writers, I looked at the job description and I thought, they've got to be absolute lunatics, these people. They've got to be off the top of their heads. They can't help it, especially if you went to art school and were surrounded by all kinds of crazy people. We tend to imagine that anyone who is crazy will look strange or behave in a strange way. These people are very conservative-looking and very very professional, it's just that they are professionally insane. So you see, you imagine these kids craving bananas, drinking bottles of scotch and popping pills and snorting god-knows-what and staying up until - everyone's pointing. I've just described someone here!

Anyway, so we all imagine these crazed individuals, but in actual fact there is something special in Science Fiction for the writers of Farscape . They are sane people, just with warped minds, or some kind of capability to tap into that warped part of the brain that we all have and we all enjoy, they seem to be able to do it and live in that space without going nuts. I don't know how they do it. That's why there's only a few of them in the world that can live in that insane world without literally going nuts themselves. And they do it for a profession, for a living.

Anyway, that's a long answer, isn't it? Denis asked me, How long do you want?
VIRGINIA - As long as you've got, really.
DENIS - An hour, three quarters? You might run out of things to say.

I told him, don't worry. I'm famous for answering one question with half an hour So I'll start answering fifteen questions. All right. Come on, don't be shy. It's only me. I don't smell.

What are your plans for the future?

That's a very good question. Next to me, the smart-arse is that I'll be at the bar tonight.

No, next is to get an Agent. I've kind of, sort of relocated to America. When I say sort of, I haven't really, legally or physically done it yet. I'm still on a visitor's visa, coming and going, tentatively getting a foothold. I want to make the move because ... Australia is a beautiful place to live. So is England. I've spent most of my life in this part of the world, actually. I won't tell you how long - one hundred and 43 years in London - actually more years in England than in Australia, funnily enough. But in Australia the movie industry and TV industry is tiny. I know that The Matrix and Farscape and Xena is down in that end of the world, not strictly Australia. There are quite a few Sci-Fi big things like Star Wars but they are big American productions that utilise Australian actors. They have big studios set up there, and that's where the big productions come in. But they bring their main cast from Los Angeles and the Australian actors only normally get supporting roles. What I was going to say is, there's not a great deal of Science Fiction or Science Fiction shows in Australia. I think that I fit the Sci-Fi genre, being larger-than-life. I've done a lot between Mad Max 2 and Farscape , as you know, but the two roles that made me feel most fulfilled were the Warrior Woman and Zhaan, for different reasons. You have to look at yourself as a package, just even physically I think I suit the warrior, the Sci-Fi roles. But in Australia was pretty much backward. Getting anything substantial, I would probably have to give up acting and go and work in a bar or something, and just wait for the whole Sci-Fi thing to come over.

So it was a big decision. I thought, I do want to keep working, I don't want to give up. Where do I go? Where there was a largish market for someone like me. There are lots and lots and lots of Sci-Fi shows in America. In fact, I mentioned this evening that I auditioned for Andromeda . I was doing a Convention, that's how I got the audition. I went to America last year to do a Farscape Convention, then I did a few more and a few more, until eventually I rented a flat that I have to keep leaving every three months, it's hilarious.

I met Keith Hamilton Cobb. He was headlining one of the Conventions, we were both headlining, and he said You'd be perfect for one of the Andromeda . I think he was thinking of a Nietzchein warrior. And he said, Do you mind if I take some photos back to the Producers? I gave him some pictures and he took them to the Producers, and hey phoned me the same day. It happened so quickly. The next day I get an audition, and then I have to leave America again because of the visa situation again for another three months. It wasn't three months from that time, it was about three weeks. I decided to go up to Canada to see an old girlfriend of mine, she's in Stargate , she plays the doctor. Teryl Rothery . I'm not a drinker, but she and Thomasina Gobson got me pissed. I don't know why I'm telling you this.

Thomasina Gibson, she is a, have you ever heard of Cult Times? I think there are a copies over there somewhere, she is the journalist that did the feature spread. She happened to be there, and she did the interview up there in Canada. She's scottish and she loves her scotch, and Teryl loves her scotch as well. She and her boyfriend have the most amazing cellar full of very fine scotch. And they were saying, Do you like scotch?
VIRGINIA - Well, not really.
TERYL - Try this one. Go on, don't be a poof! This one's a -

I don't know, a triple, something-or-other. Anyway, they made me try about ten of them. I was in my jammies, we were all in flannelette jammies, and I went -

Virginia mimics flashing her arse.

It doesn't seem funny now that we're all sober. But gosh, it was funny! I drank more than usual. So I met Thomasina who works for Cult Times and did the interview with her.

I did the audition for Andromeda , and they said that they liked me very much. They said I should get an Agent and do the right thing. They would find the right character for me and work me into the plot. A similiar sort of thing happened to me with Enterprise , and that came before I had an Agent, so I know I'm in the right place. And I just have to wait and see what happens. So that will be my next move, to join a SciFi series there. And here, as well, hopefully. I'd love to work here.

That will be it, but I'm still in between stages. I'm neither here nor there.

You see, I don't necessarily, in Science Fiction I don't necessarily see that there's a death. Because so many characters, it seems to be cheating really, but Aeryn was dead. I buried her, I gave her the last rites. I, not me, my character, Zhaan. But Zhaan surely would have noticed any sign of life. At the end of Season 2 Aeryn was as dead as a doornail. At the beginning of Season 3, Oh, there is a sign of life after all. Unless she had suddenly had a lapse of memory. She gave Aeryn the last rites. So I think that there's no such thing as really dead in Science Fiction. Too many Science Fiction characters have died and come back, or come back from some other dimension. I don't know where she is, but she's not necessarily killed off. It would be interesting to know what's really in the writer's mind. They daren't tell me, because they know I'd tell you. Unfortunately I don't know. But it was, I suppose people want to know what happened. Have any of you got a website? I got an explanation, I think, early on after I left. What happened? You didn't get the sack, did you? No! I didn't get the sack.

Actually, as you know I was bald for the character, I didn't know that when I went for the role, which is a different story, which I shall tell you if you want later. But I was bald as Zhaan for three years. After a while you feel that you really are in the reality of Moya in outer space. You know, you really are for a certain amount of time each day. You really are that person and you really are in those circumstances.

The reality of it is that we are humans. Anyone who loves Science Fiction would love to be really exploring the uncharted territories I mean, wouldn't you love to? So it's wonderful to play that. Especially as an actor, you have to make it look real, because you have to make that reality. You absolutely have to, otherwise we wouldn't believe it on the screen.

But the reality, the real reality was that in my time off as Virginia Hey, but in my time off I was more alien-looking out of make-up than I was in the make-up. The Zhaan make-up is really quire beautiful, very attractive make-up. You wouldn't go ewww, yuck, what a horrible ugly alien. She was really something. But in reality I was ewww, yuck, what is that? Because, some of the girls without hair are quite attractive. But it's the no eyebrows that make you look repulsive. Have any of you ever been shaved when you were drunk and unconscious? No? None of you get it? The man in the purple shirt does - the weird drug addict! I suppose as well. Oh, deary. Don't kill me later! What was I going on about?

So nobody had their eyebrows shaved off? You've never been to Australia when you're drunk. So you've shaved someone else's eyebrows off.

I went out looking ... I'm trying to explain how it was for me. I looked a little bit like a skull. Your eyebrows frame your face, and without eyebrows your eyes are just holes. I can't describe it. I know that I have a strong face with sticky outy cheekbones. It made me slightly reclusive, and year after year after year I had to deal with it.

I was feeling very frustrated because any time I wanted to go out, even if it was just to the shops, I had to draw on eyebrows and wear a bandana. I looked like I was trying to be - what was that band? They've gone out of fashion now. Guns 'N Roses!

Someone once thought I was Axel Rose! I was in America, and I was wearing the bandana and a leather jacket. Someone came up to me and asked, Are you Axel Rose?

No! Who? Who?!

And I had to wear wigs. I painted on my eyebrows and wore wigs for photos. In photographs I looked quite normal, but in reality I looked like a bald person. And I do feel awfully sorry for people who are having chemotherapy. I have a lot of compassion for them. I know it's awfully superficial for me to make that comparison, but in a way, I can sympathise with a tiny, tiny aspect of it. How not only do they go through horendous agony, but they also go through some kind of social agony I wasn't even aware of. I went through that kind of social agony myself, not that I'm making any comparison. But we do suffer for the sake of art, and I suppose under the circumstances I would have been all right for a few months or possibly even a year, but three years on the job started to really wear on me ...

People giggling at the back! Are you looking for a smack? You need a smack. We'll have a bottom-smacking session in ten minutes! Please line up. Get the ruler out!

Anyway, all actors are used to being a little goofy. All actors are usually a little crazy, I mean really we are, really the lifestyle is such. Are there any actors here? Any bullshit artists? We'll get your surname and your mother's phone number. Shame on you!

Anyway, where were we? So all actors are nuts. It's almost like the harder it gets the better we like it, something crazy like that. But you know, if you're an artist person and someone sets you a challenge it's good to accomplish that challenge and get on with it, then you look forward to the next one and the next one and the next one. A new challenge instead of the old one is great. Artistically it was wonderful.

I didn't want to leave because I think I'm crude. Gosh, I look at the first few episodes of Farscape and then I look at the last year. I think I came a long way in terms of performance ability. It was like acting school for me, and the directors were extraordinary. They taught me an awful lot. So there was that part of it that I wanted to hold on to. But the prosthetic, the whole routine was between 3 and 5 hours long every day. And the you'd have, depending on how long the day, the shoot, your involvement was, It could be anything up to a 14 hour day - a 14 hour shoot day!

You're looking at your watch to see when 20 minutes is up. You want your botty smack? And they think I'm joking.

So there you go. I don't know whether you really were wondering what happened to Zhaan, but I thought I'd tell you. So that's the thing. I actually, it was the, I didn't want to mention anything but it was three years out of my life. It's just that you, I think I probably got about three hours sleep a night, and after years of that you start to grave up and down, and I started to get affected very physically, I started to get ill, and on top of that was the didn't want to go on for ever and ever thing. So I brought it to the Producers that I would like to reduce my involvement, not to leave permanently but just reduce my involvement so that I could get some rest. I also wanted to grow my hair. The rest aspect of it is not a problem - well, it is a problem but only to me, Virginia that is. But the actual hair growing, in the Third Season I did four episodes with a bald cap and the bald cap took 5 hours every day so for the first two and a half years it was three hours in make-up. Well, first of all it was eight hours and then it went down to three, and then it was five hours with the bald cap. And the trouble is that there is certain amount of time they can have me in the day, because in make-up they can't. I mean they would have loved if I could have slept through it, and have the make-up put on while I was sleeping, I don't know, but of course by law they have to release me for some hours at least. So the problem is, how do they still shoot Zhaan, include Zhaan in the storyline in the schedule when

  • [A] they have to reduce the schedule because of
  • [B] it's taking me twice as long almost for the make-up,

    So I think I threw a few spanners in the works for them, and I think it was just easier for them to get rid of her. but, so really, a lot of people say, Is she coming back yet? And the honest-to-god answer is, I don't know. I don't know, I don't think so. But if one day in the future someone comes up with a solution, that would be marvelous. But I don't know, unless Zhaan grows hair.

    She's a plant

    Well that's true. People have been saying Why can't she slowly morph or change from what she was into something else? Over the period of a few episodes, and she can even grow tentacles or ...


    Flowers, oh yes I know. We even thought about that. Do you remember the buds? I can't remember the episode.

    The one with the Light?

    Yeah, actually, when they first wrote that they had - does anyone remember When Harry Met Sally? You know, that scene? They wanted Zhaan to do that and I said, agh, look, come on. I think that was the birth of Chiana, because they always wanted Zhaan, I'm probably telling stories but I'm going to. I fought all the way through to maintain her sexuality but also her elegance, and all the way through there were suggestions to make her more sensual, more sexual, more raunchy, more flirtacious. I'm one of those old-fashioned actors, I'm not a writer, I'm not a director, I'm not a Producer. I only want to do this and not some other work at some other time. I know that I couldn't, I mean I'm not talented enough to write an episode of Farscape, I know that. Ben really is the most extraordinary writer. Have you seen the episode he wrote? He is really, I mean he is the most amazing, he'll probably get into directing as well. This seems to be more of an American thing. A lot of the actors, when they're in a series for a long time in the third or fourth Season they get into Producing. They usually get a co-producers role, then after a period of producing they start directing or writing. It seems to me a second step which is really great, but it makes sense when you're hands on like that, it makes sense to lead into all those roles that you work hand-in-hand with.

    But getting back to our playing. As far as my character was concerned, I don't go up to the writers and make suggestions all the time. I probably should, I probably could. I don't know about should, it probably drives the poor writers mad. They probably see it as half-annoying and half-enthusiastic.

    I'd like to find out what's really true and what's not?

    It's probably incredibly irritating for the writers to have actors coming along and saying, I don't - I think that - I think that she should

    - all the time saying to rewrite this and that. So I left them to it. And I loved what they did with Zhaan, I loved the directions that they took her in. So energetic. And I am completely in love with that character.

    But there were a couple of things that I didn't agree with, and one was her sexuality. There's nothing wrong with sex, obviously, I'm not being a prude. There's nothing wrong with her being sensual, and that's nice, I just love the way she just developed and things happened. But suddenly I read this When Harry Met Sally, the light hits her and she goes off screaming and howling by herself, and I just thought, that was so nasty to take her from being such a beautiful maternal but flirtatious spiritual, and turn her into this sexpot wailing banshee. I think that's where Chiana was born. They kept on dropping hints, not hints but it was blatant throughout the script, blatant sexuality, and I would say very gently, Can I try this a different way? Can I try it that way?

    But there were many many occasions when they wanted it to be much more raunchy, a lot more nudity, and a lot more nonsense. I'm glad I didn't go down that road. God I love Chiana, she is really great. I think they needed that extra character who was just pure sex and mischief. Mischief-ness. They needed that, I think, because it was, I don't know, I could waffle on all night, but as far as I was concerned there was purity to Zhaan. I mean, Farscape has been a very sexual programme, and there's such sexual tension between Aeryn and Crichton. I think they've done it! I'm not talking about in reality, I'm talking about in the show. They don't show it but they hint at it and they point at it quite a lot, and of course there's Dargo and Chiana at it every five seconds. And Chiana was at it with everyone else as well. I think that Zhaan was very much in love with, and Strarke was brough in to be Zhaan's partner. So we can imagine they're having some kind of spiritual love. Does anyone know the poet Rumi ? His poetry is a cross between romance and spirituality. He had a lover - he had a wife but he also had a lover. Well, best friend, lover, no-one is quite sure. I don't think it was a sexual relationship, but they were deeply, deeply, spiritually and almost romatically in love, and he writes about that character all the time in his poetry. That's the kind of love that Zhaan has for Starke. It wasn't physical as such, it was spiritual.

    So anyway, that particular episode where she starts to react to the light, I think it was very nicely done. What they were after, she was supposed to be naked writhing on the floor. I think they show an arm doing the old Titanic slap-drag, slap-drag, do any of you know what I'm talking about? They used that for advertisements in Australia. They used it so many times, for car ads and god knows what, chocolate too.

    But anyway, so there you go. I've gone way off track, haven't I? Waffling on about sexuality.

    It was you. You mentioned something, what was it? Is it ten minutes yet? Awww, that a good excuse. Tell me when it is. I will sell the video.

    Very good, very good. I can't be bothered talking about it.

    The funniest actor was Anthony Simcoe. But he wasn't the funniest character, the funniest character was Rygel. A cross between Rygel and Crichton, who makes the references to modern-day pop culture, and all the aliens are really confused.

    The actors were all really during rehersals with Anthony Simcoe. During rehersals they were absolutely cacking themselves because Ben just comes up with them, all those references.

    Anthony Simcoe is completely hilarious, and I'll tell you this one story. We're all adults and I won't go into detail, but you'll know what I mean when I tell you. You know the portal in the Command, and at one stage we were all lined up. We all thought, Why are we all lined up? We could never figure out, we always thought that maybe the directors were tired and couldn't work out any way of positioning us, because in every other episode we found ourselves in a line, either with our weapons ready to shoot someone, or waiting to greet someone, or looking at something. But we think that maybe it's an easy way for the camera to pan around us, not that there are steadicams or anything. and then they can get the interesting profile shot.

    But anyway, one particular day we were all lined up and pretending to look at something coming towards us. It's a high tension moment, heavy breathing, perspiration, and we're all going We've only got ten microts to make the decision, we're going to die, our shields no longer in operation, that's it, we're all going to die! There's a similar crazy high-tension moment in every single script. The camera was capturing our faces, and then it went behind us to shoot the green screen. You all know about Special Effects, the green screen and matting. Do they call it matting any more? Has anyone here ever worked in Special Effects? Do they call it matting now? It's all computer graphics. I should know, shouldn't I?

    Anyway, the camera was behind us and shot the backs of our heads. We hold still. And you know about the ship, it's a living ship and it breaths. The camera is constantly moving like this. We're all standing still and the camera, whenever the camera shows up.

    I don't know if you know this but the soundtrack, in America what they love to do is to they would record over the sound of what they've just recorded, and lay it all back on. There's always gleaming. They use layers and layers of sound effects but just enough to do it. Anyway, the camera was behind us and panned past the backs of our heads to the green screen, where they could add in, you know, meteorites, god knows what, flashing lights. Suddenly Anthony, he did this all the time. He did a moment when there was no dialogue. As long as there's no ad-libs and get us all laughing when someone else is speaking, because it means that they'll have to shoot it again, the actors will have to shoot that dialogue again. So he waited until he knew it was safe and there was no dialogue and then he starts going on in this really stupid chipmonk voice about what exactly he is going to do to the female attackers. So he talks about this, abusing them, telling us exactly he is going to do.

    I can't do it, but he gave us graphic detail on what he is going to do, how he is going to take their clothes off, what part of his body he's going to do it with, and where. While this was all going on, we were all in character, the cameras rolling, the crew are shitting themselves, absolutely screaming with laughter. we're all screaming but we can't laugh because the camera's on and it's still rolling. I wish I knew exactly which episode. Our shoulders are doing this, but all you see from the back is our shoulders. All of us were screaming - the whole crew, the whole cast and crew were screaming with laughter. The absolute filth that comes out of his mouth! God, it was funny. You don't get insulted because it's funny. He was great, actually. He kept us going.

    Did Claudia Black have to drop out of "Farscape" to do "Pitch Black"?

    Oh no, she did that years before. She was in a few episodes of Xena before she did Farscape , and she did a feature-length too.

    No, actually, what the trouble with these events is ...

    I've actually a couple of times - a couple of times? A whole lot of times! I've said somethings I shouldn't have, some funny stories. And you forget about the Internet, because the Internet is your own personal private broadcasting station. That's it. You can broadcast to millions and millions and hundreds of millions of people all around the world. It's like your own TV station. That's it - a TV station, a radio station. Your own private newspaper. And you forget that every single person you meet has this power. That night people go on to a chat room and say No, no, she said blah blah blah.

    And it ends up in all these households, oh god, ending up with so many sites around the world.

    Ring, ring, ring, hello? I get a phone call from the Producers.

    And sometimes stories get twisted in the telling. I have to be kind of careful and only talk about stuff that I want people to find out about. Shocking, really.

    Hello, it's the infamous one.

    Sorry to interrupt. I was just wondering shave off your hair If you were offered,

    I'm not sure about shaving my hair, especially not I would have to think very seriously about that. Wearing a bald cap ... I don't know the answer because I would, of course, yeah, I would consider it. I only wanted to reduce my role but I didn't want to leave. I still wanted to be Zhaan.

    I don't want you to go on the Net and say, She's coming back, because that's not what I'm saying, you know? That has happened before, and people have said that I was coming back. I'm not sure what the answer would be. There's nothing planned, but who know? Not at this stage, but ... I'm not sure about the shaving though. I think I might have to take a really hard think. I went through ... It's taken me a year and it's only to this length. The short hair look, well, I'm a woman.

    Actually, as an actor we are a blank canvas if you like, our job to create characters. It's not how we want to look, that's not what it's about. You have to take on a character. But how much do I want that to cross over into my private life, that's the question. We shall see.

    Actually, when I first saw [the episode] Rhapsody In Blue I thought hang on a minute, they've all got hair! How come I haven't got hair? I'm a girl. All the girls have this white hair, and all the men are bald. So Zhaan must be a drag queen! Then I thought, we don't really know that she's a she. What's Chiana? Has she said that she's a she, that she's a girl?

    Is Zhaan a female? Even if she did say that she's a girl one minute, she can change. She's a plant after all. Maybe she can turn into I mean the reality is, obviously, that

    I don't know. I don't know about Zhaan. I kind of liked that aerodynamic look, I think that's what made her so special. And lots of people suggested that she morph into something else.

    yeah, right. But I think that what made Zhaan so unique is how she looks. Not just how she is as a woman, but how she looks. I don't know if I think the audience will accept her changing, they will because they love her, but it won't be like the original Zhaan. I wish there was just some way that the make-up crew could be ... can you imagine?


    Tell us about the Ring

    Does anyone here have scissors with them?

    [Michael sticks his hand up]

    Mo, take the scissors! They will be confiscated immediately.


    Because I can't take the risk that someone will come up when I'm chatting and snip the ring off. I was doing a Convention. It's such an unbelievable joy. I wouldn't have believed it myself if I wasn't in the industry.

    Oh, you're Zhaan! You're cute!

    I had to look so super-dooper cool for meeting all these people, all the other actors. Hi, how are you?

    I swear. You intend to be completely yeah, yeah but really inside you're so excited. Anyway, there I was doing this Convention in LA. They were showing all kinds of props. What was the Robot called in Lost in Space ? Robbie the Robot? Was it Robbie the Robot? Just Robot? You're right, it was just Robot. Oh god, I lose the bet. Okay, I'll strip off now. Oh dear.

    I'm Australian. I get away with it.

    The Robot? That's fantastic, that's awesome. I've seen all the episodes. And I am practically drooling.
    PROPS GUY - What do you think of this?
    VIRGINIA - Is that what I think it is?
    PROPS GUY - Sure.
    VIRGINIA - Not the Ring? The ring Ring?
    PROPS GUY - Yes. I was Props Master for Lord of the Rings

    I really am. Now you know why I wanted the scissors. So I said, You thieving little Rat! How did you get it? Let me rephrase that - How many are there? Actually, the first thing I thought it was just merchandising for Lord of the Rings . That's pretty cool. It was bound to happen. I mean they sell merchandising for just about everything related to feature films.
    PROPS GUY - No, it's the real thing.
    VIRGINIA - Are you sure?
    PROPS GUY - Yeah

    He said he was Props Master on Lord of the Rings , and I was so excited I have to go through it all in detail. He said there were 40 in all. Because obviously they don't just make one of anything. Pretty much of every single piece of costume and so on, there are always two in case something gets scratched or broken or ripped or whatever. There are two sets of costumes, but with jewelry usually they make two sets in case one gets lost or damaged. So I knew that there would have to be, for something like this there would never be just one, there would have to be a whole series, probably twenty of them, all identical. One would be on display at a shopping-centre, the filming venue would need another one, or maybe a third one that should go out to the merchandising people. They really did need quite a few. So apparently there were forty of the rings in all. How many rings were in the film?

    Three rings for the Elven Kings,
    Nine for mortal men, doomed to die,
    and One for the Dark Lord on his Dark Throne.

    And you saw them all? What about the Ring? We only saw one? Is that the one without the inscription?

    I'm not sure if there were two sorts, but there were 40 in all, and 12 of them went walkies. The lead actor was presented with his, which is identical to this. So there were 12, he got one so that left 11. I think that the Props Master, at the end of the Convention he and his wife came over to me, oh my god, and said We'd like to give you something for Christmas. I said Oh, thank you but I can't accept it. I didn't get you guys a gift.
    We REALLY want to give it to you. I stuck my hand out and they handed it to me, and it went BOINK in my hand. Because it's real, sturdy, it's real and solid, really heavy. And it's, all of those rings, they all have to be identical. So that is why I wander off and hide it. But you can have a grope.

    Can I touch your Ring?

    Yeah right, which ring? Never ask that of an Australian!

    Two minutes? Okay now, you've been really selfish. You came here with really intelligent questions and you sat on the subject. Let's have one more.

    Which death scene did you prefer, Zhaan's or Warrior Woman's?

    I think that nothing surpasses being run over by a great big gas tanker and reduced into about 12 pieces that all go flying up in the air. No, I think that both my favourite characters involved death at the end of it. I think the writers get great joy from their work. They loved it.

    I will tell you one thing about Mad Max 2 . That is, the Producers, after the film was released, of course nobody knows the reaction to the whole thing, and they got really really big word of mouth over the last few years about why on earth that character was killed off, and why they weren't getting more interaction between her and the Road Warrior character because there's some magic on-screen. And lots of people talk about that relationship but actually it wasn't a real relationship, it's just that when they looked into each others' eyes. The Director, who was also the Producer, said to me, If only we'd known what magic lay between you two, you know, the energy of you and the energy of Mel on-screen. If you think about it, the script is written months and sometimes years in advance. It's just words on paper, and then they start filming. They don't film in sequence, they might shoot the end, then the beginning, then the middle. They shoot it location by location - they go to one location and there can be 20 scenes in that location, and they can be scattered all through the script.

    So of course there's no chance of really changing the outcome. And there's no way of knowing how popular the character will be or that particular couple will be until the audience start to see the show, to view the film. So there's no way of changing it. The Producers killed her off and they are having the whole world tell them that they loved her and they wish that we had explored that relationship. Anyway, the Producers keep saying that they wish they had done that. They're doing Mad Max 4 so they might bring her back again. She'll smell a bit, I reckon.

    Okay, well that's it!

    [This Event was run by Uncharted Territories . We would like to express our gratitude to them for the trouble they went to, both in organising the Event at such short notice and the assistance they have rendered to ORBzine.]

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