Special guest Claudia Christian was the first to talk at the inaugural InterGalactiCon. Most notable for her Babylon 5 stardom, Ms. Christian entertained the audience with stories of her time on the show, as well as talked about her work in movies, voiceover work, and her nonprofit called C Three Foundation.
One of the first topics Ms. Christian addressed was about her getting the part of Commander Susan Ivanova in the now classic sci-fi series, Babylon 5. When the actress was first cast for the series, Claudia admitted that she was upset at the time. The five-season deal that she found herself in would prevent her from doing movies, of which she had already stared in films like The Hidden, Clean and Sober, and Hexed up to that point. “I had never watched science fiction shows,” she said, also adding that this was before large audiences were watching sci-fi shows beyond Star Trek. She spoke to her agent at the time regarding the disappointment. In response, Claudia said that her agent wasn’t too concerned with the show’s longevity, a statement which now can be looked back on with a laugh. “My agent said, ‘It’s not Star Trek… You’ll maybe do a season before it’s cancelled because no one is watching.’”
Later, Claudia had also admitted that she didn’t recognize the fandom surrounding the show until she attended a convention in England, where herself and other cast members were attending. She went on to say that a large crowd was gathered, which at the time she thought was for a giveaway or something else, until a fellow cast member said, “They’re here for us!”
One notable memory she shared was from her work on the movie The Hidden. In it, she played as a stripper with an alien housed inside her body. “I sort of lied to get the role,” she said. The director had fired one actress for the role Claudia auditioned for, due to not having a look right for the role. Claudia cupped her hands in the air just in front of her chest to explain what she meant by this. “I was really skinny at the time, so I was pretty much all straight there.” To get the role, she admitted to stuffing her bra with socks, tissues, and whatever else she could use. After the audition, when she had landed the role, she said the director was furious when he discovered the ruse. “He really couldn’t do anything though, as he had already fired one actress and knew that I could shoot a gun.” Production ended up crafting a fake chest area for her in the movie. It was so realistic, it even fooled her father, who along with Claudia’s mother attended the premier with the actress. “My father turned to me and asked, ‘Claudia. Have you had… work done?’”
Aside from her live-action movie and television work, Ms. Christian has also done voiceover work for commercials, animated shows and films, and video games. “I’ve learned early on that you have to diversify if you want to pay the bills,” she admitted. However, she lamented that big-name actors and actresses have been taking rolls away from voice actors who solely make a living that way. “It’s not too bad for me because I’m so diversified, but for my friends who solely do [it], it’s not good.”
In a real show of diversification, Ms. Christian had founded in 2012 and currently runs a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation called “C Three Foundation.” As their website states, the nonprofit’s mission is to provide resources for individuals interested in reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption, as well as resources for families or friends of alcohol abusive individuals. The organization also uses what is called the “Sinclair Method,” a drug developed to be taken before alcohol consumption that is designed to help “rewire” the brain away from alcohol addiction. Claudia is passionate in her work here, evident by the “Ted” talk she had done regarding the Sinclair Method and her personally counseling of those dealing with alcohol addiction. The C Three Foundation is currently going into its sixth year.
Though known by geek fandom predominately for her role in Babylon 5, Ms. Christian’s overall career shows just how talented of a person she is. Indeed, a worthy individual to be InterGalactiCon’s keynote.
Nicholas Eskey is an avid reader and writer. When not contributing to The Beat, he works on his personal projects, the latest being a fantasy novel called “My Personable Demon.” He lives in San Diego, California, and is frequently bossed around by his cat.