For Manu Intiraymi, one of the perks of playing Icheb on Star Trek: Voyager was getting to work with Jeri Ryan.
Like many Trek fans, Intiraymi found Ryan to be attractive. “She was awesome,” he said. “I was a young man and I was full of angst because she was such a hot chick.”
But Ryan was off-limits to Intiraymi for more than one reason. “I couldn’t flirt with her, of course, first of all because she’s ten years older,” said Intiraymi, “though I don’t care about that, but also because she was dating Brannon (Braga). Luckily I figured that one out real quick and didn’t get fired for flirting with Jeri. I always make that joke, but really she was fun and has a great personality and kind of a contagious laugh. She’s a cool woman. So it was fun. Plus, she forced you to bring your best. That whole group was like that. There wasn’t a lot of ego, either. They were a bunch of consummate professionals and getting to work with them – Bob (Picardo), Kate (Mulgrew), Jeri – was like a dream.”
Intiraymi was happy with the evolution of Icheb in the course of the eleven episodes in which Icheb appeared. “[I was] ultra-pleased,” he said. “No one’s going to say they wouldn’t want more, but I can’t be anything but humble for that whole experience. It was awesome. The first couple of episodes, I was a little bummed that Icheb was as whiny as he was and I was really hoping that they’d develop it into somebody who wasn’t just a cranky kid, and they immediately did so. It wasn’t like I said anything. It wasn’t my place, you know? But I was happy, man. Icheb was fun.”
One episode stands out to Intiraymi as one of the better ones, because it affected fans who let him know about it when they saw him at Trek conventions. “Most of us who act or paint or write or make music think of ourselves as artists, and we all want to make a piece of art that affects people in a big way, that touches people in some way, shape or form, that makes them feel something,” said Intiraymi. “I had that with one particular episode, Imperfection, where I gave my cortical node to Seven. It wasn’t that I felt it making the episode or that I even saw it watching the episode, but going around to the cons over the years a lot of people have told me that that episode affected them in an emotional way, that their brother or sister or mom was going through a kidney operation or a transplant of some kind, and something in Imperfection touched them. Any time someone tells me that, even now, it rocks me to the core because it’s why I do what I do. So, Imperfection is the episode I’m most proud of. I know it did what I want to do with my life.”
Intiraymi can be seen later this year in Fortress, a World War II movie about a plane called Lucky Lass and its crew.