You have arrived in the LEXXVERSE where the spirit of Lexx lives on. > Main Lexx Discussion > The Cluster > Michael McManus PodCast Transcribed
|Moderated by: Ketana, CheshireKat, aeonflux|
It took me ages, but I did it! It's very, very long but I've managed to put in ever single 'yes, yes' and 'uh huh's' I could listen to..This is of my own doing! It does not have anyone's authorization and yadda yadda yadda, just in case some lawyer is reading this..I hope yadda yadda yadda is legal enough
This is Brian Downey; I play Stanley H. Tweedle on the Lexx. The Lexx is the most powerful destructive force in the two universes. Please tune into sci-fi talk, ‘cause it’s one of the last good things on this stupid type 13 planet. Ugh.
Hi welcome once again to sci-fi talk and this is your host Tony Tellado. You know it’s a great pleasure to talk to a fine actor, Michael McManus who is Kai on the television series Lexx. Kind of a classic series in my eyes and always look back very fondly and uh you’ll hear me kind of singing the praises of it during the course of this interview ‘cause I really dug the series for it’s uniqueness. Sci-fi means a lot of different type of shows, and certainly Lexx falls into its own category, no doubt about it. Michael will be appearing at Timeless Destinations in 2006 and that’ll be great because it’ll be a reunion with his uh Lexx co-stars, Xenia Seeburg and Brian Downey in addition to one of its favorite guest stars in Ellen Dubin. So a little Lexx reunion going on at Timeless Destinations. You’ll want to find out more about that convention at Timeless Destinations.com and visit my sci-fi talk page on Timeless at Scifitalk.com. And without any further ado here’s my conversation with Michael McManus.
TONY: I’m really glad that you’re going to be at Timeless Destinations coming up uh this summer.
MICHAEL: Right, will you be there?
TONY: I hope to be there very much, yes, so we can meet in person that would be awesome,um, I think that’s great, I think you’ll really like it because it’s a very um intimate kind of convention and uh the line between the actors and the fans is really uh, you know, narrowed and you can really kind of interact with people and they can certainly interact with you as well so I think you’ll really like it, it’s a very laid back atmosphere which I really like too. So I think its going to be fun.
Tony: I would also love to see,um, like a panel, a Lexx panel with yourself and Ellen Dubin and also Xenia as well, it would be great to see you all at a panel discussing the show and looking back and remising about it.
MICHAEL: Right, yeah.
TONY: I..I find myself watching it even to this day. *laughs*
TONY: So it’s a great show, um, and, and Kai was such a fantastic character. Um, you know, I know that you have, you know, a good stage background and that helped you, that obviously helps in doing this type of thing because if you can do anything on stage playing these out of worldly characters uh you know makes it a lot easier, ah, although I can only imagine how you approached playing a six thousand year old assassin.*laughs* you know. So what went through your mind especially when you were doing the original movies back in the late 90’s.
MICHAEL: well it’s..it’s hard to say it was, um, the, the, I was kinda of catapulted into the series,
MICHAEL: catapulted very late. So I was being, I think my costume was still being sewn on me when I did my first walk down the gangplank after Barry Bostwick
TONY: oh wow yes
MICHAEL: Playing the head of the rebels. The thought processes were, they were pretty pragmatic really, I remember when they uh an example would be like when they talked to me about the weapon.
TONY: Yes the brace.
MICHAEL: Bill Fleming who was uh the art directory he asked me, they were having an argument in the art department whether or not it should be on my right arm or my left arm. He was saying it should be on the left arm and somebody else is saying he’s right handed it should be on the right arm. Bill came to me and spoke to me about it and immediately I thought should it be on the left or the right and I thought it should be on the right because uh if you’re a fencer you don’t fence with your left hand you fence with your right hand
MICHAEL: And because it was already pretty clear the utility of the brace.
TONY: uh huh
MICHAEL: I thought the, I mean I felt like a girl throwing a brace around with my left hand.
MICHAEL: I wasn’t ambidextrous at all. So it was like..then that started to define the culture, a kind of refined sort of thing with fencing and uh, and uh thinking about the brace in a practical way let the thoughts of the insect culture while the hair was being designed and there was a lot of input into that hair being designed
MICHAEL: and my justification for the weird wig was always including the costume that um when one civilization takes over another it tends to adopt some of their practices and esthetics at least and uh because the Brunnen-G’s last great conquest was the insect civilization they inherited some aspects of insect aesthetic so the kind of black and stringy things on the head and costumes that uh kind of come over the hands looking like a praying mantis is something like that.
MICHAEL: and a general sort of aesthetic seems to have been borrowed from uh things that have to do with insects.
TONY: yeah cool. Yeah cool.
MICHAEL: that was the way, that was kinda the way it all got patched together in a pretty world wind experience leading up to the first roll of the camera and then in the developing part of the series there was kinda of a move after the first movies.
TONY: uh huh
MICHAEL: in the writing department and I think also needed the line producing department although I’m not sure to try and do a very classic TV series thing which was to develop the characters.
MICHAEL: and I thought developing the character, the characters themselves up until developing was sort of anti Lexx idea.
TONY: uh hum
MICHAEL: it seemed to me more like a, it’s a good idea but it seemed to me more like a Star Trek idea so I thought why on earth would somebody who’s been around for this long develop anything, I mean you developed the situation in which we can see more of the character but I think that, that character can stay as a fixed point and not developed.. Not for such a long process and the idea on my, again for that kind of idea that developed around that, that would have be the beginning of the second year, to me was to go in science fiction,
TONY: uh huh
MICHAEL: you got the guy who wrote uh an anthropologist from uh Oliver Sacks.
TONY: okay, yes.
MICHAEL: he wrote about Spock, and he wrote, he was just writing expansively about the brain problem and in this case autism I think and um he wrote about the mandatory autistic character in a, in a science fiction show or series.
TONY: uh huh
MICHAEL: and he was talking about Spock, and I thought that, and I sorta of, I took that as a very strong point of reference.
MICHAEL: for any kind of talk about the character developing so the idea develp of wanting to have feelings or uh wanting to become a human being, I was, I was sorta of anti-that.
TONY: oh cool.
MICAHEL: if you’re not a thing it’s very hard to want. If you, if you’re that removed from something it’s very hard to want it.
TONY: yeah exactly.
MICHAEL: if you don’t have the equip, the equipment that would want something, you can’t want it. *laughs*
TONY: yeah exactly, exactly.
MICHAEL: *laughs* so I really I kept against that little bit and that seemed to work out because I think a lot of, every year there seemed to be some theme around um mechanical failure.
TONY: uh huh
MICHAEL: of the mechanical part of the character.
MICHAEL: and that’s where I..I uh I really um could plug into uh playing the role.
TONY: I think speaking of Spock, Mr. Spock, I think you had the best, no pun intended, dead pan since Mr. Spock.
MICHAEL: uh yeah *laughs*
TONY: and I uh you know, you obviously as an actor have great comic timing to just do it just at the right time and that’s an art. I have to commend you for that.
MICHAEL: that’s got, I think that’s got a lot to do with the um with the writing.
TONY: um hum
MICHAEL: It wasn’t always that generous, but when it was generous it was fairly deliverable dialog in that sense.
TONY: um hum
MICHAEL: I mean that sense that kind of humor and then the writers willingness also to sort of stay in character when they were writing character.
TONY: Well I also felt that in a lot of ways Lexx was a lot more satire and maybe even at times farce in science fiction.
TONY: and really poked gently and very fondly at uh you know popular culture and uh you know as Americans we took a lot of shots but I didn’t mind I thought it was kinda fun, actually, so it was fun.
MICHAEL: we uh stopped filming for a couple of days, we stopped immediately after the second plane hit the World Trade Center.
TONY: right, right, right.
MICHAEL: we were finishing up in the most satirical series of episodes uh re: pop culture, American culture.
MICHAEL: and various other things the last twenty four episodes we shot.
MICHAEL: and we stopped and it was kinda like it was a, it was a strange shock because of the sort of things we were making fun of
TONY: uh huh
MICHAEL: didn’t seem like checks of uh, they didn’t seem funny at all anymore to me.
TONY: yeah, yeah.
MICHAEL: And for the, for the way out it was very odd to write about kinda of a whacked out world where incompetents were running it.
MICHAEL: who were running it on greed and appetite, like, like Swift had created them instead of you know their mothers.
TONY: yeah, exactly.
MICHAEL: Donovan Swift. I mean the characters who are inhabiting the world now are absurd. They just, they seem ridiculous and the news that comes down every day is just more and more depressing.
TONY: It is scary, it is scary.
MICHAEL: It started then, and we were shooting Lexx and I thought wow we’re dated. *laughs*
MICHAEL: We admit that if we had gotten this in one year before we would have been prophetic but uh, anyway.
MICHAEL: That maybe going too far but um yeah I know the satire really, really uh started to get into focus in the last year.
TONY: Oh yeah.
MICHAEL: And the fantasy was the main thing in the first year, I think that was kind of Paul’s uh Donovan, the creator.
MICHAEL: that was kind of his, his vision.
TONY: um hum.
MICHAEL: of the show.
MICHAEL: A show that starts somewhere way, way far away in time and place and, and way far away from Earth and ends up blowing up the planet Earth.
TONY: oh yeah exactly. No I loved the uh like in the later episodes when they, you went to Las Vegas that was just hysterical and.
TONY: And I mean talk about satire um the Air Force One with the President, *chuckles* oh man.
MICHAEL: Oh my goodness.
TONY: *laughs* I think that was uh that was uh that was definitely a knee slapper no doubt about it.
MICHAEL: Oh yeah but I mean again after the world I mean the world has taken a few turns and that’s football now which was a slap in the show.
MICHAEL: it..it makes me a little bit sweaty on the forehead.
MICHAEL: I never laughed so hard afterwards.
TONY: Yeah. Yeah. But no those, those are great episodes and great shows. Is there anything that stands out for you looking back on the series now?
MICHAEL: No, I mean I think the series was, it was like work and there were sort of disappointments in it and and little triumphs like any kind of job that's over a longish term. And the travel aspect to shooting the Lexx was very satisfying. We spent a lot of time, a lot of time in Berlin, India and Japan, Thailand, Iceland. I went to Iceland.
MICHAEL: The other guys went to uh the Virgin Islands. And anyway other little trips, Newfoundland, St. John's, and a very nice experience of shooting in various places around the world after you know a very intense period of maybe 5 or 6 months in the studio
TONY: uh hum
TONY: And the job was fantastic, I've got to say that this sort of um the post Lexx thing has just been a disaster, work wise and that's really the impression I'm puzzling over right now.
TONY: yeah you mean, how has it been, I mean, you say everybody sees you too much as Kai, is that what the problem is or?
MICHAEL: I..I have no idea. I don't know. The market in Toronto's gotten a lot softer.
MICHAEL: For actors it's harder to get work
TONY: uh huh
MICHAEL: for Canadian Toronto based actors, period. There's a lot of stuff that I'm, It's partly my own situation, as well, because I'm not uh up against it sort of financially any more.
TONY: uh huh
MICHAEL: There's a lot of work I just won't do.
TONY: Well, yeah, I hear you. I hear you.
MICHAEL: And so I think really just I…it's been, it’s been an awfully long time, and there's been a lot of things going on in my life. But in terms of landing again on my feet as as actor, that hasn't happened yet.
TONY: uh huh
MICHAEL: And that's really the impression I'm left with, which it seems to be a fairly regular theme amongst actors, and maybe even particularly among sci-fi actors, the difficulty of recovering somehow and I don't know if it's got to do with your own presentation of yourself, or with people's idea of you because you've done sci-fi.
TONY: Well, it's also, what, you've done a series for awhile, I think most actors find it difficult at first making the transition to doing other roles other than the person they played for a few years.
TONY: And also, maybe not necessarily, not the actors, but people seeing them other than that person. It's hard for them sometimes to get past that
TONY: And a lot of actors from you know like Star Trek series, you don't see them in much, as much any more because they're uh not doing although they will show up in a sci-fi kind of movie, and stuff like that. So I mean it's not easy you know, but it's obviously something that that everybody has to go through that does that kind of thing.
MICHAEL: Yeah, and I mean I used to joke, and it is uh it is a kind of a joke, although I think there is a little grain of truth in it, that sci-fi, from the industry's point of view, is just this side of porno.
MICHAEL: And so it may, I..I think it might worry some producers, somewhere in the back of their mind this actor has somehow attached himself to science fiction, and then he might that actor might not be right for um some other kind of work.
TONY: I think it was worse because years ago an actor like Tom Cruise would never do sci-fi, uh but now he does it and then he can go do something else. So it's..it’s..it’s not as bad especially for movies, but it's still hard for TV series uh to do a guest shot on a different show or another series
TONY: that's not related to that. So it's really difficult, so I..I can certainly empathize with that. And you actually were living in Berlin for quite awhile and then now you're back in Canada. How has that transition worked out for you?
MICHAEL: Well Berlin..Berlin I was always um taking extended visits to Berlin, *Tony-uh huh* I was kind of like an elaborate tourist in Berlin, and looking at things and seeing if I could live there I don't actually think I could and I don't know if I ever actually thought I could live the rest of my life in German,
TONY: right, right
MICHAEL: or in what passes for English in Berlin. *Tony-chuckles* And that’s not, it's not over yet. It's still a connection that I'll have in the working part of my life, and other parts of my life, definitely, are still going to be conducted in Toronto and North America.
TONY: Cool. Cool. So, have you thought about maybe doing some work in Vancouver, too? There's a lot of filming going on there as well.
MICHAEL: Yeah, sure! Tell them I'm..I’m ready!
MICHAEL: *laughs* Will work for reasonable wages.
TONY: There you go. There you go that's awesome. *Michael-yea* You know and you've also um you know you’ve also done things like The Adventures of Jules Verne, which I thought was a neat idea for a series and you were on that.
TONY: That was uh *garbled* describe that experience, working on that show.
MICHAEL: Yeah now that was uh that was the budget crunch time, and that was the bottle episode what they call a bottle episode. What that means is that they use a bunch of old scenes
MICHAEL: in a memory sequence, or something like that.
MICHAEL: Yeah uh that was again I..they..wanted um..when I showed up for that job, it was, again, very late casting, so I was second choice, and I showed up and the costume designer hadn't been told, so when he saw me he said, we'll have to change your costume and I said, why? and he said, ‘cause you’re not 235 pounds. *laughs* You don’t weigh 235 pounds, They billed it for an actor who was quite large. And then I showed up. But it was fun. They were frantic, and that was the end of their er last season, and they seemed to want to do more, but they seemed to already have a kind of sense that it wasn't going to carry on.
TONY: Yeah. Essentially, the show had two Zevs that uh during the course of Lexx.
TONY: What was that like for you, and I'm not gonna ask you which one's your favorite, that wouldn't be fair. I'm sure each of the ladies brought their own magic to it.
TONY: Usually a show doesn't replace one of the leads during the course of a season or run of the series. Uh what was the like for you? That must..was that an easy transition for you and or the rest of the cast?
MICHAEL: It was part and parcel of the beginning of the first series, *Tony-right, right* and Eva Habermann was lost because the production took a little bit too much time to get money
MICHAEL: to go for another round. She wanted to do it, but she was already committed to another series, and the buy out for that was extraordinary, it would cost the production a fortune, so they decided to keep the scripts and to sort of recycle Zev, and turn her into the orange lizard skin Xev, *Tony laughs* Xenia Seeberg.*Tony-yes, yes* And it was, it was kinda of a normalish transition. I like the um hospital episode very much, where Eva/Zev dies *Tony –yes* and the Xenia Seeberg/Xev is introduced in a very nice way and the whole texture was sort of changing. Somehow, it seems like it sort of allowed for that. *Tony-uh huh uh huh sure* I mean I don’t find watching it..I've only really watched it in sequence thoroughly pretty recently, *Tony oh okay*six months ago.*Tony cool* I don't like to watch stuff after its been shot. And it doesn't seem, it doesn’t seem too hiccuppy. I've got to say, I mean I was very attached to Eva *Tony-uh huh* because she adored me. *Tony-laughs* So it meant no acting required. *Tony-yeah exactly, exactly* I'll just be indifferent to this um to this love pouring out of a gorgeous young German girl.
TONY: Yeah, that's, that’s not a bad gig, as they say.
MICHAEL: *laughs*It’s pretty..it doesn't sound like work at all. *Tony-no no* And Xenia, I think that she found her own way *Tony-yeah* and figured things out, and quite rightly changed, let the character adapt to her. *Tony-yes, yup*
TONY: No she was great. Actually, she'll be at Timeless, too. Is that uh when was the last time you saw each other?
MICHAEL: That's a good question. *Tony-laughs* I'm not 100% sure. I believe the last time we saw each other was in Asia *Tony-wow look at that* when we finished shooting. *Tony-wow look at that wow*
TONY: Wow look at that wow then it's time for a reunion, for sure!
MICHAEL: I've seen Brian more recently, and he's also gonna be in Vancouver.
TONY: Oh that's nice. I've interviewed Brian and he was great. He's so funny. Oh, man, he kills me. *Michael-yeah* What was he like on set, was he like the one that broke everybody up?
MICHAEL: He was funny, yes. Tony I don't know, I would have thought that for five years to be Stanley Tweedle every day would be a very hard job, and uh he did it very well and never, never complained about that. *laughs*
TONY: No, he made it look easy.
MICHAEL: Yeah, it was easy for him. He's an excellent actor. He's another very mysteriously unemployed or under employed Canadian actor.
TONY: Oh, he's very quick, too. I mean we did an interview, and it turns out, it was supposed to be a press conference and ended up being a one on one, and we spent 15 minutes talking about Warner Brothers cartoons, and it was just awesome, it was so funny.
TONY: But that's the way his train of thought was, and I just rode the train, because it was fun. He's such a funny guy. And there's an actress that's also gonna be at Timeless whose work I've admired. It was your Giggerota, and that was Ellen Dubin.
TONY: What did Ellen bring to the show that it just seems that when she was on, the show got some juice. It was like one of those recurring guest stars on a sci-fi show, you say, Oh, good! She's on!, you know, you want to watch it. What was it like, the experience with Ellen Dubin's character?
MICHAEL: In the first episode, *Tony – uh huh* my entire contact with her was throwing her off the bridge.*They both laugh* In the second movie, I don't even know that I ever saw her.*Tony-yes that’s possible* I don't think I ever did. I never, I didn't see her in the 13 episodes the Fire and Water episodes. *Tony-yes, yes* I think from a distance I may have shot all of her bodyguards with my brace when she was playing golf in Thailand.
TONY: That’s right, that’s right.
MICHAEL: No, she stayed away from me.
TONY: *laughs* And wisely so! Uh no what was it like to have 790 have a crush on Kai? *laughs* Especially towards the end there when he was just madly in love with him.
MICHAEL: Great.. *Tony-laughs* Now there, talk about great developments in sci-fi, that was, that made the, the character of the computer head.
TONY: Yeah hell it did. It was great.
MICHAEL: It was a treat to watch, and and, and being able to be indifferent to his increasing psychopathy until it actually really required some attention, *Tony-yes* which we didn't really um give it anyway,*Tony-laughs exactly* being dependent on the psychotic robot head, *Tony-laughs* he was sort of he was the brains of uh the articulate part of the brains, that whole Cluster technology that we were on, the Lexx. *Tony-yes yes* And very many things could only be answered by 790, lots of requirements from him all the time. But it was just just fantastic, it was great.
TONY: What I thought was interesting was you were on Forever Knight, and then Nigel Bennett was on your show, *laughs* so he kinda returned the favor. What was it like when Nigel came over?
MICHAEL: I wish he's been as generous with me as I was with him. I was on one episode with him, *Tony-exactly* he was on again and again.
TONY: Exactly. So what was it like when he came over and visited occasionally as Prince, I believe his name was on the show.
MICHAEL: Yeah, well, he became, he became more and more solid in the series. Nigel is terrific, he's just a great actor who is a real stout British actor man. He brought I don’t know, I don’t know he managed to do something very difficult, which is for the entire duration, without getting angsty about it and without worrying about it, he played one of these kind of trickster characters, I mean like a kind of version of Q or something like that.
TONY: Yes, exactly yeah.
MICHAEL: And that's it's kind of a gift of a part, but it's very double-edged, and he did this very well. You've gotta walk a fine line, you can't get too campy, *Tony-right* but you also can't let anything stick to your character. And somehow you've got to justify these bizarre things that you're able to do, places you can appear, things that you know about, powers that also turn out to be limited. *Tony-yes, yes* He had to deal with all that, and he managed it very very well. *Tony-oh yeah* He's a very director-friendly guys, and he's an all-around kind of guy *Tony-cool, cool* to have around, and I think he managed a very difficult kind of part *Tony-yeah* in a super professional fashion, very good.
TONY: So you said you've watched the shows in sequence, have you seen a lot of the series on DVD, have you had a chance to go back and visit it now and see it that way?
MICHAEL: Yeah, I've watched it, I felt like I had every right to, I stole it from the internet, because I've got the video copies, but they're so horrible to watch. These kind of copies are just, just a nightmare for an actor to watch themselves retaped on video, on VHS, so I've got that downloaded, I checked it out with my old person to person file sharing programs on a computer that I've had now just a little while, and found out that my uh my video card is very good in my computer, I really like that. My internet connection's very good, and you can download gigabytes of Lexx *Tony-wow* on almost any file-sharing protocol out there.
TONY: Wow, that's amazing, that’s amazing.
MICHAEL: So I stole it from the internet. I don't think they could pin that on me, I don't think it's a crime if you're actually in it. If I was less lazy, I could have just gone down and gotten it at the DVD store.
TONY: Well, I think they should give that to you, because you were in the damn show. I think if I were the producers, you should have a copy. So you should say, hey, this is your work, man.
MICHAEL: Yeah. Yeah No, like I said, I got the VHS copies.
TONY: Yeah, but you know, they've gotta go they gotta go with the technology, with the nice DVD’s. I mean, that was awesome, the quality on that is just fantastic you know.
MICHAEL: Yeah, and it does suit the material better, it looked better than when I'd seen it on TV.
TONY: Plus no commercials. And that's the best way to see it. You're just, you’re just totally wrapped up in what you're seeing, you don't have to cut away every few minutes to sell something, so that's what so great about DVD’s.
MICHAEL: Yeah, one of the other reasons why it was particularly great with Lexx is because it wasn't built for one set of commercial breaks. *Tony-right* It was built for three different sets of commercial breaks. That sometimes shows, I think, that they're a little bit shorter in the States because there's more commercial time uh required for the channels,*Tony-yeah *but they're a little bit longer in Europe, and in Canada it varies.
TONY: Yeah, we, we call it stripping here, where we take a series and cut it up so that it fits the commercial time.
TONY: Yeah, and that's really what it is, it's really stripping the product and uh which is why we love DVD’s, ‘cause there's no editing, you're gonna see the episode as it originally aired without any cuts or anything like that, and then in wonderful sound, and also you know great quality. I do want to mention that Lexx always had its share of Gemini nominations, so its um it really had, really hit the bar on a lot of different levels, too. I look at it as just people say it's a sci-fi show, I say oh, c'mon, it's great satire you know. You can argue it either way, but I think it was just cutting edge satire, and I have nothing you know bad to say about a show that helps me laugh at myself once in awhile. So it was a it was a cool thing, definitely, it really was something awesome. Actually, one of the uh people involved in the Timeless Destinations, kind of like their group that emails each other, had a couple of questions for you. *Michael- oh yeah* The first question, name is Angel, and Angel wanted to know first what your future plans were.
MICHAEL: I don't have any. My plan is to try and get a plan.
TONY: There you go, Angel.
MICHAEL: No, but tell Angel I'll let Angel know if it um it involves further schooling or a return to the stage or um beating the pavement to try and get episodic TV work. Angel will be the first to know.
TONY: There you go. All right. Well, stage work would, I think you be good for you. I think that'd be cool for you.
MICHAEL: That suits me best, in a way.
TONY: A lot of actors have always told me that they're very much at home on stage, much more than they are on TV and in films. Does that apply to you?
MICHAEL: Yeah, sort of. Again, the other interesting thing about the Lexx experience was to me, always the no, not always but often the experience is qualified in front of the camera, on the radio show, or onstage by the um the director. So what and this is the kind of school of acting that I came from-- Gordon Peacock, my favorite teacher from the University of Alberta he'd studied at um Carnegie Mellon I believe, I think, and then other places and he ended up with an endowed chair in Texas, sort of towards the end of my tenure there, running the directing program. Again, I think that's correct. But he was kind of very practical about many things, and one of the things he was practical about was that actors followed their directors, so once you got a director, you'd try and hang on to them, and hope that they get work, because then you get work with them. And that’s to me, it's preferable to work with, say, Martha Henry or Deanna LaBlanc or someone like that, you won't know the names, than it is to work with-- and do what other people might think is a lesser part I would rather work with them than a director who I don't really understand, I don't understand what he sees in his head, and do my favorite part. *Tony-yeah, yeah* And in a way that's the most heartbreaking thing, and the thing I kind of wonder about from the Lexx experience that a couple of the directors and I'm a little bit miffed that none of them have ever called me to give me this part, and that's maybe a normal thing, I don't know, but I know there are directors on Lexx who I would die to go work for, I'd go work for free because working with them I thought, everything becomes clear. *Tony-yeah* And with other directors you're always just trying to rack your brains to figure out the simplest problem, because all of a sudden everything's deeply mysterious. So, in a small way, latching onto something like you know like uh Robert DeNiro had Scorsese *Tony –exactly* is really important for an actor, because you need that strong, creative dialogue with a really good not a good like in a perfect sense a good for you kind of director, when you're an actor.
TONY: Would you ever consider switching roles and being a director sometime yourself?
MICHAEL: Yeah, I think about it. I think about it, Yeah I think about it.
TONY: Well, Angel's second question is about Kai's assassination uniform. Now, she was asking, she wanted to know if you managed to either keep it somehow, or is it somewhere in storage uh you know, as far as you know?
MICHAEL: I've got it.
TONY: You've got it! Hey, cool!
MICHAEL: I've got the real costume, and I don't know what those early days after the Lexx finished and they were selling off stuff, they said that they sold the real brace, and they haven't, because I have that, as well. So whoever bought that one, they can ask for their money back, it's not the real McCoy.
TONY: So there you go, Angel, he's got it and he's not gonna give it to you. But that's great. As I say, there was something, to me, that was sci-fi, at the time when Lexx was on, there was those Friday nights that had Farscape and Lexx back to back,*Michael-yeah* and those were, I think, two of the most original sci-fi shows, and you can kinda put that in quotation marks because Farscape was also its own thing as well.
MICHAEL: Absolutely, yeah.
TONY: And I just thought that it was very original and very out there. I like what Sci-Fi’s doing now, but I certainly enjoyed those Friday nights, and I think there's room for both those type of programs.
MICHAEL: Oh, absolutely, yeah.
TONY: So I think it's great, and those were very special Friday nights for me, to enjoy both shows. And uh it was a great time, and it was sad when it all ended, both shows. Farscape did get their end, eventually, in a TV movie, but actually Lexx did have an end, so um we did close the door, and nothing was left hanging, as they say. That was pretty good. So we're looking forward to having you at Timeless, I think it's gonna be a lot of fun, and uh it'll be great to see with some of your old friends, kind of hanging out. Certainly wish you the best. You are probably very modest about it, but I think those kind of parts, a character like Kai is a lot harder to play than it looks on TV. It looks like oh, he's easy but uh no, I don't think so you know. It's really a mindset that you had and you really were one with this character. You just seemed to find where he was, and you just kinda he took you where you needed to go, and you were there. He was a very, he was a very cool character in that sense, and obviously the offshoot of that is, like, women are were just crazy about Kai.
MICHAEL: Well. Let's just keep it at that. Crazy about Kai. *laughs*
TONY: Oh, a lot of female fans were nuts, really liked him.
MICHAEL: I met a buddy of mine in Toronto, I went over after one session of shooting, I think it was after the 13 or something like that and always at the end of, end of a shooting session, given the nature of the beast, one would be quite sort of burnt out, I think and I dragged myself over to this guy's place, and he just had to introduce the new roommate in the place he was living. He was living in a kind of co-op, an organized rooming house, very genteel and very nice and everything, but still requiring them to occasionally get people from the outside of their little circle to inhabit rooms and pay money. And they had a girl who was just about to return to Australia who'd been studying in Toronto, and I met her, and she had to had to confess after about 15 minutes that she was very sorry to have met me. Not in a bad way, it was a very sweet way, but she was like that character was so charismatic and you're just this guy. Skinny-shouldered. With a mouth who sort of seems a little bit like uh a little bit like he's read too many books.
TONY: Well, you know, the thing about Kai is I think what attracts women to him is less is more, you know? The guy has a little bit of mystery to him and the black outfit, and the hair it's a whole combination, and they uh they just dig him. Michael, it's a curse, what can I tell you?
MICHAEL: Yeah, yeah, yeah. The Kai curse.
TONY: *laugh* But don't worry, they'll like you for you, too, no doubt about it. But I really want to thank you for taking time out, and certainly wish you the best, and, as I said, if you can tell, part of the reasons I do this is I'm a fan of science fiction TV, and I feel, looking back, that Lexx was definitely you know part of history, that we should always look back fondly and uh say you know yeah, that was a cool show, that was a lot of fun, and there's room for Lexx as much as anything else like the straighter shows like Star Trek and stuff like that.
MICHAEL: Oh, yeah. I mean you've gotta be able to let it all hang out in science fiction once in awhile. In fact, one of my favorite sci-fi movies of all time is Barbarella *Tony-oh yeah great movie I just adore it. And it's kinda wacky and sexy.
TONY: Yeah, kind of Lexx! Because it was strange, it was sexy, it was satiric, it was great. It's good stuff. Yeah, it was fun. Thank you again, and uh I really appreciate you being on the show, and look forward to seeing you at Timeless, and also meeting you in person. I think that would be a thrill for me as well.
TONY: Great to hear that, great to have the opportunity to speak to this actor. One of the best things about what I do that constantly has me shaking my head when I sit down and analyze who I've spoken to in the past is the number of great people that I get to talk to, and I certainly would put Michael there. I certainly don't urge you to do what he does, is to download episodes on the internet of Lexx, but there's a lot of great DVD’s out there that have a lot of great features that are worth picking up, and reliving this series over and over again. And definitely check out Timeless Destinations.com for any more details on the convention. You can also get a room and sign up for this great convention. It's a lot of really great actors that are gonna be there. It'll be be kind of a Farscape and Lexx reunion then, too, which is kind of nice, and we'll have that Friday night lineup from years past brought back together again. That'd be awesome. And definitely check out scifitalk.com and my Timeless Destination page where you can hear this pod cast, along with other pod casts of many of the other guests that will be there as well. A very special thank you to Bill Wanstrom of Wanstrom and Associates for setting up the interview with Michael McManus. Until next time on Sci-fi Talk, this is Tony Tellado. Thanks so much for listening.
MICHAEL: My name is Michael McManus. I played Kai in the Lexx, and you're listening to Sci-fi Talk.
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