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  • The Claudia Situation?

    Evening All!

    Stumbled upon JMSNews community this afternoon. Keen Fan of Bab 5/Crusade/Rangers.

    Here 'rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated' on 2/27/2007, JMS replies to a post

    'I actually remember that day. I'd flown into London the day before
    going to Blackpool, was jet lagged and didn't get any sleep...came to
    Blackpool, figured I'd get some sleep that night only to discover a
    fax from Doug with the article in Variety saying that Claudia was
    leaving the show, which was the first we'd heard of it. So there was
    no sleep THAT night either...also was on the phone through the day and
    evening and found there was little to no room service.

    So the next day, with 3 days of no sleep and 24 hours with no food, I
    had to skip breakfast to keep dealing with the Claudia situation, then
    when I went to get lunch there was a situation in the dealer's room
    with some counterfeit merchandise, and I had one shot for food, my
    first in almost two days...just half an hour between panels.'

    So, does anyone know what the 'Claudia Situation' is all about? TLT would only be enriched by her acting prowess and on screen presence. Such a shame if she isn't now involved in the project (although I don't know if she was or was not in the first place!)

    Can't wait for some new stuff. We've been without B5 for far too long!

    M
    sigpicSeventeen decks above, within the functional opulence afforded to her by means of her rank, Captain and Master Navigator Oomartra Tang viewed the decrepit new arrival with restrained curiosity

  • #2
    Hi Mindmeld, welcome!

    EDIT to add: Just to make sure it's clear...there's no current "Claudia Situation". The convention referred to in the post you reference is the Blackpool con in July of 1997.

    The "Claudia Situation" has been well chronicled elsewhere and you can find many posts from JMS in the archives. The short version is that, when talks were going on with TNT to finance a fifth season, all of the actors except Claudia had signed extentions on their options. The news that TNT was going to go ahead with season 5 came as JMS was traveling to the UK for a major convention and he was greeted, as he said, with news that Claudia wasn't going to sign on.

    Time was of the essence and Claudia wanted assurances of certain time off, which JMS was willing to give verbally but unable to give in writing because he couldn't speak for TNT. Claudia also wanted to be paid for the full season's worth of episodes even if she took off which would have amounted to a per-episode raise which had implications for the other actor's contracts and that couldn't be agreed to. JMS and the other actors all talked to her but the deadline passed without her signing on and so she wasn't in season 5. The problem was compounded by Claudia claiming to have been fired, though later she admitted that it was her own doing.

    To say that it caused JMS problems, not only with now mapping out season 5 without Ivanova but with the fans would be a major understatement.

    Among the first questions JMS got when he announced TLT last summer was whether Ivanova might be in any of them. JMS simply replied "Who can say?" which is about as non-committal as you can get. My personal opinion is that, if JMS came up with a story that was right for her and required Claudia as Ivanova, that he'd go with it. He's been known to hire actors who've upset him before, though probably not on the level that the "Claudia Situation" did. Since only the first disk has been greenlighted, it's way too early to say how things might go.

    Jan
    Last edited by Jan; 03-04-2007, 11:25 AM.
    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

    Comment


    • #3
      mmm I was actually there at that convention. There was an underlying tension about the place. JMS did look a bit fed up ( a lot of people looked fed up - I just assumed that was down to good old Jet Lag or something ).

      Of course I dont think any of us fans knew what was going on. We were too busy doin cosplay, buying merchandise and gettin drunk.

      Comment


      • #4
        My wife and I were actually in the green room at the convention when the response to the 'Claudia situation' was being dicussed a few feet away. Suffice to say, I can't think of a place I wanted to be in less at the time. It's not much fun being a journalist on the one hand and on the other, knowing most of the people involved on a personal basis.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jan View Post
          Claudia also wanted to be paid for the full season's worth of episodes even if she took off which would have amounted to a per-episode raise which had implications for the other actor's contracts and that couldn't be agreed to.
          Just to be clear, this particular point is also in dispute.

          However, it is also clear that time did not allow this point (or any of the others) to be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. That was the Season 5/TNT situation more than the Claudia situation.
          I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station, when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone .. our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit .. that the part of me that is going .. will very much miss the part of you that is staying.

          Comment


          • #6
            Just to take exception with something you said Jan, I don't think ALL of the actors had signed extensions to their contracts by the time they arrived in Blackpool. That meant once the Claudia situation arose, the producers were under some pressure to make sure the actors had all signed, which led to some pretty hard feelings at the time. Since the actors were basically eight hours away from their agents, lawyers and other people who generally look out for their interests, plus it was a weekend to boot, it was a bit unfair to subject them to those strongarm tactics. I can remember Peter Jurasik telling me how he was trying to set up a conference call back home with his people while sitting in one of the hotel's bars or restaurants, surrounded by noisy people. And I seem to remember another cast member telling me much the same thing, but I won't mention his name because I don't want to trust my memory on this one. Suffice to say, it wasn't an easy time for a lot of people.

            Comment


            • #7
              You may be right, Joe. I was basing what I said on posts like this one:

              From: J. Michael Straczynski <[email protected]>
              Subject: Claudia C fired!
              To: CIS
              Date: 7/20/1997 2:11:00 PM

              {original post unavailable}

              You must understand that Claudia is one of 10 or so actors on
              the show. The other actors understood and understand that we cannot
              renegotiate contracts in mid-stream, and they are *supportive of the
              show*, and gave us extensions on their contracts so that WB could have
              time to make the TNT deal work. They are all, to a man and woman, on
              board otherwise.
              [emphasis added by me]
              Not having been there, I don't have any firm opinion one way or another but that seemed pretty definite. Plus, I think it was an extension of the *option* on their services wasn't it? My understanding was that they had multi-year (5 year?) contracts but that each year there was a date by which WB had to exercise their option to use the actors and it was an extension of that option that the actors had signed.

              From: J. Michael Straczynski <[email protected]>
              Subject: Series Renewal
              To: CIS
              Date: 6/26/1996 2:50:00 PM

              (blocked) asks:
              > As an employer, how do you hire for the show in such a way as to
              > let your employees know how long they would be under your employ?
              > How do the actors deal with this?

              Thanks. Basically, you hire actors by the season. You hire
              someone for, say, 13 episodes out of 22. That actor has a pay-or-play
              *guarantee* of 13 episodes. We may only end up using him in 11, but he
              gets paid for all 13 regardless. So that allows the actor to plan his
              year effectively. The contract for all actors has an option for the
              following year at the producer's discretion. When we get the word on
              renewal, we can then choose whether or not to bring an actor back,
              assuming we haven't already decided this earlier and killed the
              character off.

              jms
              From: J. Michael Straczynski <[email protected]>
              Subject: 'Drop Dead' Date?
              To: CIS
              Date: 6/5/1997 4:26:00 PM

              Kevin P. Kenney <[email protected]> asks:
              > Now that we're close to it, what's the last day that the renewal
              > news must get to you by, to continue the actors' options? Is it
              > after the two movies wrap?

              Because Warners is working on several options to keep the show
              on the air in the absence of PTEN, and a crowded syndication market,
              they've asked for, and received, a 30 day extension on the drop dead
              day from the cast. So now they have until July 15th to make it work.

              jms
              Blackpool was the 10th to the 13th of July as I recall so was it really an attempt to "strongarm" anybody or simply a matter of timing that everybody had to have been aware of? Could it be that the actors had assumed that the pick-up wouldn't happen? No way of knowing at this late date.

              If I'd been the actors I'd've wanted my reps to review the actual contract regardless of the extension since there was obviously a substantial change from the syndication provisions to the cable provisions (residuals were a major difference, iirc). That may have been the pressure that they felt?

              Jan
              "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

              Comment


              • #8
                I was there at Blackpool and to be fair, none of the cast gave much, or indeed any indication that there was any tension back stage...although, of course, there must have been. They were all splendid 'pro's.

                I find it a great shame that the memory of being there, for what amounted to the BIGGEST B5 convention in the world EVER, has ended up being somewhat marred by the knowledge of the behind-the-scenes goings-on. Such a shame.

                Don't get me wrong, it was still a fabulous convention and we enjoyed it very very much, but there is that feeling of it being a memory, tainted. Do you other attendees feel the same?

                The positive for me is that I was able to meet and speak to Rick and Andreas one last time. The true definition of "Every cloud has a silver lining"
                Last edited by DGTWoodward; 03-06-2007, 12:59 PM.
                http://www.lddb.com/collection.php?a...er=dgtwoodward
                Yes, I still collect Laserdiscs!!
                47" Phillips 1080p 46" Samsung 1080p Toshiba HD-30E (2 both Multi Region) PS3-80G 120G BR Multi-Region Maidstone MD-BR-2102 Sky-HD Freesat-HD Pioneer DVL-909 CLD-D925 CLD-2950 (AC3) CLD-D515 CLD S315 Yamaha ADP-1 Meridian 519 Pioneer 609 (DD/DTS) x 2 Speakers & subs Jammo M/S Pioneer Technics Sony Eltax Akai Aiwa

                Comment


                • #9
                  LightStorm, I feel exactly the same way. There were so many highlights to that weekend that it was a shame that 'real life' still managed to intrude in such an unfortunate way. In a way, I almost envied some of the fans who were completely oblivious to what was going on, because they were able to enjoy the event for what it was- 2 a.m. fire alarms and all.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Claudio on Babylon Podcast

                    If you want to hear Claudia's take on the whole thing you can listen to her on the Babylon podcast from November.
                    http://www.babylonpodcast.com/2006/1...dcast-show-40/

                    Neil

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well itÆs been a while since I posted the question. Just want to send a BIG THANK YOU!!!!! to all those who have replied. I now have a clearer understanding of what happened (in a murky grey sort of way!) I shall apply myself to earlier posts for further enlightenment!

                      The internet is the most wonderful place sometimes. I cannot believe that I an actually chatting with people who know 'Londo Mollari'/Peter Jurasick!

                      You see, I don't quite know what it is about Bab5 that captures the essence of humanity as it does. Is it the superlative writing, the remarkably intuitive casting or the overall vision for the future? I've no idea. But I do no that without this sort of questing positive view of mankindÆs future, on the surface, there is not too much to be optimistic about at the moment! Perhaps this is why, to us Sci-fi freaks (and I mean that in a happy smillie kinda way!) Bab5 becomes as much of a way of life as other 'religion'. I think itÆs just a relevant, just as important to see the big picture and just as humbling.

                      ItÆs a big debt we all owe JMS and the team for creating this stuff for us. The news that there's more in production and the possibility of more thereafter is nothing less than fantastic! The fact is, whoever plays even a small part in the next part will be contributing to my outlook for the future. That means that whilst I despair about all the appalling way humanity seems to be blowing itself up at the moment there's always hope. Always hope that the next and future generations will not make the same mess of the planet and interpersonal relationships as we have managed to do.

                      And on that Happy note (I look like a PakÆmaÆra just ate my cat!!), Do you think we can anticipate the further inclusion of the Great Machine of Epsilon 3 in the forthcoming instalments?

                      Mindmeld Mindmelded
                      sigpicSeventeen decks above, within the functional opulence afforded to her by means of her rank, Captain and Master Navigator Oomartra Tang viewed the decrepit new arrival with restrained curiosity

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Understanding is a three-edged sword.

                        To be fair to Claudia the cast were all told that season 5 was off, she sadly accepted that and got more work and then season 5 was back on and JMS wouldn't give her the time off she needed to fulfill her commitments to other projects.

                        She was also getting less money than some of the other actors and wanted a pay rise.

                        There is JMS's truth, Claudia's truth and the reality thing.

                        None of us actually worked on the production of the series or were there through all the production meetings and even then we wouldn't have a God's eye view of the situation.

                        I do wish the two of them would get off their sand pits, shake hands and get on with telling great B5 stories with both Ivanova and Lochley (which have the potential of being very different characters) but my arms don't reach far enough to knock their noggins together and really they should be mature enough and financially wise enough not to need such an action.

                        As fans of both Claudia and JMS I don't think it helps much by still taking sides after all these years.

                        I'm glad Tracy is getting another chance to step out of Claudia's shadow. Which to be fair she never really got the chance to do in Season 5 and started to in River Of Souls and Crusade (only to have the new show strangled at birth).

                        I'd also dearly love to see Ivanova return and the whole 'who did what to whom' rubbish put to bed at last.
                        I have the wings for Bingo.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Shr'eshhhhhh View Post
                          To be fair to Claudia the cast were all told that season 5 was off, she sadly accepted that and got more work and then season 5 was back on and JMS wouldn't give her the time off she needed to fulfill her commitments to other projects.
                          Provably untrue. Why else would the cast have been asked to sign extensions while negotiations continued. We also never heard of anything other than potential opportunities Claudia might have had.

                          She was also getting less money than some of the other actors and wanted a pay rise.
                          Please show your source for that statement. Also note that, even if that statement is true, *by contract* if she got a raise so did everybody else which would leave her still making less than some of the other actors.

                          There is JMS's truth, Claudia's truth and the reality thing.
                          Misquote. And to actually quote JMS from Volume 11:

                          In speculating about what happened during the crucial weeks and months noted in the apages that follow, some fans who wonder where the truth is tend to cite a quote from Babylon 5: "understanding is a three-edged sword: your side, their sid, and the truth." The implicit argument is that there are many perspecives on a given situation, which is accurate.

                          They tend to overlook the fact that of the three options noted in the quote described abov, one of them is the truth.
                          Not three different truths, one truth, different perspectives.

                          None of us actually worked on the production of the series or were there through all the production meetings and even then we wouldn't have a God's eye view of the situation.
                          We do now have an eywitness account with dates and explanations in even more detail than back in July of 1997.

                          I do wish the two of them would get off their sand pits, shake hands and get on with telling great B5 stories with both Ivanova and Lochley (which have the potential of being very different characters) but my arms don't reach far enough to knock their noggins together and really they should be mature enough and financially wise enough not to need such an action.
                          Ivanova and Lochley are already very different characters. Nor is it up to us do judge their maturity or wisdom. Face it, if Ivanova never shows up in anything B5 again, we'll never know why. We'll never know if an offer was made and refused. Or if an offer was ever made at all. Or why or why not. And it's none of our business whatsoever.

                          As fans of both Claudia and JMS I don't think it helps much by still taking sides after all these years.
                          We should also be very careful not to spread possible misinformation such as that posted above.

                          [Moderator-speak] Since this is a major event in the B5 universe and because JMS just provided us with an account of what happened in Volume 11 of the script books, I'm going to ask, firmly, that we confine conversation about it to two areas rather than have it take over the entire forum.

                          First is a thread appropriately named: The Claudia Situation?

                          Second is the Script Book #11 - SPOILERS thread.

                          I'm going to copy this post and Shr'eshhhhhh's to the Claudia Situation thread so as to not derail this one and discussion about the novels. [/Moderator-speak]
                          Jan
                          "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I placed my comments where I did because over in the Mongoose books thread almost a dozen threads had been posted strongly implying that Ms Christian was solely responsible for Ivanova not appearing in Babylon 5 ("Thirdspace" and "Sleeping In Light" aside) after season 4.

                            If I hadn't read these comments I wouldn't have posted on the subject at all.
                            For me it's like taking sides in a messy divorce between two people one likes a lot and to quote an often wise moderator on these boards speaking on this subject.

                            "I wish that sleeping dogs had been left alone, personally." Jan (10-26-2006).

                            I've listened to both the JMS perspective and Ms Christian's and to be honest I don't know who to believe or care either way.

                            I post on this board and read it's content because I love Babylon 5 and that includes JMS's storytelling and the skills of those who helped him bring those stories to the screen, including the actors.

                            If I had read eleven posts plugging only Claudia's view I'd have reminded the board that JMS had a different take on this rather sordid slice in the show's production history.

                            As it was I read the opposite and replied accordingly.

                            I reiterate, none of us was there at the time, none of us saw into the souls of the individuals involved and frankly buying a document published by one side of the dispute and quoting from it like a street preacher doesn't equip one for the task of slicing this baby fairly which is why I shall not get drawn into throwing quotes in all directions.

                            I suspect that the majority of Babylon 5 fans would like to see Claudia Christian and Tracy Scoggins playing Ivanova and Lochley in stories written by JMS.

                            For that to happen JMS and Claudia need to put the past behind them and drop the issue.

                            Both have something to gain by doing so and not just financially.

                            As fans we don't do the objects of our enthusiasm any good service by constantly scratching at this subject either.
                            Last edited by Shr'eshhhhhh; 04-30-2007, 05:35 AM.
                            I have the wings for Bingo.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I reiterate, none of us was there at the time, none of us saw into the souls of the individuals involved and frankly buying a document published by one side of the dispute and quoting from it like a street preacher doesn't equip one for the task of slicing this baby fairly which is why I shall not get drawn into throwing quotes in all directions.
                              That pretty much sums up my view of the whole affair, everything I'v heard about this gives me the impression that wider events are far more to blame than either JMS or Christian for her departure.
                              Who are you?
                              What do you want?
                              What is the average inflight speed of an unladened swallow?

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