Whoosh! Issue 58 - July 2001

INTERVIEW WITH KATHERINE FUGATE

Page 3

Robert Tapert

Quick!  I know the Act-Rite™ instructions are here somewhere...
Da Man

KRICKEL:
[60] So how much of a presence did Rob Tapert have on the set during filming? Or did he pretty much leave everything up to the director?

FUGATE:
[61] I only saw Rob at lunch. He wasn't on set as much because he and RJ were working on the finale. But the thing about Rob is he's instantly likeable. He has a warm smile for everyone and this deep booming voice that sails up higher and higher as he greets you. It's hard to emulate - but it's unforgettable. He could call me when I'm 80 and I'd still know it was him.


John Fawcett

They call me...Anonymoso
Alas poor John Fawcett, I knew him well.
KRICKEL:
[62] Tell us about John Fawcett. He seems to have directed many of the more apocalyptic episodes—FALLEN ANGEL (91/501), THE WAY (84/416), THEM BONES THEM BONES (95/505), THE RHEINGOLD (119/607), and RETURN OF THE VALKYRIE (121/609).

FUGATE:
[63] I loved FALLEN ANGEL (91/501) and was really overjoyed that John directed WHEN FATES COLLIDE (130/618). John's very quiet and confident and secure in what he wants and how he directs. It adds a measure of calm to the set that makes the day even more enjoyable. You can almost hear him think, he thinks so loud. He is Canadian. He loves Diet Coke.

Behind the Scenes People

Who wants to be an eccentric millionaire?
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

KRICKEL:
[64] Did you get a chance to interact with some of the other behind-the-scenes people?

FUGATE:
[65] I did interact with the crew quite a bit. Rachel Munro, the script continuity gal, who looks like Tea Leoni, first comes to mind. She taught me quite a lot and was very gracious about me hovering over her when she appeared to be the busiest person on the set. She's also whip-smart and knew the script as well as I did, completely understanding the journey and pointing out links to other days already shot. Rachel does everything. She's the class president, really. She oversees and keeps track of everything done on paper. Each scene shot, the sound tapes, the camera rolls, the dialogue changes, the entire script, where scenes began and ended, the editing choices. It's not "continuity" in the simplest definition, but the hardest. It's a job that requires a lot of stamina, knowledge and basic control skills. The director's right hand. Rachel really is Wonder Woman.

[66] I also was quite fond of the sound fellow, whom I can picture clearly in my mind but can't remember his name. He showed me how he deletes wind during outside shots, tries to combat a lot of looping by futzing with his instruments, that sort of thing. And he says "sound speed" very well.

KRICKEL:
[67] You mentioned continuity on the set. Is there anyone who tries to maintain continuity from episode to episode? Is that essentially an RJ Stewart sort of thing?

FUGATE:
[68] You mean story continuity? I think so. Rob and RJ love this show like it was a child. It is their creation. As RJ says, the writer knows his episode better than anyone else. So, as head writer, RJ does understand every episode or knows what needs more explanation. He's the calm sort. Rob is the genius personality - an insane genius, but a genius nonetheless.


Karl Urban

It's hard to make out, but that's Gwenyth Paltrow with George Clooney at the Xena Con
Fugate on the WHEN FATES COLLIDE set with Karl Urban

KRICKEL:
[69] So in this episode I gather we get to see the return of two audience favorites, Karl Urban and Claire Stansfield. Tell us a little about them, on and off set.

FUGATE:
[70] I worked very closely with Karl and Claire on several scenes and at one point we were hovering over pen and paper whilst sitting on a grassy knoll, all to make a scene really soar. Karl is a very studious actor and has actually read quite a bit about Caesar, so we added actual lines Caesar said into the script.

KRICKEL:
[71] So the actors do get some input into the dialogue, then, if they are familiar with the character?

FUGATE:
[72] I think all actors make the script their own to some degree—that's part of their process.


Claire Stansfield

Hey, flyboy
Who wants to sit next to Claire?

KRICKEL:
[73] And Claire?

FUGATE:
[74] Claire and I became personal friends off-set and spent a lot of time exploring Auckland together. She introduced me to the hot local spots, the shopping and all the fun. My trip wouldn't have been the same without her. But on the set, she scares me. She loves that she scares me because that means she is doing her job, doing Alti, very well. But she would do an Alti thing and I'd frown, then say, "friend," just to remind myself she wasn't going to hurt me.

KRICKEL:
[75] You two went on a helicopter ride?

FUGATE:
[76] Claire and I wanted to see some volcanoes. I wanted to see something other than the car that picked me up and took me to the set, so we hired a helicopter for a 20 minute trip over the islands. It was fantastic! I think Claire had a hard time deciding what she enjoyed most. The actual trip or the look on my face. I'd never been in a helicopter before, and you are jerked and swung back and forth by some sort of heavenly puppeteer but you have faith and enjoy the ride.


Lucy Lawless

I bet if I get the angle right, ET'll use this as the promo
Lucy Lawless on a break from being Xena

KRICKEL:
[77] What about Lucy Lawless? What were your impressions of her?

FUGATE:
[78] The first thing you notice about Lucy is how stunningly beautiful she is. She makes us mortal girls feel slightly uncomfortable, and I imagine that must wear on her a bit. But then Lucy breaches her outer beauty by treating everyone equally and with no airs, and you realize it hasn't gone to her head. She has a groundedness despite her beauty, if that makes sense, which is no easy feat and says a lot about her own personal journey. And then there's that accent. When she would speak, I'd stare. Three sentences went by as I translated. Then dead air, then I'd reply. It took several days for me to get into the rhythm of the accent, then we were fine. Lucy has her son with her quite a bit and she's a doting mother, full of kookiness. On the set, Lucy knows exactly who Xena is and pulls a Houdini act on you when the cameras roll. She's laughing one minute, then jumps into Xena's skin so quickly, you blink. And she can make you cry with a look. Lucy has actually met Barbara (Eden) so we had that in common to talk about as well.

KRICKEL:
[79] There's been much debate on exactly how much input/influence Lucy has on actual shooting, dialogue, etc. Comments?

FUGATE:
[80] Lucy would ask me if a cut was necessary here or there and certainly was on top of things, but as for input/influence, I couldn't answer that. She is very articulate and vocal, though, so I am sure she is respected.


Renee O'Connor

Look #2...or was it #5?  Whatever!
Renee O'Connor on the set of Xena

KRICKEL:
[81] How about Renee O'Connor?

FUGATE:
[82] Renee really struck me, perhaps because I had no preconceived notions of her and didn't really know what to expect from her. The first day, she walked all the way over to me to introduce herself, without waiting for an introduction. I was impressed with that - truly not actorly at all. Then she discussed the script and its themes with me and any writer will tell you, it doesn't get any better than that, hearing someone get your themes. Usually, writers get comments on theme and invention from other writers, the directors, but not the actors. So when Renee let me know she had read every one of my drafts and discussed what the story meant to her, I was obviously doing cartwheels.

[83] The best way to describe Renee is this: You know, how when you walk into a party and you see a bunch of strangers, but then one person catches your eye and smiles and you think, I'd like to meet that person. That's a good person. Someone who gets it. Someone you can trust, that sort of thing. Renee has that quality about her. You instantly recognize her as a good evolved soul. And someone sincere in all she does. There's a lot of artifice in Hollywood, mainly because people befriend you out of need - what can you do for them. So when someone befriends you out of genuineness, it stands out. Plus, Renee's on set behavior couldn't be more professional and structured and crafted. I'd fight to hire her in anything I'm involved with.


Ted Raimi

You thought I was dead, didn't you?  Gooses!
Joxer in an earlier appearance of a later incarnation

KRICKEL:
[84] Like with Karl Urban and Claire Stansfield, I've read that Ted Raimi is famous for ad-libbing, just as Renee is known for offering insight on how she sees her character. Did you see a good bit of that from them as well?

FUGATE:
[85] I didn't see any of Ted's work, so I can't answer about him. Renee is very involved with Gabrielle in all aspects. She is not an actor who phones it in. She does know what's going on with Gabrielle at every instant. Lucy adlibbed a wonderful line in When Fates Collide that was hilarious.


Filming

KRICKEL:
[86] When did it film, exactly? Early February? And what was the mood on set, as far as the end of the series?

FUGATE:
[87] Shooting was the end of January into February. The mood on the set wasn't much about the end yet. I did ask a few folks about what they planned to do when it all ends, and there was some sadness. I know John Fawcett and I did. I was rather melancholy - this is my one and only XENA. I wish I'd pushed a year earlier.


Fandom

No, no, SHE'S Fugate!
Fugate at the May 2001 Creation Entertainment Xena Con
in Pasadena, California

KRICKEL:
[88] As a fan, you've now seen the show from both sides. As I'm sure you know, the show has taken hits in some fan circles for any number of things:

  • its increasingly dark tone, including escalating violence
  • the unrelated, flat out comedic episodes
  • the entire twilight-of-the-gods storyline, including the 25-year time jump, the character of Eve, the whole Lucifer/angels/God of Light thing, etc.
  • the changed character of Gabrielle
  • the portrayal of "the relationship" between Xena and Gabrielle, and now between Xena and Ares

[88] What's your impression of all of that?

FUGATE:
[89] As far as these questions, in general I think Xena should be applauded for all the risks it has taken, jumping genres, trying new things. I'm a big fan of The X-Files but when they tried a cops reality style episode there was a lot of flack. It's not easy to showcase a show with varying styles, and it takes skill to pull it off. And face it, not every day of our real lives is strictly a comedy or a drama or a musical. We live varied lives, why shouldn't the folks on Xena? If anything, it's more true to the imagined real lives of the people the show portrays. And I, for one, love the musicals. The thing that does confound me is the "I Would Do It This Way" hoopla. Then go do it your way. That's the beauty of it. This is Rob and RJ's show. It's their dream - not yours. They should do it the way they want to do it. You should do your dream the way you want to do your dream. Something's gotten messed up in society in which we critique and bad-mouth everyone else's dream, telling them how to "change" it to fit what we want.

KRICKEL:
[90] From what you've seen, do you think the producers/writers/performers are aware of that controversy? Are they influenced by it at all? Or are they simply going about their jobs?

FUGATE:
[91] I think as far as controversy goes, everyone just tries to do their job to the best of their ability. Working 12-hour days doesn't give you much time to engage in all that. But I have learned that any artist has to be true to your own vision not someone else's. I've learned that in my own writing. I have to be as honest as I can with what I write or I'm lost. If I try to write what you want, I will falter.

KRICKEL:
[92] Who introduced you to the world of online fandom? What sites have you visited? And what's your impression of that aspect of fandom?

FUGATE:
[93] I know Melissa Good was found through the internet world. Terms like fan fiction, subtext, BTW, LOL - all that was foreign to me until a few months ago. I was pretty much like, "Huh?". Then I began to get e-mails from folks sending me to sites talking about me. Because writers are never talked about, I was a bit stunned and wide-eyed. So far, everyone has been very kind and supportive. But that's because my episode hasn't aired yet. We'll see how many remain after it does. But the Xena fans do care about all aspects of the show, and that says a lot about them.

[94] In general, when someone tells me I've written something that's impacted them, I'm always a bit bewildered. Mainly because I want to burst out in tears and mainly because it hits me that someone actually read what I wrote. That simple comment. But that is why I write - to make a difference. As for the online sites themselves, it's my impression [that the Internet fandom is] a wonderful way for people to connect, but I am glad I didn't know about it when I wrote WHEN FATES COLLIDE (130/618). It's nice to write without knowing too much information or it can color your story.

KRICKEL: [95] As we are doing this in mid-March, WHEN FATES COLLIDE (130/618) is not scheduled to air for another 6 weeks or so. Best of luck with it, and we all will be looking forward to updates on new film projects like Carolina in the months to come!


Articles

Krickel, August. "An Interview with Adrienne Wilkinson" WHOOSH #45 (June 2000)

Krickel, August. "An Interview with Campbell Cooley" WHOOSH #41 (February 2000)

Biography

August Krickel August Krickel

August Krickel is my real name, believe it or not, it's German, and refers to Caesar, Augustus Caesar, not to the month. I'm a native South Carolinian, and a fan of mythology since reading a comic book version of THE ILIAD as a little boy. This led me to study Classics at Vanderbilt U., at the U. of Georgia, and the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, but I currently work in university administration. Over the past 20 years, however, I have had a sideline career as free-lance actor, director, and drama critic, working/studying with Oscar winners Ben Kingsley and Delbert Mann, and appearing most recently as the narrator of the touring WWII-themed stage show, THE ROAD TO VICTORY. This double interest in myth and drama has made XWP my favorite show. I last interviewed Adrienne Wilkinson for Whoosh!


Favorite episode: THE PRICE (44/220), A GOOD DAY (73/405)
Favorite line: Joxer: "Ok, then its settled. We're a team. Joxer the Mighty, and his mighty band of mighty men. Girls. Joxer the Mighty and his fighting mighty women fighters. Fighting." IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL (72/404)
First episode seen: THE TITANS (07/107)
Least favorite episode: LITTLE PROBLEMS (98/508), KING CON (61/315)

 

 


Previous Section
Table of Contents
Return to Top Return to Index
s