Taylor And LienBy Amy
February 28, 2001 - 8:57 PM
The Trek Galaxy has posted transcripts of two interviews, one with Jeri Taylor and one with Jennifer Lien, which appeared in issue 131 of the Star Trek Communicator and issue 76 of UK magazine Star Trek Monthly respectively. Taylor, who has worked on Star Trek since the Next Generation, talks about women in Hollywood and the some of the difficulties they face, while Lien talks about her past and future.
Taylor began working on the Next Generation during season four at the recommendation of a colleague. 52 at the time, she slotted right in, ascended through the ranks and eventually took over the series before going on to create the currently airing incarnation of Star Trek, Voyager. All this in an industry where a female fee-lance writer can sell scripts based on talent, but where a female producer or executive producer, at least then, would encounter opposition from her male counterparts – especially when most of them at thirty are young enough to be her children. “…as I worked up through producer and supervising producer,” she recalls, “that was more of a threat to any number of men. My life became more difficult. You need to feel quite good about yourself if you decide to go down this road, because at some point, in some way, you will be psychologically assaulted."
But she persevered –helped along by the fact that the people in Trek more or less didn’t care didn’t care and "were age and gender blind." They simply "wanted someone who could write," and Taylor fit, pushing particularly for development for TNG’s female characters – Deanna Troi and Dr. Crusher. While she didn’t have a problem with their somewhat traditional "caregiver" roles, she thought they could be more. "I felt these women could be more independent and act more in the way men do," she said. "I tried to come up with stories to do that."
Oddly enough, the woman who put Counselor Troi back into a Star Fleet uniform has no problems with the form-fitting catsuit worn by Voyager character Seven of Nine. "Her character and her personality are so strong and she's smarter than anybody on the ship," said Taylor. "She doesn't need shoring up. My contention is that a female character can be both smart and beautiful."
Seven of Nine, as you might recall, replaced former series regular Kes in season four. In her interview, Lien doesn’t talk about the events that saw her leave the show – thought to have come down to a choice between herself and Harry Kim’s Garret Wang after the new character was brought on board. She does, however, talk about her return to the show in season 6 episode ‘Fury’, an episode felt by many to be something of antipathy to the character of Kes.
Fury not only saw something of a change in the character but in the involvement of the actress. Previously Lien had remained more or less uninvolved with the writing side of her character, refraining from lobbying for changes in how she was written or for storylines. For ‘Fury’, however, she was involved in the outset and instrumental for several script changes. In the beginning, I had them redo the script, or redo part of it," she explains. "I felt uncomfortable with it. I wanted it to go a certain way, and they did respond."
To read the full interview with Jeri Taylor, where she talks some more about women and Star Trek and also what she plans to do when her consultancy for Voyager ends this year along with the show, can be found by following this link, while for more of Jennifer Lien on Voyager, acting and her other projects, follow this one.