Naked River In River
Sunday, January 4, 2009

Publicity photo of Summer Glau's stunt double, Olivia Lyn Yojana, from the episode “Our Mrs. Reynolds.” (There is more in the comments.)



Sunday, January 4, 2009 9:53 AM


This 2002 publicity photo of Summer Glau's stunt double, Olivia Lyn Yojana, was taken during the filming of the teaser for the episode “Our Mrs. Reynolds.” Olivia was substituting for Summer in scenes of River frolicking in the water. Summer Glau's parents were unhappy with her earlier decision to appear nude in the pilot episode of Firefly. For that reason Summer told Joss Whedon, “You'll see God before you see me naked again.”

With FOX TV nervous about excessive nudity in “Our Mrs. Reynolds” (Saffron also appeared in the buff) Olivia's River scenes were cut during editing. Even today, the scenes with Olivia as River and Morena Baccarin as Inara are too risqué for America and are not available as bonus scenes on the Blu-ray edition of Firefly: The Complete Series.

Of special note for her fans, Summer Glau appeared nude in the 2008 pilot episode of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.” Summer says about the experience of being naked outdoors in the winter during a snow storm in Albuquerque, New Mexico, “I'd never been so cold in my life.”

From an interview with Joss Whedon: “When I wrote 'Our Mrs. Reynolds', it was Tim who said, 'He's got to be married before the opening credits.' I'm like, 'I just don't think I can do that.' And then of course he was totally right. And then that episode - and I will never say these words again, and believe me, I wish to god I could - wrote itself.” - page 156, Firefly: the Official Companion, Volume One, 2006

The following is what Joss Whedon's imagination wrote all by itself and FOX TV deleted:

We are looking over his shoulder as a MENNONITE FARMER guides Inara's shuttle with an earth-to-space Palm Pilot. We see lovely INARA on the display. The shuttle lands in the glade. Inara, RIVER, MAL, ZOE, and JAYNE are greeted by the very old and skinny Mennonite farmer with a broad-brimmed hat and expressive eyebrows. He does his acting with those brows because he has no dialog. He is waiting with a team of horses and a boat that looks like a tarp covered Conestoga wagon floating high on a dozen 55 gallon steel drums.

The boat is against the shore. Zoe and Jayne climb aboard with their big guns. The farmer hands Zoe a bundle. She opens it on the front seat and reluctantly puts on a pretty floral sunbonnet with strings to tie under her chin - a disguise. She models the bonnet for Jayne and the farmer. It is a question of style. Jayne, the rude lunkhead, shakes his head - no, you don't look good. The farmer winks and wiggles those eyebrows – yes, Zoe, you look good in Amish.

Jayne puts on a broad-brimmed Amish hat. Zoe shakes her head - no, you don't look very religious. Jayne tilts the hat at a jauntier angle. He is the complete Mennonite rake-hell in a striped shirt. (Part of the running joke about Jayne's ugly headgear.)

Mal finishes checking the horses' hitch to the boat; his boots and britches got wet. The farmer shakes hands with Jayne and bows to Zoe. Mal and the farmer launch the boat. Mal climbs into the back.

Jayne drives downstream with Zoe next to him. She unfolds and shakes out an enormously wide calico dress - more of her disguise. The look on her face says 'do I really have to wear this tent and the bonnet?'

On his horse, the farmer waves his hat to everyone on the boat, bows to Inara and River, then departs.

With his legs hanging out of the back of the boat, proudly on a voyage of self-discovery, Mal waves one last time to Inara. She smiles and waves back. Mal vanishes inside the wagon/boat.

INARA (to herself, resigned and sad): Don't get yourself killed, Mal.

The danger dismays Inara. Mal - all testosterone and bravery - is on a typical high-risk / low-reward mission. Inara watches the boat until it disappears around the bend in the river.

Inara turns and notices River's dress neatly hanging by its shoulder straps from a tree branch. River is cavorting 'nekkid' in the river. The FOX censors will let us get away with this for 2 seconds because we are great and we are good. But mostly because River is so far away that you can't tell it is not Summer Glau.

INARA (coaxing): River... Come here... Please, River... We're going now.

River continues to fiddle-faddle and dillydally in the water. With another 2 second peepshow of River we see that the river is only ankle deep where she is standing. Inara kicks off her shoes, raises her skirt just above her ankles and walks into the shallow water to get closer to River. Inara steps on a sharp rock, stumbles, and tumbles into deep water. A cliché, but this is TV.

River is off screen, except for her legs below the knees. (Darn censors.) Camera holds on Inara. Her hair is undone. Her mascara ran and her false eyelashes came loose. Life is hard. River's shadow falls across the supine Inara. As if Inara isn't wet enough, River kicks water in her face.

RIVER (O.S., giggles): Let's play!

Dignity dissolves in water. Inara splashes River back.

INARA: Let's!

Go to the reaction shot of Brother Peeping Tom, the old Mennonite farmer who doubled back to spy on the girls. His eyes are popping out of his head. Remember those expressive eyebrows? Add a wide-angle shot of skinny-dipping Inara and River simultaneously diving into the water. And we are done here.

[ FOX TV cut everything above from the published script. The script continues where the broadcast episode begins - with the boat being waylaid by bandits on horseback. ]

Sunday, January 4, 2009 3:52 PM


very interesting.... thanks

Sunday, January 4, 2009 4:33 PM


OMG, it was bad enough thinking of that set with the 4 assorted hottie BDH's on it. Assuming they all had doubles, that woulda made 8 of 'em. How did the guys get ANY work done? :<)

Monday, January 5, 2009 12:01 AM


Beautiful, sweet, and innocent.
Shame on those who attribute evil to it.
More proof that network censors are not sentient creatures.

Monday, January 5, 2009 4:35 AM


“NewOldBrowncoat” and “quandom” are correct in their comments. But Hollywood is not exactly like you dreamed. It is better! Except for FOX, which is evil beyond all hope and rationality.

Long and slightly funny story that happened the day these scenes were shot for Our Mrs. Reynolds. Joss Whedon is very respectful toward his actresses. Not so much toward the actors. Nathan Fillion got no respect during his nude scenes; there was snickering and he turned red from embarrassment.

Joss would clear a set of on-lookers for female nude scenes. But he wasn't there that day. And because it was outdoors, clearing 'the set' was a logistical problem. The Assistant Director ordered everybody off the river except for essential personnel because the girls need their privacy while they shoot the nude scenes. Morena Baccarin says to the A.D., “Joss is so over-protective. You're making a big deal out of nothing. I'm not ashamed of my body.” And Olivia Yojana says in her cute little accent, “I've been to naked beach many times. It's okay when there are people gazing at me. I'm not shy. Doesn't mean I'm going to have sex with them just because they've seen my ------” She used some word in Hungarian or whatever language they speak in the country where Olivia comes from. So everybody stayed to watch the water fight and the splashing.

We would have finished the filming in about ten minutes except the steady-cam operator tripped over his own tongue and dunked the camera. Until the camera was dry and working again, Morena and Olivia just laid around on towels, nude sunbathing. The only incident was Morena saying, “Get Nathan out of here. He's bothering me.” She was talking about Nathan Fillion. Nathan comes back like a little kid with, “If I gotta go then Adam's gotta.” That's Adam Baldwin who plays Jayne. Then Olivia says, “No. No. Jayne can stay. He is trustworthy.” Everybody laughed at Nathan but Summer Glau. She is so sweet. This is the second time Nathan ever turned red from embarrassment.

Like most stories, it will always be much funnier if you were there when it happened. Words and pictures alone don't do justice to the lovely Morena, Olivia, Gina Torres, and Summer. You must be in their presence, breathing the same air. It is intoxicating.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 9:01 AM


......." HUH "........

um, wow, she does look like river...just notsomuch in the face tho :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 11:44 PM


Absolutely awesome, thanks for sharing.
Also, I like the background about the picture. Once again, Thanks.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 7:12 AM


That's great, very interesting on the behind the scenes - thx! Have you posted any other "memories from the set?"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 2:52 PM


To “pizmobeach”: Oh, there are plenty of juicy stories but everyone is hoarding them for their memoirs. I can hint at one kind of story. All the actors were taking the characteristics, in real life, of the roles they were playing. Jewel Staite changed her own windshield wiper blades in the studio parking lot; Sean Maher getting band-aids from the stagehand's first aid kit; Adam Baldwin voting Republican. Very Jayne of him. Alan Tudyk stealing Gina Torres' lunchtime dessert and Gina chasing him with a spork. Catering had really good desserts.

The Story: Summer Glau pretended River was a Jedi. I saw Summer use the force to levitate a martini olive. There were witnesses! But it was in a bar, poorly lite, and Summer was the only sober one there. Who knows what really happened? Jedi mind trick? Or black string tied to toothpick stuck into olive? [We shall never know for Summer ate the olive.]

And this is Summer Glau's stunt double on Terminator:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 11:43 AM


Some thoughts.

Fox just weren't no gorram fun at all.

Ironic much that Nathan's not trustworthy but Adam is?

On the side of the practical, frolicking on a beach naked. THAT I understand... and would actually do. Frolicking in a creek where there are sharp rocks and way too many ways to fall down and scrape... y'know, stuff? Not so much.

Nonetheless, an excellent picture and great stories.

Thursday, February 26, 2009 5:14 PM


To manfredkooistra:
Thanks for the news that Olivia Yojana is still in the fantasy business and getting face recognition, which never would have happened for her as a stand-in.

Leaving Hollywood for other work doesn't detract from Olivia's time on Firefly. Jewel Staite moved back to Canada to play a doctor on Stargate Atlantis, but she will forever be Kaylee, too, at least in imagination.

Monday, April 27, 2009 1:17 PM


How gullible are you guys? Seriously
Awesome pic tho :)


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