Gigi Edgley is an Australian actress and recording artist. She is best known for her roles as Chiana on the series Farscape and Lara Knight in Rescue: Special Ops.
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I am Gigi Edgley.
Excited to be doing this AMA today. My latest project is the sci-fi short film Hashtag which you can read about and support here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/runicfilms/hashtag-short-film?ref=nav_search
Looking forward to your questions. Victoria will be assisting me today. AMA!
Edit: Thank you SO much beautiful friends and family, far and near. I am completely and totally honored that you guys are part of my life, and once again, would be absolutely blown away if you had a moment in your busy day to check out our Hashtag kickstarter, as I know this is a story you will want to come onboard and tell the world with us. Love you LOTS and have a safe & happy holiday!
Gigi! I'm a huge fan! :)
Were Chiana's movements always unique to her, or could the other people who played nebari just not get them to look right?
Also, what is it about the Hashtag script that made you sign on?
We actually had a long rehearsal with the other actors - not quite sure what happened on the day, but there was definitely some difference between Chiana's movements and her species. Not quite sure what happened there, but I was never going to shy away from making her as alien as possible. No matter what the rest of my species was doing! :)
So, as i was saying before, it's very rare that you get to play female leaders that are sensational and intriguing, and X ( the character) has all these elements in her. She's an extremely compelling woman. And there's just an absolute infinity of possibilities with the costumes, the visual FX, because it's us in 50 years time. It's set on the way we are moving forward with social media, and online dating, and YouTube - it's set in that world, and this character is completely mesmerized. She thinks her life is perfect, and she has it all together, and then slowly and not so surely, everything starts to crumble. And it's a REALLY really intriguing process to watch. It's very relevant to what WE go through.
It's like something I say to my husband - he has to say good morning to me before he says good morning to his iPhone.
Cuz we're all getting so mind-swept, so infatuated by modern technology, sometimes we forget about the real things in life. It's a very relevant story that needs to be told.
excuse me, /u/GigiEdgley , but i think that they were referring to Virginia Hey's issue with the makeup
> "I couldn't be Zhaan every day because the make-up was hurting me."
also, you were my fav character on the show.
Aw thank you so much! I'm absolutely honored and over the moon that you would say that.
And to tell you the truth, if they asked me to play Chiana every day of my life, I would do it, because I'm SO in love with that character. It's very rare that you get to play leads that are really strong and complex, and people spend SO much time and energy designing the character. She was such an amazing role for me to play - I was only 23 when I took her on, originally I was meant to play her for only 1 episode. I looked at her when they put the makeup on me - and I said "I want to BE an alien." I like to really get into my roles, inside out, and I grew up loving THE DARK CRYSTAL and LABYRINTH- and I wanted to create an alien that fit seamlessly into the Jim Henson world. No one ever told me to make crazy movements, I just went "It's not every day you get asked to play an alien, so I fell into it!" and wanted to make her so nonhuman. So that's how she came about.
Did the makeup affect you like the other characters on Farscape?
I - to this day - believe that I am extremely blessed to work with the Jim Henson Company. I absolutely LOVE and adore them. Certainly the hours were very long, and the shooting schedule was very strenous, but I would never complain because I loved working with them so much. It's projects like FARSCAPE which inspire me to work on high-caliber shows, like Hashtag. Our writer was inspired by a TED talk about our culture obsession with speed and technology, and it's set in a near-social world where social media and celebrity dominate our lives. Our ultimate dream is to take it to Sundance, Cannes & Toronto. And if ALL our dreams come true, we'd love to develop it into a series or a feature film, but we are very open to ideas from fans.
> they were pulling Moya apart piece by piece
That made me sad.
It was really unbelievable, because we'd all gone to these lengths, we'd become a very connected family. You can't compare it to anything else on earth you really can't. You're working REALLY hard, you're exhausted, you have these bizarre emotional connections with characters - you become more than connected to this family. So when they canceled the show, it was just devastating. I did an autograph signing almost immediately after, and fans said "Oh, we're going to get this back on the road" and i said "Guys - i've seen Moya be pulled apart, it's done" but it was the PURE love and adoration of the fans that created PEACEKEEPER WARS.
So that's saved my soul so many times. Those little moments when we all feel lost. You think of those special moments when complete strangers have helped and looked after you from worlds away, to help make your job continue. They rebuilt and got us back onset and we were shooting it. So that always inspires me every day, how giving and caring people are. I really appreciate it.
Are we getting another season of Creature Shop? My 7 and 9 year old daughters LOVED the show and keep asking me!
No, SyFy hasn't picked up a second season of Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge, because they said it cost too much to shoot. So I moved my family over, thinking it was going to positively go again, and now i'm focusing on Hashtag, which is a phenomenal short film that we have a Kickstarter going for now that I would love for you to check out.
How long would you have to be in makeup for Farscape?
3 and a half hours, every day. The first makeup test was about 5-6 hours. But they got it to 3.5 hours, every day. We shot 5 years, over 5 days a week, anywhere from 12-16 hours 5 days a week. And it took a good hour to get it off, because it was up the nose, in the ears, fake eyelashes, wigs, just the whole outfit was quite the process!
I'd get home at night, and my boyfriend would be looking at me and see some makeup still on and say "Oh, I see some Chiana in there!"
Hi Gigi! Farscape is my favorite show, thanks for being such an important part of it. Chiana's body language was a very integral part of the character, did you come up with that yourself, or was it part of the existing character design?
Also, there have been rumblings about a Farscape movie script being written by Justin Mondo, do you know anything about that?
All they told me is that she was a minx, and she was a runaway, and there were specific notes about her character emotionally. But nothing that led me to believe that she had to have interesting movements. Nothing they told me led me in that direction. When they put me in the makeup, I saw myself and thought I can just go wild! So I created these movements that to me seemed alien - I didn't want people to think I was a human in alien makeup, I wanted to be a very strong Jim Henson character from another world. I wanted to make her unbelievably believable.
I was onset for the JHCSC and Brian Henson held up a yellow envelope and he said "Guess what this is" and I said "What?" and he said it's the Farscape Movie! And then I tried to grab it off him, and he said "No, it's not ready yet." So I do know there's a script out there, it exists, but I don't know who's involved in it, what level, and if it happens - I am praying to ALL THE GODS it will happen, it would be so good to have the gang together again. I miss them!
It's pretty well known that Virginia Hey left Farscape because the body paint associated with her role was causing her health issues. Did you have any problems with the paint associated with your role? Do you know if or how it was different than Hey's?
I didn't have any challenges with the makeup. I love wearing costumes, I adored being made up as an alien. Throughout my career, I've played characters from aliens to junkies to pretty girls next door to media mavens - I'm just so obsessed and in love with my job that you could literally dress me up as anything, and if it has a good script, i will play it in a heartbeat! Being in this industry, we have a responsibility to tell amazing stories to people who want to listen. I feel So blessed when I'm on a set - because of the huge process of auditions, casting calls, rehearsals - so once i am on set, and I'm making a movie or a TV show or a theater production, I love every minute of it. It's a very hard job, a very challenging career, but I absolutely adore it.
Which productions had the best food service/catering and what was that food, and what was the weirdest food you saw a co-star eat?
The weirdest food would be the blue couscous on FARSCAPE, which was definitely past its due date, and I was worried it would make them sick on set!
It's hard to pick out - it's such a treat when you work on a set, because you're always looked after. The food is usually pretty amazing. I worked on a set in St. Louis, and the weirdest thing i saw on the catering truck was like a meat floating in water, and i avoided that one? probably the best one- would hard to pick out one, because they like to treat their actors well!
Who's your favorite Muppet ?
Pepe the Prawn! He's not a shrimp, he's a king prawn, I LOVE Muppets in Space - I've seen it with my brother easily more than 50 times. I think they're really cool, because the JHCSC was an amazing adventure for me- I got to see where everything was made from scratch. When I was rehearsing my lines, and walking down the corridor, you see the making of Kermit the Frog, pictures from the original Fraggle Rock, I absolutely adore the Henson Company - I just wanted to see Pepe the Prawn once live! I saw him on Family Feud once, against the Dixie Chicks - his hand wasn't as powerful as the Dixie Chick's was, so the puppeteers kept calling out the answers but the Muppet answers wouldn't work to press the buttons - so they had to figure out better ways to push the buttons.
You go to a LOT of conventions. I won't ask for a favorite, but do you have any that you, uh, look forward to more than others?
I am a HUGE fan of the fans. I was saying to my mum the other day that a lot of them know me more than my family, because I've always been working on jobs. My family and I are very close, but literally, the fans have watched more of my work growing up and they've seen sides of me that my family hasn't seen, so I adore going to conventions to meet people who have supported and looked after me since I was a teenager. And people come up to me and say "Oh I remember when you first were on FARSCAPE" or "when you first were on BEASTMASTER" or LOST WORLD, and now, you know, they're literally, they're a huge part of my growing up. So that's why going to conventions is so exciting for me. I've actually started a company called Little Empire Productions, and I've been interviewing interesting characters along the way, because I meet so many people at these convention adventures, and it would be cool - I feel like I'm half-fan, half-celeb, so what if I were the voice of the fans, so if someone wanted to ask someone a question at the convention if they couldn't get there, and I would ask the questions FOR them? Whatever they do -as long as it doesn't put me in jail - I get to do little candid interviews with people I meet along the way.
The conventions are so positive, and so much fun to attend. There's so much negativity and craziness in this world, and it's great to forget about our worries and share stories of film and TV productions we all love. Whenever you look around a convention, everyone is just glowing.
I can't pick out just one as a favourite. They're all too good, haha!
What's your favorite behind the scenes moment from working on Farscape?
I LOVE all the creatures. It was just so fascinating to me, reading the scripts, and thinking "how is this going to work? You've got spaceships, and aliens... completely foreign worlds they have to create from scratch." I would love being at home, reading the script, trying to figure out how it would all come together. They could pick me up at 4 AM in the morning, because it took so long to do hair & make up, and after 3.5 hours, you'd walk onto set and live in these amazing uncharted territories. All the creatures were so beautiful and so intricate, and I loved being a part of that world.
What's your favorite ride in Disney?
Definitely has to be... It's a Small World After All. Because it reminds me of being with my family when I was a little girl. I had a pretty crazy upbringing, my childhood was quite turbulent, so it reminded me of a happy time when family life was safe and smiley.
So who is X?
X is a media maven.
And she lives in a world that we've never laid eyes on before.
So one of the interesting things when we were trying to figure out a budget for HASHTAG is we've got to create a world that no one has seen. So we need to make costumes, sets, we need to have outstanding VFX, to support this imaginary world that she lives in. And it's built on the Twilight Zone, so it has a surreal, dark, troubling undertone. You'll absolutely fall in love with X, because there's a little bit of her in all of us.
She's just taken it a step further.
Is there any chance of Creature Shop showing up on another network?
We would LOVE that. I definitely know they've been looking at other networks, but I haven't heard anything back yet.
Earlier this year, it was announced that a Farscape movie was in the works. Is that still the case? If so, do you know how far along it is?
When you guys find out, tell me! Because usually the fans tell me when the next series of ANYTHING happens. I've literally been at conventions, and Scapers will come up and say "Congrats on the new series" and all of us actors are like "What?"
Quite often fans find out before we do! So as soon as you know, let us know !
Gigi, lovely lady!
We met at a signing at Supanova in Melbourne, which you probably won't remember since you meet a heap of people at conventions, but we had a lovely chat.
What do you love the most about attending conventions, and what is your best memory so far? Oh, and also! Which episode of Farscape is the most memorable to you?
Shine on! x
I was in Denver recently, and this beautiful man came up to me, his name was Dakota, and he said he'd been in bed rest for over 3 months, and his whole reasoning to get up and moving was to come to Denver and say hello. and that blew my mind. And that was really, really amazing, for me, because I in no way, do I think i'm any more special or any different than anyone else on this earth. So it was very humbling for me, and I felt very honored that I had been that much of an inspiration to others! So that was a very proud day for me.
Any interaction I have with people at conventions, or accidental bump-ins on the street, I usually - the fans are trying to get away from ME, because i'm chewing their ear off with this other story!
My favorite episode is probably the very first one I ever did, "Durka Returns," because I thought that would be the only episode I'd ever do. And then, thankfully, they liked the character and let me stay on for many, many years!
It has to be asked: did you keep anything from the Farscape set? Rygel, perhaps?
Also, how "sci-fi" is Hashtag? You said it was built on Twilight Zone, but that can mean anything from X hearing voices to monsters on the wing. Not looking for spoilers, just curious. I'm assuming there won't be alien puppets. :)
I would've LOVED to kept Rygel! Although I think if I kept him, we'd get up to too much mischief...
I was given the Fairy Boots, from John Quixote. I had a pair of contact lenses. And there were a couple pieces of Moya that - literally on the last day, they were pulling Moya apart piece by piece, so it was quite devastating, so I scooped up a couple of pieces of Moya and took her home with me! That's about it. Lots of amazing memories are the best part of it.
Hahaha! I'll have to ask Brian Henson if he can come onboard. I'm already a big fan of Brian and I am asking him if he can include me in the DARK CRYSTAL or LABYRINTH sequel.
Hashtag is us 50 years in the future. To me, it feels like it's in the realm of Matrix, where you are not quite sure what is real or what is make-believe.
It's a genuine science fiction film, in the sense that it's about a possible future, based on current social trends.
That is such a wonderful story. Thank you for being such a beautiful soul, and for having such a massive impact on peoples lives!
It's an absolute pleasure. Thank YOU. I wouldn't be sitting here today if it weren't for you guys, so I'm forever grateful to you.
Did you hashtag #hashtag?
And is that supposed to be a "that's what she said" joke? I'm very confused about this picture and all the hearts
I guess that's who I am, my proof picture is a little bit "different." I don't want to just hold up a sign that says THIS IS ME. I want to introduce you to a project that my awesome team is working on. We would love to invite more people to support us on this journey to bring this film to life together.
And we don't put a pound sign before it. But we've been using a hashtag when we tweet.
How did you get involved in the Hashtag project? I always think about making short films, but I have no idea how to approach someone of any caliber to participate!
I met Runic Films a few years ago, and we discussed about working together, and I said "If you can find an awesome script, I'd love to work with you." They then came to me with HASHTAG and I said within 5 minutes of reading it - "yes, let's do it." We didn't know how to approach getting the funds, because as I said, when you're working as an actress, you can feed yourself, but you'll work for 3 years straight and then you might have a week off or 2 years off, so we're surrounded by these extremely talented people that are working 9-5 jobs to pay the bills - we're thinking HOW do we get a budget together, to make this amazing film? And Runic said "Well, let's think about doing a kickstarter." And I'd never approached it before, so it's been an eye-opening experience.
The fans know me SO well, for the last 20 years, and they've been with me all the way, so it seems appropriate to make something all together as one big family. This is an opportunity for us to all join forces and make something out of this world amazing.
Gigi so looking forward to Hastag when does it come out Huge Fan?
We've got 9 days to go of our Kickstarter. And we are just under being halfway there. So I am hoping and praying that we can get as many fans and supporters onboard with us, because I can guarantee you from the bottom of my heart that this storie NEEDS to be told. I've been working in the industry since I was 12, and this is one of the most sensational scripts I've EVER come across. So anyone who can help us out, by donating or spreading the word, to come onboard with us and help us make this amazing film.
We've had to try and nail down a budget. The $40K budget - $8k immediately goes to Kickstarter and credit card fees. So already you are down to $32K to make a whole set, build this entire imaginary world, and it's not that any actor will be getting paid - everyone is working for nothing - we just want to make it really beautiful, fantastic visual FX, breathtaking costumes - it's literally covering the VERY minimum to make it. So I would be so honored and humble if any fan were to join us. It would be an absolutely journey to remember.
I hear you have a loyal group of followers on Twitter who are working tirelessly to spread the word about Hashtag. I've heard it said that they're pretty amazing. Care to elaborate? ;)
They. Are. BEYOND. AMAzing.
I am totally and utterly obsessed with them. They have helped spread the word about our Kickstarter literally around the globe, and they have allowed us to invite backers internationally to come and join us making this fantastic short. So I am completely so happy they are on our team and very thankful.