Welcome to the first Ed Wasser Fan Club Newsletter! Please feel free to pass this along, post it, and quote liberally from it to impress your friends and co-workers. As always, anyone can get this newsletter emailed to them for no charge by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Conversely, should the editorial content of the newsletter offend your sensibilities, feel free to send flames to email@example.com, and you will be removed from our list.
This newsletter is a first for us. I am Byron, and slaving away at the keyboard with me, is my wife Sharon (basically, I type consonants, she types vowels). So please be patient with us, and by all means provide us feedback (we all know Fivers are known for being the strong, silent type :). If you want to contribute anything, we will most likely print it, assuming it pertains to Ed, Morden, Shadows, B5 (i.e. doesn't ramble on about the Illuminati). Email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters to Ed are also welcome, and you have his word that they will all be read and answered by him. Ed's email is, you guessed it, email@example.com.
There is a real, live fan club forming behind this newsletter, and there will be more information about it in the next issue. We have, however, decided that the members will be called "Associates," which I think is kinda cool. Also coming is a WWW page for Ed and Morden, for storing photos, WAV's, these newsletters, etc. The URL will be in the next issue.
So now that the business is out of the way, sit back and enjoy the ride...
(Below is the first part of a several hours long interview with Ed. It will be continued in every issue of the EWFCN.)
First, the pilot. I had a casting director who loved my work and took me in under her wings. She asked me to come in and be a reader - you know, to read opposite other actors trying out for parts. She felt that the producers and the director would take a liking to me and find something for me. So I worked for no pay for about four or five weeks, three or four times a week, and luckily, I was in a financial position where I could afford not to get paid for a while. I knew it was part of paying my dues and a smart idea to be in front of these people, and it would pay off. Sure enough, I was cast.
The way that worked was that they basically handed me the pilot script and said I can have my pick of anything that had not been taken. I picked Guerra, one of the techs in the pilot, because I wanted to be in the action scene when the ship is about to blow up. It is a lot more fun and exciting, not to mention memorable. People remember you better if you're in action scenes. By the way, everyone asks me if that character in the pilot is Morden in disguise or something, but it isn't.
Anyway, after the pilot I didn't know if I would work on B5 again. I mean, I hoped I would, but I didn't know. Then Joe called me in and gave me Morden.
I love the character, and I have to say that it is a real gift to me to be able to portray him. And I'm grateful. The pleasure in playing Morden is going against the temptation to play him as a complete and utter jerk, a moron. So the fun comes in playing him as the opposite of that. Being likable.
You just reminded me of what one of the great actors said - I can't remember who, but he said it [Ed laughs], "They pay me to wait around on the set, but I act for free." Yes, I love what I do. I couldn't be luckier.
I love Morden. I think Morden is a fun guy. He represents so much power and evil.
Having said that, I also think that Morden is an observer. I think that he takes information in and he uses it against the person who gave it to him. So when he goes to all of the ambassadors and says, "What do you want," he found none of them were as committed to what they wanted as Londo was. That's why Londo was the perfect choice. In short, I think I'm there to orchestrate and move the proverbial pawns into place.
Take the episode "In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum." There is just so much going on, so much at stake that you think Morden is not going to get away, that he is trapped, that it is over. Then there is a twist and you have to let him go because who he represents is so powerful that they will destroy the B5 station like they did the Icarus. Morden knows this. Morden is very wise and very smart. He wants to be on the winning side.
Bruce was terrific to work with. He brought so much passion and commitment to the scene that it gave me just an enormous amount to work off of. The nice thing about Morden is that the more the other character brings to the scene, the more powerful Morden becomes. The more Morden gets to observe.. There is a lot of power in Morden's stillness, and Bruce gave me that support. He was great!
I think he is a gift. I was very lucky to have most of my beginning work with Peter. He was like a big brother. When I first got there, I was a little anxious and wanted to make sure I was going to do good, honest, wonderful work, and he was there like glue. He helped me greatly. I like him a lot.
I think the show is blessed with really fantastic actors. He's good; he's really good. He is powerful. He's powerful. He is POWERFUL. When he goes into his stuff, he is amazing. That thing about "grinding their bones to dust" - he is just powerful.
I know a lot more than I can tell you.
The funny think about JMS is that he will only give you pieces, only what you need to know to do that episode, at first. He's brilliant, he's like a mathematician. He has everything all worked out in his head, and he knows exactly what he needs to tell you to get exactly where you need to go. And that's nice, you just have to trust him and you trust your own instincts.
Well, if I told you that, then you would have the answer...wouldn't you!? [Ed laughs]. Let me just say that Morden has his role to play. [Ed smiles with his Mordenesque grin]
We will be adding to this section every issue to give you more background about Ed. However, we will start off this issue with a brief overview.
I want this to be the interactive section of the newsletter - I will make a statement about the show, Morden, etc. and want to publish your thoughts on it. This week:
I am a big Agatha Christie fan. One of her detectives, Ms. Marple, is a very old lady who solves crimes not by piecing together clues, but by drawing upon her vast experiences in life. In short, she compares the suspects in her case to people she has known in her life and decides based on that who committed the crime. Because, as Ms. Marple would say, people are fundamentally a lot alike.
In our minds, we all have a picture of Morden. We think we know him, what motivates him, why he does what he does. But much of that is based on our own experiences. So I am asking you, who do you know in life - whether in history or personally - that you would compare to Morden? How do you form your picture of him in your mind? Is he Benedict Arnold? Iago from Othello? George Washington?
Send your thoughts on the subject to firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to be able to publish them all in the next issue.
He is a real swine. A royal pain in the ass. Actually, I was kind of hoping I could write something like that. But actually he is surprisingly great guy. Ed and a friend of his picked up Sharon and me at the Burbank airport for a one-day visit in September. We went to a Chinese restaurant, and then back to Ed's house to play Frisbee with Shiloh, Ed's dog and biggest fan. All along, he made us feel both comfortable and welcome, and in a matter of a couple of hours, had us feeling like we were his two best friends. He genuinely cares about people and is very polite - a genuinely nice guy.
He looks just like Morden, which may be a silly thing to say, but it is true. And if I had to say just one word to describe him, it is "fun." He is a very funny guy as well. We could both see him doing comedy, because he has a natural sense of humor.
He is from New York, and that comes across. He loves doing his impression of a 'loud New Yorker,' and does it well, method acting being what it is and all.
The friend he brought with him gave us some interesting insights into Ed. She had never seen anything in which he has acted, so all of this was a little strange to her. She thinks he is a great guy and says he is the best dancer she has ever seen. In her words, "He can really get down."
Sharon's point of view: He is as good looking in person as he is on TV! And single, too. No girlfriend either. If Byron wasn't around... [at this point, Sharon is forced away from the keyboard.]
Ed takes acting very seriously. But he doesn't take himself as seriously. He is very good natured. When we were kidding with him about his star status, he blushed and looked down at the ground and said, "Aahhh, just throw some dirt on the ground for me to kick."
Every issue will have a contest of some kind and a prize. Our first one was going to be "Ed is thinking of a number between 1 and 1,000,000. Guess." But we decided in favor of something a little more fun. Below is an original "Top 10" list, a la David Letterman. However, as you can see, we are missing 4, 3, 2, and 1. Submit your ideas, and if Ed selects yours for the number 1 spot, you will receive a personally autographed glossy from Ed, with whatever you want it to say (subject to the laws of your state, of course). If you are selected for a spot between 4 and 2, well, fame is its on reward, right? Email submissions to email@example.com. All entries must be in by 11/6/95.
Top Ten Surprises found in Morden's Autobiography:
And the number one surprise found in Morden's autobiography:
Volume I, Issue 2