OUR MISTER BYRONóPART 2
By Sandra Bruckner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Q: What was it like working on the set of Babylon 5?
A: Unfortunately, the actress (he was working with) was shooting another scene the next morning and had to get out of makeup...I hadnít shot my close-up yet... so it was the whole crew and me and it was getting late... Iím sure everyone wanted to go home, so all I had to do was get my lines out...It was a good chunk of dialogue with no actress to read opposite and we were so connected during the master shot... well it was tough... also, I wanted to come back so I focused and hit my mark and said my lines... the first time was perfect...but my microphone was showing...second time? Everything was great...except, I missed a word which was crucial to the scene....(Ken doesnít let you get away with anything) after a few more shots we finally nailed it...Tony Dow said that he had gotten quite a few compliments on the scene (but he might have said that just to make me happy) you know, insecure actors.
I felt like such an idiot...I knew the name... and the face looked familiar (Tonyís) but I didnít figure it out until the third day of shooting; also I forgot to mention during the Grey Council scene, one of the members had a panic attack and had to be carried out. It freaked me out a little, although if I can survive a full body snake suit (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) for 16 hours I think I can handle anything. All in all it was fun, which is what it should be!
I was so excited when I found out Morann was written into the MOW In the Beginning. Originally when I first received the script I was in about 10 scenes. YES!!! But no, they changed it so that Callenn and I split the scenes but by that time, I already had the scenes memorized. I was happy that I kept the scene with Delenn and Lennon, that was my favorite, although again, they cut the end of the scene where I had a physical confrontation with Lennon. He whips out the ranger pike and I go into this karate/satan stance with index and pinkie finger waving in the air.
I would have taken him, too. So I guess that brings us to Byron, leader of Telepaths, Poet, gourmet cook, wine snob, animal lover (bet you didnít know these things about Byron). Iím not sure what they were looking for in the part; I assumed a Byronesque type of figure; Charismatic, Flamboyant, Passionate, a leader.
Physically I thought I was in trouble. After reading the script I envisioned Byron having thick dark hair and dark mysterious eyes and at the audition most of the other Byrons seemed to fit that description. I was up most of the night before the audition, I wanted to have all the lines memorized so I could really enjoy the scene. The scene chosen for the audition was from The Paragon of Animals, (the scene with Lyta). It was juicy in that it showed the many colors of Byron and demanded complete control.
I didnít want to be looking down at a script fumbling for lines, especially in front of all the producers. I wanted this role. I was very nervous before the audition, which tends to be a good thing for me.
All that nervous energy somehow is turned into creative energy. Once I started the scene, all the work flew out the window and it was me as Byron and Fern Champion, the casting agent, as Lyta.
She is so wonderful to audition with because she gives a lot and really listens.
The next thing I knew, they all said thank you, as is the custom, and I drove home. Two hours later, I got the call from Fern.
YAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!! So now I had the part, what to do with it? I started by watching all the episodes that had telepaths in them, I then started to construct a history for Byron.
As an actor, I like to make strong choices for a character. For instance,
assuming I decided Byron was taken by the Psi Corps, perhaps I would imagine that his parents were murdered by them and he was ripped out of his motherís hands. I know...Harsh, huh? I didnít necessarily make this choice but thatís an example.
I also like to give the character a secret, something that affects him that he could never tell anyone. Iíd tell you what it is, but itís a secret!
So, I have all the background that leads me to the starting point of the scene. I have gotten really specific about the makeup of the character, Iíve done all my homework, so now I just get to play... zzzzz anybody asleep yet???
Ok Iím going way beyond Sandraís questions.
Q: What did I like most or least about Byron?
A: I loved Byronís passion. He is a man with a dream whoís willing to go through just about anything to achieve it. That is something I envy. I loved his kindness to others, his love of the classics...Shakespeare. Oh god, I feel like Iím giving a eulogy.
Q: Can you tell I loved playing this part??
A: Sometimes it was hard to play a nonviolent character. In the scene where I get punched, I fantasized about beating the crap out of the thugs... Jacki Chan style!!! I wanted Byron to be a little more aggressive. On another occasion after reading the love scene and discovering that Lyta was on top, I asked Tony if I could perhaps flip her over at some point during the scene. He said no. I tried!
On a more serious note, I feel very lucky. Joe wrote many beautiful and passionate words for Byron.
He is an amazing guy and also extremely passionate not only in his writing but also in the whole journey of Babylon 5.
His dream as a writer and producer... ok, Iíll stop myself again...you all know what I mean...
My experience with Babylon 5 has been a dream come true as I met many friends, worked with down to earth, genuine, talented people...Itís pretty much everything youíd imagine it would be. Itís an experience I wonít ever forget...