Bakula Talks Acting VoyageBy Caillan
April 2, 2003 - 10:24 AM
As Enterprise's Captain Archer he leads the crew on a mission of discovery every week, but Scott Bakula recently talked about a more personal journey — his acting career.
Speaking with DJs Steve and DC on their radio show in his hometown of St. Louis, Bakula recalled how he acted in local productions before deciding to uproot and move to the Big Apple.
"I dropped out of college and went to New York City," he said. "It was not the favourite choice in my house at the time." Moving to the city with only a "couple of hundred bucks" in his pocket was a little intimidating for the young actor. "It was huge culture shock. And I'd never been to New York. I put all my stuff on my back, and I went there. I had a backpack and a couple of suitcases...I was 21."
Not everything went according to plan with his accomodation arrangements. "I had a place to stay, with somebody I'd never met before, a girl that a friend of mine said, 'You know, you can sleep on her couch'. The second day I was there she said, 'Oh, you have to go tomorrow because my parents are coming into town and they need to stay here'. So I was out on the street the third day I was there."
However, he soon found a place to stay — and a gig. "[It was] a musical called Shenandoah. I have one of those stories, I got it the third day I was there."
From these humble beginnings, Bakula garnered a Tony nomination for the musical Romance/Romance, plus four Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe win for his role in Quantum Leap. The actor has also been a regular face on the big screen, appearing in films such as American Beauty and Life as a House in recent years.
In the former Bakula worked with two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey. "He was great," he recalled. "You kinda know about people, how they are on the set, you know. The first day I was there, I wasn't even working, I was going for a fitting and he was talking to like 20 people from a college who'd come through and he stopped and walked over and said, 'Scott, how are you? It's so nice of you to come and do this movie and be a part of this with us'. And he didn't have to do that."
Two years later in Life as a House he had the chance to act with another prominent thespian — and fellow St. Louis native — Kevin Kline. "That was one of those things where I wasn't even supposed to be in that movie. I had auditioned originally to play Kristen Scott's [Thomas] husband. Didn't get it. Went away. Four months go by and they call me and say 'Can you come in? The guy who's playing the police guy, cop, whoever he was, just had a mountain bike accident halfway through his movie, can't work, we've got to reshoot the whole thing'. All my scenes were with Kevin, and I'd never met Kevin before — I'm a huge fan of his. So I said 'Yeah'."
Asked about his acting technique, Bakula said he always does his research before embarking on a new role, but he doesn't favour the "method" approach. "I'm not like a big method guy, you know, who has a big technique, I kind of work from inside out. [...] They want to stay there, they want to live it. And I've done it a long enough time, I love to do it, it's wonderful, but it's pretend, and that's kind of why I like it, it is pretend, it isn't becoming, and I like it, that's my job, and I go home."