Piller, Mulgrew Reflect on 'Voyager'By Michelle
February 2, 2005 - 10:04 PM
Marking the tenth anniversary of Star Trek: Voyager, which premiered in January 1995, series co-creator Michael Piller and star Kate Mulgrew reflected on the show's legacy and recalled how the part of Captain Kathryn Janeway came together.
In separate interviews, Piller and Mulgrew talked to Star Trek Magazine in the UK about how Mulgrew came to have the part and the impact of the role. Piller discussed the long casting process, in which actresses Chelsea Field (now married to Scott Bakula, Star Trek: Enterprise's Captain Archer) and Susan Gibney were strongly considered for the role of Janeway, which later went to Genevieve Bujold. "Jeri [Taylor], Rick [Berman] and I all felt that Susan Gibney was the best actress we had read," Piller said of the first stages of casting. "We even shot a test on the scene where she welcomes the new recruits aboard - the same scene that Bujold shot the first day." But the studio rejected Gibney as too young.
Bujold, a onetime Academy Award nominee who was cast without an audition, left the series after two days of filming with the official explanation that she felt she "wasn¹t right for the part." The producers then called back Mulgrew, who had sent an audition tape earlier in the year. She impressed the studio and was cast as Janeway, playing the role for the seven years of Voyager's run.
"Voyager was a hell of a job to have been offered," Mulgrew told Star Trek Magazine. "I could certainly understand the magnitude of the job I was undertaking, and that I would need this kind of network and support." The actress credits her fans, "mostly women and their daughters", with giving her inspiration.
"They are the most loyal people," she added, noting that her fans have continued to support her by attending Tea at Five, the one-woman play in which Mulgrew portrays screen legend Katharine Hepburn, and by donating to the Alzheimer¹s Association, which is important to Mulgrew because her mother suffers from the condition. "I¹ve always recognised the fans as very decent, very intelligent and largely honorable people," she added.
Issue #119 of Star Trek Magazine, which is currently available in Britain and elsewhere, also includes interviews with Bakula and Brent Spiner (Data) as well as a report from the set of "The Augments", in which Spiner appears as Dr. Arik Soong. More information is available here.