Star Trek: Feature: 50 for 50 (Part 4)

Star Trek 50Five decades of Star Trek through the eyes of 50 actors


In the week of Star Trek’s 50th anniversary of the first screening of its first episode, Nick Joy takes a personal look back at 50 of his Star Trek interviews in the fourth instalment of this ten-part feature…


Janeway 1Name:  Kate Mulgrew

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘Kathryn Janeway’ (VOY, Nemesis)

Original interview: February 2006, SF Ball, Bournemouth

Quote… Unquote: “I was on holiday in Ireland with my son when they asked me to come back and test for the role. I said no and then they offered it to Genevieve, who then quit, and I was back in the frame again. The history of it is not unlike that of an elaborate love affair – it was meant to be.”

“The first year was unbelievable – I don’t think I slept at all, and lost 25 pounds in weight. Between the shooting, the press and raising my kids, it was the most rigorous year of my life, and therefore probably the most gratifying.”

“Patrick Stewart once said to me: ‘You will be very proud of this after the seven years; the hardest work of your life.’ And he was right. When they pulled the plug on the show, I looked back and said ‘You did it’.”

“Not many women could have survived seven years in that role – we’re not built for all of that physical stuff, the hours on set, or the technobabble words running round in your mind at four o’clock in the morning. How ever would I remember that gobbledygook in the morning? But somehow I did.”

Janeway 2LOL: “It was when I was giving birth to baby lizards that it somewhat lost the plot. I mean, do you know anyone who has given birth to a baby lizard, let alone hundreds of them?”

Anniversaries: “Is it really forty years? You know, I never watched the original Star Trek at all. When I got the job, I was completely unfamiliar with it. I knew that they wore funny suits and went into outer space, but I didn’t get it at all, until I got it, and then I really got it!”

Star Trek fatigue: “There was no sadness – seven years is long enough for any role. By that stage I had made history by playing the first female Star Trek captain. I was also a mother at the same time, which something that no male captain could ever say.”


Armin 1Name:  Armin Shimerman

Key Star Trek credentials:  ‘Quark’ (DS9/TNG/VOY)

Original interview: July 2001, Sector 14’s Odyssey convention, London

Quote… Unquote: “It seemed like the [Ferengi] were laughable beings and it seemed outrageous that they were just after profit. But the truth of the matter is most of our Capitalist culture is very close to that. Not to the extremes that the Ferengi took it, but it’s there.”

“I remember the last evening of Deep Space Nine and Karen Westerfield was removing my make-up. I remember being of two minds. The first mind was a very loud voice shouting ‘I’m free at last!’ A smaller voice in my head, which sounded like Quark, was saying ‘Don’t kill me!’ He was so much part of my life that it was difficult to say goodbye. But one has to move on and I’m looking forward to the challenges that life will present.”

Armin 2Ouch!:  “It was always slightly disappointing to me that Quark didn’t get a chance to work with the series regulars as much as I’d have liked to.”

Hindsight is 20/20: “I have different thoughts about the show in hindsight after two years. When I left the show I felt particularly under-used as Quark and I wasn’t as happy with the last couple of season’s stories. Having the chance to talk to people about them I’ve come to realise that they were much better than I thought and that the contributions that Quark and I made were valuable after all.”




Phlox 1Name:  John Billingsley

Key Star Trek credentials: Phlox (ENT)

Original interview: September 2003, by phone from LA

Quote… Unquote: “I think the doctor is taking a bit off a back seat in season three, given that the general nature of the show this year is more action-adventure oriented. As the one true character actor in the show, I’m not the one they use to throw punches or kiss the girls.”

“My own taste would lead me towards wanting more episodes that are either more ruminative and philosophical or dealing with contemporary issues in a metaphorical way. I’m personally not intrigued by the concept of a show that is just ‘slam bang pow!’”

“I love the folks I work with, I learn my lines, I show up and do what is asked of me, but beyond that I don’t worry about it. I can’t get terribly riled up about anything as far as the show’s direction is concerned.”

Phlox 2LOL: “Of course, at some point they’re going to have to deal with the matter of my Denobulan genitalia. They’ve been back-burnering that for three years”

Ouch: “There doesn’t seem to be any room for quirky this year. It’s all ‘pedal to the metal’ in finding the Xindi and God forbid anybody should crack a smile.”

Hindsight is 20/20: “I think they’re doing a great job in satisfying the studio’s and UPN’s mandate to dial things up a bit. The conceit that we are in a different part of the galaxy in pursuit of the Xindi has given a little more latitude to make the show scarier and more exciting.”

“They’re probably right in their belief that some portion of the audience can be reclaimed by upping the action-adventure quotient.”

Star Trek fatigue: “There’s no doubt that the numbers with the show are low, and I really don’t know whether or not those numbers are going to climb up again. You have to ask yourself the question whether or not there is a brand new audience out there for Enterprise, or any show in the Star Trek canon, at the moment.”


Boehmer 1Name:  J Paul Boehmer

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘Vorner’ (DS9), ‘One’/‘SS Officer’ (VOY), ‘Mestral’/‘SS Officer’ (ENT)

Original interview: May 2005, Creation’s London Star Trek event

Quote… Unquote: “People keep telling me that Carbon Creek was one of the best ever Enterprise episodes, and I’m really proud of that. I think they love it because it goes back to what Star Trek has been all about since the beginning – the wonder of space travel and the experience of meeting other races.”

“Most actors, if they’re lucky, get one good guest role and a lot of others sprinkled throughout. So I feel very lucky that I got two of the best written guest star roles in Star Trek.”

On being Borg character One: “They were doing something different with the Borg make-up on that show, to compensate for the time difference [he’d come from the 29th century]. They were making it up as they went along, so I spent about six-and-a-half hours in make-up on the first day and then a further hour to get into the suit! That was followed by twelve hours of shooting.”

Boehmer 2“Jeri Ryan was great. She said to me, ‘If you need to go to the bathroom, don’t be afraid to ask, because they won’t stop otherwise’.”

LOL: “Christopher Plummer came up to me, shook my hand and said ‘Hello, I’m Christopher Plummer.’ Really, no introduction was needed!”

Star Trek fatigue: “I think they’ve done all they can with it for a while. There’ll be more new stories in the future, and a change of guard as to who’s minding the store is no bad thing either.”


Fleck 1Name:  John Fleck

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘Silik’ (ENT), ‘Taibok’ (TNG), ‘Ornithar’/ ‘Koval’ (DS9), ‘Abaddon’ (VOY)

Original interview: July 2003, by phone from LA

Quote… Unquote: “I’m just very thankful every time they hire me and I love being in the season finales. If that’s all I ever do on Enterprise, then that’s great. It’s that old expression –‘keep ’em wanting more’.”

On Scott Bakula: “OK, everything you’ve heard about him is true and he’s just this great big sweetheart. He’s a teddy bear, and the kindest person to work with. He comes to your trailer and thanks you for your hard work – he’s great to be around.”

“Kids bring along cards and dolls for me to sign, and that’s such a weird experience. In fact, I’m playing with my action figure now.”

SIlik 2LOL: “I used to wear girdles when I first appeared as Silik because God forbid there should be a penis bulge on Star Trek.”

“I do hope the writers and producers realise the full potential of Silik. He’s a shape-shifter, so why can’t I shift into Jeri Ryan one episode, or even into Scott Bakula? That way, Scott could do scenes with himself!”

Ouch!: “I also played a Cardassian in DS9. I’m sorry, I can’t remember the name of the episode, I just recall being out in the scorching desert and tripping over rocks.”



Part 1: Leonard Nimoy, LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden Alexander Siddig, Robert O’Reilly

Part 2: Robert Beltran, Robert Duncan O’Neill, Mark Allen Shepherd, Peter Weller, Connor Trineer

Part 3: Patrick Stewart, John de Lancie, Carolyn Seymour, Casey Biggs, Brian Thompson

Part 4: Kate Mulgrew, Armin Shimerman, John Billingsley, J Paul Boehmer, John Fleck

Part 5: Jonathan Frakes, Robert Picardo, Dominic Keating, Vaughn Armstrong, Nicole deBoer

Part 6: George Takei, Colm Meaney, Jeffrey Coombs, Max Grodenchik, Chase Masterson

Part 7: Brent Spiner, Nana Visitor, Marc Alaimo, Aron Eisenberg, Roxann Dawson

Part 8: Michael Dorn, Tim Russ, Linda Park, Harry Groener, Denise Crosby

Part 9: Nichelle Nichols, Marina Sirtis, Andrew Robinson, Tony Todd, Louise Fletcher

 Part 10: Garrett Wang, Ethan Phillips, Anthony Montgomery, Eric Pierpoint, Tom Hardy

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