Actors Reflect On Star Trek At Grand SlamBy Michelle
March 20, 2006 - 9:06 PM
The first day of Creation's Grand Slam convention in Pasadena was covered by talk show personality Jimmy Kimmel and featured several actors mostly from the second generation of Star Trek series.
StarTrek.com has posted its coverage of the first day of the event, sponsored by cable network G4, which planning to broadcast the original series with special interactive features. Kimmel took part in a trivia contest filmed for his show and actors from Andromeda, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other series held panels and signed autographs. Among the Star Trek performers, the original show was represented by Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand), who spoke about the uncertainty as to whether the show would be picked up by the network and her struggle with alcoholism. At 76, Whitney now lives near Yosemite and said she still enjoys meeting fans at conventions.
Voyager actors Robert Picardo (The Doctor) and Garrett Wang (Kim) both spoke about the early days of their show and playing military officers. Picardo, who now has a recurring role in the Stargate franchise, said that the The hardest thing to get used to in the first year was the uniforms, "because I'd never had wardrobe that didn't have any pockets in it. That's really annoying. If someone handed you a phone number during a break from shooting, and then the camera rolled, you had to eat the phone number. There was no place to put it."
Wang recalled that the Voyager castmembers were told to behave in a stiff, military-like fashion during the first weeks, "because this is the only way that the aliens are going to look real." He thinks that this was detrimental to Janeway in particular, and he enjoys doing conventions so that people can see his sense of humour because "Ensign Kim is a very serious guy."
Gary Graham (Soval) and Jeffrey Combs (Shran) appeared onstage together, discussing the difficulty of playing emotionless characters like Vulcans and how the lack of preparation time led to some creative improvising for their roles. Combs announced he will become a recurring character this season on The 4400M, which is scripted by several Deep Space Nine writers whom he knew from playing Weyoun on that series. Graham has written a book called Acting and Other Flying Lessons in which he talks about working with Combs in "Kir'Shara", the episode in which Shran tortures Soval.
Two Next Generation actors, Brent Spiner (Data) and Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher), signed autographs and chatted with fans. Wheaton read from his blog and said he wasn't particularly interested in trying to become a famous film actor, saying he was fulfilled by his stage work and did not want to participate in sensationalist reality television. He talked about the late Star Trek executive producer Michael Piller, saying, "Michael wasn't afraid to take real risks, and wasn't afraid to accept submissions from fans of the show...he listened to our feedback as actors, and, like Gene Roddenberry, treated me like my opinion mattered."
There were also autograph sessions with Orion slave girls and a panel with the Free Enterprise writers, who explained that it took a lot of work to get William Shatner (Kirk) to work with them. More complete coverage is here.