LEXX Interview: Lex Gigeroff is interviewed by theFrey
Interviewer: theFrey, (SadBOARD Moderator)
Date: March 2001
Where: Email & telephone
I first ran across Mr. Gigeroff while trying to escape the heat inside of Electropollis Studio. As I slipped out a side door, I almost ran into a very genial gentleman who immediately stuck out his hand and introduced himself. No one can stay tongue tied in his presence. I was subjected to an immediate barrage of questions. We then discussed favorite episodes, the lack of Lexx merchandising and his brother Andre. I ran across him several times over the next few days and he always asked wanted to know if our visit was going okay, and seemed genuinely intent on making sure that it was going well. So of course I was just thrilled when he agreed to be interviewed for Sadgeezer.com.
theFrey: I noticed that your credits are sometimes listed as Michael Fitzgerald? There are two listed, what is something you have been in under the name of Michael Fitzgerald ?
Lex Gigeroff: None that I’m aware of… I looked up the Michael Fitzgerald thing in the imdb, and discovered that he was listed in the credits of Cadillac Girls as, I think, a Priest or something. I, however, played “Drunk White Boy” (and if ever there was a character that demanded a spin-off, DWB has to be it). I’m not sure who Fitzgerald is, but I don’t think he is a local actor (I could be wrong). But I think that mystery is now cleared up… .
theFrey: As a story writer how do you feel about people creating their own stories based on your characters and themes that you have written?
Lex Gigeroff: Hey, whatever gets you through the night… (Ed. Note: Actually, he absolutely loves it and finds it kind of flattering.)
theFrey: Do you ever read any of the fan fic on the net? What do you think about it?
Lex Gigeroff: The only thing I’ve read was an erotic poem about balloons. Otherwise I try to stay away from fan fic. (Ed. Note: He thought it was pretty interesting. *Gigeroff Laughed* But this is his job, and at the end of the day he likes to turn to other subject matter. Heresy I know, but that is what he said. : ) )
theFrey: one of your previous interviewers noted; a genial and knowledgeable son of sci-fi, Gigeroff appeared in Donovan’s much-maligned 1994 movie Paint Cans. Why was this movie maligned? I would imagine it was due to it’s poking fun at the Canadian film industry. True? Or was it due to making fun of the grant system?
Lex Gigeroff: Personally I thought it was one of the better movies in Canada – but it had the gall to poke fun at the Toronto Funding Axis… it was making fun of both. (Ed. Note: Lex reflects that when you make a savage satire of an industry, you have to expect a few people to get upset. But even some of the people in the industry and grant offices thought it was a good Canadian movie. He then challenged me to name three great Canadian movies. I of course named I Worship his Shadow, Tales From a Parallel Universe and Giga Shadow. Gigeroff told me that was * not * what he meant and I knew it. : D We then discussed movies that are made with the attitude of, “I don’t care if any one likes my movie, I just want to make my art.” This being often times a recipe for disaster and can of course lead to a bad, slow, self indulgent movie, reinforcing the stereotype of bad Canadian film making. We agreed that there is nothing inherently wrong with commercial success in moderation. 😀 He recalls Donovan pitching Lexx to the CBC, (Canadian Broadcast Corp) who were in horror, asking exactly how does this explain Canadians to the world. Gigeroff wondered how well Shakespeare would have done under similar conditions. No Romeo and Juliet set in Italy , no Hamlet in the Netherlands ect… And while you can * never * have enough movies about the noble fisherman over coming big industry, he thought that Lexx was also very Canadian, if not in details then very much in tone. : ) )
theFrey: Do you feel this later affected your job choices?
Lex Gigeroff: No – I was only there a few days. It didn’t seem to affect Paul Gross’ or Bruce Greenwood’s career.
theFrey: What is the favorite roll that you have had outside of Lexx?
Lex Gigeroff: I got to play Ronnie Relish (a kiddie-TV host) in The Real Howard Spitz – and a couple of characters on Liography… a drug dealer, a mob boss, a hockey player…
theFrey: Would you consider your self an actor who writes or a writer who acts?
Lex Gigeroff: Hmmm – in an existential way it depends what I’m doing at the moment… but I’m more of a writer than an actor – I’m more of a performer really…. All my best work is done without a script.
theFrey: Did you start out as an actor?
Lex Gigeroff: I wrote my first (performed) play when I was 10…. (Ed. Note: Gigeroff’s first play was written as a project for Cub Scouts (he thinks), it was then picked up as a project for a youth group in Toronto . He was naturally pretty excited when he got to go with his family and see it being preformed. He assured me that he * did not * unduly tease and harass his brother over it. Of course as we all know, unduly is subject to interpretation, and hey they were kids. : ) (just teasing Mr. G!))
theFrey: How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be an actor?
Lex Gigeroff: I had planned to go to theatre school, but lost interest in acting at University,,, but I’ve been a performer all my life…
theFrey: What made you decide to become an actor?
Lex Gigeroff: These things aren’t conscious decisions… (Ed. Note: Gigeroff believes that people should figure out what they want to do and then go do it. He thinks the most terrible thing in the world would be to wake up at fifty wishing he had done or tried this or that. While of course no one can totally avoid the “I could have, should have regrets”, he feels that your best shot at achieving happiness is if you just keep going forward and try different things.)
theFrey: What did your family say when you told them you were going to be an actor?
Lex Gigeroff: I come from a very arts-oriented family. My mother is a musician/composer/actor, my dad a painter, my brother does everything – so we had a very arts-oriented house. I never told them I was going to be an actor… (Ed. Note: He laughed and said that his folks were just glad to get him out of the house.)
theFrey: What kinds of work did you do before becoming an actor?
Lex Gigeroff: Naturally I was a waiter, but I also worked for several years at an alternative radio station – and I’ve planted trees, and was an assistant chef for a summer in a Born Again Christian Health Food Restaurant…
theFrey: Did you have to do any strange odd jobs when you were starting out, so that you could work around your auditions and performances?
Lex Gigeroff: Acting is more of a lark for me, I’m afraid. I’ve never studied it, and so have an unfortunate tendency to not take it very seriously…
theFrey: What would be your ideal part to act in?
Lex Gigeroff: A Bond villain… (Ed. Note: Gigeroff gave me a brief idea of his EBVC (Evil Bond Villain Character), If only Hollywood could have heard the EBV laugh and accent… Gigeroff would be immediately signed up as an EBVC and on his way to tinsel town even as we speak.)
theFrey: What would be your idea writing assignment?
Lex Gigeroff: Trying to turn Sir Ernest Shackleton’s “South” into a musical… (Ed. Note: Apparently Ernest Shackleton was a nutter. He was a polar explorer/writer who survived being stranded for months in the artic circle with his men. In this particular episode of lunacy, one of several I am sorry to say, his ship was crushed by an pack ice, which meant an 800-mile open boat journey and then a twenty-mile hike through the mountains in the freezing cold. Yep, you can see where this book has all the makings of a good musical, It would definitely be much more interesting than, say….. South Pacific.)
theFrey: Is there anyone in particular you would really like to work with? Why?
Lex Gigeroff: Nicole Kidman – and decency forbids me from revealing the reasons… her, and maybe Paul Anderson (Boogie Nights)
theFrey: Do you have any hobbies?
Lex Gigeroff: I take my recreational summer softball league pretty seriously… at least the beer-drinking part… (Ed. Note: Gigeroff mentioned several times how important it was to get the beer drinking part of the sport ‘just right.’)
theFrey: Where were you born?
Lex Gigeroff: Ottawa , Ontario
theFrey: Who is your agent
Lex Gigeroff: None at present… (Ed. Note: Since he has been really busy on Lexx the last few years, he said he really hasn’t needed one. And now, since jobs are finding him, it is not something he is too worried about right now).
theFrey: Where can people write to you at?
Lex Gigeroff: Addy available upon request… (Ed. Note: Gigeroff does not have an email set up for fans, but he did kindly allow me to set up a forwarding/bounce email address for him at firstname.lastname@example.org. It will automatically forward any messages to his personal email account.
theFrey: Do you have a website?
Lex Gigeroff: No (Ed. Note: Gigeroff thinks that for what he would post on the site, it would be like one of those annoying Christmas letters, I did this and this and this…)
theFrey: Do you want one?
Lex Gigeroff: Hadn’t thought about it….
theFrey: Do you know your name is still available as a .com?
Lex Gigeroff: Which is precisely WHY the dotcom startup revolution failed… (Ed. Note: Just as he believes some day all shows will be called Lex, he also thinks that when they *finally* get it right on the internet, all sites will be called Lex. Hummm lexthefrey.com? No… Sorry Mr. G., I think I’ll pass.)
theFrey: Would you like to come to the States to work?
Lex Gigeroff: Yeah – as long as I could come back to Nova Scotia (Ed. Note: Gigeroff really likes living in Halifax and doesn’t foresee himself moving at this time. Unless of course, someone were to offer him simply obscene amounts of money…. Other than that he likes staying in Hali and helping out the Canadian film industry, which he points out has really come along in the last eleven or so years. Part of this, he attributes to people like Donovan being willing to stay and help build it up. What he finds exciting, is that the most interesting stuff always happens on the fringes, and then it filters into the mainstream productions centers. So in a way, the stuff happening in Hali and other fringe locations, may, in some way influence how the main stream industry works in the future.)
theFrey: What are your plans for the future?
Lex Gigeroff: I hope to have a few more surprises in store …
theFrey: What part did you play in the UK playboy video? (apparently the net is dying with curiosity over this one, and I have been threatened with grievous bodily harm if I don’t ask)
Lex Gigeroff: Naturally, I’d like to say I played a “large” part… I’m still puzzling over that one…. (Ed. Note: Gigeroff professes himself to be as puzzled by this one as the rest of us are. He pretty much dismisses the notion that it is an other actor with the same name).
Lex Gigeroff: being an a odd kind of name, and for the moment is chalking it up to some kind of clerical error, like the Michael Fitzgerald thing. I don’t know people, he sounded sincere. He did however say that he would not rule it out in the future. Since for him, soft porn is an untapped line of work, and possibly something he will consider if his other projects don’t pan out. Hummm, he *did not* sound sincere when he said that!).
theFrey: What other projects are you working on now?
Lex Gigeroff: I’m working on a play called “A Child’s Christmas in Yemen” – I have a small writing gig I need to finish – and I have a couple of other ideas rolling around in development at present
theFrey: How did you hook up with Paul Donovan and Jeff Hirschfield?
Lex Gigeroff: PD through CKDU Radio – he had heard a sketch of mine on a comedy show. We met in 1989, worked together briefly on Buried on Sunday (91), and Life with Billy (92?). Paul then came to see me in a one-man show I did in 93, and not long after that he called me up about a “science-fiction” show he was thinking of. Summer of 94 I met Jeff when he came to NS… (Ed. Note: In 1989 Gigeroff was working at an alternate radio station (CKDU), Donovan heard him and invited him out to lunch. He asked if Gigeroff wrote, and when Gigeroff said no, he suggested that he think about it. They ran into each other occasionally and one evening Donovan came to see a one act play that Gigeroff wrote and stared in. He invited him out for a beer afterwards. Shortly thereafter Donovan cast him in Paint Cans. After that film was completed, Donovan wanted to talk to Gigeroff about a show he was thinking about. He showed him the famous Brian Downey throwing bolts at hole in the floor clips and a few pages of script for the court room scenes. While they were discussing it, Gigeroff suggested a few things, like that the court judges should be holograms, uncaring justice and all that. Donovan liked the idea and asked if he could get the money, would Gigeroff like to help out on it? Well, as we all know, Donovan was able to get his funding together, and he pulled Gigeroff and Mr. Hirschfield together and they started hashing over script ideas. He thought the killing the hero in the beginning of the movie was a master stroke, and then just when you think you know who the replacement hero is, we’ll kill him off and bring back the first guy, but, did we mention the first guy is now dead and a servant of evil? Muwhahaha.)
theFrey: Who was it that originally knew Mr. McManus?
Lex Gigeroff: MM went to drama school in Alberta with JH, but PD knew him from somewhere else.
theFrey: How did McManus figure into the creation of Lexx? He has stated that the part of Kai was sort of written for him. Was it? Did he contribute in any other ways to the development of the story?
Lex Gigeroff: Michael’s biggest contribution was that he completely inhabits the character, and has some definite specific ideas about Kai’s whole being. I remember him talking about Kai’s “walk” at one point (I think I was trying to imitate it at a SchnappesKlapper), and he had all sorts of details about it that made you realize how much work he had put into the part. I think PD had McManus very much in mind for Kai.)
theFrey: You have mentioned that Brigadoom, the episode you wrote with your brother is your favorite episode but what is your second favorite episode.
Lex Gigeroff: Oh god – I dunno – maybe Eating Pattern? (Ed. Note: Gigeroff has a hard time re-watching the episodes, he is so close to them that he just can’t see them without being critical. He is always noticing something that should have been done differently or could have been done better.)
theFrey: What is the funniest practical joke that anyone ever played on a Lexx set?
Lex Gigeroff: There was a good one last year with John Standish (the actor who played Dracula in Walpurgis Night)… (Ed. Note: Last year during Walpurgis night Standish became a bit annoyed at the major changes the script was under going. He complained that “This isn’t writing, it’s typing!” Since he had never met Gigeroff he was unaware that he was on the set until some one said, ‘Oh, by the way have you ever met Mr. Gigeroff, the writer?’ Standish was a bit a bit embarrassed as he and Gigeroff were introduced. Later in the day, one of the crew mocked up a bogus letter addressed to Standish, from the Writers Guild of Canada. The letter was something to the effect that since he was such a venerated actor, and currently in country, would it be possible for him to be the presenter of a highly coveted and prestigious award, in a ceremony honoring Gigeroff. So of course Standish felt really terrible now, not only did he say testy things about the writing of the episode in front of the writer, but the writer was apparently quite well respected ect…. They did tell him it was a joke… eventually.)
theFrey: When did you realize that Lexx had legs and was going to go onto syndication?
Lex Gigeroff: Hmmm – I guess when we got picked up for the first time… (Ed. Note: Being picked up for season two was a marvelous surprise to Gigeroff since he always prepares for the worse. But then he continued, Lexx has always pleasantly surprised me.)
theFrey: Were you ready for Lexx to end? Or would you have gone another season or two if you could.
Lex Gigeroff: I’m very happy we ended it where we did. Pretty much on our own terms. In theory we could have done another season, but we were also in danger of running the thing into the ground methinks. I’m delighted that the series ended when it did. (Ed. Note: After all, Gigeroff observed, you can only write so many scenes of Stan and Xev on the bridge. All in all, he was glad that Lexx ended on their terms, rather than a network refusal to renew. No one questions that they could have done another year, but the way it ends now makes a nice finish for the story, and the characters. He can think of many shows that went on a bit too long, so he is glad that this is not going to happen to Lexx.)
theFrey: Since you were in it from the beginning, did you have any financial interest in Lexx or Salter Street ? Other than of course being paid for your work?
Lex Gigeroff: I have no financial interest in Salter Street . I don’t play the stock market, preferring to invest my money in something safer, i.e. Afghan War Bonds.
theFrey: I have heard that Lexx may have a spin off with Mr. Downey, Ms. Zentilli and Mr. Kanies. Have you heard how this is progressing?
Lex Gigeroff: Haven’t heard, no. (Ed. Note: While anything is possible, he advises us not to hold our breath.)
theFrey: Any chance of you being involved in this?
Lex Gigeroff: I would love to work with those actors again for sure. (Ed. Note: He said there could be certain appealing aspects.)
theFrey: We have heard that while the main story line set, the characters and side story were constantly evolving. What part did you have in that, and what changes took you by surprise?
Lex Gigeroff: Hmmm… I think I played a fairly large part in the twists and turns of the episodes over the years, although it’s kind of an enormous question. The biggest challenges were on episodes where we had to radically restructure the story at the last minute (i.e. Girltown because of Xenia ’s unavailability, Viva Lexx Vegas because an actor bailed on us). That means you have to reconfigure the plot and characters, and basically rewrite the whole thing – and quickly, cuz shooting starts in six hours…)
theFrey: I understand that Lexx was a collaborative effort, but who is responsible for the original story?
Lex Gigeroff: PD is the absolute driving force behind Lexx. The main characters and series arcs come from him – naturally with lots of input from me and Jeff… Paul had the bare bones of the original Dark Zone when I came aboard, but there was lots of fleshing out to do… (Ed. Note: And some of the stuff came from in jokes that spiraled out of control. They spent a year writing it, with of course lots of changes on the way. Originally Throdin didn’t die, then they killed him off and brought in Kai, ohhhh wait, let’s make Kai dead! And names, were another thing that evolved and twisted. The Lex was originally going to be called the Corona . Gigeroff was unsure if this was because the ship was as powerful as the sun or of it was as a tribute to the brand of beer we they were drinking. He is pretty sure it was a bit of both. Then one day Paul came in asked if he knew the Latin word for law, it was one of those ‘oh no’ moments, since that word is lex. one day when Gigeroff was stuck for a name for the third astronauts, he saw something while watching an Oakland A’s game, and thought of one of the favorite players from his youth Sal Bando. Other name reasons?; Wist – wistful, Lyekka – was very close to Louise’s real nickname, and of course a nice pun since we Lyekka her.)
theFrey: Has any one ever found out why Sci Fi has not really promoted Lexx the way they do their other shows
Lex Gigeroff: No idea – the guys at Sci-Fi have always been super to me…
theFrey: Who was you favorite character to write for?
Lex Gigeroff: Probably Stan…
theFrey: Who is your favorite Lexx actor to write for?
Lex Gigeroff: Tough call – but it’d have to be Hirschfield – because he’s such a bitch…
theFrey: Can you give us any insight to the lack of Lexx merchandise Marketing?
Lex Gigeroff: I’ve just never got the feeling that its something Salter Street takes very seriously. (Ed. Note: Needless to say, we fussed this one back and forth for a while. Sigh…. No 790 alarm clock, no Kai Lunch boxes, life is so unfair sometimes.)
theFrey: Did you have any differences in what you could and couldn’t write once Atlantis Alliance took over ownership of the show?
Lex Gigeroff: Not at all. (Ed. Note: Since Lexx production company had it’s own deals, AA never interested itself in that part of the production. But interestingly, they never really had much of a problems, even with the networks. In fact Citi-Tv said that they would consider the program a success if they got lots of angry letters. Which Gigeroff though was pretty cool. )
theFrey: Any plans on writing a Lexx book, now that production has slowed down?
Lex Gigeroff: Gee I hadn’t thought of that. (Ed. Note: Gigeroff doesn’t think this is anything he will be interested in soon, but it is an intriguing idea.)
theFrey: Insipida/Kim wants to know where they got the inspiration for season 4.
Lex Gigeroff: Inspiration came directly out of a bottle of Napoleon Brandy and a case of Bud… We knew we wanted to go to Earth….
theFrey: What will you miss about Lexx?
Lex Gigeroff: The people…
theFrey: What are you definitely *not * going to miss about Lexx?
Lex Gigeroff: Nothing I can think of…
theFrey: Who’s idea was ‘The Game?’ and could you explain how it came about?
Lex Gigeroff: I think the idea was hatched between PD and MM. I can’t really explain how it came about.
theFrey: You said in another interview that; We’d almost run out of Xev jokes (for 790), but no. This is an important step in the emotional development of the robot head. It shows that he really is a robot head with deep passions. They may be directed in alternative ways and alternative thinking… Since we know how his murderous tendencies have steered this season, Was that planed from the beginning? Or did it work you guys out of a writers corner?
Lex Gigeroff: I think I was trying to be a little facetious with that remark… it just all kinda worked out with 790 in a cool way.
theFrey: What was your favorite scene in Lexx?
Lex Gigeroff: mmmm – hard to pick one for me… I loved the scene from Stan Down where Prince takes Priest and the First Lady to Dallas … (Ed. Note: As Gigeroff mentioned earlier he has a hard time re-watching the show, but he did mention that he has watched the original movies as well as Brigadoom several times, and he enjoyed certain parts of Lafftrack.)
theFrey: How much razing did you take during the search scene in fluff daddy? And who was your chief tormenter?
Lex Gigeroff: Bouldy wanted take after take after take after take…. No, it was a hoot actually. (Ed. Note: they kind of came up with the cavity search on the fly. And it did seem to him that Mr. Bould wanted to do several takes on it….. but really, no one really razed him about it too much.)
theFrey: How often did you stick stuff into a script just so you could hear one of the actors groan and declare that they weren’t doing that! Name one thing that you wrote in for that reason please.
Lex Gigeroff: Can’t think of one… although we definitely put poor Brian through his paces; seems like every week we had him hooked up to some painful-looking contraption… (Ed. Note: According to Gigeroff, Mr. Downey is the trooper of troopers. But it got to be so common that every week Downey would dread being caged, or chained, or clamped to the wall, ect… Gigeroff remembers thinking that Boomtown being surrounded by lovely unclad ladies, would be a nice way to make up to poor Mr. Downey for all the discomfort they put him through. Unfortunately, he doesn’t think it worked out that way. Downey was fussing at them to get the scenes set up and shot. They would ask him if everything was alright, and he would say, “Yeah, yeah, I’m fine, I’m fine. But we have to film this RIGHT NOW, come on, come on, let’s go!”)
Mr. Gigeroff was a complete joy to talk to. He answered all my question, and even insisted that we keep going when I tried to wind the interview up due to the amount of time it was taking. He is quite the entertaining story teller, which of course he would be, but I was amazed at how he well he was able to draw compelling visuals while just chatting on the fly.
To me, one of the most interesting things he mentioned, was the brain storming sessions that used to occur between him and Donovan. Apparently, when they were stuck, or just needed to come up with a few new story idea’s, they would pile into Donovan’s car and drive around for a couple of hours. While he was describing it, I had the most intense vision of these two leaving the city behind, as they drove chatting through the Canadian country side. Not saying much at first, but then eventually tossing the odd idea back and forth as the colored leaves on the trees flash by. I could just see them discussing the details as dusk rolled in and the car headed back towards town. And you know what? Even though the sun is setting on Lexx, in a way it isn’t sad. Trust me people, no matter what Mr. Gigeroff and the rest of the Lexx crew turn their energies to next, it is going to be a glorious dawn.
Sometimes Credited As: Michael Fitzgerald (Ed. Note: This is incorrect)
Actor – filmography
Love and Death on Long Island (1997) …. Cab Driver 1… aka Amour et mort à Long Island (1997) ( Canada : French title)
Mundo del Lundo, El (1996) (TV) …. Lundo
Paint Cans (1994) …. Oliver
Cadillac Girls (1993) (as Michael Fitzgerald) …. Drunk Boy
Buried on Sunday (1992) …. Sil… aka Northern Extremes (1992)
Writer – filmography
“Lexx” (1997) TV Series (writer)
… aka “Lexx: The Dark Zone Stories” (1997)
( Canada : English title)
… aka “Lexx: The Series” (1997)
… aka “Tales from a Parallel Universe” (2000)
( USA : first season title)
“Lexx: The Dark Zone” (1997) (mini) TV Series
Mundo del Lundo, El (1996) (TV)
Notable TV guest appearances
“Lexx” (1997) playing “Dr. Rainbow” in episode: “Tunnels” (episode (Ed. Note: 3.7) 3/19/2000
“Lexx” (1997) in episode: “Lafftrak” (episode (Ed. Note: 2.5) 1/8/1999
“Lexx” (1997) playing “Bound Man” in episode: “I Worship His Shadow” (episode (Ed. Note: 1.1) 4/18/1997
Some photos courtesy of Ayrton ,
remaining photos from thefrey.
This interview is © 2001 theFrey.
Not for reproduction without the authors express permission
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