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The Trek Nation - A Weekend With The Stars - Part 2

A Weekend With The Stars - Part 2

By Doug Wilson
Posted at August 28, 2002 - 5:27 PM GMT

A galaxy of Star Trek's brightest stars descended on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, last weekend for Slanted Fedora Entertainment's three day convention.

The Trek Nation's Doug Wilson was there to bask in the glow of Avery Brooks (Benjamin Sisko), Connor Trinneer (Charles 'Trip' Tucker), Alexander Siddig (Julian Bashir), Andrew Robinson (Garak), Robert Picardo (the EMH), Ethan Phillips (Neelix), Chase Masterson (Leeta), Max Grodenchik (Rom), Aron Eisenberg (Nog), former pre-production coordinator Lolita Fatjo, and Martin Rayner (Dr. Chaotica).


Sunday Afternoon


Ethan Phillips and Bob Picardo took the stage on Sunday afternoon, having just arrived that day from Cleveland, Ohio, where they had attended Kate Mulgrew's (Kathryn Janeway) fundraiser for her husband, Ohio gubernatorial candidate Tim Hagan. Bob was apparently just sitting down in the bathroom stall when Kate announced his appearance onstage. "I started looking around the stall for the hidden camera," he said. Although they weren't sure how much the event raised, Bod did reveal that Kate Mulgrew's original Janeway uniform, complete with boots, pips, and communicator, was auctioned off for $50,000.

Bob spoke briefly about his appearance on The Weakest Link. He successfully made icy host Anne Robinson crack up, and said he was disappointed it was cut from the final show. Bob loved giving William Shatner (James T. Kirk) the boot. "I've said before, and I even said on the show, I waited a long time to do that, because my wife grew up with a crush on Captain Kirk." Bob is still keeping busy, having just finished a small part in a movie alongside Billy Bob Thornton. He's also currently working the new Warner Brothers film, 'Looney Tunes: Back in Action,' which features Bugs, Daffy, and Brendan Fraser.

Brannon Braga has asked Bob to appear on Enterprise, and although Bob is more than willing to appear on the series, he doesn't want to wear heavy make-up, so they're trying to work out a role where he can disguise himself without too much make-up. On the topic of Enterprise, Ethan was asked what his favourite part of his guest-spot on the show was. "Taking the cheque to the bank," he replied. Bob and Ethan also described Enterprise's Dr. Phlox as "the Doctor and Neelix after a trip in the dryer."

One convention attendee asked if Bob was pursuing directing at the moment. "Acting is my first love," he replied. "I know Robbie [Duncan McNeill] and Roxann [Dawson] are directing a lot lately, and that's great because its what they want to do, but that's not what I want to do in my career at this point."

Despite Neelix being 30,000 light-years away from Earth, Bob and Ethan are working on a new play featuring the Doctor and Neelix, in which the EMH pays the Talaxian a visit at his colony. Ethan also said he was pleased with Neelix's farewell in the episode 'Homestead.' "He didn't really have any stock in getting to Earth, except staying with the family he'd known for 7 years. I liked how after all those years as a nomad he finally ended up with his own people."

Another attendee asked about Voyager's guest stars, and Ethan feigned a look of disgust. "I hated Martha Hackett," he said, before adding quickly, "no, no, I'm kidding! I did hate Seska. I thought she was a bitch. The woman screwed everyone over."

After an autograph session, Bob and Ethan passed the baton to the newest generation - Enterprise's Connor Trinneer. This was Connor's fourth convention, and he took questions right off the bat. The first question concerned the episode 'Shuttlepod One,' and if it was really was that cold on set when they filmed the episode. Connor replied that it was incredibly cold - so cold in fact that at one point they broke the metal floor of the shuttlepod.

Someone else asked if Connor watched Star Trek before he won the part of 'Trip' Tucker on Enterprise. Connor said he grew up on the Original Series, but he didn't watch any of the later shows. He has watched the newer Trek series much more since he got the role, and said that Picard was his favourite captain. He admitted he did watch and love Quantum Leap, which starred Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer). He also watches every Enterprise episode when it's finished to see what takes were used.

Connor told us about his first convention in Portland, Oregon, close to his home town in Washington state. So close in fact that Connor's parents attended, and his mother even asked the question, "Did you ever want to be anyone else?" Connor was forced to admit that he was a Brady Bunch addict, and for two months as a kid he wanted to be Greg Brady, even refusing to answer to any other name except for Greg.

On the topic of how he got the part on Enterprise, Connor revealed his first audition was his third for the day, and he totally bombed. It wasn't until his fifth audition that he scored the role, and almost missed out when he auditioned for the network, who said he didn’t have enough "awe." However, he convinced them to let him try it again. "I'll awe all over the room," he told his agent.

One attendee asked what it was like to be the first male to fall pregnant. "Moody, nauseous and pissy. Does that sound right?" he said with a laugh. He revealed that during the filming of 'Vox Sola' he was in the harness for two and a half days, and that his legs often fell asleep. Filming the episode was very unpleasant due to the goo which was poured all over them. At one point, they finished shooting the scene, reviewed the footage, and found a hair had been caught in the section recording the film. Connor, already cleaning up in his trailer, was horrified to find he had to get back into the suit he'd just been cut out of, and have that goo poured back on him. When asked about the episode 'A Night In Sickbay' and if Porthos survived, he responded, "Who cares?"

Connor talked about the cast for a while. "I learn a lot from Scott," he said. The entire cast gets along very well, and though they don't get together outside of work, they do plan to. Right now though, with a 12-24 hour shooting day, it's simply too difficult. The blooper reels for Enterprise are probably very extensive, due to the cast's mistakes. "We all screw up constantly," Connor said.

On the subject of screw-ups, apparently Connor is the one cast member who the prop department dreads. "During the pilot, I've got this scene where Klaang the Klingon whacks the phase pistol out of my hand," Connor said. "So of course I wanna make it believable, and I fell on the phase pistol." Apparently, Connor broke both his and Scott's $1,800 prototype phase pistols on that episode. The prop department also takes away his utensils in-between takes of the mess hall scenes, as he continues to cut after shooting has stopped.

When asked about his major in college, Connor informed us it was "acting." What was it before that? "Girls and beer. Seriously." In fact he didn't get into acting until he was 20. He played college football and was getting bored with it when a girl he was interested in suggested he try out for a play. "Will you be there?" he asked her. "I know it sounds corny, but I knew as soon as I got on stage, that it was for me, you know? I quit football the next day. The coaches were like, 'you're doing what?' But they were very supportive; they came to all my plays." One attendee asked if Connor preferred theatre or television. "I like working," he said with a laugh.

Although Connor couldn't confirm a seven-year run for Enterprise, he remained hopeful. "They sort of have to take it one year at a time, but you know," he said, raising crossed fingers. Asked what he'd like to see this season, he said, "Well somebody's gotta get laid." Connor said they're currently filming episode seven or eight of season two.

Ad-libbing is apparently a big no-no on set. "You know, we'll say 'and' instead of 'but' and they'll have to call up and ask if we can do that, and we usually can't." Connor's got a few bones to pick with the writing staff too. First, he doesn't want any more pan-fried catfish or pecan pie. "We all know it's what he likes - we don't need to see it every time."

When asked by a child why Enterprise uses shuttlepods instead of shuttlecraft, Connor just stared at the kid and shook his head. "Stumped by the eleven year old," he said finally, prompting an outbreak of laughter from the audience. "I just don't know."

Connor said that apart from his role on Enterprise, he'd "like to play a vampire on Buffy. He would also love to direct episodes of Enterprise. "I'd like to have that on my resume when it's all over." He was also quite surprised at how large a part Trip has. "I was just happy to be working, then I get the script and I'm like, woah!"

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Doug Wilson is a regular contributor to the Trek Nation.