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FireflyFirefly Cast Q & A at The White Room UK Convention - Transcript Available
Sunday 15 January 2006, by Webmaster
Transcript of Group Talk from The White Room Convention
Following their hugely successful appearance at the Starfury event Fusion in May 2004 Summer and Nathan Fillion appeared that October (over the Halloween weekend) at the Starfury event The White Room. Whilst a convention for fans of the TV series Angel, Summer and Nathan (who was a surprise guest) once again absolutely stole the show. They were joined by Morena Baccarin in her first UK convention appearance. Their group talk was immense fun with Nathan teasing Summer mercilessly. Nathan also handed out props from Serenity (including prop money from the bank heist) to anyone who asked a question. Below is the transcript of their group talk:
Nathan - I can’t help but notice how pretty you girls (Morena and Summer) look today. Summer - you’ve had your hair cut. You’ve got some bangs going on.
Summer - Yes I have thanks.
Nathan - (To Morena) And we already talked about your haircut yesterday.
Morena - Yes we did let’s move on.
Summer Glau, Nathan Fillion and Morena BaccarinNathan - Looks like you guys just had a lot of fun. Something up here stinks like alcohol on the floor. I don’t know what happened. (the talk followed on from Jonathan Woodward’s talk and charity auction which included a lot of alcohol and fun drunken antics!)
Q - Obviously for science fiction movies the prop department has to be extremely creative and sometimes they fail, so what was your worst prop for Serenity?
Morena - I need to think about that for a second.
Nathan - Summer? Worst props on Serenity? Something that failed - something that didn’t quite make the grade?
Summer - I didn’t like my cryobox (featured in the Pilot episode of Firefly) I got claustrophobic and I was in it once and they couldn’t get the lid off and I got stuck in there. So I didn’t like that prop.
Nathan - Yeah I broke the box. I was supposed to flip this lever and kick the lid off and I broke the lever. And she (Summer) was stuck inside there with a bunch of smoke, naked - good times!
Morena - There was a gun I had in Trash which was really, really heavy and had lots of levers to it. I was holding two guns simultaneously and they were so heavy in a couple of takes I went like this (mimes holding an incredibly heavy weight) I just couldn’t get them up.
Q - (For Nathan) What was it like working with Alicia Silverstone on Miss Match?
Nathan - She was an absolute doll. When I came out to Los Angeles within my first couple of months I got two jobs - one was Saving Private Ryan and one was Blast From the Past. I actually played Alicia Silverstone’s ex boyfriend that Brendan Fraser beats up and she was an absolute doll to me and would call me up every time her boyfriend’s band was playing and then when I finally got to come and hang out with her again she remembered my name, she remembered me. She’s a very, very sweet lady - she works very, very hard and she’s an absolute joy.
Q - If you could write a Firefly movie what plot elements would you put into it?
Summer - I’d be the new captain.
Nathan - And I’d be the new companion
Morena - Absolutely
Nathan - And I’d be crazy
Morena - I’d be the mechanic.
Nathan - Honestly? (very long pause) I got nothing.
Summer - We leave that to Joss.
Q - (For Morena) Throughout the series we get to know Inara as a companion and see that she is comfortable with her role but I had actually forgotten the detail that in the Pilot episode Inara looked uncomfortable with what she had to do and that following the sex scene with her client you could tell in her face that she was a bit dubious. Did I catch that right?
Morena - I don’t think that she was dubious about what she was doing. It wasn’t her first client. She had been a companion for several years and had been trained since she was twelve. It wasn’t so much about that as it was about the things that are going on in her life - the reason why she left where she was - the Companion House and had to go off on her own and her complicated relationship with Mal. I believe that in the episode you saw the young man made a comment at the end (about Inara fixing the clock to make time fly quicker and cheat them of their fun) that made her feel cheap which is what she objected to. He didn’t really understand. I think that what you were picking up on was that. I think that the complexity of the character that Joss has written gives many layers. She’s not uncomfortable with her profession - she’s uncomfortable with her life right now and there are many things going on.
The asker of the question then asks Morena to elaborate further on her specific reaction in the Pilot episode to the crass comment made by Inara’s client.
Morena- He wants her to stay and that’s sweet. He then says that her time must be very precious and that she has many clients - just making it seem like a cheaper thing than it was and I think that was all she was objecting to.
Q - In the trailer we saw a lot of guns so I was wondering whether they will be any horses in the movie?
Nathan - Fair question. Summer? You were there. Come on were there any horses in Serenity? (while Summer giggles) Oh my god this is really weird she’s not even answering!
Nathan - Cuckoo (To Summer who is continuing to giggle) Are there any horses in Serenity? You answer her right now young lady. (Summer covers her face laughing while Nathan whispers in her ear)
Summer - No
Nathan- That’s fair.
Q - You won’t shoot one again then?
Nathan- Will I ever shoot a horse again? I can’t fairly say. I can honestly say no horse will be safe. I can’t guarantee a horse’s safety when Malcolm Reynolds is around but as Jayne Cobb once said “If wishes were horses we would all be eating steaks”.
Q - If your characters got to retirement age where do you think they’d be and what would they be doing?
Nathan - My character would be on Shadow, where he’s from, on a ranch that belonged to his family after he stole it back from the Alliance.
Morena - Nice - would Inara be in that picture?
Nathan - Let’s slow down lady we just met. I don’t know would you be retired? Of course you would be. You’re in.
Morena - I think Inara would definitely have given up the companion life a long time before she retired in general and I would think that she would want something very quiet and peaceful.
Nathan - A box?
Morena - Perhaps a cave.
Nathan - Summer’s box?
Summer - You can have it
Nathan - (as the audience react to his unintended double entendre) Not like that! (Summer dissolves into giggles). The cryobox! You guys get your minds out of the space gutter! Summer - River’s retired. She’s done with being cuckoo and crazy. She’s serene. She’s found serenity. Where is she? What’s she doing? How does she feel?
Summer - She’s swimming in a swimming pool and there’s a palm tree.
Nathan - On a core planet or out there?
Summer - Way out there.
Q - (For Nathan and Morena) What’s the history between Captain Reynolds and Inara?
Morena - You can see in Out of Gas they met when she was looking for shuttles to rent and right away you can tell that they’re attracted to each other. Not necessarily in a sexual way but there is something which brings them together and the minute he calls her a whore - it’s all downhill.
Nathan - (laughing loudly) I think that Malcolm Reynolds pegged her right off the bat seeing that she’s running away from something. We all think that’s true.
Morena - Takes one to know one.
Nathan - Yeah but Malcolm Reynolds is a little bit more upfront about it.
Morena - Who’s the one who does illegal operations?
Nathan - Me. Your point?
Q - If you could somehow change time and prevent Firefly being cancelled (Nathan stands up and shouts “I’d do it”) would you do it if it meant Serenity wouldn’t be made?
Morena - We would do Serenity as a TV show.
Nathan - What would happen is it would take the same path that Star Trek the original series took. We’d run out our series. We’d have a great time and then we’d come back 5/7 years later and do the movie and then we’d all be living in mansions (looking at Summer) and I wouldn’t even be talking to you anymore because you’d be all crazy because Hollywood would have gotten to you. We’d all be retired, and has beens and sitting on our asses and you’d be all Sigourney Weaver - continuing career - up like a rocket. Whatever Summer you’ve changed!
(The person who asked the question walks up to the actors with a beautiful hand drawn picture of Summer - which Nathan promptly steals) I’ll let you borrow it.
Q - Into the special hell that includes people who talk at the theatre I would include people who set off fire alarms at 1:30 in the morning (Ed’s note the fire alarms were set off on the Saturday night at the hotel and stayed on for hours! Death is too good for such people!)
Nathan - I’ve heard this story and I feel your pain
Q - Is there anyone in particular that the three of you would put into the special hell?
Nathan - Summer? There’s a special hell for people who talk at the theatre and people who set off fire alarms late at night. Who would you put in? What people bug you?
Summer - No this is one of my problems. I don’t have any anger. Honestly it hurts my acting because every time I got to that exercise in acting class where you’re supposed to deal with your anger I just can’t - I don’t picture anybody.
Nathan - (shouts in Summer’s face)
Summer- Nathan! Nathan - I’d put him in the special hell.
Nathan - See Summer it’s in there you just gotta reach in and get it.
Morena - I’m going to say this very low so listen up. (whispers) The people who cancelled Firefly. Don’t tell anyone - I’ll never work in this town again!
Nathan - I would add people who change lanes without signalling. People who run red lights. People who cut me off, people that blare their car radios so loud that it shakes my chest in my car. I’ve got a lot of car anger people. People who untie my shoes. I have all my shoes tied just right so I never have to tie them again. I just slip them in and slip them out
Morena - That’s the dorkiest thing I’ve ever heard.
Nathan - (nods in agreement) People who cut the crust off their bread unless they are under 12. People who cancelled Firefly. Summer. (Audience goes “Awwww”) It’s for revenge. And when people blow smoke in my face. Dude that’s nasty. That was a brilliant question.
Q - Will the movie explain more about how Mal got Serenity?
Summer Glau, Nathan Fillion and Morena BaccarinNathan - If you remember there was an episode called Out of Gas which was told in flashbacks. At the very beginning of the episode you hear a voice saying “You take care of this ship and she’ll last you forever.” That same voice comes to Malcolm Reynolds at the end of the episode when he’s lying in the hospital infirmary and we see him picking out the ship. Serenity the movie isn’t going to explain how Mal came from the war to being on the ship. I’m sure he was a prisoner of war; that he had done some time at some point for having been on the wrong side. Well, it may have been the losing side, not convinced it’s the wrong one! And Serenity certainly hasn’t explained that but I really enjoy that moment of seeing Malcolm Reynolds looking across that ship yard and seeing Serenity lying up there in the blowing sand. And I think that moment where he fell in love and Joss Whedon said it was like seeing a girl across a dance floor and falling for them - love at first sight.
Q- What episode or episodes did you find the most rewarding for you as actors?
Nathan - That’s a great question.
Morena - Yeah it is.
Nathan - That’s a very clever question.
Morena - We’ve talked about this between us because we have many favourite moments in the episodes. (Nathan keeps interrupting Morena so she makes him move so that she can sit next to Summer)
Nathan - You were saying?
Morena - I like both Out of Gas and Objects in Space. Objects in Space I enjoyed watching but Out of Gas was to me, actually maybe it was Shindig, but one of the most satisfying things for me; apart from watching Nathan get the crap kicked out of him in Shindig was - well it doesn’t suck to be a girl and wear pretty dresses and have two guys fight over you.
Summer - Well I already talked about it. Objects in Space is my favourite. I got to work with Joss every day. I worked every day on that episode which was really rare for me and I got to do just some really, really interesting, strange, balletic, surreal things. It was one of those moments that I remember at the very end, the very last shot that we did of that episode was when I was up on the catwalk and I was standing on the railing and I remember that Joss helped me down and I remember just crying afterwards and hugging him and thinking how lucky I was that I was the girl that was there getting to do it.
Nathan - That’s very pretty. I have a favourite episode for each character and Objects in Space was my favourite episode for Summer because we got to kinda take a peek inside River’s mind and understand why she is confused all the time and understand her shifting reality, that she’s not able to connect because she never knows what’s real. For Morena I really enjoyed Heart of Gold. I thought you really did some beautiful, beautiful stuff in that role.
Morena - Thanks.
Nathan - and for me it was all the other ones! But I think Out of Gas would be my favourite
Morena - I like the story of Out of Gas - it was really beautiful.
Nathan -I got to work everyday and a lot of times it was just me alone with the crew. It told how the different crew members got on Serenity because the Pilot covered how a bunch of people, you yourself (Summer) and your brother and Shepherd Book came on the ship but we covered how other people came to the ship. How Jayne, how Kaylee, who else is on the ship? Wash. He’s good that guy Alan Tudky - let’s talk about him for a second. (Neither Summer or Morena say anything). I’m done.
Q - I was just wondering what if any input Tim Minear had into the movie and your experiences working with him on the show?
Summer - He will never come to our parties. He won’t come. He really likes to work, and he was very busy on another film when we were making Serenity and we would beg him to come and visit us and he wouldn’t. I know that he saw a rough cut of the movie and he really, really loved it. He had some great notes and he helped Joss there at the very end. But I do know, and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say this, but I do know that if there is any more work on Serenity that Tim will be involved.
Nathan - Oh my god you’re not supposed to say that
Summer - (covering her mouth in mock horror) Too late.
Nathan - (To Morena) Tell us a story about Tim Minear.
Morena - To be perfectly honest...
Nathan - You’ve said enough.
Morena - I really just enjoyed the writing that he gave my character and I enjoyed working with him as a director very much. It was really nice to have him on set because he was very laid back and he was there for us. It was easy to be around him. I felt very creative, one of my most creative episodes was with him so I enjoyed working with him.
Nathan - Tim Minear is a very wonderful man. He’s very much like Joss Whedon in that he is extremely intelligent, extremely creative and can impart ideas to you that you would never think of without making you feel stupid and he’s also always really, really excited about Firefly, very, very excited about Serenity. We would do a Firefly episode and he would direct or write it and have a really great time and the following week while he was putting it together we would be doing another episode and he would come to the set and say “I’ve got a rough cut of the episode you want to see it at lunchtime” and we’d be so excited we’d be like little girls.
Morena - O.K. when you say we, do you think you should have included me in that?
Nathan - I meant Tim and all his favourite actors - me!
Q - As you remember the first Buffy movie wasn’t very successful but the series was phenomenal. Do you reckon the same will happen with Firefly but in reverse?
Summer - Joss didn’t direct it.
Nathan - They took that movie and they basically flopped it and raped it and I’m not using harsh enough words. He was very disappointed with how that movie turned out because it was out of his control. Universal has a lot of faith in Joss Whedon. Universal did not meddle - they did not try and control and change what he was doing. Does it have to be a spaceship? Why are there horses? (Ed’s Note: Nathan is here riffing on the notes which came back from the Fox network on the Pilot episode. The execs disliked the western theme - even though it had been sold to them as a space western) These things didn’t happen with Universal. The kind of treatment that we got earlier in the series we expected but we did not get with Universal.We are very, very grateful to them.
Q - (For Nathan) What did you prefer working on Firefly or Buffy?
Nathan- Buffy was a great experience. I got to play a villain - that was the first time for me and I got to do a lot of great things. They were all very kind to me and they know how to treat guests.
Morena - But....
Nathan - But Firefly was a family like I’ve never known. Firefly spoiled me rotten. You hope and dream that you will get a job where you get to go to work every day and say Oh my god - look what I get to do today! And I kicked him in the engine! (Nathan is referring to the episode The Train Job). You want to work with people that you really enjoy and people whose work you can respect. You want to work with people, a crew that every day not only wants to go to work and do their jobs well and that are creative and capable but also want to have a good time doing it. And are willing to sacrifice just to make it better and make it fun. I had that. There were no sour grapes with Firefly. We had one sour grape.
Morena - Who?
Nathan - I’ll tell you. We had one sour grape while we were filming the Pilot. He wasn’t terrible, he wasn’t terrible. But we had one sour grape. Joss would say “O.K this is what we’ve got to do” and everybody would say O.K. and this department would say I can do that and this department says OK I can do that - give me thirty seconds. This guy would go “Can’t be done”. Fired - he was gone. It was great.
Morena - Who was it?
Nathan - I don’t want to say his name but I’ll tell you later. It was a family, it was brilliant and it spoiled me rotten.
Q - Throughout the episodes we saw subtle hints of Blue Sun. Did Joss ever tell you what this is?
Nathan - Yes.
Q - What is it?
Nathan - Oh I can’t tell you.
Q - Is it featured in the film?
Morena - It’s in the film but it’s not featured in the film.
Nathan - If you’re clever - you’ll figure it out.
Q - In one episode (Arial) River attacked Jayne with a knife while he was wearing a Blue Sun t-shirt.
Nathan - You look better in red yes.
Q - Was she going for Jayne or the logo?
Summer - A bit of both.
Nathan - Jayne deserved it. He was always asking for it.
Summer - I kept forgetting that line at the end. We would go through the whole scene and then everybody would stand there and wait and I would forget to say that “he looks better in red”. That was so embarrassing. I did it like four times.
Nathan - And I had to keep smacking her down.
Q - You said in a previous talk that your favourite practical joke was the monkey. Have you been able to top it?
Summer - There’s no better prank than the monkey stealing.
Nathan -Has anybody not heard about the monkey? There was a monkey on set and if you squeezed it, it made this monkey noise. It was fine enough but once you’ve heard it more than once it got a little annoying. I had to wear a space suit all day and that’s the worst. You’re claustrophobic, you’re sweating and Sean Maher had to wear it before me because we didn’t have enough space suits to go around. The space suit was sweaty and hot and its awful and Sean’s worked all day and he takes it and he hands it to me and he says “Sorry”. And there’s nothing you can do and I say “No problem man”. So I’m getting into an already hot and sweaty space suit and its claustrophobic and you can’t really hear anybody and everybody is tugging on it to get you in it and everyone is smacking you around and ..
Morena - It was really heavy right?
Nathan- It had to weigh about 120/130 pounds. I hated it. I loved that job but if you wanted to see me with a sour face and all cranky put me in a space suit. And that damn monkey would not shut up. So when I left I pulled up my helmet, grabbed the monkey and shoved him in my spacesuit, walked back to my trailer and I hid him in a drawer. Then I took a Polaroid camera and I taped up the monkey’s eyes and his mouth and taped him to a chair and I started taking Polaroid’s of him with little items in the back as clues as to who it would be that stole him. Of course they recognised my trailer in the photos! Not too bright. One too many knocks with the helmet. So they put out a newspaper ad saying that they hoped the monkey wasn’t Mal-nourished. Then I wrote a letter back to them - a ransom note with the monkey’s thumb taped to it saying “Quit messing around”. Then I mailed the monkey to my parents who took it on a cross country trip across Canada and into the States and took pictures of this monkey all over and then I finally returned the monkey....
Summer- Half starved.
Nathan- He’s fine. Just no fun. But the second time around on Serenity I didn’t have a lot of time. I was working 12/14 hour days so I didn’t have a whole lot of time for practical jokes
Morena - we did a lot of impromptu joking around but not a lot of practical jokes. I like the joke that you guys did on Alan - you were all taping behind the scenes stuff and he was being interviewed and you were walking around pretending that he had been recast. Was that the joke?
Nathan - Oh here’s one thing I did do. When we first did the Pilot I made friends with everybody and Alan Tudky was one of those people and I had to go to Vancouver for 4 weeks and do an independent film and he was in Los Angeles looking for a place to live. I said you can live at my house, help feed my cat, for 4 weeks while you find your apartment and it worked out great. And while he was at my house he left a calendar - it’s one of those calendars where you go to the shopping mall and you get a bunch of family photos and you create a calendar putting one for each month. So it was family photos of him since he was a child. So there were lots of really goofy photos of Alan Tudky as a kid. So I saved it. I took all the goofiest pictures and I saved them for 3 years since the Pilot and when we were doing the bar scene (The Maidenhead) that River was great in - Summer too! I posted them all over - all these really, really goofy pictures of Alan. That made me happy!
Adam Baldwin once thought I played a practical joke on him and he paid me back by putting a bunch of gummy worms on my car window in the hot August sun - yeah thanks and they all melted onto my windshield. And I missed one and two weeks later it rained and I turned on my wipers and it went (mimes gummy worm smearing all over his windshield).
Q - Can we expect to see more Chinese spoken in the film?
Morena - Absolutely
Nathan - Did you have any Chinese? (To Morena) Could you say it for us? Please! Summer you had some Chinese. You had a big one when we were on the planet (Miranda) there and you had a whole bunch of Chinese while the camera was whipping around you. (Morena says something in Chinese) You said that? And what did you say? (Summer is reluctant so Nathan calls on the audience for help)I think you want to hear it don’t you? (Audience - yeah) Let’s clap then.
Summer launches into a bout of Chinese
Nathan - Nicely done!
Q - In the Pilot when the Reaver ship appears and they are all preparing themselves Inara has a box with a hypodermic needle in it - the implication is strongly that it is a suicide kit but Joss expressly says in the commentary that it is not - what was your feeling that it was?
Morena - I know what it was.
Nathan - Me too. Do you know what it was? (To Summer)
Summer - Yes.
Nathan - We all told her what it was but we’re not allowed to tell you.
Morena - I can’t tell you. It’s not a suicide thing. It’s much worse than that.
Summer - So super cool.
Morena - It’s super cool and super disgusting and sad.
Nathan - and totally awesome and top secret.
Morena - Use your imagination.
Nathan - I’ll tell you what I’ll call Joss Whedon and see if we can tell you and then I’ll put it on the internet.
Summer - Smart question.
(Ed’s Note: At a writer’s conference last autumn Tim Minear apparently revealed the purpose of the syringe. It was filled with a toxin which when injected into a person has no harmful effects on them but would kill anyone who had sex with that person. The plan apparently had been to have a very dark episode late in the first season of Firefly in which Inara would have been attacked and raped by Reavers and would have survived through her use of the syringe).
Nathan- Are you guys on the internet posting and such? Would one of you mind posting on the Serenity boards? Just post on there and tell my folks, because I haven’t spoken to them for a while that I’m doing great. That I’ve got a little bit of a sore throat, but I’m having a great time and I’m kind of back on track with getting enough sleep at night and not sleeping during the day because of the turn around with the time and just let them know that I’m having a ball and that I haven’t seen London yet but tomorrow I think I’m gonna. Would you do that for me? Thanks.
Q - Are you going to auction Summer and Morena for a dance this evening? (Earlier in the charity auction Nathan auctioned himself off - the winner got a slow dance with Nathan. Infamously the winner was on stewarding duty when the time came that evening and missed her dance.)
Nathan - No because I’m not anywhere near drunk enough.
Q - (Nathan) Could you do an impression of Caleb? Could Summer do an impression of River? And Morena - I’ll speak to you later!
Nathan - Summer why don’t you start?
Summer - (In anxious voice) Simon.....Simon.
Nathan - Summer could you say the line you say to Simon in The Message when you’re walking away from him when he’s said something stupid and you’re walking away with the ice planet?
Summer GlauSummer - You are such a boob!
Nathan - Morena are you going to do a little Inara for us?
Morena - No.
Nathan - Please.
Morena - No.
Nathan - Please
Morena - I just did.
Nathan - Nicely done and for my Caleb. (Adopts Caleb’s southern accent)
“I’m sorry I didn’t hear on account of her neck snapping and all did she say that the end is near or here?”
Did you say do Caleb or Kaylee?
Q - I wanted to know who coined the phrase Big Damn Movie?
Nathan - Who did? Certainly not me - someone on the internet did that. It came from Big Damn Heroes and I’ll give the credit to the internet people - that’s where I heard it first. The browncoats - damn right the browncoats! That’s where I heard it first.
Q - On Friday you mentioned playing Halo on the X-box. Are you looking forward to Halo II and will you be playing it on the internet?
Nathan - Am I ever and will I ever! Ladies and Gentleman if you meet me online hold onto your hats - because they will be blown off your head. I once killed a man from 800 yards by shooting him in the neck with a bad scope - now that’s got to count for something!
Ladies and gentleman thank you very much for coming to our little talk today. I certainly hope we all see you later. We had a great time - I loved each and every one of you!