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DragonCon 2005 Interview with Matt Robinson and John Mullaney

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Much appreciation goes out to Tribe Red Dragon who sponsored Matt and John's attendance at DragonCon for their help in setting up this interview for us.

Audio of the interview is available for download so you can listen as you read along with the transcript.

Click to save mp3 of Part 1

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Interview Participants:
- KellyGirl (K)
- Dreago (A)
- Matt Robinson (Slade on The Tribe/band Last Picture Show) (M)
- John Mullaney (Star Wars illustrator/band Last Picture Show) (J)

K: Okay, first we want to say that we like you guys very much (laughing).

M: It’s hard to tell sometimes - you hide it very well.

K: This is all in good fun. And we, when we originally started doing this we were representing Undead Tribe which is fans over 21.

M: Yeah.

K: So... But anyway, and speaking of which I wanted to jump right in because yesterday at the Mature Themes panel I could not believe that no one brought up Slade and Ram. Because they had an odd relationship.

A: They were almost canon. Seriously.

M: Yeah, we did get away with that quite a bit. I thought, I thought they might mention it a bit more yesterday. Um. Yeah it was... I don’t know. I mean Ram is the very first character you see Slade with. You know, that’s the very first thing that happens that Slade kind of takes him and rescues him. But then, they kind of use each other a little bit as well. But I think there’s this, I don’t know, just a genuine fondness there actually.

K: Really?!

M: Yeah, I think. Well, I thought Slade was a lot fonder of say Ram than he was of Lex. You know, a lot more competition there between Lex and Slade. And Caleb and I talked about it.They’re both very, I think they both want to be top dog. You know - they’re very very territorial and they like women to like them and they like to be in charge. Whereas with Ram there was, there’s more of a cooperation. More sort of teamwork.

A: That goes with our theory of ‘topping from the bottom.’

K: Yes, we thought that Ram was sort of controlling you from his position of powerlessness. (laughing - oh my god I have got to stop laughing so loudly when I’m nervous-Kellygirl)

M: Oh really. Oh right. Yeah. I mean, I don’t know. Yeah. There are times for instance when you know Lex gets sent into the city. You know like pretending to... when Ram sends him on a wild goose chase and stuff that I think takes Slade by surprise how inventive Ram is. And I think Ram, in one respect, the upper hand Ram’s got is that he’s technically so acute and he’s so sharp which Slade doesn’t have. And I think, you know, to have that kind of acumen and knowledge in this world is really really important. So I think, you know, Slade’s much more, I don’t know, I guess more rough, more practical but Ram has, yeah, he’s got a knowledge that Slade never had. And, he’s very kind of in his world the way he deals with the whole Ruby situation. But he then, but then Ram gets a little bit too big for his boots I think. You know. And really annoys, and really annoys Slade, you know, by going on about the cure and the brain tumor. And he gets...yeah, I think that Ram gets off on that a little bit, you know. He likes to stir... he likes to stir it up. And uh yeah, which, I don’t know, I never thought... I don’t think Slade got really really annoyed with him, but you know, it was all kind of...

A: It was sexual tension.

M:Do you think?

A: That’s what your next question is.

M: Well, that’s just me and the Herndog, you know. (laughing) Do you think there was sexual tension?

K & A: Oh yeah!!!

A: It was so obvious.

K: There were times when I was like - I can’t believe they said that line.

M: (laughing) Really!? Umm, wow. I mean, I don’t know if that was like there in the script or if Tom and I, I mean you know, Tom is my best friend now though. So we were... we spent a lot of time together and we were very comfortable and, because we were such good friends you know in our scenes, when we had them it just really really... I guess it was a lot warmer what you see on the screen than if say we hadn’t got on. I think that does infuse, just like, the way you play the character. And because there was such a warmth between us off-stage, we were such good mates, I think we really, that kind of sprinkled into the relationship between Ram and Slade. You know, Tom’s a good-looking guy - he’s a fucking good-looking guy, you know?

A: Shut up! Why are you looking at me?

K: (laughing) She’s got a not-so-secret crush on Ram.

A: Shut up!

M: A not-so-secret crush? Oh really? I thought it was Danny?

A: I can’t talk to you anymore, Kelly.

M: I’ve never seen you blush before.

A: I don’t know what you’re talking about. My turn! So at the mature themes panel you talked about how complex Slade is as a character. But what do you think differentiates Slade from any other wounded lone wolf character. Some might say he is actually pretty one-note. (that someone being me-dreago)

M: Umm, wow. Good question. (silence) Umm, I think that (silence) there is a softness to Slade which differentiates him. I think you see that, I think this idea of him wanting to help people, which he does a lot of the time yet the whole time it is kinda of at almost odds with his code that which is that he is a loner, that he has this real desire to kind of, you know like... he helps Darryl, he helps Ram, yet when it comes to kinda helping Ruby… he is not that good at doing it , you know, and I think that is cause he feels, I think she makes him quite shy, she makes him really vulnerable. You know, which I, I, kinda like that, that side of Slade. That was more, that a lot of fun to play. The idea that with women, his relationship is very different - how he is with women, how is with men. Like with Darryl, for instance, he is in control. Slade is totally in control.

K: You think it is because he was a little scared of women.

M: I think, I mean, yeah, I think he finds it easier to relate to guys, you know. And I think it’s, uh, with Mega it was all a little bit too late you know, kind of by then it took them both by surprise. I think around women yeah, I don't, I get the impression from the writing and from the way I wanted to play him, that Slade isn’t, umm, hasn't spent a lot of time around women, you know as in like long term relationships. And the back story I kind of believed he probably wasn't brought up by his mum, you know? I think he was very on his own from quite an early age. Yeah, I do think he finds it kinda quite hard to see women as more than, say along the way there’s a lot of them, I'm sure he's been with a lot of women. That's something we - I talked about with Raymond the idea that there’s got a be a history to this guy, you know, that kinda could trip him up. And I think it kinda may be with women, being able to relate to them and really, really seeing them like something more then like shag, you know?

A&K: Mmm-hmm

M: I think the softness is the thing that differentiates him. You know, which comes out more through the women.

K: This is just me, because I’m interested. You said you had, there was a stunt double, did you ride at all - your motorcycle?

M: Well, they were very, uh, they were very strict about the stunts that we could do. I mean, we weren’t allowed to do anything like bungee jumping or any of the extreme sports that obviously New Zealand has loads of - it was kind of in your contract pretty much that you can’t. And I had like a stunt double for a lot of the bike stuff, um because basically - although I was more than happy to learn how to ride a bike. You know, they were like if you fall or if you hurt yourself that’s it we’re screwed for filming for a bit. So, there were a couple of stunt doubles - one who was quite tiny, I mean really short - I mean, I’m not the tallest guy but he was kind of up to my shoulder - so a lot of the scenes on the bike, when you actually see like Slade powering off and turning corners he’s actually on tiptoes when he’s turning around a corner because this guy was really short. And I had another guy for a couple scenes who was about 6’2” massive guy - biker, big beard and kind of he tucked his beard in underneath his crash helmet. And he did this one scene where, um, Slade rescues Ebony and you know, and uses the bike pretty much to knock a lot of the characters over
and then she hops on and off they ride. And, yeah, that was some of my best work. I sat pretty much here with a coffee. And just, you know....yeah.


K: Was the bike custom built for the show?

M: It was, yeah. It was really cool. And there was just, there was only one - it was just the one bike.

K: So you had to make sure you didn’t crash it.

M: So yeah. Hence why they were like ‘Look you’re not going there. You’re not riding it. Actually, no way.” ‘Cause it was really beautiful - it was just like a dirt bike, um, and one of the guys in the crew who’s really into his bikes. Um. And the art department just, you know, kind of like added bits of corrugated iron to it. And this idea that, I mean with Slade there was a real Wild West feel, and the whole of Liberty you know which, I really loved, I thought that was really cool and obviously a totally different level but something like Firefly that’s what works so well with that - the idea of sci-fi and the Wild West being quite joined together. So the idea was that his bike was kind of like I guess his horse, you know, his penis extension, his... there was something phallic going on there, you know? But in reality there were three guys from the art department pushing me into shots. So, um yeah. I’d have been up for it. Really would have been up for it. But they had to make sure that nothing happened you know, otherwise it would’ve knocked out filming. And it was such a tight schedule you know, sometimes two units filming like up to 15 minutes of film a day which is incredibly fast. You know, like most tv or most film units do like a couple, you know? So time is really of the essence.

A: Yeah, we’ve noticed that on the website they’ll say every couple of months, you know, “We just finished all of this. We’re almost done.”

M: Yeah. I mean, it’s crazy, even with The New Tomorrow kind of when I check the Tribeworld website and they’ve pretty much, you know it’s pretty much finished now. Felt so, like a couple of weeks ago that they were starting. And I mean, we film like 52 half hour episodes. You know? It’s just constant. And very little time for, you know, yeah of course we had to do retakes and stuff like that - a lot of dubbing. Obviously out there where we’re filming there’s lots of external noises and you know, a lot of exterior shots. So, they have to make sure that the actors were really really safe and healthy otherwise it just knocks ‘em out.

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