CLAUDIA CHRISTIAN'S A GEEK!
RETROCRUSH INTERVIEWS CLAUDIA
You loved her as Ivanova in Babylon 5, but did you know she's
a self proclaimed Ren Faire geek, thinks William Shatner is an
asshole, is very much a loner, and has a huge crush on Neil Diamond?
Claudia talked with retroCRUSH
about all this and more! Read on, true believers!
What TV shows or movies did you
like growing up?
wasnít allowed to watch television. We were only allowed to watch
Little House on the Prairie funnily enough after a few years I
actually worked for Melissa Gilbert. She was my big hero when I was a
kid. Little House on the Prairie and 60 Minutes were
the only shows we were allowed so Monday nights and Sunday I got to
watch television. The rest of the time I was a bookaholic. Basically,
I read about 300 books a summer.
Thatís an awful lot.
would do between two a day. I did a lot, but kidís books are easy you
can do 4 in a day, all the little Nancy Drew and Little
House books and stuff.
Did you have any favorite toys
Bake oven definitely, Lite Brite, and Battleship...I was born in 1965
so by the time the 1970ís rolled around the games were lame. They
were like Scrabble and Monopoly was a big one in my family. We played
lots and lots of board games and Clue.
Did you play the early
videogames much too?
I never got into anything. I didnít even have a computer. Pac-Man was
the only thing we had.
I liked Ms. Pac-Man.
Pac-Man was the best. That was better. Definitely.
In the early 1980ís you did a
lot of guest starring work in Dallas, The A Team, Falcon Crest,
and T.J. Hooker.
remember William Shatner trying to shove his tongue down my throat in
his dressing room
after eating Thai Food. That wasnít very good. I was on T.J.
Hooker yeah. He was a bit of an arse, but besides that.
Did you manage to rip off his
Actually, he was already wearing the corset back then so I should
have punched him in his stomach.
Did you catch the Shatner roast
on Comedy Central?
behaved like such a butthead during this convention that I did, he
was so awful and mean that at this point I make it my mission to say
bad things about the man. I was never going to tell anyone that he
tried to kiss me because he goes on TV and says, "Iíve been happily
married for 35 years." Yeah, well he tried to boff every one of his
co-stars. Why does he do conventions when he hates fans? Why does he
do that? You have to pay $300 dollars to stand next to him and take a
picture, but he despises the fans. He wonít even look at you. He
wonít personalize anything so why does he do it? Itís horrible,
horrible and the fans donít like it either. I mean come on. Heís got
plenty of money. Thereís no reason for him to show up and make people
feel embarrassed and awful about themselves.
Look at all the people he
worked with on Star Trek. They all had hard times with him too.
weíve established that William Shatnerís an asshole. Alright, next
question and donít bring up Steven Seagull, donít bring up Michael
Madsen, and donít bring up any of the other people Iíve worked with.
Letís talk about something pleasant.
Do you remember much about
Sharon Stone in the Calendar Girl Murders?
Actually, Sharon was always very nice to me. I didnít have very many
scenes with her. When I ran into her at an audition years and years
ago before she became a huge star and she was very nice to me so I
canít say anything bad about Sharon Stone. Sheís done a hell of a lot
for AIDS and tons of charity stuff. Bless her.
one of the most interesting things that I ever did was the Columbo
movie with Faye Dunaway playing my mother/is she my lover. My
mother/my lover and Peter Falk directed in that. It was a crazy
experience and really wonderful. Iíve had really good experiences. I
was arguing with someone last night because they said, "Morgan
Freeman demands a Mercedes to come to set." I said, "Thatís no way
because heís the nicest man in the world. Heís so sweet. I just
couldnít believe that people suddenly get all these star attitudes."
when you get more and more successful you demand. Who is it Bon Jovi
or what band was it that said no green M&Mís in my thing. If Iím not
there Iím not going to believe any story. Thatís the thing about
gossip. If I was standing in the room and somebody did something then
Iíd buy it. If Iím not in the room then I donít buy it at all. I give
everyone the benefit of the doubt.
Plus, thatís a lot of work for
those assistants if theyíre taking out green M&Mís.
Exactly. I mean, theyíre getting paid. Thereís a director in town who
has a "fun" clause, that if heís not having fun heís allowed to walk
off the set. Itís a very famous director, but Iím not going to say
his name. If heís not having fun then heís allowed to leave the set.
Thatís a crazy clause.
considering how much it costs to make a production. Yeah.
What was it like wearing
prosthetic breasts in The Hidden?
were actually built into the dress and the director kept the dress
after the shoot. I donít know what he does with it, but apparently my
boobs are hanging above his bed thatís all I know. I understood for
the character. She was a stripper and I weighed about 115 pounds back
in that day so I was very thin and I didnít have boobs.
we needed boobs and they were good, fake boobs. This was in the early
days of fake boobs. They were custom made by a special effects team.
They were great. They were built into the dress and they had them
built into the bra. They were sort of like implants feeling
"siliconey" kind of things. They were way before chicken fillets. Now
days all girls wear things in their bras that push up. We call them
chicken fillets because they look like that.
Basically, men donít know what theyíre getting. If they go out to a
bar and they look at some girl theyíre so stupid that they think, "Oh
sheís got a triple D." Take off the bra honey sheís got an A cup.
Thatís the naivetť of men. Oh, sheís got cleavage. Yeah, anyone can
have cleavage honey. A 5 year old could have cleavage. Give them some
chicken fillets and a stand up bra from Victoriaís Secret.
Lots of guys put socks in their
a lot of sausage wearing by men I know that. I know that.
is a fascinating movie. It was cool. It rocks.
still rocks actually. It really hasnít become that dated. Itís funny.
Even the scene where the creature goes into
because it was so long ago the special effects werenít really that
keen. I worked with Stan Winston on A Gnome Named Gnorm. Iíve
worked with some of the best guys in the business, but back in that
day I was 20 when I did that film. That was pretty advanced. Now you
look at it and go, "Oh, thatís kind of cheesy, but it was actually
not cheesy at the time. It was pretty cool.
That movie holds up well and
the idea of a creature going into other people and killing.
Didnít they use that scenario in the Denzel Washington film in New
York where the people brush by each other and the spirit goes into
their body? It was sort of the same thing as The Hidden. It
was an alien thing. I remember seeing the trailer and going, "Oh,
thatís The Hidden."
It was an essence that went
from person to person.
by contact, which is the same as this alien. There are only 10 movies
and they keep remaking them.
It wasnít as cool you werenít
in it. You werenít the rocking stripper chick that kills.
male alien trapped in a stripperís body. I love that.
also did The Dark Backward with Judd Nelson.
actually saw the director Adam Rifkin last night at a dinner party
and itís coming out on DVD next year. I did a lot of Adam Rifkin
movies. I did Never on Tuesday, The Dark Backward, and The
Chase with Charlie Sheen. That one was just a really bizarre film
and I thought, "Yeah, Iíll be a part of it." I put on six inch heels
and a blonde wig and once again fake prosthetic boobs to play Nurse
Kitty. It was a funny experience. James Caan was quite interesting
and fun to work with. He drove up in a big ole Harley, lots of
energy. Nice guy.
Do you remember much about Judd
Nelson at the time?
was great. I actually was in Cannes with Judd when he got into a
little scooter accident when they were showing The Dark Backward.
I did Never on Tuesday with him as well. They were all in
that: Charlie, Emilio, Judd, Nick Cage. We had a roster of the Brat
Pack at that age in Never on Tuesday. I played Tuesday, the
lesbian photographer that gets caught in the desert with two guys. It
was a really silly film, but it was fun.
You sang a song called
Taboo. What would you consider to be the worst Taboo?
worst taboo, Iím very much against racism and sexism, misogynistic
behavior, anything that sort of belittles people and picks on
something unchangeable. Quite frankly itís not very humane you know?
Any behavior to me that is taboo is something that makes anybody else
feel uncomfortable. As far as a naughty taboo I think as long as
youíre both consenting adults, as long as youíre asking for it. I
mean the ultimate Taboo would be the case in Germany where the fellow
asked to be killed and then the guy killed and ate him.
They stir fried his privates.
canít really prey on vulnerable individuals and the internet has made
that possible. To me itís really rather disgusting that people take
such advantage of people who potentially just are crying out for
help. Theyíre not asking to be killed or maimed or whatever. There
are people out there looking for those vulnerable, innocent beings.
What was it like working with
Michael York in Hell House?
sure did. Are you kidding me? Loganís Run was the one movie of the
week I think as a kid I actually saw. He was lovely and heís married
to this wonderful photographer Pat York who is the first person I
ever took my kit off for. She has this series of photographs of
people, actors and everyone naked. She shot Jack Nicholson, Peter
Ustinov, her plumber, her accountant, her architect, normal people
and celebrities and all kinds of people.
actually traveled around the world with this show. They showed at the
Kremlin, all sorts of places, and when we were on location in Spiddal
on the Connemara coast of Ireland she said, "Would you mind posing
for one of my shots?" I said, "Ok" and the next thing you know I had
a corset and a pair of boots on and nothing else. I was like, "Oh my
Youíre in your prime. You want
to be remembered.
still waiting for the copy of that picture. I know thereís one thatís
out there. It was actually kind of liberating. You walk around with
the Henry James pictures in the 1800ís. I had a fancy hairpiece on
and I was holding a script walking through the Irish Moors.
like, "This is great" and then to think of it, it was quite funny
because then all these real, hardcore, sort of Catholic Irish girls
that worked on the set got into it. They went, "No, we want to do it
too." This is great. I had some pictures. The experience was great.
We all stayed in a big house and it was sort of like a commune. We
shot in one of the most beautiful places in the world. The Connemara
coast of Ireland is drop dead gorgeous. It looks a bit like the
Cornish seaside in England. Itís beautiful.
If you could have one character
in Babylon 5 killed off which one would it have been?
To love? The big joke of the matter I said to Joe after season 2 that
I didnít want to be with the man of the week or whatever so give me a
woman or give me G'Kar. I wanted an alien and I thought that
and G'Kar would be formidable together. Low and behold I got a woman
instead. That was my penance. They were all so amazing. Every
character in there, I feel so badly weíve lost 3 people already, 4
actually from Babylon 5. Itís just amazing that all these wonderful
actors have died. I must say that every single person that worked on
that set was a lovely being and weíre still friends. We just had a
big party because Iím in America. Pat Tallman threw a big barbeque
for everyone. Walter Koenig was there.
You did pose for Playboy. Would
you be one of Hefís girls living in the mansion if he asked you to?
that place is horribly cheesy. No, Iím sure heís a lovely man, but
itís very 1970ís. Itís very un-stylistic. Not only that I donít want
to live with anyone so why would I want to live with Hugh Hefner. I
have my own mansions honey.
What do you look for in a
potential mate or companion?
Intelligence definitely, a sense of humor, height is important
because Iím tall. I donít really look for anything. Once in awhile
something comes along and you go, "Ooh, thatís cool." Iím very much a
loner. I donít need someone in my life to make me feel happy. My life
is wonderful. I always call men "icing on the cake". The cake is
great, itís when I find somebody who I adore then thatís just icing
on the cake. In the meantime Iím happy. You know.
need someone in my life to make me feel like Iím fulfilled or
anything like that. Itís great when you find somebody youíre
compatible with, but Iím really into the separate bedrooms. You live
your life and I live mine. When we get together itís fabulous, but
Iím too old to adapt to somebody elseís ways.
want anyone snoring in my bed sorry. Iím so not into cuddling factor.
Iím a guy. Itís like letís get it over with. Letís have fun and you
go to your room great, fabulous. Iím just not into the "Oh, hold me
bit." Iím so not a chick. Iím definitely a guy when it comes to the
whole relationship thing. The busier you are, the more interesting
you are to me. The more youíre off doing your thing and loving your
job and loving your life thatís fascinating to me. The more you can
teach me thatís fascinating to me. If youíre just a blob then why do
I want you around?
Keep the lives separate.
your own interests and your own things and just be honest and
straightforward. If you can come together then thatís great. If not
thereís a whole lot of living to be done alone. Believe me. Itís
great! People always say, "Why do you go to restaurants alone?" Itís
because I love it. I love to talk to new people. I love to be alone.
Itís great. I guess Iím anti-social. I donít know.
I was sort of curious about
are a couple of people interested in showing it. We did make it a
couple of years ago. Well, a year and a half ago, but itís a great
series. Itís got Jeremy Bulloch in it and all sorts of great people
in it. Rachel Grant, and Susanne Braun. It was really well done. The
CGI is fantastic and we did it on a shoestring budget. Itís now
looking like itís going to have a release soon. You can download the
trailer on YouTube and Starhyke the website. Itís a British
series. Iím the only Yank in the whole thing.
Is it going to be on the Sci-Fi
say because there are two people bidding on it right now. After that
I did another comedy for BBC too which was called Broken News.
Thatís what I did after that. I have my first Babylon 5 novel
coming out next year which Iím the first actor from the series to
write a book about it. I was commissioned to write a story from
Mongoose Publishing Company that
does the Babylon 5 books about what Ivanova did after she left so
itís a fun novel.
Iím sure the fans will be happy
to hear that.
talks all about Marcus and everything. The fans will be pleased to
hear that and Iíve been doing some other writing gigs. Itís great. I
You did some childrenís books
written all sorts of stuff itís just now Iím finally published. You
know thatís a big difference. You can say, "Oh yeah, I write a lot."
But now Iím finally going to be a published author so thatís great.
seems like a comedy/sci-fi in the vein of Red Dwarf.
actuallyÖthe CGI is far better than most British shows. I mean
considering we didnít have a budget of a Doctor Who or
anything like that. Itís a comedy. Itís lighthearted. Itís not
hardcore sci-fi, but the effects and everything are great.
Is there a difference between
the British science fiction fans and the American fans?
sci-fi fans come from the same one huge mother of sci-fi who gave
birth to them all. Theyíre all the same. Theyíre all really nice and
fantastic and supportive. You know what whenever someone says to me,
"When you go to these signings isnít it annoying?" It is so not
annoying. I love them. I wish everyone was a sci-fi geek because then
there would be no violence in the world. Thereíd be no wars. Thereíd
only be people e-mailing each other going, "Did you see the last
episode of Buffy?" It would be such a happy world if everyone was a
sci-fi nerd. Theyíre respectful, theyíre honorable. You can trust
them. You can say, "Hereís a $1,000 dollars can you bring it to that
person over there?" and theyíll say, "Yes, Ms. Christian." and its
more fun at sci-fi conventions than I think any actor in the world
does because I love them. I love my fans. Theyíre so cool. Theyíre
honorable, fun. They have a great time. They love themselves, they
love their friends and theyíre just great people. I donít like when
people put them down. They are so cool, but Iím a nerd too. Iím a
Renaissance Faire geek. Thatís what I did for fun. I went to Ren
Faires. Iíd dress up in costume and say, "Yes, me lordy." Iím a geek
so I love it.
Youíre living in England the
home world of the Renaissance Faire.
Exactly, now I can actually live my dream of walking on cobblestones
and going, "Hey, this is the oldest Roman world in London." No oneís
listening to me, but I do say that while Iím walking down the street.
My mom used to do spinning and
we used to go to the Renaissance Faire here in Northern California.
Northern California was the first place to do it. They sold it to a
golf course. Did you know that? They sold it to a golf course. Those
buttheads that was the most beautiful Ren Faire Iíve ever been to. I
went years in a row. I used to camp out in the Germans and the Scots
camp. I always dressed in drag and went up there. It was fantastic.
I probably walked by you never
knowing who you were.
to wear a mask the first few years of Babylon 5 was on because
Ren Faire geeks are sci-fi geeks. Lot of Cat o' nine tails, lots of
whipping wenches going, "Ooh". The Northern California one, thatís
such a shame that ended because that was such a beautiful site.
Itís in that new place now, but
itís not exactly the same.
havenít been to the new one. No. I havenít been in eons.
Have you had some thoughts
about moving back to California?
going to be spending four months starting in January here. Iím really
happy with my voiceover agent. Iím looking forward to pilot season
and good weather actually. From being a California girl, I mean I was
raised in Connecticut, but moving to England was a shock. Come
January I was just like, "Whereís the day?" Thereís no light and
thereís this gray dark, gloomy. No wonder Brits always say, "Why did
you move here? Youíre absolutely daft." Well, I moved here for the
culture and this and that. I have to agree with them. It sucks
weather wise. Once it comes to about December Ė January.
I notice your voice you can
hear your accent. Your verbiage is a little British.
have been there for awhile. Yeah, itís grown on me. When I was a
child my mother has a very thick German accent. I always said, "Can
you open the Vindow please?" It took me a long time to drop the
German and the Irish.
I think itís been mentioned you
have a bit of a gay following, too?
a huge gay following because of Ivanova was kind of ambiguous
sexuality. There was that little inkling in the second season with
Talia Winters. I thought that she could have been having a
relationship with her, but lesbians were definitely drawn to the
Ivanova character. I think because she was the first Jew. She was the
first Russian Jew. She was the first bisexual character.
strong and confident and good at her job. I think a lot of women
grasped that and just like Xena fans are into that women in
charge thing. Itís liberating I think. Ivanova was just a great
character. Sci-fi quite often makes the woman the babe, the Jerry
Ryan of the series wearing the tight suit with the boobs and the
either that or Sigourney Weaver played it perfectly in Galaxy
Quest. She said, "I have one job and itís repeating what the
computer says." Itís true. Look at the 1960ís. How many girls were in
charge? Were fighting? Died in the middle of a war? This was a
character that really hadnít been done before. She was a great
character, gay or straight I think a lot of people grabbed onto
Ivanova. Ivanova was a brilliantly written character.
The whole show was very well
yeah Joe Straczynski is great.
was getting as popular as Star Trek before it went to cable.
actually itís funny when it went to DVD. Iíve noticed a lot of new
fans. Twenty year olds are coming up to me and saying to me, "I love
you in B5." Iím going, "How did you see it? It was on 10 years ago
man." They say, "Oh no, my parents were fans and bought the DVDís and
Iíve watched every episode." I havenít even watched every episode. I
had to watch a lot of episodes in researching for the book. I
certainly have never seen the entire series and these kids have.
Thatís amazing. It transcends time. It stands up apparently. The CGI
was very impressive. They were still using models on Star Trek when
were doing full onÖ
Are there certain things you
collect edge weapons and theyíre all in storage unfortunately in Los
Angeles. I have a huge book collection as well. I used to have a two
story library. When I moved to England I had to downsize. Iíve
collected everything from walking man to broad swords. Iím big into.
Thatís why I loved doing TheHighlander. I was praying
Iíd get the spin off series, but I didnít. Working with weapons and
sword fighting is my love.
Who did you have a retroCRUSH
on while growing up?
going to take the piss out of me. I have a crush on
Parker Stevenson from the Hardy Boys.
Years later I actually worked with Shawn Cassidy on a movie. Iíve
written two fan letters in my life. One was to Humphrey Bogart
because my parents didnít tell he was dead and one was to Parker
Stevenson and he sent me back an 8 x 10. I had such a crush on
him...I know he lives somewhere in LA. Iím so embarrassed. I was 12
years old and I loved Parker Stevenson. I thought he was just the
grooviest boy in the whole wide world. Everyone else loved Shaun
Cassidy, but I thought he was way too girly.
He got quite a good settlement
from that Kirstie Alley divorce.
reallyÖI thought Neil Diamondís Hot August Nights. When I was
a kid my mom used to listen to Neil Diamond and I thought his voice
was the sexiest thing I ever heard in my life.
Did you see The Jazz Singer
at the movie theater?
know and I saw
Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
Iíve seen it all. Iíve seen him in concert in bell bottoms, sequined
pants and I still love him. Okay. I still love Neil Diamond. I used
to fantasize about being married to Neil Diamond when I was like 13
years old. I was like, "Iím going to be Neil Diamondís wife." Now
Iíve told you what a geek I am: Parker Stevenson, Neil Diamond. As a
girl crush it was
Kristy McNichol. It was like, "I
want to be in all the movies of the week like her." What a geek
Claudia Christian is. That will be the title of your show, "Claudia
Christianís a geek."
Have you seen Saving
Silverman? They have that part with the Neil Diamond cover band
"Diamonds in the Rough". They sing a lot of the songs in the movie.
It was a funny part of the movie.
was funny. I remember that. Yeah. Heís still groovy I think. He did
Leonard Cohen better than Leonard Cohen did. "Stone to playÖ" I mean
come on. Then he had to come out with "Heartlight" and that was so
gay. I mean sorry "Turn
on your heartlightsÖ" that whole thing was just come on
Neil man. I know you liked the movie, but thatís just wrong. Youíre
the guy that does sexy, cool songs.
Weíre just huge fan boys of
lovely talking to you guys and yeah this was raw and un-edited. You
caught me at a very un-professional moment, but God bless you.
I recently watched Claudia in
Hexed and it is a
hilariously funny and well written comedy. If you've never seen it on
cable do yourself a favor and rent or buy it on DVD. I also
personally love the movies:
The Hidden, and the
The Dark Backward.
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