You have arrived in the LEXXVERSE where the spirit of Lexx lives on. > Main Lexx Discussion > Lexx Cast Members Internet Interviews > Lex Gigeroff Interview 6/29/09!
|Moderated by: Ketana, CheshireKat|
|The publication of this interview is strictly for lexxverse.com. Permission is not given for anyone to post this anywhere else, translated or otherwise, without prior contact with Angel or MayaXXX. Much thanks to Lex for a fantastic interview!
Lex Gigeroff Interview 6/29/2009
Lex's answers are in red.
Lexx Related Questions:
How did you originally get involved in Lexx?
I had known Paul Donovan for a few years before we started the series; he had cast me in a couple of his movies (Buried On Sunday, Life With Billy). In 1993 I wrote a play at the Atlantic Fringe Theatre Festival which he liked, and not long after that he approached me about working on a science-fiction series. My play had nothing to do with sci-fi, but I think there must have been something in there that appealed to Paul’s rather strange sense of humour.
Paul had shot a special effects demo scene with Brian Downey, and he already had a conceptual spine for the series by the time Jeff and I were brought on board.
Paul easily could have recruited some more established writers, and it is to his eternal credit that he took a chance on a couple of virtual unknowns.
We’ve heard from Jeffrey and Paul, that the Lexx series was actually created over lots and lots of beers, and hand written on cocktail napkins while hanging out at the local bar. Is this story true, or was Lexx created in a different way?
We certainly spent some time quaffing ales in local establishments and talking story, although Paul’s poison of preference is vino. And Paul always, and I mean always, picked up the tab. But I think a lot of the work we did together was like this: we’d jump in Paul’s car and drive somewhere, chatting about this and that but exploring story ideas at the same time. Sometimes the three of us would end up skinny-dipping at a nearby lake as we hashed out plotlines. We also spent many, many hours hanging out in Paul’s house, eating some pretty delicious borscht, and working on story. We would take notes along the way, and then write them up afterwards. But I don’t think too much ended up on cocktail napkins other than Ol’ Peculiar…
The journey from idea to finished script usually started simply. “Hey, let’s do a show about hillbilly rednecks”. Then you’d work on a rough outline of perhaps a page in length*, and usually expand that outline to 3-5 pages. There would be a considerable amount of back and forth and cross-fertilization at this stage until the outline was more or less finalized. Then we’d divvy up who would tackle what, and the script writing would begin. A couple of drafts later you’d end up with “White Trash”.
Did you ever envision that the show’s personnel would be so quirky, and have such a talent for portraying such perversity?
I had very little experience in television before Lexx, and so didn’t really know what to expect. We had all sorts of people working on the show, but I’m not sure I’m the best judge on who’s quirky or not.
Personally, I never thought we were portraying ‘perversity’, which to me is actually a rather loaded moral term and very much in the eye of the beholder.
In my opinion the writers of the show were just unbelievably lucky to have three actors like Michael, Brian and Xenia to work with. Not only are they professionals who are tremendous at their individual craft, but they performed at a very high level for a long time with an incredible joie de vivre, often under the most difficult and trying of circumstances. They also bailed us writers out on many occasions by taking our sometimes mediocre material at very short notice and with a minimum of preparation time and turning it into something not only watchable but also frequently engrossing. That they did this without the grousing, histrionics or psychoses you sometimes see from our thespian friends never ceased to amaze me. Our cast was, quite frankly, the single biggest reason for the success of the show, and simply put we would never have done four seasons if audiences hadn’t responded to Xenia, Michael & Brian. And while Brian, Xenia and Michael all have very distinct personalities, I don’t think it would occur to me to describe any one of them as ‘quirky’. Everyone involved in the production owes them a debt of gratitude. And on an individual level, three of the most big-hearted folks you’d ever want to meet.
Tell us about your experiences on co-writing with Jeffrey, and did either of you need therapy afterwards?
Jeff is a terrific writer, and it was not only a great honour and pleasure working with him, but I learned a lot from the little mensch as well. Many of my favourite moments and characters from the show are pure Hirschfield, e.g. Love Grows, Luvliner, 769, Prime Ridge to name a few. Jeff & I also left a trail of destruction on a sojourn through eastern Europe. And, yeah, I’m still in therapy as a result.
Was there anything that you wrote that was so over the top that it even made Jeffrey squirm?
I don’t think there’s anything anyone could write that could make Jeff squirm, certainly not me. Possibly the Marquis de Sade in the depths of a Cialis binge. But Jeff just isn’t the squirmy type.
We heard that the fans had a great time meeting you at the uncons, tell us some of your memories of those visits.
I have fond memories of meeting the fans who came to Halifax. We had a couple of pretty great schnappesklappers* as I recall, and peeps were just extraordinarily gracious and generous. Unfortunately I don’t remember all the names and faces, but I can remember a bunch of pretty good conversations and parties. A couple of highlights that stand out for me were: the fan performances of Brigadoom, including one where my kids got up and joined in the singing… Tony Fawl showing up at the Shoe Shop one night in some kinda strange fuck-mask… a very pleasant afternoon with a whole crew on the beach at Eastern Passage… Someone also gave me a homemade mug they crafted for Lexx Uncon 2000, and unfortunately I’ve forgotten who it is but if they read this they should know I drink my morning java from it every day.
*Schnnappesklapper: Our German crews introduced us to a peculiar tradition – when the numbers all line up on the ‘clapper board’, i.e. scene #, take #, etc., a member of the crew would call out “Schnappesklapper!” and then pick out an individual department, say lighting or the assistant directors. That department would then, somehow, have to produce a party that very night involving booze & food (but mostly booze). Competition would then rage as to who would get to call the next “schnappesklapper”. The concept morphed in Halifax to become a regular Friday, end-of-week party as opposed to something more impromptu. But many a wild and wooly schnappesklapper was thrown…
Who would you have cheerfully killed and replaced if it would have made a better show?
Our problem was usually the reverse: we'd kill someone off, and then would have to figure out a way to bring the actor back for another role...
What’s the funniest thing that you can put in print about filming Lexx?
I’m pretty sure Brian Downey developed rock-hard wood during the filming of a particularly steamy sequence in Season Four… but for me I’ll never forget Gerhard Schroeder (running to become German chancellor) actually visiting our set in Babelsburg and giving a few remarks to the media, while standing under these marvelous golden pudendas hanging off the wall (which I think was from Stan’s Trial). For some reason this image has stuck with me.
What’s the funniest thing that you can’t put in print about filming Lexx? (We wanna hear it anyway.)
I once simulated a quite public anal rape on Chris Bould in the Salter Street offices.
Tell us a little about your experience working with Chris Bould?
See above… Chris is a prince of a guy and had lots of good ideas and boundless energy. He played an important creative role on the show as well, and was very helpful fine-tuning scripts. I think it’s safe to say that he had the most creative influence on the show of any director not named “Donovan.”
Out of all the different directors besides Paul, who was the biggest tyrant?
No one was a tyrant. But Srinivas Krishna was a pain in the ass.
If you could have directed one episode purely by yourself, which one would it have been and what would you have done differently?
Good question. I would have liked to direct Apocalexx Now, because then I would have gotten to go to Thailand.
Are there any unused ideas or story pitches that you really wish could have been worked into the show? How about deleted scenes?
I don’t think we had much in the way of deleted scenes, mainly because we simply didn’t have the time to shoot a whole lot of extraneous material.
For a long time the script for Eating Pattern opened with a sequence showing the Lexx’s home planet – and a giant dragonfly battle in a Devonian age landscape. It was going to be a big CGI number, but we never did it, partly because it was hugely expensive and only tangentially related to the story. We thought about recycling the sequence somewhere else, but never got around to doing it.
Did you ever expect that Brigadoom would have become such a huge sci fi musical cult icon?
I had no idea it was, but I somehow imagine that cult sci-fi musicals is a pretty small subgenre.
Brigadoom remains for me a very satisfying episode. Looking back on it now I find it hard to believe that Andre & I basically knocked off all the songs in about two days. I thought Bill Fleming did a great job, it was fun & challenging to shoot, and I think it holds up pretty well. Michael and Xenia’s performances were luminous & transcendent, as was Brian’s, who’s laconic take on the whole thing provided the perfect counterpoint.
Are you and your brother Andre, up to writing another sci fi musical?
Ha! I’ve noticed that everything seems to become a musical these days (i.e. Evil Dead – The Musical). The trick is to take mediocre material and make it into something special, a la Little Shop of Horrors. On that basis, I think John Carpenter’s They Live could be a terrific musical.
Did you ever envision a different ending for Lexx or possibly a sequel?
Frankly no… Personally I was very happy with the way we ended the series, and feel fortunate that at least we got to end it on our own terms, which is a rare thing in television. I can’t speak for Paul, but because we ended it on a satisfactory note I never really felt that we had the kind of unfinished business that can keep you up at night.
Would you have preferred for Xev to have had more of a romance in the story line, or were you happy with the way her character developed?
Hmmmm… Naturally I would have liked to see a Xev – Barnabas Huffington romance, but I’m afraid my character was too old and flabby to have much appeal for Xev.
Xev was really a short-term romance kinda gal, but I think her long-term romance in some fundamental sense was Kai. Sadly for her – but great for the writers and actors – it could be an unrequited romance only.
Do you, or either of the other "beans," feel the show was in any way mishandled, or perhaps mis-marketed? Sci-Fi, for example, fleetingly advertised the show as though it were low-rent soft-core porn at first, and then hardly ever ran spots for it at all during seasons 2-4.
The title Tales from A Parallel Universe, which I believe came from a pea-brained and long-canned executive at Showtime, was a really stupid idea. I was never really aware of how the series was promoted on Sci-Fi, so I can’t really say. I think Lexx maybe posed some marketing problems, perhaps because it wasn’t easily comparable to an existing show, and marketing types aren’t particularly adept at dealing with anything that isn’t straight out of the cookie cutter formula.
Your opinion, live Kai or dead Kai, which one is better?
I’m a dead Kai guy, but I like ‘em both.
Out of all the characters that you played on the show, which one do you think got the most girls?
Probably former President Barnabas K. Huffington, but maybe Dr. Rainbow. It all depends on what your definition of ‘got’ is…
This is a question burning in every male sci fi fans brain. Eva or Xenia?
You mean, I can’t have both? Oh, cruel and unfair, this wicked welkin under which I weep…
We heard you were involved in doing all the personal shopping for the scene in Luvliner where they had the sex toys up on the wall. Is that story true or false, and if it’s true please tell us which one was your favorite.
It’s a pretty good story but false, I’m afraid. And I’ve actually always made out quite well with the, um, traditional equipment.
Are you still sports crazy and do you still have your website?
I will be cranking up my alter ego, OBG, once football season starts in the fall. Please check out my weekly picks at: http://www.theobgcommunique.blog.ca
What projects are you currently working on?
I have recently finished a play – Conrad & Barbara – about Baron Black of Crossharbour and his wife, that I’m happy with and am trying to get produced. I also shot a demo last year with John Dunsworth (Mr. Leahy of Trailer Park Boys) as a sex-obsessed Judge with attention deficit disorder (Judge Fred Stone Presiding) that we’re shopping. And I’m writing a screenplay.
Since you now have a music video directing credit, are you going to branch out into music videos full time?
I would like to shoot “Thriller 2”, except instead of ghoul dancers I would cast kids who have been abused and molested. And the part of Jacko would be played by Liza Minelli.
Tell us about some of your projects you did before Lexx.
When I was 10 years old I wrote a ‘science fiction play’ about a boy who visited all of the planets in our solar system before returning to Earth. The play was actually produced by my Cub Scout troop, and looking back now I wonder whether that was where it all sort of began for me.
If you had the opportunity to film anywhere in the world where would it be?
Rome… or way up north in, say, Iqaluit.
Give us your fantasy list of actors and directors you’d like to work with on one film.
Denzel Washington, Robert Downey Jr., Franka Potente, Christopher Walken, Helen Mirren, Jean Reno and Robert DuVall, with special appearances by Bruno Ganz, Bob Hoskins, Bruce Campbell and Sacha Baron Cohen… in a film directed by Werner Herzog.
Where are you spending most of your time these days?
We moved to rural New Brunswick last fall, where we’re surrounded by animals and greenery.
Name 10 people from past to present history that you’d like to have at a private dinner party. Would they all have to know how to play poker?
How about – Bernard Henri-Levy, Camille Paglia, Bill Maher, Bob Costas, Conrad Black, Roman Polanski, Mario Batali, Barack Obama, Prince Charles and Mike Tyson. And from beyond the grave? Ernest Hemingway, Pierre Trudeau and Carlos the Jackal.
I don’t know how to play poker, but I think we could have a helluva pre-meal croquet tournament.
When you were a kid did you have the same demented sense of humor that you have today and how did your family deal with it?
I suppose I did. And, trust me, my family is way more demented than I am.
Who was your biggest influence on you becoming an actor/writer?
Hmmm… I’m trying but I can’t really think of one influence that was bigger than any other one. If I had to pick something? The collected works of Monty Python.
Did you do a lot of writing while you guys were hanging out at the Shoe Shop in Halifax?
Not much writing. Fair amount of drinking.
What do you do to have fun or to relax?
Torture my children. Walk the dog. Tickle the cat.
As far as the movies go, what is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Brian DePalma’s Phantom of the Paradise. And I gotta real thing for Waterworld.
If they could make any of your favorite books into a movie what would it be?
Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War – its got war, power, brutality, shocking violence, and then a plague comes along and wipes everybody out.
Last but not least, please give us some of your impressions on how Lexx has affected your overall professional career and what are your feelings about the whole Lexx fan experience and is there anything you’d like to say to all your loyal Lexx fans out there?
Lexx has been the most significant gig I’ve had, and I’m proud that I will wear it always. In truth, I don’t think much about it these days, and it’s been some time since I watched an episode. Life goes on.
I would like to offer my thanks to the fans who have enjoyed the show. The most satisfying professional experience I’ve ever had is to get the odd letter or note from a Lexx fan in some far-flung corner of the world. That anybody would even think of taking the time to drop me a line fills me with humility.
Best wishes to all, and may His Shadow never fall upon you.
Thank you so much to one of the hippest Supreme Beans!
|what a long and interesting interview. thank you very much!!!
btw lexx uses some strange words i've never had to use the dictionary so many times while reading something on the internet
|That was an interesting interview and insight to past and present going's on in Lex's life.
That would of been so cool seeing Lexx's planet and a shame it did not get a look in but like he said they never had the opportunity to do it sadly.
Thanks Angel for arranging the interview and putting it up here for us
It's hard to believe for me that Lexx finished eight years ago.
|see this is one of the reason's why Lexx was what it was! A most interesting read..thanks Angel and Maya for another memorable interview!!
|Wow! Wahat an interesting and insightful read. I agree with DFG that it would really have been interesting to see Lexx's home planet, but 'Eating Pattern' is still a wonderful story without that scene. Thanks Angel & Maya for posting the interview.
|Well now...this confirmed a few dozen of my suspicions
|Thanks Lex and everyone who contributed questions. I wonder what the bad blood is with Srinivas Krishna? Anyone know?
Slightly bad timing about the Michael Jackson joke though...!
|LUV IT! Thanks guys :-)
|Thank you for sharing this with us. I am glad to hear that he is doing well. Lex was always my favorite.
As far as the movies go, what is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Brian DePalma’s Phantom of the Paradise. And I gotta real thing for Waterworld.
You realize of course, that I paid Lex handsomely to put that last bit in there, since I was actually IN that little flick....OMG !!
The stories I could tell......
WONDERFUL interview, and thanks to Lex for taking so much time to write back and to Angel for sweet-talking into the interview !!!
|Very interesting interview, a lot of the things are new to me. I really like the question about the 10 people at the dinner party and if they know how to play poker. Since I am a regular player (although a pure amateur) I have asked the question to me and I would invite the top players like Ivey, Ferguson, Hellmuth & Co. to learn from them. I love to play poker for networking and making new social contacts. You can get to know all kind of people and have a fun time at the table.