Disinterest Won Blackman Trek GigBy Christian
May 22, 2002 - 2:36 PM
Like Jolene Blalock (story), Bob Blackman never wanted to be on Trek. But after 13 years designing costumes, he still loves the job.
Speaking to the official Star Trek site, Blackman revealed he was asked to apply for the job when Paramount was unable to find a good replacement for TNG's second-season costume designer Durinda Rice Wood. "[Paramount wardrobe head Bob Harris] said to me: 'You know, there's this great job on the lot! Don't you want this job?' I said, 'are you kidding me? I spent 20 years on the 19th century, why in the heck would I want to try to figure out what the 24th century is about? I'm not a futurist - I don't have any sense of the stuff. I deal with present to past.' And so he said 'Well, okay.' I saw him two days later when we were finishing up and he said: 'You've got to do me this favor. You've just got to go do the interview for me. I'm desperate here, and I’m going to look like a fool. I just started in this job, so would you please be so kind as to just go in and interview?"
At the interview, Blackman was far from motivated to win the job. "In the end I had the interview with [producer] David Livingston and it's a tribute to just how successful you can be if you don't want it. Because I was a little bit arrogant - I mean, I wasn’t rude or anything - but by the time the interview was over I had my feet propped up on his desk and I was just gabbing about theory and design and stuff. Consequently, two and a half weeks later I had the job. I said: 'So I'll take the job for a year. What the hell? It's steady income, and while I'm here I can look for other stuff."
Of course, Blackman never left Star Trek, and still enjoys the challenges the show present for him. The costume designer revealed he was particularly proud of Enterprise. "I think the look of it - to pat all of us on the back, including myself - was excellent. I think we achieved what we wanted to achieve, which was to clearly re-invent the timeline, to clearly tie it to today rather than to tomorrow. We’re 150 years in the future, but if you think about the button, which is what I always say, you know the button was invented around 1100 A.D. and it's still here, big as life. So we can now use all those things. There was a previous theory that said, 'No visible closures' - no buttons, no zippers, no anything. When I came aboard, I was jarred by this for several reasons. So it was great to be able to figure out how to do that, to keep a kind of look - what I would refer to as 'The Star Trek Heroic Look' - going, but in a much more accessible way than we had evolved from The Next Generation into essentially Voyager, which things loosened up and could open different ways, and seemed much more user-friendly."
More from Blackman can be found in the full interview at the official site, in which he also talked about his colleagues on the show, the way he gets involved with episodes, and his unique method for getting the attention of Rick Berman.