Smallwood Reflects On Trek ExperiencesBy Michelle
March 9, 2005 - 9:52 PM
Star Trek helped Tucker Smallwood recover from one physical ailment, though it contributed to another, the actor explained in a recent interview about Voyager, Enterprise and the new film Spectres, which also stars Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) and Linda Park (Hoshi Sato).
"The Voyager episode came about in a year that was very difficult for me physically," Smallwood told Jacqueline Bundy at TrekWeb. "I contracted Bells palsy...I woke up one morning and it looked like I'd had a stroke in the night." Unable to use the muscles in one side of his face, Smallwood worried that he might never work again before his agent learned of a part on Voyager that he thought would require heavy prosthetic makeup. As it happened, the role of Admiral Bullock in "In the Flesh" was that of a member of Species 8472 disguised as a human, but Smallwood played the part nonetheless, and slowly began to work more.
The actor, already known to genre audiences as Commodore Ross on Space: Above and Beyond, was then cast as one of the Xindi primate council members - a role that recurred in nine episodes and required a great deal of makeup. "It was very complicated and long, 16 and 17-hour days. It's two hours of makeup in the morning and then an hour and a half of getting out of it at night," he recalled. "At the end of the season, I had to have four separate procedures to help my eye recover and my tear duct is still clogged...the makeup was responsible for that, it clogged the pores because it's so incredibly extensive and it's right up to the brim of the eye."
Smallwood noted that the role offered unexpected challenges, requiring him to retype his script in larger type because he couldn't squint at the original pages. "Many actors have been through this process and they said that some of them take to it and some of them don't," he said of the makeup crew, who impressed him. "I loved working with the people, I loved the creative aspect but I didn't like what it did to my body. You only get one set of eyes and I didn't want to jeopardize that."
Because his character was never given a name, Smallwood named the Xindi primate "Depac" after writer Deepak Chopra, saying he joked with Rick Worthy, who played the arboreal Xindi, "'I'll be Depac and you be Chopra. So I sign my autographs Depac now.'"
Spectres will be shown on March 12th at Creation's convention, before being released on video and DVD on April 19th. The actor plays a psychic who works with the daughter of Sirtis' character, who is experiencing paranormal events. "These are to me the most fragile of stories," said Smallwood. "They are so ephemeral and they all are like a house of cards, you pull any one of them out and it all topples but if you can succeed in maintaining that facade, that altered reality, then it makes for a very compelling story."