Whoosh! Online Edition Whoosh! On The Road

By Tina Mancuso [140-164]
(2696 Words)

ALEX [140]

A NOTE ON MY GUEST SUMMARIES: This is as complete a summary of the Q&A periods as I can manage. I will not attempt to transcribe, but I will quote especially funny things the guests said occasionally. It's hard to convey this without voice inflection or facial expression, so keep in mind that about 90% of some guests' (Hudson and Danielle especially) answers were meant to be flippant or sarcastic -- they've great senses of humor! Anything that's in quotation marks is a direct quote.


Alex suddenly realizes the Carol Burnett routine no longer works on 
the younger crowd.

Alex Tydings surveying the masses
(Photo courtesy of Debbie Cassetta)

[140] Alex, as she calls herself, has obviously not done very many cons before, and apparently none as big as Cherry Hill. She was overwhelmed at the size of the audience, and couldn't stop saying, "Wow!" in the first few minutes. As she said, "I haven't seen this many people in one place since graduation!" If not for her smile, it'd be hard to tell that she is the actress who plays Aphrodite; she's so different from her character -- not just in looks, but in the way she talks and carries herself -- that it's hard to tell they're the same person. I knew the big Aphrodite hair was a wig, but her real hair, which is short and brownish-blonde, suits her much better. She gave us a bit of Aphrodite at the beginning, saying, "Exsqueeze me? I don't think so! Well... maybe!"

Fur lined thongs are fun!

Alex Tydings enjoying the moment
(Photo courtesy of Debbie Cassetta)

The Questions & Answers

[141] The first question was about her cake fight with Lucy in the HTLJ episode STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD [H64/405]. First she went into a tangent about corsets, asking how many people had worn them -- more cheers than she'd expected on that one. She said that when these things were worn by most women, they were laced so tightly that women would walk around with broken ribs. "And they say women are the weaker sex??" But, she said, Lucy's used to corsets since she wears one with her costume. I gather that as Aphrodite, Alex normally doesn't have to wear one, but in SIASW, she had to. Anyway, she said, Lucy's used to fighting since she plays a warrior and fights in practically every episode. Alex plays a goddess, who just zaps things and never has to do physical fights. So the two of them have to fight, and of course they have to throw punches that look real but don't actually hit the other person. Lucy gets hers done in one take, and then they go to Alex's. "And an hour later..."! Seems she couldn't quite get close enough with her punch for it to look real. So Lucy tells her to "just relax and have fun!" Yeah, right! So they finally got the punch filmed, then they had to do the actual cake fight. There was only one cake, so it had to be right on the first take, when usually they do a shot five or six times before they get it right. So Alex grabbed as much cake as she could hold in both fists and turned to throw it at Lucy, who, being much taller and stronger, had grabbed an ENTIRE LAYER of cake. Alex said that if you listen really carefully while watching that scene, you can hear her laughing. The cake was also very slippery, so she had trouble keeping her balance while all this was going on. Then the camera operators had to change the film in the middle of the cake fight, so Alex and Lucy had to wait for them. The room was hot and the buttercream frosting, which was by this point all over both of them, started to curdle and smell awful. No one would go near them, and even worse, the smell stayed with them for days afterward. Ugh!

Hmmm...on second thought, I think the podium would look better over here.

Telling stories
(Photo courtesy of Kimberly Dull)

[142] Someone asked Alex if she was an extrovert or an introvert. She didn't seem quite sure which she was, and the questioner suggested that she must be an extrovert because of those skimpy costumes. Alex answered, "That's HER [Aphrodite], not me!" As Alex said, Aphrodite's never had an introverted moment in her life.

[143] The next question was how did she find out about the audition for HERCULES? She said her agent told her; Universal is in Hollywood, so some of the casting for the shows is done there and some in New Zealand. Asked about other roles she's doing at the moment, she mentioned am independent film called BARHOP she just finished with a first-time director whose name I didn't catch but whom she loved working with.

[144] Someone asked what her favorite scene in HERCULES or XENA is. Karl Urban came back out on-stage for this one. She said that all she can remember of past lines is, "Don't be stupid, Cupid!" Karl did the "Yo, what up, Mom?" line, and an audience member shouted out another `Dite line, "I have an overwhelming sense of grodiness!" Alex looked surprised and said, "Did I SAY that?"

Secretly hoping no one asks her about the 'noodle incident' of '72.

Sharing memories
(Photo courtesy of Debbie Cassetta)

[145] The next person asked about her Irish dancing. She did that for eight years, and quit at age 12, except for one time when she did it again at age 19 -- she was in Ireland, "I had a lot of Guinness in me, and no shoes." Someone asked her to do the "What a wipeout!" line from THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER [56/310], and she of course obliged. Did she know Aphrodite would become so popular? "No!"

[146] She was then asked to elaborate about her audition for HERCULES. She said she had been in another Action Pack series called VANISHING SON and assumed that HERCULES was the same kind of genre -- serious, straight action/drama. She got the script for THE APPLE [H30/217] and read it and thought, "This is kinda weird... this is kinda funny!" She called her agent -- "a closet HERCULES fan" -- to ask about it and her agent said that it was a quirky, campy show, and she should just have fun with it (and wear something skimpy). So she went to the audition in the shortest skirt she had, and every other woman there was in leather. She said that the main reason she wanted this job was because she wanted to go to New Zealand.

[147] Someone asked what the difference between the United States and New Zealand is. She said, "Afternoon tea", which is at 4:30 every day; everything stops and everyone takes a break. She talked about filming the HTLJ episode REIGN OF TERROR [H55/318]. She was very nervous about this one because she had to cry, and she didn't think she could get herself to cry before the camera, although she cries very easily in real life. She was talking about it to the makeup artist, who's a good friend of hers, and her friend asked, "Well, what makes you cry?" Alex answered, "Music." So her friend asked, "What song?" She said that the song "Wild Horses" by the Rolling Stones makes her cry every time she hears it. So her friend went out over lunch and got a copy of the song. Alex listened to it as she was having her makeup done for the big crying scene, she started crying, and was "totally ready" to do the scene. Just then, the AD walked in and said, "Afternoon tea!" So they had the half-hour! break for tea and Alex had to do the whole thing again.

Woe Woe Woe...Feelings.......

Wearing really short pants
(Photo courtesy of Debbie Cassetta)

[148] Asked whether she prefers HERCULES or XENA, Alex wondered whether to be diplomatic here. She said she was fondest of HERCULES because that's where she started; her first episode was THE APPLE; that one and STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD are her favorites. Also, she has friends, like the makeup artist, on the HERCULES set. But now, she said, people have moved between the shows, and XENA's gotten lighter while HERCULES has gotten darker, so there's not so much difference between the two. But originally, HERCULES was her favorite. So who's her favorite actor or actress to work with on either show? She was obviously again wondering how to be diplomatic, but then she said, "Karl!" to which he called from backstage, "You got that right, buddy!" Someone from the audience shouted out, "Argo", which made her laugh.

[149] The next fan asked what two characters on the show would she make fall in love if she could do that as Aphrodite. She said, "Callisto and...Ares, maybe."

[150] How hard is it to memorize her lines? She said that from the minute she gets a script, she starts working on it with her coach and with the other actors if she can. After you work that long and hard on a script, you get to know it by heart!

[151] Naturally, there had to be a fan who asked for a hug. Alex was gracious; after saying she wasn't supposed to do that, she gave the hug anyway.

[152] So, will Aphrodite herself ever find love? She seemed at a loss here until someone mentioned the mythological Aphrodite's husband, Hephaestus. Then she talked a bit about Aphrodite from Greek mythology, and how the stories really present different views of the goddess -- in some she's good, spreading love; and in others, she's just wreaking havoc. Asked what she'd like to see Aphrodite do, she said, "I'd like her to be a rock star!" People start asking her to sing something, and she finally belts out (singing), "I've been a bad, bad girl." She's got a pretty good singing voice!

The next day, 6000 fans converge on Bubba's Tattoo Shack.

Showing off her tattoos
(Photo courtesy of Debbie Cassetta)

[153] Someone asked about her tattoo -- she's actually got two, a Celtic band around her right arm, and a fairy on her back. She described how she got the fairy at age 18; she went with a friend who assured her it wouldn't hurt. It was a hot day, and she almost passed out just from the heat, and then, she said, "I felt this knife in my back." Her friend said the pain would go away, but of course, it didn't, and she was turning green. So a guy (named Bonehead) gave her a lollipop, and it actually worked -- helped take her mind off the pain.

[154] The next question concerned STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD: was it hard to do? She said no, she had a lot of fun with it. It was nice to be a different character ("and to wear clothes!"). She commented on how much research Michael Hurst did on the fool and its role in the tarot and mythology.

[155] Someone asked if she is married; she deliberated before answering that she wasn't married, but "I'm in love."

[156] She was asked to elaborate on the crying scene from REIGN OF TERROR which she had mentioned earlier. She talked about how she had to think about Aphrodite's character and why she cared for this particular mortal. She mentioned that there's "a little bit of soulfulness that runs through Aphrodite, where she wants to be taken seriously", but she doesn't get that. Alex then brought up a book she'd read called "The Goddess Within", which is a feminist cultural criticism. In it, six of the Greek goddesses -- Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hera (she couldn't remember the other two) -- are discussed in terms of modern-day feminist archetypes. Athena is the intellectual woman; Hera is the president's wife; and Aphrodite is the bombshell, like Marilyn Monroe. Bombshell types, said Alex, have had lots of violence done to them in the 20th century; Marilyn Monroe is a perfect example. And Aphrodite, as Alex portrays her, feels that. Alex then laughed and said that maybe this was getting a bit too intellectual. (I wish she'd gone on -- I found it fascinating!)

Now, if I can just undo this, I'll be much more comfortable...

Doing some low-rent yoga
(Photo courtesy of Debbie Cassetta)

[157] Someone asked her to give a brief bio of herself. She said she started acting at age 8, when she played a bean sprout in the school play. At age 14 she played Peter Pan and it was a big thrill for her because she got to fly. She always wanted to be an actress; her mom has a list of what she wanted to be when she was about 8 years old, and "actress" is at the top, along with veterinarian, writer, president, and poet. By college she was still interested in all those things (except veterinarian and president), but she tried out for a freshman acting class and didn't get in. She tried out for a play, and didn't get that either, so she gave up on acting. But she started studying filmmaking, and she and her friends would put each other in their films, so she discovered that she loved acting. She did a one-woman show her senior year in college, and moved to LA after she graduated. Her first big break was a movie called THE SUNCHASER (which was in the movies for "oh, about two-and-a-half minutes"), in which she played Woody Harrelson's wife. She got a role in a PARTY OF FIVE episode as Charlie's date, and she did the indy film BARHOP. She's now starting her own production company; they're doing two short films. Her makeup artist friend from HERCULES also does special effects, and is doing that on one of the short films. Alex is also writing scripts.

[158] The next fan asked about the skimpy costumes she has to wear as Aphrodite in the New Zealand winters. Alex mentioned that it's almost always raining, too. She said she tries to cheat when she can; if the shot is only from the waist up, she'll wear sweatpants and boots. They also have "little pink long-johns" for her. Of course, when she had to wear the rubber suit for REIGN OF TERROR, it was the middle of summer and the suit didn't let any air in at all! That, she said, "is when I started to think it was personal."

[159] What was her favorite show as a kid? CHARLIE'S ANGELS -- she wanted a Farrah Fawcett haircut. She told a funny story of cutting off her own bangs at the age of six.

Karl takes a bite of the apple.

Getting schmooched by Karl Urban
(Photo courtesy of Kimberly Dull)

[160] Someone asked about her role as Catherine the pig in HTLJ's ONE FOWL DAY [H76/417]. She said it was a lot of fun to be able to roll in the mud and eat without a fork. Autolycus and Iolaus had to spend most of this episode covered in mud, and Alex had heard horror stories about mud in the eye, etc. But she had to BELIEVE it, had to sell it as if mud was her favorite thing in the world. She managed by thinking of ice cream. She said that it was fun to do the mud scene, except once in a while when she'd remember that she was rolling in mud. She had to do this scene in one take because the costume and wig would have needed washing afterward.

[161] The next fan to come up to the mike spent what seemed like 10 minutes gushing over Alex and her character, but never actually got around to asking a question. This is, in my opinion, one of the negative things about cons.

[162] Someone asked her to talk about acting and how she stays sane while doing it. She said acting is the most brutal job in the world except for modeling -- she modeled from age 11 to 14. She said she had once worked out that she has auditioned for 500 parts for every one she's gotten, and often it's not talent that gets you the part. How does she stay sane? She has two great dogs who don't care what she looks like.

[163] The final questioner asked who Alex would pick to star in films with her new production company. She said she'd pick her friends, because there's a lot of untapped talent there.

[164] I found Alex to be sweet, a good storyteller, and very intelligent. I'd love to sit down with her one-on-one and hear her views on feminism in more detail -- the little bit we got at the con was very fascinating. She was definitely the most serious of the guests; she wasn't playing it up like Hudson (not to put down Hudson, I thought she was wonderful!), or joking or sarcastic like Danielle and Karl, she was just sweet and seemingly unaffected by her fame.

I told you, 'as soon as I finish with the Scottsman, I'll do yours next!'

And she can spell her own name!
(Photo courtesy of Kimberly Dull)

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