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The Trek Nation - Jordan Lund

Jordan Lund

By Caillan Davenport
Posted at May 5, 2003 - 5:54 AM GMT

See Also: 'Bounty' Episode Guide

One of the original Star Trek's most memorable alien races, the pig-faced Tellarites, make their return to the franchise after a long absence next week in May 14's Enterprise episode, "Bounty". Actor Jordan Lund has the honour of bringing the aliens back to life as Skalaar, a Tellaraite bounty hunter who captures Jonathan Archer in order to deliver him to the Klingons.

The character actor previously played a Klingon officer, Kulge, in Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Redemption, Part II" and Woban in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Storyteller". His other credits include episodes of Seven Days, Firefly and ER, as well as the feature films Doc Hollywood, Speed and Species. In 1998 Lund had a regular role as Doctor Batung on UPN's short-lived Mercy Point.

Jordan Lund recently agreed to answer questions from TrekToday readers about his work on Enterprise's "Bounty" and the other Trek series. His responses to a selection of the questions submitted can be found below:


Thomas Riker: In what way (as an actor) did you bring your own personal touch to playing a Tellarite?

Jordan Lund: What was clear from the script was that my character, Skalaar, is a pretty intelligent, clever and sensitive being. He's also someone who's passionate about what he feels. He's not a shy one at all. In playing him, I tried to be as quick-thinking and emotionally reactive as Skalaar is. I think the best way to approach any role is to try to get to the truth in every scene, so in playing this guy, it tended to make me very frank and unapologetic in my speech. I guess what I really tried to do, was to bring him to life, to make him a real living being, not a sketch.

Brandon Cosby: How much of the Tellarites' infamous argumentative attitude will we be seeing in "Bounty"?

Jordan Lund: There are some moments of disagreement in some scenes. I think we tried to find a more rounded personality with this new incarnation. My brother in the show, Gaavrin (played by a great actor, Ed O'Ross), is a pretty blunt guy.

Eric Berry: How do you get into the mindset of playing a completely alien species?

Jordan Lund: Having done this a few times before: Klingon, Bajoran, Shenn (Mercy Point, UPN '98), and Newcomer (Alien Nation: Dark Horizon), I've had a chance to try different ways to prepare. But, I think what I've come to realise is that Sci-Fi shows and stories are good when they tell stories that speak to the hearts and minds of us humans. So, it's important to make the characters have similar wants and needs as we humans do: love, power, money, sex, etc. What I tried to do was to make whatever needs I had as real and necessary and truthful as possible.

Mr G.: Hello, Mr Lund. I am an Enterprise fan and I have an interest in alien languages and other weird and similar things. I was wondering, in the episode in which you appear, do we hear any of the Tellarites' language or see any of their written language on Skalaar's vessel? Thank-you for your time, I look forward to seeing the episode!

Jordan Lund: You're welcome, and I too can't wait for the episode. I didn't speak any Tellarite, but there are markings in and on the shuttle craft I pilot.

Thalek: As a budding makeup artist, I confess that my interest lies in how the Tellarite appearance agrees with, and differs from the originals. How many appliances were needed to effect the new makeup?

Jordan Lund: Two on my face and one on each hand. Then there was the wig and the beard. It took about three and a half hours to complete the process. There was an amazing makeup artist, Brad Look, who did the actual application from Michael Westmore's design. First he glued on the front face piece, then he put on the mouth/lip piece, then he painted it to blend with my own skin. This process was repeated for my hands. Then I went over to the hair department and the talented hair supervisor, Michael Moore, put on my wig. Then back over to makeup to have wizard Bob Romero apply my beard. Then after I was all glued and painted, they put in my contact lenses (which were very eerie and cool) and I popped in my teeth.

ArcherBabe: What's it like to work with actor Scott Bakula?

Jordan Lund: I had a great time working with Scott. He's a hard working pro and he always wants to get it right. Whenever there was an issue of whether something was truthful and faithful to the spirit of the show, Scott's opinion could be counted on to keep us in line. He's also an actor who's had a tremendous amount of experience on a set, so he knows how to get the work done very efficiently. On top of that, he treats everyone on the crew with respect and warmth, and they genuinely like him as well. On a side note, we actually met about eight years ago at the wedding of a mutual friend, and sat at the same table.

Tribble01: Did you enjoy working with director Roxann Dawson? She's one of my favourite Enterprise directors as she always seems to bring a unique visual style to the episodes she works on.

Jordan Lund: Roxann was a wonderful director. She was very supportive and responsive on the set. She knew what she wanted, but if something cool happened by accident, and it worked, then she was smart enough to encourage it along. She also got along great with everyone on the set, and if the atmosphere on the set was relaxed, it was because she had a lot of confidence in herself and the rest of the crew. I'd be honoured to work with her again. A real pro.

Jonathan Quirk: Can we expect to see Skalaar return to Enterprise?

Jordan Lund: Not my decision to make, but I'm hoping. The producers seemed to like what was going on during the shooting, but I guess it depends on how well the audience responds to Skalaar.

Digitalfreak: What is your favorite memory from working on the various Star Trek series?

Jordan Lund: As an actor who has been acting on stage for many years, I really appreciate the skills some actors have, especially a really great voice. When I did TNG in '91, there was a scene being shot that I wasn't in, and I was standing (in my Klingon makeup and wardrobe) behind the camera watching a scene between Robert O'Reilly as Gowron, Michael Dorn and Patrick Stewart. The part that I loved watching was when each of them had a short quick line to say, first O'Reilly, then Dorn, then Stewart. It was a pretty quick exchange, and I don't even remember what they said, but how they said it was another thing.

Robert O'Reilly says his in his full deep voice, then Michael Dorn quickly comes in with his line, in a voice that everyone knows dwells somewhere in the basement it's so low. Then Patrick Stewart opened his mouth and his voice came up from below the floor of the sound stage, and completely blew the other two away. It's not like they were competing to see who had the deepest voice, it was an instinctive and unplanned little moment of one-upmanship, and the better man won. Watching this from the sidelines, I don't even think it was something anyone else noticed, but it was clear as day to me. The man has some chops. That was fun to watch.

Nightfly77: Which is your favorite Trek (that you personally enjoy watching) of the franchise?

Jordan Lund: I watched TOS all the time when it was first on the air, and kept watching it during reruns for plenty of years. I haven't seen one in a long time though. I've only watched the other shows sporadically, usually when a friend is in the show.

Kent Backman: Is there any difference to working on Star Trek compared to other shows you've done?

Jordan Lund: Yes, there are differences. A big one is that since the shows take place out in space, in the future, it's hard to go out on location to shoot the show. That means the whole show is shot on a sound stage on a movie studio lot. There's something about working on a lot that feels like being the home team instead of the away team. I like working at a Hollywood studio, especially one like Paramount where there's so much movie history. This is the place where movies like Sunset Boulevard and Rear Window and The Godfather and Chinatown were shot, and actors like Rudolph Valentino and Gary Cooper and the Marx Brothers worked.

Other than that, the differences between the Star Trek shows and others are the differences that exist between all shows: different actors, directors, producers, writers, and all the rest of the crew. That's one of the reasons I love being an actor: I get to work with different people all the time.

Andy: Mr Lund, you guest starred on Firefly. I was wondering what your thoughts and feelings are on the show. And do you think the show should have been cancelled? Thanks for your time.

Jordan Lund: You're welcome. I had a great time working on that show. I shot my episode the week before the show debuted and no one had any idea how it would be received. Everyone on the show was a little nervous and they were all really friendly and welcoming to me as a guest cast member. They all worked like dogs to get things right, and it felt like a show of quality when we were shooting it. When I watched the episode, I had a hard time following everything, as if they were expecting everyone to know all about all the characters already, and it seemed like that would alienate some viewers. I liked the idea of the show, and thought it would have developed into a solid one. Cancellations happen pretty quickly these days if something isn't showing impressive ratings right at the beginning. It's brutal.

THX: Looking at your credits, you've done everything from science fiction to sitcoms! Which is your favourite genre to act in?

Jordan Lund:To tell you the truth, the kind of acting that I like most is working on stage in Shakespeare. I love the process of rehearsing and analysing a play for many weeks, then playing in front of a different live audience every night. It's so much fun to hear and feel the audience's reactions during the storytelling experience. Plus, the chance that something could go wrong and yet it can't stop the performance, is a real thrill ride. As far as being on camera goes, the dramas where I've played a bad guy, or some twisted psycho have been the most fun to do. I like it all.


Many thanks to Jordan Lund for taking part, and to all those who submitted questions! For more information on Jordan Lund's work, check out his official web site.

If you missed our recent Q&As with author Christie Golden and actor Tim Russ (Tuvok), they can be accessed from this page. Stay tuned for our latest Q&A with Enterprise scribe Mike Sussman!

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Caillan Davenport is one of the TrekToday editors.