SEPTEMBER 20, 2001 - - A CONVERSATION WITH L.A.BRACKEN
After the traumatic opening of Season Three was broadcast TITAN NEWS caught up with L.A. Bracken to discuss Commodore Henry James, his character on SPACE ODDITY. As you can see from the article below, SPACE ODDITY isn't done with Mr. Bracken yet.
TITAN NEWS: So season three starts and Commodore Henry James is on the eve of his greatest triumph, his legacy of peace with the Quin'Dax race. How did you feel when you saw the script?
LA BRACKEN: With that one I knew ahead of time. Gary gave all the regulars and semi's full access their parts in the first three years, well I guess the others got season four right away too, but I was brought in knowing that the start of season three was my last episode so everything I did leading up to it reflected that. This is one of the only shows where I think everyone knows, even in theory, how their character meets their end. From the start It really helps focus your approach to the character.
TITAN NEWS: Your character started off season three with a bang didn't he?
LA BRACKEN: And he ended with a whimper.
TITAN NEWS: Last season you got to direct your first episode. Tell us what that was like.
LA BRACKEN: Hell (laughs) and I'm crazy enough that I'll probably do it again (laughs again.).
TITAN NEWS: So you didn't enjoy it?
LA BRACKEN: Oh I enjoyed it, once it was done. I don't know if it the sort of thing I'm in a hurry to repeat.
TITAN NEWS: A stressful job?
LA BRACKEN: Some parts are. I didn't like being bombarded with a thousand questions as I was trying to guide a group of actors through the focus of their scene while watching the clock to make sure you shoot that day's target twelve pages.
TITAN NEWS: Ouch!
LA BRACKEN: But when you weren't doing all that, when you're able to pull great performances out of people, when you can bring something out of a character that maybe the actor didn't even know was there. I like those parts. And the paycheque isn't too bad either (laugh).
TITAN NEWS: So what's next?
LA BRACKEN: Well, Gary [Executive Producer, Creator Gary Davidson] wants me around so he's keeping me busy. Not acting, well sometimes acting.
TITAN NEWS: Explain.
LA BRACKEN: I've done a couple of DERVISH's and I'm going to do another but that's sideline to my current responsibilities.
TITAN NEWS: Tell us about those.
LA BRACKEN: I'm producing and directing some of the "In the Box" stuff, that's what we call the stuff that's playing on the TV's in the background, the TELEVID stuff.
TITAN NEWS: Just for Space Oddity?
LA BRACKEN: Mostly Space Oddity but also for some of the other shows, whatever's needed.
TITAN NEWS: So this is its own unit?
LA BRACKEN: Space Oddity is pretty unique that way in that there's a culture behind the scenes and some four per cent of each shows budget is set aside for that, when that show needs stuff that is. It's not much but we plug out shorts, mock shows and dramas and what have you, in some respect the most creative stuff on the show is going on "In the Box".
TITAN NEWS: Four per cent doesn't seem like much but in a TV budget that's a lot of money for something that doesn't actually advance the story, don't you think?
LA BRACKEN: Oh definitely. But that's the beauty of it, and Gary's very creative about using material we shoot too. Nothing goes to waste.
TITAN NEWS: How so?
LA BRACKEN: He's got the new syndicated series SHORT HAUL, some of the material we're shooting for the background is cropping up there because its funny or entertaining and that's the only rule we have with the "In the Box" stuff.
TITAN NEWS: Funny and entertaining?
LA BRACKEN: Well, we work to amuse Gary mostly but he's got a pretty broad range of humour. Two segments I've done for Space Oddity have already been shown as bumpers on PIERRE CANUCK. TV satires.
TITAN NEWS: Sounds like fun.
LA BRACKEN: And it's hard. Like when we had to come up with a cooking show for the 23rd century. No one cooks! Why would they have TV showing it? And how, you never see a burner on Space Oddity and the stuff we use has got to look futuristic so we end up shooting on set pieces that haven't been struck and mocking up kitchenettes for hobbyist because that's what cooking will be in the future, a luxury only hobbyist have time for.
TITAN NEWS: It's almost that way now.
LA BRACKEN: Exactly.
TITAN NEWS: So you've got to really think about these things?
LA BRACKEN: Not always. Everyone on the staff is always looking ahead so the moment you tackle this stuff you just ask about, chances are someone's already hit that problem or is expecting to.
TITAN NEWS: You said earlier that Gary is trying to keep you around. If we can go back to that for a moment, why do you think that is?
LA BRACKEN: Because Henry's coming back.
TITAN NEWS: But he's dead. I thought Space Oddity cannon forbids resurrection.
LA BRACKEN: It does.
TITAN NEWS: So how does a dead guy come back to life without resurrection?
LA BRACKEN: Beats me but we'll find out in season five. I haven't been given access to the advance yet and Gary's not talking.
TITAN NEWS: After last seasons leak we understand why.
LA BRACKEN: Season Five has the most secrecy on it but that makes sense, I mean we're not even done with Season Three yet. I think it's possible Gary might revisit some of the scripts and jog things certain ways but at this point I'm on retainer, working on and at the TELEVID product until I'm give the word, or words actually.
TITAN NEWS: Well thank you for this time.
LA BRACKEN: My pleasure.