Kenneth Mitchell has taken on the role of Kol the Klingon in Star Trek: Discovery, and in an interview with Star Trek.com, the actor gave insight into his character and how his makeup helps him to get into character as a warrior Klingon.
Kol is “the leader. You first meet him in holograph form, and he’s kind of an alpha Klingon amongst the house leaders, amongst the twenty-four house leaders,” said Mitchell. “He has these disagreements and conflicts with T’Kuvma and his house, and it kind of launches that relationship throughout the rest of the season. Kol is on a bit of a path to power, and he also wants to protect his people, not only amongst the Klingon houses, but also amongst the Federation. I just really kind of clinged on to that.
The costume and prosthetics that turn a human into a Klingon help Mitchell get into character as Kol. “The costume is heavy and it’s hot and the prosthetics are heavy and hot, but I’ve always been an actor that works from the inside out and the outside in,” said Mitchell. “These costumes and prosthetics, when you put them on, they’re like layers of your character, and the more you put on the more you start feeling like your character. Then you add in the language, this very visceral and guttural language, and it just lends itself so much to my character, being a kind of aggressive Klingon. I find the language itself is a little bit aggressive and I’ve found when I am speaking it, I kind of start moving my body a bit and using my arms and moving my neck a bit. All these layers added on to helping me create my character.”
Don’t assume that Klingons are bad, said Mitchell. “[It’s] is all about perspective,” he explained, “and it’s about understanding that culture. You’ll get to know the Klingons on our show, and then people can decide if we really are the villains.”