SCIFI TALK INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT WITH MICHAEL MCMANUS
FOR TIMELESS DESTINATIONS CONVENTION
BY TONY TELADO
TRANSCRIPT DONE BY KETANA:
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, Ďcause itís 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 itís 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 youíll hear me kind of singing the praises of it during the
course of this interview Ďcause I really dug the series for itís 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
thatíll be great because itíll 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
So a little Lexx
reunion going on at Timeless Destinations. Youíll 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 hereís my conversation
with Michael McManus.
TONY: Iím really
glad that youíre going to be at Timeless Destinations coming up uh this
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 thatís great, I think youíll really like
it because itís 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 youíll really like it, itís 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 itís 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 90ís.
itís..itís hard to say it was, um, the, the, I was kinda of catapulted into
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 heís 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 youíre a fencer you donít 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 wasnít
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 Aesthetics at least and uh because the Brunnen-Gís 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
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 Iím 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, itís a good idea but it seemed to me more like a Star Trek
idea so I thought why on earth would somebody whoís 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 develop 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 youíre not a thing itís very hard to want. If you,
if youíre that removed from something itís very hard to want it.
TONY: yeah exactly.
MICHAEL: if you
donít have the equip, the equipment that would want something, you canít
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
TONY: uh huh
MICHAEL: of the mechanical part of the character.
MICHAEL: and thatís
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
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 thatís an art. I have to commend you for that.
MICHAEL: thatís got,
I think thatís got a lot to do with the um with the writing.
TONY: um hum
MICHAEL: It wasnít
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 didnít 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,
MICHAEL: we were
finishing up in the most satirical series of episodes uh re: pop 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: didnít seem
like checks of uh, they didnít 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.
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 weíre dated. *laughs*
MICHAEL: We admit that
if we had gotten this in one year before we would have been prophetic but uh,
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 Paulís
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 thatís 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
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. TONY:
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 IÖit's been, itís 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
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..itís..itís 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
MICHAEL: 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.
MICHAEL: And thatís 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..Iím ready!
MICHAEL: *laughs* Will work for reasonable wages.
TONY: There you go. There you go that's awesome.
TONY: You know and you've also um you know youíve 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
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, Ďcause
youíre not 235 pounds. *laughs* You donít 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.
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. MICHAEL:
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
MICHAEL: 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,
MICHAEL: Xenia Seeberg
MICHAEL: And it was,
it was kinda of a normalish transition. I like the um hospital episode very
much, where Eva/Zev dies
*Tony Ėyes* MICHAEL: 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*
MICHAEL: I mean I
donít find watching it..I've only really watched it in sequence thoroughly
*Tony oh okay
*MICHAEL:six months ago.
MICHAEL: I don't like to watch stuff after its been shot. And it
doesn't seem, it doesnít seem too hiccuppy. I've got to say, I mean I was very
attached to Eva
MICHAEL: because she
MICHAEL: So it meant no acting required.
MICHAEL: I'll just be
indifferent to this um to this love pouring out of a gorgeous young German girl.
TONY: Yeah, that's, thatís not a bad gig, as they say.
*laughs*Itís pretty..it doesn't sound like work at all.
MICHAEL: And Xenia, I think that she found her own way
MICHAEL: and figured
things out, and quite rightly changed, let the character adapt to her.
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
MICHAEL: I'm not 100%
sure. I believe the last time we saw each other was in Asia *Tony-wow look at
MICHAEL: 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.
TONY: 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
*Tony Ė uh huh*
MICHAEL: 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 thatís possible*
MICHAEL: I don't think
I ever did. I never, I didn't see her in the 13 episodes the Fire and Water
I think from a
distance I may have shot all of her bodyguards with my brace when she was
playing golf in Thailand.
TONY: Thatís 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
MICHAEL: which we didn't really um give it anyway,
dependent on the psychotic robot head,
MICHAEL: 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.
MICHAEL: 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,
MICHAEL: 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 donít know, I donít 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,
MICHAEL: 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
MICHAEL: He had to deal with all that, and he managed it very very
MICHAEL: He's a very director-friendly guys, and he's an all-around
kind of guy
MICHAEL: to have around, and I think he managed a very difficult
kind of part
MICHAEL: 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
MICHAEL: on almost any file-sharing protocol out there.
TONY: Wow, that's amazing, thatís 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 DVDís.
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, youíre 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 DVDís.
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.
MICHAEL: 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,
MICHAEL: but they're a little bit longer in Europe, and in Canada
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 DVDís, Ďcause 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*
TONY: 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,
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
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 thatís 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.
MICHAEL: 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.
MICHAEL: 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
MICHAEL: 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
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-Fiís doing now, but I certainly enjoyed those Friday
nights, and I think there's room for both those type of programs.
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.
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
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. *Interview over*
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 DVDís 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