Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Jonathan Frakes‘s acting days are mostly behind him, fortunately, his training as a director has kept him in the business and provided for his family.
Frakes found out, as happens to so many actors and actresses, that sooner or later, the acting jobs peter out and one must turn to other ways of earning a living. “Thank God I learned this second craft [directing],” he said. “I really don’t know how I’d be supporting my family. I’d be looking for another kind of gig.”
Other actors, including his wife Genie Francis, and his Star Trek co-workers have also seen jobs dry up, with one notable exception. “Genie isn’t working the way she used to and my peers as actors – at least from the Star Trek guys, with the exception of Patrick [Stewart] – are struggling as well,” said Frakes. “Some of it is by choice, granted, some of it is just by the double-edged sword that Star Trek has been for all of us.”
The directing work keeps Frakes busy and he has directed single episodes of some shows, and multiple episodes of others. “It’s great to go back to Leverage and I’m looking forward to going back to Castle and NCIS: Los Angeles because you know the players and you have a shorthand,” said Frakes. “Yet, I just finished The Glades and also Burn Notice. Those are shows I’d never done before and I didn’t know anyone with the exception of the D.P. and also Gabrielle Anwar [of Burn Notice], who was in The Librarian. And there’s something to be said for that, too, for the unknown and taking your bag of tricks someplace new. Your jokes work because people haven’t heard them one hundred times.”
Frakes, whose future work includes NCIS: Los Angeles, Castle and Chuck, is grateful to be so busy. “What a blessing this year has been,” he said.