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Ted Raimi at Trek Expo 2000 in Tulsa
Actor Ted Raimi, who plays Joxer on Xena: Warrior Princess, appeared at Trek Expo 2000 in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Sunday, June 25, 2000. The audience applauded as Ted stumbled onto the stage, casually dressed in a dark, short-sleeved shirt and khaki pants. He pretended to trip over a chair and almost knocked over a life-size cardboard cut-out of Major Kira from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
After fiddling with the microphone for a moment, Ted shouted, "Hello Minneapolis!" as if to suggest that he had been traveling so much that he didn't know where he was. Ted mentioned that he had gone downtown to find a store. The locals in the audience found that extremely funny, because everybody knows that downtown Tulsa is a virtual ghost town on weekends (and weekdays after 5pm). So Ted went shopping on Peoria Avenue instead, which he said was cool. Ted commented that Tulsa was different, and he joked that guys from Los Angeles don't stick out here.
Ted asked how many people had seen him on Saturday. I think he was kidding, because he didn't show up for his scheduled appearance on Saturday. He might have arrived later that day, but I got tired and went home around 5pm, so I don't know what happened after that. In any case, Ted provided a brief synopsis of his life and career for those who had missed him on Saturday.
Ted asked if anybody in the audience aspired to be an actor, writer, or producer. Several people raised their hands, and Ted invited some of them to join him on stage to perform an impromptu skit about the filmmaking process. He dubbed two of the volunteers "actors", two "producers", and one a "writer". He sent the actors to an imaginary waiting room while he worked with the writer to determine the plot of the movie. The writer couldn't think of anything, so Ted suggested that the movie should be about aliens invading the Earth and turning people into wolves. Ted then brought the actors out to audition for the producers. Each actor had to howl and say, "Help! I'm turning into a wolf!" The actors really gave it their all, and you have to admire them for being such good sports. After the auditions, Ted thanked the participants, hugging some of them before returning them to the audience.
Somebody asked if Ted is a fan of the Three Stooges. Ted said that he is, and that he was also influenced by Danny Kaye, Bob Hope, and Woody Allen. But he said that he doesn't want to be a jukebox, simply replaying the performances of people he admires. Ted observed that actors will admit to being influenced, but that directors won't, as if their work is always completely original. Ted also confessed that his favorite Stooge is Shemp.
Somebody asked what it was like to work with Traci Lords in the movie "Skinner". Apparently, one of them skins the other alive in that movie. Ted said that it was "nice".
Somebody asked if Ted had received any warnings about the native wildlife when he first went to New Zealand to work on "Xena". He said that they had warned him about the unusually large mosquitoes by asking him, in a strong kiwi accent, "Have you seen the mozzies, mate?" They also warned him about the "wettas" (sp?), which are like giant grasshoppers. Ted said that he wasn't worried about them, because he had seen big grasshoppers before, but when he finally encountered one, he said that he "screamed like a girl".
Inevitably, somebody asked if Ted would sing "Joxer the Mighty". Ted said that he would, if at least twenty people volunteered to sing it with him. Enough people volunteered, so Ted led a sing-along of "Joxer the Mighty".
Ted mentioned some of the feature films that he had appeared in, such as Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. He commented that one of the stars that he had worked with was a cool guy, but physically small in stature. I think he might have been talking about Harrison Ford.
Somebody asked about Joxer's death, and if Joxer would ever return. Ted replied that nobody ever really dies on "Xena", leaving open the possibility that Joxer might return one day. Ted did say, however, that Joxer's brother Jett would appear on "Xena" this season. At first, Ted mistakenly declared that Jace would appear this season, but he quickly corrected himself, adding that Jett would break out of prison. This led to the comment that some people probably would have preferred it if Jace had been killed intead of Joxer.
Somebody asked if Ted ever feels ridiculous wearing the Joxer costume. He said that it's a little embarassing, but since the costume covers his whole body, he doesn't really have to watch what he eats. So he can order big steaks and eat forty doughnuts, and it doesn't show.
Somebody asked if "Xena" would continue after this season. Ted thought that it would, as long as people keep watching. He also encouraged fans to write letters saying how much they like the show. He said that television executives don't want you to think that letters make a difference, but they do. Ted also observed that producers usually start acting really nice when a show is about to be cancelled, but that that hasn't happened on the set of "Xena" yet.
Ted divulged that he would appear in "Jack of all Trades" this season. Somebody asked if Ted might also appear in "Cleopatra 2525", but he said that he probably wouldn't.
Somebody mentioned a scene in the movie Wishmaster in which something falls on Ted's head. They wanted to know how many rehearsals were required for that scene. Ted said that it was simply a crane shot. The camera just zoomed in on him from above, and nothing really fell on him. He said that it only took about ten minutes, and that it didn't hurt... until he got his paycheck.
Somebody asked if Ted ever had any accidents with weapons on the set of "Xena". Ted recalled the scene in "Callisto" in which Renee O'Connor beat him up with her staff. Did she really hit him? Yes. Hard? Yes! But Ted said that he never really got hurt.
Ted revealed that he really worked hard on "Xena" from day one. He said that it was a big change from SeaQuest. For three years on SeaQuest, Ted just sat at a console and pretended to type. He said that he kept a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts under his console, which he would eat whenever he wasn't in the shot. Then, when the camera turned to him, he would put down the doughnut and start typing again.
Somebody asked about Ted's plans for the future. Ted said that he was going to join Sam's Club, get a Costco card, and buy economy-size packages of toilet paper. He also mentioned that he was doing a movie called "Attic Expeditions" with Seth Green and Jeffrey Combs.
Somebody wanted to know what Ted thought about the current state of independent filmmaking. Ted jokingly asked if they wanted him to write an essay. He said that independent films are in a good place right now, because movies are in the hands of the people. But Ted maintained that people still need talent and have to work hard to make movies. He said that it usually takes about ten years to accomplish whatever you want to do. He also said that you really need a star to sell your film, especially in foreign markets.
Somebody asked about practical jokes on the set of "Xena". Ted described an incident with Tim Omundson (Eli) who is an old friend of Ted's from SeaQuest. When Tim first came to work on "Xena", he was afraid that Lucy and Renee wouldn't like him. So Ted reassured Tim that Lucy and Renee would love him, and that he didn't have anything to worry about. Then, Ted secretly told Lucy and Renee to act like they were mad at Tim. But Ted said that there weren't many traditional practical jokes, such as gluing things down and stuff like that. He said that it's not very funny pulling a chair off your butt.
Finally, Ted revealed that he is writing and producing a movie. He didn't want to say anything more about it, because he is superstitious about such things. He said that he had never written and produced a movie before. Ted also disclosed that he is writing an episode of "Xena".
PicturesAs usual, these pictures pretty much suck, but at least there are only three of them. Hopefully, these images will give you a sense of what it was like to be there. Enjoy!
Ted on stage with Major Kira and Pillar 17.
Ted on stage a few seconds later.
Ted Raimi LinksClub Ted: The Official Ted Raimi Fan Club
Blood Valor and Victory!
The Chameleon Talent of Ted Raimi
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