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Maureen Russell & Valentine Pelka - The Horsemen Episodes

Ready to goThis was the first of three sessions that Maureen did with each of the actors, showing some of the dailies from episodes that they were in and inviting comments from them and questions from the audience. In this case, Valentine was watching the dailies from both the "Comes A Horseman" and "Revelation 6:8" episodes. His first scene on screen was actually the first thing shot. We then moved to the power station scenes, starting with the "swear you will kill MacLeod" scene. First up was one long continuous shot of the entire scene, which showed how some of the dialogue gets cut in the editing process - at one stage, Kronos says to Methos, " feel it, embrace it, love it - it's what you are". When Peter said, "I swear", Valentine started to giggle and said that he had clicked with Peter straight away. They were both inveterate gigglers and had burst out laughing at the end of the scene. This was followed by a close-up of Valentine and there were laughs at Kronos' half-smile. "I wish I'd never said anything," said Valentine. In another take, as Kronos and Methos clasp hands at the end of the shot, Peter can be heard to mutter, "Oh, that feels good…."

Of the fight in the power station with Duncan, Valentine said that had been in Vancouver for three days when they shot that and he had been working with Braun McAsh during that time, but barely with Adrian. He said that you need to establish a relationship with the other fighter, as some people can miss a blow and do not pull the stroke. However, he found that he could trust Adrian, as there occasions when both of them made mistakes and the other pulled the blow. Adrian was the best fighter he had ever worked with and was terrifyingly fast. He said the fights in The Raven were easier, as there were no obstacles, but the fight in the power station was cramped, with the pipework around and the crew very close, as well as the explosions and flames to contend with.

Of his comments about Adrian's technique, Maureen Russell said that she had been working on a book about sword masters and Mark Ryan, (Nazir from Robin of Sherwood), had told her that Bob Anderson considered the best swordsmen he had worked with to be Antonio Banderas, Richard Gere and Adrian Paul. He had described Adrian as the finest theatrical swordsman he had worked with, a comment that would resurface throughout the weekend. We then saw some of the takes from the fight scenes, with Adrian looking sideways at where the flames were and the two stunt doubles coming in for the fireburst shot that ends the fight. Asked if it was as dark as it looks, he said that it was dark, but he had gone over the ground and that there was enough light for eye contact, which is what he works from. He said that he had played Paris in "Romeo & Juliet" once in a theatre with opera lighting, that is to say side lighting, and he and the actor he was fighting were either blinded by the light or unable to see the other's face when it was in shadow.

The shots then moved to Kronos' confrontation with Cassandra and on to the Jimmy scene, or the coat-throwing contest as Valentine referred to it. He said that the bridge off which they dropped the Cassandra dummy was just to the right of the apartment building. He said that that dummy was no more convincing than the rug supposedly containing Cassandra which Methos drags off his horse in "Revelation 6:8". He added that, when they were filming the rug scene, Peter was on set alone and Valentine, Richard Ridings and Marcus Testory were sitting and watching. They gave him a big cheer when he dropped the rug.

We then moved to the end scene from "Comes A Horseman" and, in one take, Peter gives Kronos an evil look rather than the stony expression in the shot they used. Ever wondered what Methos was putting in that satchel when he was knifed by Kronos outside his apartment? It was a mobile phone, as the dailies show Methos ending a conversation, (with who?), then putting it away as he walks to the Jimmy. They did several takes of this, with Kronos saying "I missed you too" as Methos slides down the car dying. In one, Valentine gave a philosophical shrug of the shoulders.

A moment of mirthWe then were inside again for the chains scene, with several different takes. Remember how Methos asks "what do you think?", to which Kronos replies, "I'll tell you what I think - you've gone soft." What he actually said was "I'll tell you what I think - I think you could use a little pain, brother. (He presses into Methos' chest and makes him shout out in pain). Come on, what's the matter? There was a time when you would bounce back asking for more. You've gone soft." Valentine said that the editing process eliminates bad choices. He said that Ken Gord had given him three episodes from the Kalas arc to watch to get an idea of the series and that Ken was responsible for a lot of the Kronos look. He said that, as they cut his hair for the part, he was getting worried, but quite liked it when it was done. "I can stick invoices on this," he thought. When told that they had cut his hair and added the scar because Ken Gord thought he was too pretty, he burst out, "do me a favour!".

Next up was the Texas flashback from the beginning of "Comes A Horseman", which prompted Valentine to talk about how much he hates false beards. In the barn, we saw another example of the swords being handed to the actors at the crucial moment, as a grip steps into shot to hand Kronos' sword to Valentine, who promptly hid it under his coat before producing it with a flourish.

And then we came to something no one had seen before - the missing flashback from "Revelation 6:8". When Valentine started to talk about this at Chronicles '98, he was hurriedly hushed by Donna Lettow and Gillian Horvath, but we got to see the footage. Valentine said that Adrian had spoken to him to tell him what Kronos wanted out of the scene, then had spoken similarly to Peter, but neither knew what the other had been told. Maureen said that watching the scene changes the dynamic between Kronos and Methos, compared with the way it comes across on screen and removes some of the mystery. So, if you don't want to know, don't click here, but I can confirm that the wigs and skirts were every bit as bad as Valentine said.

Of Richard Ridings and Marcus Testory, Valentine said that they broke the mould when they made those two. He added that Adrian directed all of the Bordeaux scenes, including the ones in "Comes A Horseman". The video showed the forest scene where Silas greets Methos and Kronos. Remember how Silas throws the axe? It was actually F Braun McAsh, from just out of shot, about two feet away from them. For the long shot, we see how it was edited. Richard raised the axe over his head, then Braun runs in from behind, grabs it out of his hands, runs over to the tree, throws the axe into the tree, then runs back out of shot. Richard then makes a throwing gesture and the magic of TV takes over when it's edited. There were some shots from the bridge fight, with Adrian directing Marcus as they fought. Valentine repeated how well Marcus did, to handle a two sword fight with no previous experience.

We then moved to the scenes in the submarine base, with a longer establishing shot than was actually used. Valentine said that the base was used as they found it, with the chairs from the "Aristotle's poetics" scene being already there. Of the chicken dinner scene, Valentine said that it was filmed after the Romanian hospital scenes and that the location was as unpleasant as it looked. He wasn't feeling well and this contributed to him being as he was. He felt that Kronos was at his most relaxed in that scene and, as a consequence, at his most dangerous. He said that Kronos believes that part of Methos can't let go of the Horsemen and that Kronos has a hold over him through Cassandra and MacLeod.

Valentine said that Braun McAsh had told him, after they finished shooting there, that he had been worried that the sub base wouldn't withstand the Quickening explosions and Valentine added that he wished he'd told him first. He said how he missed the fireworks as Adrian told him to stay lying down with his eyes closed. The Quickening actually ripped through several bays and there were some cracking shots of the explosions travelling through them which weren't used.

We saw the final scene, where Duncan and Methos go their separate ways from the graveyard. The dialogue is a little different - as they walk off, Adrian is saying to Peter, "walk faster" and, as Peter nears the low wall, you can clearly hear him say "I just stepped in a huge pile of shit", at which Adrian collapses laughing. We then head Adrian saying "do it again", something that became a refrain during Elizabeth's session with Maureen on the "Methuselah's Gift" dailies.

Finally, Maureen showed us something that definitely didn't get used - during the fight, Peter and Adrian were wearing helmets with cameras on them, to give a fighter's eye view. Unfortunately, no one could work out how to focus them, so the footage is all blurred. Nice idea, though.

Next, reviewing Duende