Billingsley Recalls Casting ExperienceBy Caillan
September 21, 2001 - 5:44 AM
In auditions, actors have to stand out from the crowd, and John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox) definitely tried to make his reading for Enterprise as memorable as possible.
"What's interesting is that when I went in to read for Doctor Phlox, I was instructed to come in with a 'slight alien accent'," he told Gregory L. Norris and Laura A. Van Vleet at Trek Galaxy. "What do you do with that? What the hell is that?"
In order to try and fulfill this audition requirement, Billingsley came up with a little quirk for the character. "I thought that on his home planet, Doctor Phlox might actually squawk - he could come from a planet of birds!" he said. "At an audition, you're always like, 'well, I don't know, I'll try this!' So I squawked on a couple of occasions, and when I got the job, I wasn't really sure if I'd been hired because of the squawking and whether they wanted to keep that or not."
This confusion led to an amusing moment in the early days of shooting. "When we met to read as a cast for the first time, I asked Rick [Berman] and Brannon [Braga] if they wanted to use the squawk," Billingsley said, "which would only have been for a couple of moments during the reading when I would sort of go 'squawk' when I was happy or titillated or God-knows-what. They were on the set observing and were still ambivalent about the squawk. On my second day on the set when I was actually going to do the scene, we walked through it once and I sort of squawked. The director came up to me and said, 'were you just f***ing around or what?' I said, 'I assume that means the squawk has been cut?' He looked at me and said, 'oh, yes, the squawk has been cut.'"
The full interview, in which Billingsley also talked about his makeup and Scott Bakula's (Jonathan Archer) leadership on the set, can be found here at Trek Galaxy.