“Farscape” Season Three: Tammy MacIntosh as Jool

By Anna L. Kaplan

Tammy MacIntosh bounced into her first FARSCAPE convention, launching into the acrobatics that she did in “Scratch ‘N Sniff.” Before the convention, she expressed some trepidation about meeting fans. To begin with, Jool got a rocky introduction into the FARSCAPE family. Zhaan was dying. Jool’s character was created to be unlikable. MacIntosh, who didn’t have a land phone line or a computer in her house at the time, also expected to meet people who knew the show better than she did. She said, “The one and only time I went on the ‘Net, all these people seemed to be quoting lines that I said. They seemed to know a whole lot more about my character than I knew at the time. It’s a little bit scary when somebody knows more about your career than you do, and about the character that you are playing. I was under the impression that I had to know everything. I just thought if I got to the convention and they asked me all these questions, they would know so much more about Jool than I would, that it would be embarrassing.”

But the actress was a huge hit with the fans, and enjoyed her experience. Jool, though, is still somewhat of a mystery as a character. The audience is learning about her in bits and pieces. Crichton brought her cryopod on board Moya. Her cousin, who was in a separate pod, survived less than a minute after defrosting. Jool, who didn’t even seem sick, initially doesn’t even admit to remembering how she got there. Said MacIntosh, “Because of the size of this cast, and also because the stories are based through the human’s point of view, it’s really hard to cover everybody’s backstory. Things are revealed to us very slowly throughout the series. Hopefully a little bit more will be revealed. The beginning of the next [season], I think we will find out a lot more about Jool.”

Jool does talk about her idyllic past. Explained MacIntosh, “She comes from a planet where there is no violence, no warfare and no guns. This planet is very upper class. Education and academics are kind of what their existence is all about. So for her to come to this prison ship is a little spooky. But she’s not a prisoner. Everyone else has been in military situations or has been held prisoner. They have all had street-level, life lessons, whereas Jool hasn’t. She is very much the princess whose been thrown to the other end of the galaxy and doesn’t like it one bit. I feel sorry for her.”

Because the audience knows so little of Jool’s species, there is more room for MacIntosh to improvise. She laughed, “In ‘Different Destinations,’ Jool had to take medicine. I hadn’t established how she ate or drank. I thought, ‘Well, you know what? I’m in space. I can do it however I want to do it.’ I made this gargling sound when Jool drinks. If you are a little bit drunk, it’s fun to try. That’s how I made it up. I was drinking some wine with some friends the day before I shot that scene. We were sitting around the table. Everyone had had a few too many glasses of wine. I put the thing to my lips and just started blowing bubbles, and everyone at the table went, ‘That’s great. Do that tomorrow.’”

Like many of the other FARSCAPE actors, MacIntosh, who is well-known to Australian audiences, auditioned over a long period of time. She recalled, “I had an audition process that went on for about seven months. They were obviously looking for a particular person, because they spent so much time dragging us through the mud. For the first six months it was the casting people, and then on the final audition it was Andrew Prowse and Ben Browder. They didn’t say yes on the day. I had been coming and going back and forth from Sydney to L.A. for the last few years. I was planning to leave again. When I had to go to the States I had my agent call them and say, ‘Look, she’s going to leave.’ They decided to give everybody an answer. It was at that point that they said yes, four weeks after the final audition. But I’ve got to say, to this day, it was worth every anxiety-ridden audition I went through was because I love this job.”

MacIntosh knew little about her character’s appearance when she arrived her first day on set. She remembered, “I was told that I was going to be orange, like Chiana is gray. Then I went in for my first makeup tests, and I am tinted golden rather than orange. It was on that day I found out I was wearing prosthetics.”

Luckily she was able to laugh about the whole thing, saying, “It’s so much fun spending every day of your life wrapped up in rubber. My facial piece doesn’t weigh a lot. What weighs a lot is my wig. I think that’s why they made the collar around my neck, because I actually need that brace to hold my head up with that wig.”

Early on there was a difference of opinion about Jool’s hair color. Recalled MacIntosh, “Initially they had a big dilemma over whether they wanted her to be blonde or red. Different parties had different ideas. I decided to calm the quarrel by saying, ‘Look, what if when she becomes agitated or angry, she has a change of hair color?’ This woman, where she is from on her planet there is no violence, there is none of this warfare stuff, there are no guns. So the red hair thing I invented an emergency device when she needs to be defensive, or she gets angry about something. Then we got the red hair and the blonde hair. They do it with different wigs. Everyone was happy.”

MacIntosh mentioned some favorite moments for Jool. She especially liked the fact that Jool and D’Argo made a connection at the end of “Revenging Angel,” when she admits to D’Argo that she has entered his ship. MacIntosh said, “It’s the first episode, I think, where you see Jool actually break down all her pretensions and her distaste at being there, and actually form some kind of good relationship with D’Argo. It’s not sexual or anything, it’s just a real nice bond that’s made that’s not played out as comedy or played out as sarcasm. It’s actually true and real. I love that they explored that part of Jool.”

Jool is still trying to get find her way back to her people. Viewers will have to wait until season four to find out where Jool might be headed. At the very end of season three, only Jool and a mysterious old woman were aboard Moya with Pilot. Explained MacIntosh, “She’s hoping that maybe one of the next few planets we pass by might be a planet that she recognizes from an archeologic dig site that she remembers. They might be heading in that direction, so she’s working on finding out that information, which isn’t aboard Moya. She’s got to find that somewhere else. She’s getting excited about that.”

Copyright 2002 by Anna L. Kaplan. A significantly shorter version of this article originally appeared in the June 2002 issue of Cinefantastique (Volume 34, Number 3-4). Other articles from this issue can be found in the Archives June 2002.

Leave a Reply