Billingsley Praises Coto's WritingBy Michelle
June 14, 2004 - 2:06 AM
John Billingsley (Phlox) has credited new showrunner Manny Coto with improving the writing for the third season of Star Trek: Enterprise and the prospects for season four.
Speaking to Star Trek Magazine (via Sci Fi Pulse), Billingsley said that Coto had "raised the bar for the entire writing staff" and required that the actors "go to more dangerous and interesting places in their work."
Because of the action-oriented Xindi arc, only one episode, "Doctors Orders", focused primarily on Phlox. That episode, said Billingsley, was extremely difficult because most of the scenes were shot out of order, meaning that as Phlox slowly went mad in the script, he might have to play the character very near insanity one day and less so the next. "I think for the most part actors have to have a pretty good muscle memory for where they were emotionally in every scene," he said. "You have to be able to know in your body somehow, you have to remember exactly where you were 10 days before. You can always go look at the scene again - they'll have it on tape for you - but generally, you have to trust that you've got it organically inside of you."
Billingsley called "Doctors Orders", the only stand-alone episode of the third season, "a very self-contained episode" and said that he appreciated the chance to discover how Phlox functioned psychologically. "I think he's actually an interesting wedding of a guy, who has sort of an Eastern sensibility and a Buddhist-like dispassionate quality - at the same time, he has a tremendous joie de vivre that allows him to genuinely experience in a delightful way whatever he's going through," he observed, adding that Phlox is very much in touch with his emotions and can process his feelings without them weighing down on his decisions.
The actor said he thought that the producers had lured "a lot of the die hard Star Trek fans" back to Enterprise, and said he was hopeful for next season at the knowledge that "there is still an audience that will watch it after 30 years." He also thought that having Coto on the staff constituted an important addition for the past season.
The full interview is in the new issue of Star Trek Magazine. Sci Fi Pulse provided these excerpts.