Cast & Writers Interviews Index


Interview with Eric Pierpoint
Interview with Gary Graham
Interview with Michele Scarabelli
Interview with Terri Treas
Interview with James Greene
Interview with Kenneth Johnson
Interview with David Spencer
Interview with Susan Appling Johnson
Alien son - Interview with Sean Six
Interview with Kerri Keane


Interview with Eric Pierpoint

Pete Chambers Interviews Eric Pierpoint

Pete, how nice of you to show such enthusiasm toward Alien Nation. The experience I had filming the show was certainly the highlight of my career. It continues with me, even now.

DID YOU EVER LOSE SLEEP OVER ALIEN NATION?

I think the proper response to your question about whether I lost sleep over Alien Nation is rather, did I ever get any sleep? NO!!! I never worked harder in my life. My day began at 4:30 AM for makeup and continued for about 16 hours. After returning home to a bowl of cold cereal, I then worked on the next day's shooting. Every day! They finally gave me a driver, figuring that was the better alternative than having me drive myself up a palm tree. However, I longed for the daily challenge.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE EPISODE AND WHY?

I have several favorite episodes including the baseball sequence of The Touch*, The Game, and others, but I would have to say that Real Men was the most satisfying. The challenge of portraying an alien man giving birth was filled with humor, quirks, and tenderness. In this country I am know as the man who gave birth on national television.

* The baseball sequence was actually in Rebirth.

HOW MUCH OF YOU WAS IN GEORGE?

There is more of me in George than there has been in all my other characters. That is to say the positive traits. I changed my voice a bit, my accent, my physical nature, walk, and become more economical in my behavior. Personally, I am much more cynical and worldly than George, but by doing the character I become much more aware of the positive sides to my personality. I discovered more of myself.

WHAT'S YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES OF THE SERIES?

My fondest memories of the series are those relating to the every day adventure of working with the finest actors and crew, writers and producers ever. Ken Johnson is a talented man who creates such a wonderful atmosphere that it releases you to do the best possible work. There was a lot of laughter on the set. That laughter made it possible to enjoy the journey of creating a new culture, often well thought out and often seat of the pants.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO BRITAIN?

My only visit to Britain involved plane trouble and a dismal 12 hour wait at Heathrow. I will visit again under better circumstances.

THE CAST ALWAYS CAME OVER AS ONE BIG FAMILY. WAS IT ACTUALLY LIKE THIS?

The cast of Alien Nation was one big family, and like all families we did occasionally have our differences, but they never lasted. The fact is, everybody liked each other. It is the closest cast I've been associated with. I, however, threw about five fits all year, probably due to being in the head every day.

Keep up the good work. Live long Tencton!



Interview with Gary Graham


"It's such a dream job... To get it again, even for five weeks, was heaven... It was just a joy to go to work every day... Ken loves us, and it is so mutual... In my heart, there was this little voice saying `You know it's not over yet -- Alien Nation is not over.'... [Then] out of the blue, Ken's assistant called up and said, `We are just checking on availability for the actors to do a possible Alien Nation movie,' and I went, `Ohhh, this is great! I don't care what I'm doing, I'm available. Just tell me when and I'll be there."

Asked "What will happen if it comes back weekly?" he responded, "As a series -- what fun!" (As we know, he told Starlog "I'd do Alien Nation for the rest of my life.") "...You go through years and years as an actor scraping together a living and sometimes saying lines that stick in your throat... Then you get this opportunity of Alien Nation. Not only is the character fleshed out, the situations are logical, rational, beautiful, and you can invest so much more of yourself with confidence. And these wonderful people to work with -- Ken Johnson, Eric Pierpoint, Terri Treas -- it's a dream come true. In that situation, in that cauldron of creativity, great stuff happens, stuff that surprises you."

He also expressed affection for the fans. Re an AN convention he attended in New Orleans: "It was fun, unusual, strange, and neat... Those wacky knuckleheads, God bless them, they were great fun. They know how to have fun." In New Orleans "I was accosted everywhere I went. It was great fun." (So, folks, don't be afraid to walk up and say hi if you see him somewhere!) Re campaigners who picketed Fox: "My wife was even out there. Bless their hearts that they were out there picketing." He added, "I just want to thank everybody for appreciating the show, because I appreciate their appreciation. I'm a fan of the show as well."

Like Ken Johnson and Eric Pierpoint and a lot of fans, he named Real Men as his favorite episode (what could Skiffy have been thinking when they left RM out of the marathon?) along with Crossing the Line (well, of course he'd like that one -- he gave a brilliant performance in it -- but I doubt that many other people count it as a favorite). He also mentioned that he's been writing screenplays and working on two novels.


Posted to the AN Mailing List by Gayle Highpine.



Interview with Michele Scarabelli


Transcript of the Interview of Michele Scarabelli in the Tencton Planet

Dear Tencton Planet, sorry for the long delay in writing. I've been shooting a new television series in Africa called Okavango, which, I am told, is doing well in U.K.

I was delighted to read a couple of your issues on my return to Los Angeles. Thankyou for sending them. As much as it pains me to have lost such a wonderful show as Alien Nation, I still love reading about it. To answer some of your questions:

WAS THERE EVER A TIME WHILST MAKING AN YOU FELT A LITTLE UNEASY WITH A PARTICULAR SCENE?

Yes, I did feel uncomfortable with the transfering of the pod episode. Between takes of that scene in the birthing room, I would look down at my prosthetic belly and realize what this strange tenctacle actually looke like. I must admit, it made me a bit squeamish.

HOW DID YOU HANDLE WEARING "THE HEAD"?

I got used to the head very quickly. I also didn't have to wear it as often as Eric, so it wasn't as much of a nuisance.

IF THE SERIES HAD CONTINUED, IN WHAT DIRECTION WOULD YOU HAVE LIKED SUSAN TO GO IN?

I would have liked to see Susan out of the house more, showing her interacting in the human world as a career woman. Also, I think from an acting standpoint, I would have liked her to show a less than perfect wife/mom image, developing more facets to her character.

IF A.N. RETURNED WOULD YOU STILL LIKE TO BE A PART OF IT?

I would love to go back to the show if only to wrap up all the loose end we left. I felt so cheated, as I know our fans did, when we got cancelled. I wanted to get to know Susan more.

For now I'm enjoying Okavango. In some ways it shares a lot with Alien Nation in its concerns for human interest stories, environmental issues and racial problems. I've been lucky to go from one great show to another, considering the kind of shows that air on T.V. these days.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE EPISODE?

It's really hard to pick a favourite episode, but I loved the humour of Chains of Love. They all touch me, each in a different way.

I hope this answers some of your questions. Thankyou for your wonderful support.



Interview with Terri Treas


Pete Chambers Interviews Terri Treas

DID YOU HAVE MUCH ARTISTIC FREEDOM ON THE SET, PARTICULARLY ON THE EPISODE THE TOUCH?

On The Touch I was involved very much with the story process.

YOU SEEM TO HAVE A STRONG SENSE OF HUMOR, DID THIS EVER CREATE PROBLEMS ON THE SET?

No, a sense of humor is needed on a weekly dramatic show just to survive.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE EPISODE AND WHY?

I like them all, but to pick, The Touch and Vessna's birth. (Real Men)

DID YOU KEEP ANY A.N. MEMENTOS?

No.

HOW WELL DID YOU GET ON WITH GARY GRAHAM?

Very well, he's a true gentleman.

WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT PLANS? I HEAR YOU ARE INVOLVED WITH A WOMEN'S SELF-DEFENSE GROUP, HOW INVOLVED ARE YOU IN THIS PROJECT?

Currently I am directing feature films. "Play Nice" will be released in Europe sometime this year. I'm beginning pre-production on a film called "Snapdragon" at the moment and yes I'm very much involved with the Impact Foundation.



Interview with James Greene


Transcript of the Interview of James Greene from the Tencton Planet

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE A.N. EPISODE AND WHY?

The episode in which I walked into the ocean (Little Lost Lamb), to show my great-nephew (Buck) how to overcome fear. We shot it at Malibu in front of many bewildered beach- goers.

DID YOU KEEP ANY MEMENTOES OF THE SERIES?

I had a few of my latex heads, but gave them all away to various children.

HOW DID YOU APPROACH PLAYING UNCLE MOODRI?

I tried to think of it as a family story, rather than one alien. I was a visiting relative not wholly accepted, but one who was there on a mission to help a family member in need.

WOULD YOU HAVE LIKED MOODRI TO HAVE CONTINUED TO "EVOLVE" OVER THE ENTIRE SERIES, INSTEAD OF BEING KILLED OFF?

Yes.

WHY DID MOODRI WATCH TV WITH BINOCULARS (ALONG WITH VARIOUS OTHER STRANGE THINGS)?

I guess it was a kind of "story conceit", an alien eccentricity if you will.

WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT PLANS?

I have just finished a feature film - "Philadelphia Experiment II" - which should be out in August and I'm doing a Dylan Thomas play - "Under Milk Wood" - at a small theatre here in the San Fernando Valley.



Interview with Kenneth Johnson


Transcript of the Interview with Kenneth Johnson from the first issue of the Tencton Planet - 30th. March, 1991.

Kenneth Johnson is of course the “mainman” as far as Alien Nation is concerned, he not only directed the series but he adapted it, developed it and even wrote some of it; and just for good measure he was also executive producer. What better way then to launch the Tencton Planet then with an interview with Mr Alien Nation himself.

KENNETH, WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE EPISODE?

In answer to your question, probably my favourite Alien Nation episode was the one in which George gave birth to their baby girl, Vessna. All of our shows always dealt with some sort of theme, and this one; the idea of what it meant to be a real man. It was wonderfully enriching to delve into, and hopefully shake up some of the myths of what manhood is all about. In each of our episodes we always looked for a deeper meaning and some thematic content. I felt that the baby birth episode most exemplified that.

HOW LONG DID THE SERIES TAKE TO DEVELOP?

Regarding the development of the series, Fox asked me to look at the motion picture, which I did, and I told them that the feature missed the boat: they had created a wonderful premise; i.e. the worlds newest minority, then had let the movie turn into Miami Vice with coneheads. I said that I would only be interested in developing the series if it could be done as a sociological study of what it was like to be the most recent people off the boat. The entire process took about two months from beginning to finished script.

WHAT ARE YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES OF THE SERIES?

My fondest memories of the series are the people with whom I had the opportunity to work. Not only the cast, who were uniformly excellent and supportive of one another in the best tradition of a repertory company, but also the writers and producers, who understood what my original idea was all about and constantly found ways to explore the human condition through alien eyes.

Alien Nation was one of those truly enjoyable experiences, that everyone involved with it will long cherish as how much fun and rewarding television can be.



Interview with David Spencer


Interviewer : Brian Olson (PXTS92C@prodigy.com)

WHAT GENDER WILL ALBERT AND MAY'S BABY BE? WAS PASSING FANCY A SCRIPT ASSIGNMENT YOU WERE ABOUT TO GET? I REALLY LOVE THE LYRICS TO THE TENCTONESE LULLABY.

Don't know the gender of the Albert-May baby. The original mandate of the book series was to adapt the unfilmed episodes and then keep the continuity going with new stories. However, if Dark Horizon and the upcoming Body and Soul revitalize interest in more filmed episodes, anything I've invented is up for grabs. Should it be left up to me to decide about the baby in a future book...hmmm. Dunno. But it's nice to consider the possibilities.

As for Gayle's question: Passing Fancy was not the script assignment I would have gotten. The staff writers I pitched it to like it enormously, but they said it drew too much attention to the alien make- up..by which I think they meant: to the artifice of it. (They had listened to a great many stories, they said, about Newcomers passing for humans and vice versa. And said mine was, by leaps and bounds, the best they'd heard in the exploration of that theme. But it was still not compelling enough for them to risk blowing the verisimilitude of the illusion.) As for the story I would have sold (I hope)...I'll keep that mum for a while. I'm hoping that, if the novel series does continue, I can use it as the basis of my next book. (P.S. I never met with Ken Johnson, save perfunctiorily through the mail and over the phone when I was pitching -- and then he was there as the head of a group of writers.) Glad you like the lyrics, Gayle. {Actually, he was talking to Becky, previously about Gayle Highpine's question. But it's no big deal. Right Becky?} They were originally written for an animated film that never got past the development stage. There's a really lovely melody for it composed by Walter Edgar (aka Skip) Kennon. (Skip, by the way, has also written music and lyrics for the next season's Broadway musical based on Jack Finney's novel Time and Again.)

MR. SPENCER, WE WOULD LOVE YOU TO JOIN OUR AN MAILING LIST. (I INCLUDED THE ADDRESS TO THIS PLACE AND HOW TO JOIN.) ALSO, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE AN FANDOM?

To be honest, I don't know much about the Alien Nation fandom. I have, of course, always sensed that it was passionate...certainly that's why Kevin Ryan at Pocket Books pioneered the novels, which would begin appearing two years after the show was canceled...certainly, too, that's why Dark Horizon was finally green-lighted for production. (And, by the way, the grape vine tells me that Body and Soul has been green- lighted too.)

I'll think seriously about your invitation to join the Listserver. I'm relatively new to this on-line stuff, and I'm not sure what the hell everything is yet (for the moment, I'm on America Online, though that may change), so I may e-mail you some questions before actually subscribing. In any event, thanks for the invite.

Nice to know, too, that a lot of people are liking the book.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THE PASSING FANCY PLOT? HAVEN'T HAD A CHANCE TO READ IT YET, BUT I'M GOING TO

Difficult question to answer simply, especially since you haven't read the book yet. So this answer will make more sense after you have.

I met a friend who had been a PACT actress (like the Fancy of the title), and stories of her experiences planted the seed for me. But that was several months before I actually wrote anything. My first shot at a story -- I should say our first shot, as I was writing stories with the late Bruce Peyton at the time -- was one conceived for the deservedly short-lived cop series True Blue, which was shooting in New York. We wound up selling another story to True Blue, but the idea of a PACT-based story lingered in our minds. However, when I pitched it to Alien Nation, the tale had mutated into something quite different than what had been pitched to True Blue. (By the way, the inconsistency of pronouns above is intentional. Bruce and I conceived the stories together, but since I would write the actual scripts, it was I who made the pitches. Had Bruce lived, we had plans to reverse this process as well, and jointly conceive stories that he would write and pitch.)

Passing Fancy gestated in my unconsciousness a long time. First it was an idea for a TV episode...months later it was reconceived and expanded for a novel...the proposal wasn't read by the editor for another eight months, and then it was almost half a year again before I would actually find time to write the book, so it had grown unusually rich -- for a tie-in project -- due to accidents of scheduling. However, the actual writing time, per se, was about six and a half weeks: a week and a half for the proposal (which considered of three chapters and an outline), five for the balance of the novel.

BARRY LONGYEAR DOESN'T SEEM TO HAVE THE CHARACTERS DOWN VERY WELL. HOW DIFFERENT IS THE CHANGE TELEPLAY FROM THE NOVEL?

I don't know Mr. Longyear at all, though I'm a great fan of his work. Nor do I know much about his association with the Alien Nation books. As an artist, he had to follow his muse (and since the Alien Nation books are not policed by Fox Merchandising the way Paramount policies the Star Trek books, he had more license to do so.) In re: Longyear's "liberties" he did take a number of them, yes. About which, no comment. But it's tough to blame him too much for "Nicto." That's what George's Tenctonese name is in the Alien Nation Writer's Guide. It's something that was changed (to bring it more in line with the film, I guess) in the actual filmed episodes. I don't think I speak out of school, though, to say that the teleplay version of The Change is very different from the novel.

My personal philosophy about such an assignment is that, when I'm writing a tie-in novel, , it's part of my job to play by the rules of the series, and to know its tone and continuity as intimately as I can. It is possible to expand the literary side of the series lore within those parameters, and maintain one's imprimatur as a novelist -- Ashley McConnell is doing it just brilliantly now with the Quantum Leap books; and for those of you old enough to remember (or lucky enough to find them), Walter Wager (writing as "John Tiger") did his seven I Spys with devastating artfulness; as did the late David McDaniel with his hugely entertaining contributions to the Man from U.N.C.L.E. books -- but part of the game is accepting those parameters. The trick is, as composer Igor Stravinsky said, to find "freedom within restriction."

But to play Devil's Advocate, with regard to The Change, I'm not sure how I might have fared or what I would have done had it been my assignment to turn a 50 minute teleplay into full-length novel. I don't know how accurately the outline of the source material can be preserved, under those circumstances. (For the record, I think Alan Dean Foster came up with a very interesting solution to such a problem with his Star Trek Logs #7-10. The previous books had contained adaptions of three half hour animated episodes each, but the last four books were limited to one each. So Foster did straight-ahead adaptions, not trying to pad the stories out of proportion -- and the second two thirds of each book was, in effect, an original sequel to its teleplay source.)

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF "DARK HORIZON"? AND HAS THE MOVIE PICKED UP NOVEL SALES?

I liked Dark Horizon a lot. The beginning felt rushed and compressed, and I missed a few of the things from the cliffhanger episode that got carved away in an effort to make the TV movie a wholly self-contained even (the fight between George and Matt, for example, would have given that hospital scene a much deeper and more satisfying resonance)...but, all in all, I think it did what it had to: delight the fans and revitalize interest in the franchise. And the film looked great.

Sorry, I don't know if the TV movie has affected book sales. I only know that, when I realized that the release of my book would dovetail with the airdate, I was a very happy Newcomer.





Interview with Susan Appling Johnson


Transcript of the Interview of Susan Appling Johnson from the Tencton Planet

This issue, it is a pleasure to talk to Susan Appling Johnson. Known to Alien Nation fans as "The Priestess" from Dark Horizon. She was also immortalised in the A.N. theme song & language (the Tenct' for love is 'Sus') by her husband Kenneth Johnson. This is what she had to say - Nok E Vot Susan, for your help.

It feels a little funny to be answering your questions, because I am not an actress. As you already know, when Alien Nation was cancelled, everyone (cast and crew) was devastated, and then the opportunity arose to do one more movie, I planned to get into make-up and perhaps do one line just to see what it was like. We weren't sure there would be any Alien Nations after Dark Horizon, so it was like a last chance. I ended up as the Priestess, and believe me, no one was more surprised than I.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE ALIEN NATION EPISODE?

I can't really say what would be my favourite A.N. episode... I loved them all so much. I think of a scene from one and then another and another, and I realize that they were all equally wonderful to me.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO ANOTHER ALIEN NATION?

I don't think so. I as terribly self-conscious... all of the A.N. cast are my friends, and it was a little embarrassing to try to "act" in front of them, when I can't really do it. Jeff Marcus (Albert), whom I have know for nearly 14 years and whom I love more than I can say, really got me through it. Thank god he was the one getting married, because when I looked at him in the scenes, I was o.k. It was a long, long day... and I was the only one who had any lines!!!

HOW WAS THE MAKE-UP (ESPECIALLY WITH THE ADDED "HEAD-DRESS")?

The make-up was interesting. That's really why I did the show, because I wanted to see what I would look like as an alien. It takes over two hours to get into the head. In real life, I hate my own hair, so I quite liked myself without it. I didn't feel the head-dress... it sits on top of the sponge, (which is quite removed from your own head) and so I didn't have any sensation of there being anything on my head.

DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT YOU THOUGHT WHEN YOU HEARD THE A.N. THEME FOR THE FIRST TIME (DID YOU REALIZE KEN HAD USED YOUR NAME)?

I laughed a lot when I realized that Kenny had put my "backwards" name into the theme. He actually used my name and our daughter's name, Katie Johnson which spelled backwards is Eitak Nosnhoj. So I think it goes something like "nasus gnilppa, eitak nosnhoj...". It makes me laugh every time we hear it.

WHAT OTHER PRODUCTIONS HAVE YOU APPEARED IT?

I haven't appeared in other productions with the exception of a line or two, which I also did for fun.

WHAT'S KENNETH LIKE TO WORK FOR?

I don't know if I can answer that. We have been married for nearly 18 years, and I have been on so many sets and locations with him, so it was just sort of like one of those days, except that I had things to say this time. He is a wonderful, kind and generous man. Since I can't really tell you what he is like to work for from an actor's point of view (since I'm not one really), I can tell you that all of the other actors love working with him... in fact, everybody loves him.

Thankyou so much for your interest... I am sorry my reply couldn't be more dazzling. Kenny and I truly appreciate all of the time and energy and effort you put into Alien Nation and are very grateful for all of your support.




Alien son - Sean Six

Alien son takes express route to success
By Peter Farrell
The Sunday Oregonian - December 24, 1989.

If there is a usual route to acting success, it's from school to stage to - if you are lucky - film. Which is exactly what Sean Six did, only he took the express route. He studied drama at Portland's Grant High School, and went on to theatre at Portland State university, then did a play in Portland. That small production got him an agent in Los Angeles and a part with Peter Fonda in a still unfinished movie. The movie role was enough to convince him to move to Los Angeles, where he did another play for five months. And then, at 21, he became a regular in a television series.

So the series is on Fox Broadcasting, not one or the Big Three networks. 'Alien Nation" is for many viewers the only adult drama on Fox, and it has developed a serious following. It may not yet have reached "Star Trek" pro portions, but people who would never watch "Booker" or even "21 Jump Street" admit to watching "Alien Nation", which airs at 9 p.m. Mondays on KPDX (49)

And Buck Francisco, Six's rebelling teenager from another planet, is one of the more interesting characters of the series, which stars Gary Graham and Eric Pierpoint as detective partners - Graham playing the human. Pierpoint the alien.

"They wanted something for everybody on this show", Six said during a visit to Portland, so anybody can watch the show and relate to one of the characters, or all of the characters, and that's where Buck came in - to draw the teen-age audience."

A role in a television series isn't really the goal for Six, but It is a major step for him. The series "Is getting my work out there on a really large scale, which is nice". And even while making the series, he has been doing a play in Los Angeles with Anthony Geary,

For Six the decision to leave Portland for Los Angeles came easily. "I think to be a professional actor you need to be in either New York or Los Angeles, and after doing the film I think It was time to inject myself into a larger market, Portland's a wonderful town, and it's a great market if you want to do theatre, but my goal is to do film, television and theatre the rest of my life. So I had to make a move either to Los Angeles or New York. And in New York the competition is too stiff, and the jobs are too few. In Los Angeles, if you're young and you're good, you can work. If you're lucky... and if you have a good agent.

Six connected with an agent in Los Angeles thanks to the play "Small Combo Blues," about a teenager who watches his mother suffer physical abuse at the hands of his stepfather, and tries to protect his mother by killing the stepfather. The play, an original by Nan Klementowski, produced by the Columbia Theatre Company, featured Six in what one member of the audience remembers as a "showy, early Brando turn" that was fairly impressive.

Impressive enough that when someone sent a video-tape of part of the play to a Hollywood agent, Six found himself with representation in Los Angeles, the first big hurdle for an actor. "To get an agent in Los Angeles on the basis of a play In Portland - that's unheard of", he said, But it worked for him.

He did a play for five months, and tried out for "Alien Nation," winning the part after a series of auditions. His Buck Francisco is not exactly your normal teen, considering that he is from another planet. While his father is trying to fit into Earth society, things have been more difficult for Buck, who as a teenager is more sensitive to the discrimination against the aliens.

The basic Story of how the aliens, slaves on another planet, got to Earth was told in the motion picture "Alien Nation" now playing on cable. The Fox series continues that story, and fleshes out the characters. The alien detective that Pierpoint plays has a loving wife, and his problems at home with Buck are similar to those any parent might face, especially a parent in a minority household. The aliens are derisively called "slags," and humans complain about the aliens that "take our jobs."

Dad says he is working as a policeman because he Wants what is best for his family. Buck says his father has sold out to the humans.

While "Alien Nation" is basically a cop show, it has fun with the differences between the aliens and humans. The aliens, or Newcomers, have heads that look like melons, they get drunk on sour milk, water feels like acid to them, and their love lives seem strange to humans. They have different erogenous zones, and pregnancy lasts four months for the mother, who then turns the pod over to the father to care for.

The series uses these ideas to get across some fairly heavy-handed messages about discrimination. "The show possibly entertains and educates in a roundabout way," said Six. They deal with very Important issues on this show, but in a way that mainstream America will tune in and not feel like they are being bombarded with lessons The biggest issue we deal with is prejudice, and judging people for what they look like not for what they are.



Interview with Kerri Keane


Pete Chambers Interviews Kerri Keane

Dear Pete, I am happy to know there is an Alien Nation Appreciation Society and I enjoyed reading the Tencton Planet you sent me very much. I have attempted to answer your questions as best I could.

HOW AWARE OF ALIEN NATION WERE YOU WHEN YOU AUDITIONED FOR THE PART OF JENNIFER AND WHAT WAS THE AUDITION LIKE?

I was a big fan of the Alien Nation series and was thrilled for Kenny and Eric (good friends since Hot Pursuit) when the movies allowed them to continue their work together. Kenny offered me serial guest roles during the series but I kept holding out for an alien part of good challenge. That part finally came with “Jennifer” in Millennium. Kenny says he had me in mind when he wrote it: I'm not quite sure what that says about me. I was not required to audition for the part.

HOW WOULD YOU APPRAISE THE JENNIFER CHARACTER. WAS SHE A “LOST MISGUIDED SOUL”, OR MORE LIKELY “A SCHEMING MONEY-MAD MANIPULATIVE CON ARTIST WITH A HUGE HANG-UP”?

I think Jennifer had born the full brunt of human prejudice including the death of her father. Motivated by bitter revenge she was determined to escape the Tenctonese ghetto and achieve power and wealth at any cost; prey on the humans that had so damaged her soul.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE HAVING TO DO MANY SCENES (I PRESUME IN CHROMA KEY) THAT WERE TO HAVE “MATTE” AND CGI SCENES ADDED LATER IN POST-PRODUCTION?

Working against a blue screen challenges your imagination. It's like working in theatre on an empty stage - you must imagine everything around you and believe yourself to be inhabiting that world.

KENNY JOHNSON AND ERIC PIERPOINT ARE OLD FRIENDS FROM THE SERIES HOT PURSUIT, I WONDER WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH ERIC AND KENNY AGAIN?

I haven't worked with Kenny and Eric since Hot Pursuit. In that series, if you remember, we played Kate and Jim a married couple - fugitives on the run. I think we all got a kick out of Kate and Jim together again; this time in Tenctonese heads and cast as adversaries.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE SCENE FROM MILLENNIUM AND WHY?

My favourite “Jennifer” scene was when she told Calaban of her past, revealing her anger and hurt but hiding it behind a loving smile as she gazes down at her followers. I enjoyed the challenge of felling and saying one thing but presenting the opposite face.

WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE TENCTONESE MAKE-UP, ESPECIALLY “THE HEAD”, GOOD FUN OR WHAT?

Although I think the make-up and head look splendid it was torture to wear; the inability to hear, the headaches, the skin blisters, the stiff neck - have I said enough?

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?

I will always continue acting but I have been involved in theatre directing of late and am presently tackling the second draft of a novel I'm writing and hope to get published.