Starfury 99 - Chariots of War
Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th September 1999
Radisson Edwardian Hotel, London

This was my first convention where we had actual stars from the show. Robert Trebor is (I think) the only one who has been involved in any fan events in the UK as he was at one last year. It was a lot bigger than anything I had been to before too. The weekend began with a cocktail party with the guests on the Friday night, but I had decided to arrive Saturday morning.
(You can read Tomihawk's EXCELLENT con report including details of the cocktail party here. I think he has photos too.)

After booking in I soon found the main hall and noted that the guests appearances began at 12 noon. As it was 11.40 by then I settled into a seat near the front to watch the end of the Young Hercules movie. It had the usual RenPics style and flair and some rather jazzy Joe LoDuca music too. Plus Kevin Smith is always worth watching! Anyway, it was overrunning a bit so Robert Trebor didn't get on until 12.20. He was followed by Ted Raimi and then Bruce Campbell.

I have tried to condense what the guests said over the two days into one section. As almost everyone was there both days, the guests hardly repeated themselves at all. Most of these pictures are thumbnails, click on them for a bigger picture. Some are my own photos, others are screen grabs from Liz's video. (Thanks Liz).

Robert Trebor

Robert Trebor (called Bob almost universally it seems) appeared first on Saturday. He looked a little different with dark hair and beard. Apparently he thinks it makes him look younger! (Age being a big issue in Hollywood.)
Firstly, his name. His surname isn't Trebor but he liked the pallindromic qualities!! (Same forwards and backwards.) Incidentally, Trebor should rhyme with Trevor, a short "e" sound, and more of a swallowed ending- not 'tree-boar' but 'tre-burr'. Roll the r and say it in an American accent....Bob Trebor.
Bob clearly loved an audience and tried to answer fully and carefully. He didn't like flash photography so we all had to save our cameras after grabbing a quick one or two.
Here are some of the questions and answers that came up in Bob's Saturday and Sunday talks.

- His most uncomfortable moment was having to shave all his body hair for Men In Pink.
- Bob talked about the weather in NZ, being so near to the hole in the ozone layer you have to wear lots and lots of sun block.
- The journey from the US takes 14hrs, but Pacific Renaissance fly you first class. You then get a day off totally before beginning work.
- Bob was asked about Sam Raimi. Bob only met him twice. Once at Lucy and Rob's wedding. Another time he met him and Sam looked at him and said "don't I know you?" and RT replied "yes I am in one of your shows."
- I asked about how Renee was as a director. Bob said she was very ambitious. (too ambitious?) She tried to do too much. She kept overrunning and not getting the filming finished.
- Filming in New Zealand is 98% joy and the 2% is down to the weather which can be bad.
- Salmoneus was written for him, he didn't audition. The audition he did was for Whalen in Hercules and the Lost Kingdom.
- Bob's dream role is Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. He would love to do that or Neil Simon's Chapter Two.
- The questions of differences in the 2 sets came up and he said he didn't notice much different. Better catering on Hercules initially during the first season of Xena. As a director on Hercules, he became aware of one though. The Director of photography on Herc is always careful to make it look very cinematic and with pretty pictures. On Xena the directing is pacier and more kinetic in Bob's view.
-He has a book coming out called Dear Salmoneus which is fictional advice from Sal to various figures both real and unreal. It has 2 main sections; Affairs of the Heart and Affairs of the Wallet.
Bob would also love to do a CD which he has a title for. Songs in the Key of Money.
- Bob sang a burst of If I Werere a Rich Man and gave us his quail noise too.
-He has no more comic books planned as Dark Horse haven't asked and he could only write funny stories anyway.
-Ted Raimi invaded the stage near the end to tease Bob's author status- "I'm a published author!"
-On Sunday I asked about the songs in Here She Comes Miss Amphipolis. Bob told how he had recorded rough copied in NZ with a piano accompaniment by Joe LoDuca. The orchestra was then added and then Bob re recorded his vocals back in the USA. He doesn't know why they have never been on the CDs.
-Sundays singing was from Mozart's Don Giovanni. Very nice too.
-Bob talked about the movie version of Melissa Good's Tropical Storm, in which he is appearing. Apparently they are hoping to shoot in Miami in February or May/June in Australia! Good news.
-Bob commented on the cuts to episodes we get. He seemed to know about some of the UK cuts, but was more amused by the way the PAL system plays faster then the NTSC and how all their voices are speeded up!
-He did try writing some story ideas but was told not togive up the acting after showing them to Rob Tapert.
-Bob thought the scripts were rather dodgy in the first couple of years on Hercules which is why he was used more as he can improvise a lot.
-Bob was asked about how Salmoneus doesn't get the girls. He asked who the ladies found more sexy, Kevin Smith or Kevin Sorbo. Kevin Smith won. - He does like to surf the internet and directed us to the Hollywood Stock Exchange site where you can buy and sell shares in actors and films for fun.
- I asked Bob if Renee and Lucy had changed from when he first worked with them (ROC on Herc and the Lost Kingdom and Lucy on Hercules). Apart from them being a lot richer Bob didn't think they had changed much at all. Near the end of his talk, two strange figures in long coats and false beards appeared at the back of the hall to barrack Bob. This was Bruce Campbell posing as Ian from Glasgow! Bruce Campbell does a pretty good Scottish accent. Ted Raimi doesn't! In response to "Ian"'s question, Bob denied that he had a pimply arse!
-Bob also auctioned his bathrobe and a tablecloth Ted had been doodling on the evening before for charity.
Bob Trebor seemed to come in for a lot of good natured teasing from Bruce and Ted, but was a very friendly and approachable man, who tried hard to answer all our questions, and probably gave the fullest answers.

Ted Raimi.

Ted came on second on the Saturday. He looks exactly the same as in the show. Well...ok, no costume. He has an excellent ear for accents and did a very good Kiwi, a very funny Rob Tapert and a fair attempt at an English accent. No good at Scottish though! Throughout the weekend Ted came across as very funny and friendly. He got through lots of questions and frequently gave impressions and did voices for us.
Here are some of the questions and answers that came up in his two sessions.

-He told about getting the role of Joxer. He met old pal Rob Tapert after auditioning for a really awful sitcom and was offered the role on the spot. (Cue for Ted's Rob Tapert impression.) He signed in one hour and was on a plane within three days. He didn't know whether it was goiong to be a recurring role, but did hope so.
-Ted told about how he used to loook at the internet all the time and got really down about how much Joxer was hated. He also made the (valid) comment that the most vitriolic attacks - presumably on Netforum - came from people who were using nicknames or pseudonyms. Anyway, Ted went to Rob and said how he realised that the character was unpopular and if they were going to axe him he would understand. However Rob said (Rob voice again..) 'ah, screw them!' and stuck up for Ted and Joxer.
-His favourite episode was For Him the Bell Tolls. He liked it for a lot of reasons. The sword training was fun and he said it was the first time he was ever required to look handsome! He also liked the message of the episode, that the person you want to be is inside you.
-The Joxer costume is very uncomfortable. The hat especially is like having a bag of straw on your head.
-Ted was asked about his most daunting moment and claimed it was meeting Lucy Lawless who he said was just so beautiful!
-Ted said things were a bit different on set right now as Lucy is just huge! She is a lot slower around the place and he and Renee are doing more. He said that Lucy insisted that the pregnancy be worked into the series and wasn't about to hide behind bushes.
-Ted admits to being very very clumsy. He was asked about his most embarrassing moment and told about how once he went to sit down on a chair in full costume with a cup of coffee and missed spilling the coffee all over himself. What was worse is that no one was in the slightest bit surprised! The crew didn't even react.
-Ted talked about working with Harrison Ford on Clear and Present Danger. He did an absolutely perfect Harrison Ford impersonation! Ted thought that he learnt so much from him, but told a funny story about Ford being rather short and how his chair kept being lowered so he wouldn't be taller than him.
-Ted is terrified of horses. He said Argo (or Tilly) tried to eat his hat once. He said we won't be seeing Joxer on a horse (Wasn't he on one in Sacrifice? Probably the stunt man...)
- Ted's scariest moment at a con was when a gang of fans were banging on a door trying to get to him. Not sure of they were Joxer lovers or haters. He also thought is was very scary seeing someone dressed up as Joxer for the first time. He thought, "why??" Why would anyone want to be Joxer?
-When asked about the new season, Ted claimed to not have much interest in developing Joxer into a deeper character and just said he gets sillier and doesn't get any new fighting skills. No developmental arc like for Gabrielle. They go to China and Joxer get a really bad new costume for a bit. The worst in Chinese fashion. He also gets to wear a fez. Joxer saves an Asian girl and she falls in love with him. He also confirmed that this year Joxer tells Gabrielle how he feels about her. We couldn't get any info about how she reacts though.
-Someone asked Ted about who Joxer really loves? Meg or Gabrielle. Ted reckons that Joxer is the classically confused dumb male. He loves Gabrielle but is attracted to Meg.
-Ted was asked about working with his brother Sam and said how he treats him as all big brothers do their little brothers- by tormenting him and pulling faces at him while he is trying to film etc. Ted has no directing or writing plans.
-Ted spoke about the other Joxer brother Jace, who is flambuoyantly gay! He wears platforms and is a disco queen according to Ted! We'll be meeting him this season in the musical episode, where Ted does all his own singing.

-Ted's worst film was one called Nightmare at Shadow Woods where he played a condom saleman. One to miss. -He likes to watch Xena- of course - and is a fan of the original Star Trek but not the new ones really. He likes music - Moby, Chemical Brothers and also Jazz music.
-When he was younger Ted wanted to be a cop and still seemed to like the idea. He also wanted to be a helicopter pilot and did some very realistic sounding helicopter effects for us. His hobbies are playing piano, making up board games of the Dungeons and Dragons variety and learning Spanish. If he had the choice of Shakespeare roles he would choose Hamlet (or course) or MacBeth.
-I asked Ted about Lucy and Renee's different acting styles and once again we got impressions! Between takes, he said, Renee will be seen with her head in the script. Lucy will be chatting and joking around and he will be sleeping somewhere. As others have said, Renee studies her role carefully while Lucy is much more instinctual.
-When asked again about costume, Ted said that the boots they wear look huge because they have tennis shoes inside them. Sounds uncomfortable.
-There are no plans for a Joxer cookbook -thankfully, but Ted thought the idea was funny.
-Ted talked about how they were all set to do a Xena film a few years back but didn't.(I think this was the original plan for the story that became The Debt.)
-Ted said that if he were to write a Xena episode, he would do some sort of morality tale, like Aesops fables or something.

On the Sunday Ted had a sore throat and got some people to pretend to be actors so we could see what the audition process was like. A bit pointless, but fun for the fans to over act with one of Ted's cheesy "scripts!" He had promised to sign anything we wanted if his voice went. However, Ted survived and made quite a few friends I think. A really nice guy.

Bruce Campbell.

Bruce was probably the coolest but also by far the most intimidating of the three guests. Very witty and sharp, he was also the one who kept the audience's attention the most. He was quite cagey and didn't give an awful lot away. My notebook is almost empty as Bruce rarely gave a straight answer. He also had a lot of non-Xena questions about his various movies, especially the Evil Dead ones. Bruce has very odd taste in shirts!

-Bruce was asked about the fights on Hercules and Xena and gave the usual answer about he does a few but all the fancy stuff is done by stunt men. He did say how Ted has injured 7 stunt men, and Michael Hurst has injured loads! However, we weren't sure whether to believe him.
-A wierd question about possible subtext between Autolycus and Xena's mother in Takes One to Know One was asked. No, I didn't get that either, but it gave us all a laugh. Bruce denied there was anything going on.
-Bruce repeated his 'buns of steel' comment about Renee O'Connor in relation to the kiss from The Quest.
-Bruce was asked about how much of him is on Auto and Ash from Evil Dead and gave us a little speech about actors who go on about really getting into their roles. He said he read an interview with Sigourney Weaver about Ghostbusters where she said she was really scared while acting one scene. Bruce thought this was ridiculous and he no BS attititude was very refreshing. The whole acting thing is over rated he said. He said all his characters are mainly him.
-Bruce Campbell was asked about slash fiction involving Auto and Ares. He responded by asking the female members of the audience what was sexy about Kevin Smith, and there were lots of replies! Bruce then joked that he was in fact, gay! He also admitted that Kevin would 'kick his ass' if he heard him.
-Bruce spoke about directing Ted Raimi. Not sure how serious he was but he was saying what a klutz he is knocking things over and breaking things by accident. He also said how Ted often can't get his lines out and he has 15 takes of him trying to get one line right.
-Working on Men in Pink with Bob Trebor, Bruce was also matter of fact. He claimed Bob was really into it discussing hair removal techniques and claiming to have better legs than him! He did this in a funny way as he and Bob appeared to be good friends.
-Bruce was asked about directing actors and he spoke about directing Lucy who he said he does not want specifics in direction. He said when he spoke to her about a scene she would get the main things and then shoo him away as if his audience with her was over! (I think Bruce was joking.)
-Bruce said he had no plans for Xena episodes this year. He was due to direct one but that fell through. He said he had done one early one with Ted.
-If he is directing an episode, Bruce spends a month in New Zealand, two weeks there if he is acting.
-Bruce sounds very much like an actors director as his main aim is to protect his stars and make sure they are comfortable. He was particularly talking about directing Hercules and trying to get rid of one part that just did not work for the actors.
-Bruce's favourite movie is Bridge on the River Kwai and he named William Holden as a favourite actor.
-He didn't have a lot to say about recent Hollywood films claiming most summer releases in particular were not worth watching, although he did admit to liking Austin Powers 2, and is a Dr Evil fan.
-Bruce didn't confirm or deny the rumours that he was to appear in Jack of All Trades. He claimed that he couldn't talk about it because of negotiations still taking place. Someone in the audience was very obviously a journalist which may have made him more reticent. However, it has been reported elsewhere that he IS doing that show.
-Bruce told about how he and Ted had a lot of fun together on set, and how they were thrown off the set of Takes One to Know One for messing around too much one day.
-Bruce talked about the end of Hercules. He directed the final episode, although it wasn't filmed last. The last to be filmed is the one with Traci Lords as Auto's ex-wife. He said when they filmed what will be the very final scene, it wasn't even on the last day so it didn't feel that emotional. However on the very last day of filming, Kevin Sorbo finished by walking away through a door and was supposed to come back to make a speech but couldn't because he was so choked up. Bruce - the cynic - said it was really funny, but poor Kevin was in tears and couldn't speak. He said all the women were going 'aahh!' while he was laughing his head off! The wrap party was a noisy one according to Ted.
-Bruce is writing a book about fans called Fan-alysis. On the first day he read us a bunch of emails he has received recently. Some of them were hilarious, especially the insulting ones. On the Sunday he told about an email from a girl whose boyfriend kept quoting Bruce Campbell lines to her at intimate moments, and it turned out the now ex-boyfriend was there in the audience! Bruce was a little disconcerted for a moment, but then came back with more of his witty comments.
-There were quite a few questions where Bruce turned the question back on the questioner. So if someone asked what it was like to film some crappy movie, Bruce would say, 'well what did YOU think of it? Did you like it?' Consequently, some of us were a bit put off asking questions and he left the stage a little early on Sunday. No more excellent questions from us!

Very sharp and clever and master of the quip, Bruce was a magnetic character who impressed everyone with his down to earth non-actor-ish attitude. His dry sense of humour went down well. He tried an Essex girl joke too which was nice to see him attempting British humour. No one had the heart to tell him Essex girl jokes are several years out of date. Also a few anti-French gags which always go down well.

Saturday evening had a couple of quizzes , the fancy dress contest and a disco. The first quiz was fantasy tv themes and was very hard, especially the round where they played them backwards! Added to the fact that some of the shows were very obscure. A Xena quiz was next, where you had to identify characters from pictures and name their episode and the actor playing them. Happy to say we won, but no prizes were forthcoming! Still, we got the glory. Well..actually no one really heard the announcement as it was during the break of the fancy dress. Shame there weren't more Xena or Hercules quizzes.

Probably the best fun of the weekend was the fancy dress competition on Saturday night. There was an impressive array of costumes on show, but what was most entertaining was when the guests joined in interviewing the contestant Miss World style.
So we had Bruce Campbell showing the 'Autolycus' how to walk and stroke his moustache. Ted practising pratfalls with the 'Joxer', Bruce quizzing the 'Sunny Day' on her shorts being the wrong colour etc. I was very impressed with how the contestants handled the teasing and most of them answered in role and did so well. The judging was equally funny as Ted, Bruce and Bob made sure everyone got a prize. However, there weren't enough fabulous no-expense-spared free Buffy magazines to go round, so some people got hotel tea cups, others got little pots of jam! The winners were odd choices, but it really did not matter as everyone had such a good time, and Bruce, Ted and Bob were such good sports.

On the Sunday there were more episodes showing in the Main Hall. The animated Xena and Hercules cartoon was on, as was 'For Those of you Jusy Joining Us', and the banned 'The Way'. The three guests then took to the stage, Ted, Bruce and finally Bob.


( Bruce, Bob and Ted with organizer Sean Harry.)

I didn't stay for it, but there was a closing ceremony where the guests were presented with gifts. Signed copies of Monica Lewinski's book for Ted and Bruce and a Beatles book for Bob. With a few words from the guests, it was all over. I'd like to say thanks to Sean and his team for organising this event. It was wonderful to meet the stars and other fans. I especially want to say thanks to Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi and Robert Trebor, who really seemed to enjoy themselves, and went out of their way to make sure things went well and to keep us entertained.
Here's to next year!

My Photos. Click to see a bigger picture.

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