Frakes Loves Reminiscing Yet Has Moved OnBy Michelle
August 27, 2007 - 10:12 PM
Jonathan Frakes may be instantly recognizable as Star Trek: The Next Generation's Will Riker, but he's equally proud of his work as a film teacher and director.
"Look at all the young actors I hired who are now big stars. I cast Katie Heigl (Grey's Anatomy, Knocked Up) and Vanessa Hudgens, who's now the star of High School Musical. Vanessa was in Thunderbirds and Katie was in Roswell," he noted to Jam! Movies. Having directed two Star Trek movies, he accepts that the box office failure of Thunderbirds "didn't help my feature career", but he has not left the genre, having directed an installment of Masters of Science Fiction.
"To be able to have learned to direct via Star Trek was a blessing," he explained. "I wouldn't want to have to be making a living in my 50s as an actor. You really are 'the Star Trek guy' in that situation...but then, as Leonard Nimoy once said, it's better to be typecast than not cast at all."
Grateful for castmates with whom he still remains close and pleased that there will be an eleventh Star Trek movie directed by J.J. Abrams, even if he won't be involved, Frakes attends conventions where he gets to catch up with old friends and enjoys being onstage: "Even your worst jokes are funny in that situation."
Though he teaches at Rockport College, Frakes does not want to be called Dr. Frakes. "That was my father," he explained. "He taught English at Lehigh [University]. I'm more like Riker-turns-teacher." Though he gets Star Trek fans signing up for his class, it's "mostly people who are really interested in the process and can't believe they're taking a course with a guy who actually made movies. There's been one in each class I've taught who showed real talent."
The full interview is at Jam! Movies.