A Snurcher's Guide to Farscape

ScaperCon 2003: Day 1

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Bianca Chiminello

Full Weekend Schedule

Bianca Chiminello

(These notes were graciously provided by PyeCat.)

"I'll buy you a beer, and I'll take 10 more questions."

How were you picked for the part?

  • Auditioned for the Princess [LOOK AT THE PRINCESS].
  • Had been working on a technique called le cocque (Cirque de Soleil). Walked in with a lot of energy, so Prowse offered her the part of Jenavian.
  • Was a classical ballerina, so the combat was very different.
  • Was her first day -- very impressed with the cast. "I'm a very lucky girl, and I know it, too."
  • Heard about the part one week after the audition, filmed two weeks later. However, she was in the studio right away to train -- MI2 coordinators. "I was a dancer, classically trained, and here I am with 6 big stunt guys. We spent a couple of days throwing me about the room, learning how to go from A to B."
  • "Bianca darling, we love you, but you're just too graceful. We need to get some guts into you." Was given a Ministry and NIN tape to listen to while driving to the set. "Welcome to the world!" Listened to the music ever since to build her character.

Did you see any of the online reaction from the fans?

  • Was a little computer dyslexic, but she learned fast.
  • Didn't take her long to figure out the popularity of the series.
  • "Apparently I'm a bit of a nemesis ... So this is for those people who have doubted my existence, guess what, I'm real."

Working on anything now?

  • Working on moving to America. Has been here for about a week.
  • Spent three hours opening up a bank account.
  • On her way to becoming a legal alien.

What had you heard before working on the show?

  • The owner of the station that bought the rights to Farscape hates sci-fi.
  • The guest cast for the trilogy was tremendously impressive.

What can we look for you in?

  • A lot of her work is American.
  • Beast Master (auditioned for a Snake Woman, producers liked her, and wrote an episode called Birds for her)
  • Walked onto the set, asked if she had any questions, "What's my character's name?" "You know we start tomorrow" "Yeah ... holding it together"
  • Also worked on the Lost World.

How did they do the stiletto effect?

  • Worked the fight sequence with the stunt coordinators, because the blade was attached.
  • Had to hold the blade for stills and close-ups, effects added in post.
  • "When I worked out with Ben, I had a blade strapped to my wrist ... feeling of power!"

What was the scene in the river like?

  • "I'll be blushing for the next 15 minutes"
  • "I'm thinking married with two children ... married with two children ..."
  • "I can't believe I just said that"
  • "The scene lasted two minutes, and we can talk about it for hours"


Received a copy of Foodscape.

  • "Oh my god, this is fantastic!"
  • "As an artist, it's about inspiring people. A lot of actors that aren't working forget that ... Actors are here to inspire, stories are to inspire."
  • Nearly vegan ... purely for health reasons.
  • "See, look at that ... I'm so looked after"


  • Was given a specific history for the species, but not for Jenavian herself.
  • Had to find out "we don't sweat".
  • The background was partially in the script, and she got to make up the rest.
  • Liked the fact that Jena was under cover the most.
  • "Every little girl wants to be La Femme Nikita".
  • "You have to choose the mission ... you live one, but have another. They're all escapees, but I'm on a mission and on a path. The fact that she was able to use that mission with John, to use his fear ... I could play with him a little bit, toy with him a little bit."

Bringing back?

  • Had the feeling that she was left pretty open, but Bianca had no further talks with them.
  • Originally the trilogy was two episodes, and they had to bring Bianca back 3-6 months later for the middle episode.
  • Shoots are generally taken non-linearly. Part of the art is making it feel linear.
  • Experimented to see how the trilogy would run as a film, to see how the story would go.
  • Liked the conflict with Aeryn ... another character of the same species.
  • Asked if we felt it flowed together ... audience responded yes.
  • The middle episode was written as a whole. Footage was left over that they wanted to re-use. The scene with Claudia was added, and that was the only part added for Jenavian.
  • Ro-na was added to make the 2nd part more fluid, and keep the audience.
  • Bianca still has her script.

First Day on the Set

  • When you shoot a film, maybe 1-2 minutes. When you shoot Farscape, you shoot everything.
  • First day on the set, 11-12 minutes. First onscreen kiss, first nude scene. "Pretty much everything I got on the first day".
  • Left the lake scene til the end, "we bonded for the day".
  • "Onscreen kissing you don't fake it, you go for it ... married with 2 children."
  • Nailed it on the first take, warmed up with talking first.
  • Fran was not around during Bianca's part -- it must be tricky.
  • Shooting generally took a week and a half per episode. Had two cameras working at the same time -- A unit and B unit. Had to take her hat off to the regular characters who had to keep everything straight on up to 3 episodes at once.
  • The regular cast goes through so many guesties, but each one is made to feel welcome.
  • Threw Ben around on the first day.
  • Really enjoyed the slap ... "I got to put so much power into the hand, almost wished it had connected. It would have been really good!"
  • The thing that struck Bianca the most about Anth was his voice -- what he can do with his voice is incredible ... how he's managed to train and develop it.


  • Asked about bloopers: "Apart from the water scene?"
  • Secret:
  • Fran brought an American friend onto the set in the nightclub. The friend was very straight, very Christian, and the very first thing he saw was the first vial scene and Ben kissing 3 different women. Imagine turning up, and the first thing you see is your best friend's husband kissing 3 women ... "Interesting life you have down under."
  • The water was not cold, and it's shark infested (white pointers, hammerheads, gray nurse). It's the feeding ground for sharks and their babies. All of the stuntmen were in the water, clearing out the glass. There was a stingray that they had to get rid of.
  • They had to shoot it very quickly.
  • "I was a bit freaked out, I know the area, people don't swim there that time of year, feeding time."
  • The shot with the mesh was done at sunset, "golden hour", the best lighting. The water was done right after that.
  • Bianca has been in the water with a 14-ft. white pointer, didn't knowww ... had a lot of people get her out of the water very quickly.


  • Ben guided her through everything -- first job!
  • Learned cutaways, where the camera was.
  • Learned technical jargon, roles on the set.
  • Fascinated by her industry.
  • "I'm like beady-eyed, 'Feed me Herman!"
  • Complete crash course, dived into the deep end.
  • Still good friends with Gigi and Anth ... Gigi especially because she was fairly new on the set, and they are the same age, both from out of town.
  • Learned more in that first day than she ever had before.
  • Ben didn't ad-lib while working with Bianca; very disciplined and by the page. "New kid on the block". Ben was very, very giving with her.

Vial and Manipulation

  • "You know, I dreamt about this last night ... I created a different ending in my sleep."
  • Bianca played as if she knew Crichton would reject the vial ... What was the most exciting moment? The fact that she tried.
  • "You know I've been playing with you for so long time ... let me play with you just a little bit more. For me, in the character, in that moment, it's like peace treaty time. It's not just about the vial, we've achieved what we needed to achieve, let's have peace about it."
  • Tossing the vial was her idea ... "bite me".

Effects and Costumes

  • More blown away by the actors in the costumes, because it didn't need special effects.
  • "I was performing opposite a creature. Something with a soul."
  • Thinks the original Star Wars worked so well because the characters had souls, a puppet has soul. That's something a computer can create, and that's why Farscape was great.


Bianca is a big fan of sci-fi. Her favorite is the Matrix, because it is so conceptual. Has really great dreams from that.

Aeryn and Mirror

"Not my choice. God it got me fired up!"

"You keep biting your tongue. Get with it, mission is number one, stay under cover."

Dream Director, Role

Has a passion at the moment for Alexander the Great. There are two productions ongoing right now. In an ideal world, she'd take Oliver Stone with Leonardo DiCaprio (working with Baz Luhrnman). Would like to play Justine in Oliver Stone's production.

Bianca likes Greek tragedy, the archetypes.

White Dress

  • Glad it was summer.
  • Glad she had a tan.
  • Glad she didn't eat too much over Christmas.
  • Did like it, but on a vanity level was really glad that she was in shape. Felt she was really lucky with all of her costumes.

Head Scene

Ben was off to the side for that scene, to help with the timing.


Talked about ADR for a while. For Bianca, the difficult part is dropping back into the emotion. She has seen actors who can walk right in and do it, that's the kind of actor she aspires to be.


  • The sets were unbelievable.
  • The designers based the trilogy on Japanese influence. Therefore, the makeup resembled a geisha's, and they used things like flower arranging.
  • The sound stage was big -- about twice as large as the ballroom.
  • The incredible set made it very easy to drop into character.
  • The red and pink costumes were all leather ... "I had to do kung-fu in a leather dress".
  • Know that they spent a lot on the trilogy.
  • The jewelry wasn't heavy at all, but very bulky and irritating. It was the only part of her costume that she despised. The costume moved and flowed brilliantly, and then she had this thing around her neck. It was awkward to work with especially, during the fight scene.


Learns her lines by figuring out what emotional journey she wants to take the audience on.

All the actors get are words on a page for an audition, for shooting.

In Australia, the actors have to know their lines for the audition. In America, the actors are allowed to hold their "sides" -- however, they shouldn't spend time looking at them!

Dancer to Actor

Bianca grew 30" in one year, so she had to move from dancing to acting. She was too large. Always took acting classes while dancing.

"Follow your dreams, anything is possible. I'm the only person on one side of my family who has ever been on an airplane.

Managing Life

"When you love what you do as much as I do, it's an honor to be able to look after yourself. Discipline's not hard if you have a higher purpose. I can sit on a treadmill for an hour because I know what I'm doing is going to benefit me and my work. It's not a psychosis, and it can be! I take very good care of myself from the inside, and that's first and foremost. You create a presence by being happy."