Billingsley Says He's In an Uncertain BusinessBy Michelle
September 5, 2005 - 7:07 PM
"It was tough to say goodbye to a steady gig, never a ton of security if you’re an actor," said John Billingsley of the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise. "On the other hand, it’s also undeniable that if you’re an actor you’re always interested in new challenges and don’t want to play the same role, over and over again."
In an exclusive interview with Moviehole, the Phlox actor said that while he was disappointed about the show's ending, he was not surprised, as many in the cast had feared it would be cancelled a year earlier, at the end of its third season. "For my money, I think the final season is the best of them," he said. "It unfortunately got cancelled when I thought it was really beginning to hit its stride."
Billingsley noted that a series never gets a second chance to make a first impression with viewers and said the network strongly wished for a more action-oriented storyline. He thought that the Xindi arc was a good idea, allowing for serialised storytelling like on shows including 24 and Lost, but it was “too little late” for the show.
"You never know, even if you get [a series], whether it’s going to get made or picked up or if it’s going to succeed after it gets picked up," he noted. "The Star Trek Enterprise pilot was the last audition I had in a long pilot season", and he was happy to be cast, though he did not have particular expectations for the run and he never believed that there would be Enterprise feature films. His character did not get to throw punches or sleep with the babes, he observed.
Though he was not an original Star Trek fan, Billingsley thinks that if Enterprise had been "a little grittier, and a little rawer, a little dirtier", it might have succeeded better. He understands that cancellation was an economic decision and says that the cast has not particularly remained close, despite rumours to the contrary. "Though we liked each other and we certainly bump into each other at conventions or parties...we all ran in very different circles and had very different interests," he admitted. "It always makes me laugh when I hear others talk about 'the family' and 'Oh, we’re so close' and ninety percent of the time it’s like 'Uh-huh, Sure.'"
Having just filmed an episode of Nip/Tuck, Billingsley believes that Star Trek will return but is not anticipating being a part of it. "The landscape of television and the world’s culture has changed that much that I think Star Trek needs a bit of a re-tooling," he said.
The full interview is at Moviehole.