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Marjean Holden

Marjean had a pretty difficult job with us Aussies. We basically did not know who she is. She's the doctor from Crusade. That's nice. At that point in time, we had only seen the first four eps of Crusade. Marjean was in the first ep, and the rest were pretty much Galen, Galen, Galen (not that I have even the smallest complaint about that!!! I drool at Galen's altar!). The doctor has a pivotal role in the search for a cure to the Drakh plague, but what was she doing for those first four eps? "I was shopping!"

Let's write up a bit of what Marjean had to say. I don't think I'll put everything in - after all, a lady has to have some secrets! ;-)

Marjean has been in the acting caper for 12 years. She discovered acting in grade four and was in school plays. She did some modelling for a few years from age 15, then at the end of college said she was going to give acting a go as a career.

In 1987, she moved to LA. Her first film was Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure where she had one line. (I seem to remember that she had been working as a production assistant and they needed someone to do a line.) She likes working in films - the pace is slower but she likes the regular paycheque of a series.

She is also a stuntperson. Stunts have kept bread and butter on the table when the acting jobs have been pretty few and far between. Marjean likes to do her own stunts when acting. This is pretty unusual cos Hollywood does not work that way. It is expensive to insure a stuntperson, and an actor doing stunts??? S/he might get hurt! It could cost millions in lost production. Also, stuntpeople can't act. A couple of times, the director has needed a stuntperson to say a line, but stuntpeople don't say dialogue! "They prefer to fall off a building rather than do dialogue! Go figure!" But Marjean can do both, which has been an advantage on occasion. She is no longer an adrenaline junkie - she has seen too many friends hurt or killed doing stuntwork. These days, she doesn't even like going on rollercoasters.

Marjean practises martial arts of a form developed by the father of an ex-boyfriend. She loves it . "It is great to keep in shape - mind, body and spirit." Having been closeup, I can say this much - she has a pretty impressive physique! And she is not in training at the moment... anyone who watched Mortal Kombat: Annihilation can attest to Marjean's bod. She played Sheeva, a rather scary looking four armed maniac (mostly) in a red patent leather (vinyl?), err, costume. It is nice to see a female actor who is not an absolute stick figure - I didn't think that I was going to break her if I touched her. Oh, and any of you who think I am saying Marjean is way! She just has a little substance, and very refreshing it is to see too.

OK, here are some more little facts for you. Marjean is married to Anton, an Aussie (jeez, we Aussies have good taste!). Her all time favourite actor is Robert deNiro. She would love to work with Bruce Willis, and Brad Pitt "wouldn't be bad." She wanted to play Storm in the X-men movie. Her other roles include the Philadelphia Experiment II (Courtenay Cox pulled out and Marjean was called in. Only she is black. The lead actor was white - you can't have an interracial relationship! (Huh?, said we Aussies at this point) But then the Bodyguard came out and Marjean was asked to play the female lead.), John Carpenter's Vampires (she played a master vampire and had to be buried alive!), and of course Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. As she says, she has mostly done B movies.

Let's get on to some Crusade stuff. The good stuff.

Around the time of ACtA/Crusade starting up, Marjean did an ep of DS9. She says it had a very dark atmosphere - a dark soundstage, very dark energy. Crusade had an entirely different atmosphere.

"Screw you guys, I'm going to Babylon 5!"

Marjean auditioned for a role in A Call to Arms. She wore a tight black shirt with tight black pants for the audition. All the producers were men and it apparently went down a treat. She got the role of the navigator. Then by some magic, the navigator got a medical degree and became the doctor in Crusade. ;-)

Playing the doctor was quite different for Marjean. She was used to playing physical characters - gun toting, violent, often bad-a** characters. For Crusade, she had to learn brainy, big blocks of dialogue. Dr Chambers is somewhat more cerebral, but she does have a physical side. Marjean asked Joe pretty early on if he knew that she could do stunts and he said that he knew. Apparently in the "Rules of the Game" we get to see Dr Chambers kick butt.

The character of Dr Chambers was pretty straight forward but Marjean noted that she "didn't have as good a sense of humour as me" ;-) Chambers was saving the World. The weight of the world was on her shoulders. Marjean got caught up on this - if *I* don't find a cure, all the people on earth will die! It got a bit overwhelming for a while. The doctor is so serious - she had to be. She is also a sort of mother figure.

Marjean and Carrie Dobro (Dureena) were the only women on set. Marjean jokes, "We had to bond together to fight off the forces of testosterone." They now have their own webpage - Visit it! Enjoy!

About her fellow Crusade actors:

Everyone got along. No prima donnas, just a group of people who all got along and had fun. There was a certain correlation between the role and the actor.

Peter Woodward was always pulling jokes. He did not muck around during shooting, only between takes. "A rare breed." "The resident technomage perv." Everytime he saw Gary Cole, he would ask GC, "If you had to sleep with Doug Netter, John Copeland or Joe Straczynski, who would it be?" He drove Gary mad but apparently never got an answer.... Marjean always knew if Peter was on set - Gary Cole would be saying "No! Stop! Don't say that!" He was rather like Galen - a mysterious character who would disappear in a swirl of cloak.

David Brooks *is* Max Eilerson. He is very anal. He was always playing with his props, learning how to use them, fixing them, making them work properly. He even asked if he could taken them home...

Gary Cole is quite stern and low-key, as unlike Mike Brady as you could imagine. Daniel Day Kim is very proper, just as Matheson is. Dr Chambers only got to exchange dialogue with Matheson in the last ep. Carrie is not a thief but was the outspoken one of the cast and was always on the go.

If Crusade went back into production, the cast would love to keep on working in the show. It is pretty clear that Marjean really enjoyed doing Crusade and was disappointed by the cancellation (more on this later).

A typical day on set

4:45am. Carrie arrived for her makeup call.

7am - all the crew are on set.

7.30 - 7.45 - start of the day's filming.

1pm - lunch for an hour.

7pm - outta there! The producers didn't like paying overtime and it gave the crew and actors a chance to do other stuff after work.

Stephen Furst alway had the day's shooting finished by 5pm. His boys play sport and Stephen wanted to be there to watch them.

The costumer loved Marjean. He thought she had a great body. "I must make you clothes!" Every time Dr Chambers went planetside, she had a different outfit (see, she must have been shopping a lot!). Gary Cole whinged about her wardrobe. He only got to wear the uniform in the main. Marjean was dubbed "the Fashion Queen MD."

If an actor wanted to change a word or a line of dialogue, they consulted Kate, a script editor. Kate would ask John Copeland, John would ask Joe, Joe would say no, John would tell Kate and Kate would tell the actor. Marjean appreciated the fact that the scripts were generally set in stone - at least you knew that the lines you learned last night were still in the script today instead of getting rewrites the same day as they were to be shot. You could rehearse a scene. Marjean found that she often had to check the dailies to see if she had gotten her day's work right - she had some heavy dialogue.

She worried about the fact that the producers were not around much. Then she found out that she only had to worry if John or Joe started talking to her. Then you had a problem. If they said nothing, you wre doing it right and hand nothing to worry about. The actors were given the history and details of the characters so all they had to do was bring emotion to the character.

Marjean had to research her role by watching all the eps that Franklin was in. She had a huge box of B5 tapes. She asked for more info about the Drakh plague and John Copeland gave her a pile of notes and emails and memos and papers from JPL. She was absolutely amazed by what she found in the JPL notes. She says that they are far ahead of anything she has heard of, that they are thinking about stuff that doens't even exist yet and working out how to make it exist (hopefully not Drakh viruses though ;-). She is looking forward to getting out into space one day.

A little about the end of Crusade.

"It was a lotta politics, like there is in Hollywood." It was a no brainer. They had a new show and got scared, though they had a ready-made audience. As Gary Cole said , "I've never had a series cancelled *before* it's aired!" The cast were pretty heartbroken when they were told there would be no more eps.

Marjean the SF fan.

Oh yes, Marjean is an SF fan, but not a freak. You be the judge of someone who went and saw Star Wars every day during the school holidays when it first came out. She owns the trilogy. She always watched SF on tv but was not a great reader of it. She watches any SF movie. She has seen the Matrix three times and loves the 5th Element. However, she didn't think much of the Phantom Menace - it had great special effects and great fights but .... incidentally, Ray Parks (Darth Maul) was in Mortal Kombat.

As for us fans? Well, Marjean finds it mindboggling that Aussie fans have not even seen the full thirteen eps of Crusade yet we want MORE! She finds B5/Crusade fans to be intelligent, smart people. B5/Crusade have "real people," the characters are real and you can relate to them. "The thinking person's SF series."

In the future, Marjean would like to land a big role that earns her plenty of moulah - who wouldn't? She would love to work on Crusade again and urged us all to write letters to try to save Crusade. It worked for B5 and ST. Who knows? She and her husband are producing an Australian comedy, "From Vegemite to Caviar." It is to be shot here with an all-Aussie cast. Marjean will be a producer. She would like to do more producing, writing and acting. She commented that she really enjoys starting from the ground and building something to completion.

By the end of the con, Marjean had won us over. She was always happy to chat, sign stuff, and pics were fine, especially at the end of the con. She was always good-humoured, ready with a snappy comeback and in general a delightful guest. And best of all, she wants to live in Australia! America's loss would be our gain. She plans another two years in LA, then will move out here :-)

What a babe!

Marjean Holden, Best of Both Worlds 7: a con report/Lynne Shandley/last modified 16th November 1999