Russ RetrospectiveBy Amy
March 26, 2001 - 2:58 AM
Continuing with their Voyager retrospective, the Trek Galaxy has posted part 4 of their ten-part look behind the scenes at the shooting of Voyager's final regular episode, 'Renaissance Man'. This week Gregory L. Norris & Laura A. Van Vleet drop in on Tim Russ, who, of course, plays the show's resident Vulcan, Tuvok.
Russ, as many are aware, is a long time Trek fan himself, his involvement with the tv series starting back when auditions were first being held for 'The Next Generation.' "I auditioned for that role [Geordie LaForge]," Russ explains, "but Gene Roddenberry chose LeVar Burton as he already had recognition in the States, which he felt would help the new series."
Something else that's well known is Russ' tendency to play practical jokes on the set - recently becoming embroiled in a war with co-star Kate Mulgrew (Janeway). The two are now at a truce, however, he reported, adding that "she had the last laugh. Rank hath its privileges," after all. However his funniest moment on the Voyager set stems not from one of his jokes, which have "been for the cast and crew's benefit, to keep the atmosphere light," but an accident that happened while Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris) filming a Captain Proton scene.
"The rear end of Robbie McNeill's spacesuit caught on fire - while he was wearing it!" he recalls. "[His] suit caught fire from the sparks they shot out of the rocket pack to make it look like it was firing [in the episode "Day of Honor"]. The sparks were just too close to his rear end." While he adds that he's "sure it was not quite so funny to [McNeill]," Russ ranks it as "up there with some of the practical jokes [he's] pulled."
Another fond memory from the set, this time of a more serious nature, featuring the late Ray Walston (Boothby) and Robert Beltran (Chakotay). "We were shooting a scene that was very heavy with dialogue," he recalls, "and Ray was having a tough time with the lines. Some of us were, too. It took all day to film this one scene, and during a short lighting break, Ray spoke a line from Hamlet. Then Robert Beltran answered him perfectly with the next line from the play and the two of them continued to recite the lines for about two or three minutes - perfectly. You could hear a pin drop on the set it was so quiet. We all applauded afterwards. That was a great memory."
To read the full interview with Tim Russ, please follow this link to the Trek Galaxy. The next edition of the report will see Norris & Van Vleet talk with Ethan Phillips, who plays the ship's cook, moral officer and sometimes Ambassador, Neelix.