As flighty grey-skinned alien Chiana in the classic TV series FARSCAPE, GIGI EDGLEY gained a legion of admirers, now she’s set to star in a pertinent sci-fi short, HASHTAG, currently heading towards the finish line of a Kickstarter campaign. We spoke to her to find out more…
STARBURST: So what can you tell us about Hashtag?
Gigi Edgley: It's science fiction in the style of The Twilight Zone. Our writer was inspired to write it by a TED talk about our cultural obsession with speed and technology. The story is set in a near-future world where social media and celebrity dominate our lives. Hashtag is a genuine science fiction film, in the sense that it is about a possible future based on current social trends. Our ultimate dream is to take it to Sundance, Cannes and Toronto. I know we all search the world for films that are complex, intriguing and captivating and Hashtag simply and completely has all these elements. Ultimately we would love to make into a feature film and/or series with the help of our family, friends and fans.
And what about the role you’re playing, the enigmatically-named X?
X is a sensational character! It’s very rare that I come across female leads that are enthralling and incredibly strong but are not afraid to show the world their vulnerable side as well. X lives in this amazing world that we have never laid eyes on before! The possibilities for the design, costume and visual effects are endless. I can't wait to put her in this world that is equipped with everything she though was real. She is an extremely compelling character and X will be an absolute delight to play.
The internet is a brilliant but certainly scary place, and the desire for ‘fame’ (at any cost) seems to be stronger than ever. How do you cope with that world?
Modern technology is an incredibly tricky beast. It is wonderful because it allows us to connect with people all over the world and build friendships and relationships with people that we would have never had the opportunity to do so before if it were not for the perks of the internet. I love it when I go to signings and I get to meet people in person that I met over the internet years ago and we have followed each other’s journeys for a long time. It's brilliant when you finally get to meet each other in person! On the other side, good ol’ online social media and day to day online work can prevent us from going out into the real world sometimes as we can become all too consumed with our iPhones and our computers. My Hubby and I have a rule that when we wake up in the morning we have to say good morning to each other before we say good morning to our iPhones… sometimes that rule even works! I think it's not only social media, of course, but all the other millions of jobs that we get everyday doing with emails. Everything is so accessible these days, it’s challenging sometimes to put the phone down, walk away from the computer and lie in the grass and look up to the clouds and thank the universe for having us!
Do you have a date to begin filming, or it really all depending on the Kickstarter campaign?
We would love to shoot it in January. Of course, that depends on everything going to plan with reaching our Kickstarter goal! I’ve never used Kickstarter before and it has been a real eye opener for me! It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to work with family, friends, and fans. We feel extremely honoured that people are coming from all over the world to help us out by donating and sharing the news about Hashtag. Kickstarter’s a great way to support the arts and gets a community of likeminded individuals together - even if they don't know each other - because they are passionate about an idea or a project. There’s been a groundswell of support as more people are hearing about this project, and we've had some really positive comments on this film. I can't wait to work with all the amazing backers and bring this brilliant film to the big screens together with them.
Crowdfunding may well be the future for artists…
I travel the world to discover scripts that are like no other. Scripts that challenge and excite us! Kickstarter and other crowd funding sites allow us the opportunity to take creative risks and to push the boundaries. It allows us to join forces with the fans and make this entertainment industry what it should be: inspiring, wonderful and worth watching! We have a strong responsibility as people who work within the industry to tell stories that are worth hearing, and I’ll do everything in my power to stay true to that. I would LOVE to share the experience with people with the same courage, commitment and passion.
Most people will know you from Farscape, and you’ve recently been seen on another Jim Henson project, the Creature Shop Challenge, how are they to work with?
I have been involved with the Jim Henson Company for many years now. We’ve become quite a close family. One of my first jobs in the industry was playing Chiana. I was cast to play a guest role for one episode, and thankfully the gods were shining on me and I ended up working for over five years! I adored the show as they allowed me to create a character that had no limitations. I lived on a space ship for five years under three and a half hours of make up every day…and got to meet the most wonderful aliens, I had the opportunity to tell amazing stories and the adventures that we all went on through the uncharted territories where some of the best adventures that I have ever been on in my entire life!
Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge entices the audience into the world of a creature designer. The passion, intelligence and enthusiasm the Creature Designers have for their craft is so sensational! The viewers see these talented geniuses put to the test challenge after challenge. They work against time to create the perfect creature specific to the task at hand. The judges - who are second to none - determine which Creature Designer will win the cash prize and the dream job of a lifetime working for the remarkable Jim Henson Company.
There’s been talk of Farscape heading to the big screen, do you know anything else about this, and would you be up for Chiana’s return?
I’d love to be part of the next Farscape adventure, whatever it may be! When we were working on Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge, Brian Henson showed me an envelope with something in it. He said it was the script for the Farscape movie; however I wasn't allowed to look at it as it wasn't finished yet. So I know it exists… I don't know who's involved and on what level. I also don't know when it will go ahead… but the script is out there… ahhhh, soooo exciting!
Is there anything you’d really want to do in the future – maybe more directing?
I have a production company called Little Empire Productions. We make comics, music, film and television. I’d love to keep travelling around the world making sensational projects from my heart and soul. You can check out Nobody Knows on YouTube. You can also see all our latest projects at gigiedgley.com. That has links to my Facebook and Twitter accounts where I upload everything about my signings, adventures and new creations. Any way people could help us out with this fantastic film Hashtag - by donating and/or sharing with friends and family - would be amazing.
The director/co-writer of Hashtag, Ben Alpi also elaborated on the film and the process:
“I'm a huge science fiction fan. I grew up on Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars and any comic books I could get my hands on. One of the things I find most exciting about this project is it's actually something new for cinema. Before 2006-7, social media didn't really exist. So, this film is truly The Twilight Zone for a new generation! Working with Gigi is excellent. We've talked at length about the story and characters and she really connects with the emotional and societal implications of the film. She's a consummate professional and her "X" will be a captivating character to watch! We still don't see enough female leading characters so I'm really glad to be making Hashtag.”
The film’s producer, Jyotika Virmani, added:
“We a few days left on our Kickstarter and I have to say, our backers and fans are amazingly supportive of this project. When you grow up in the UK, science fiction is a part of life. In fact, I remember reading STARBURST when I was in primary school in Manchester! Hashtag interests me greatly because it’s classic science fiction in the sense that it takes a current societal norm and projects it into the future. I think science fiction fans will really like the story.”