Phillips And Picardo Remember 'Voyager'By Antony
March 4, 2003 - 7:59 PM
Ethan Phillips (Neelix) and Robert Picardo (The Holodoc) have recounted stories from their time on Star Trek: Voyager. The actors recently reminisced at Creation Entertainment's Seattle-area convention.
"There were a couple of things that really pushed me," Phillips answered, when asked what his greatest challenge was on the show (via STARTREK.COM). "One was, I think, 'Mortal Coil'... Neelix has to face the fact that there is no afterlife. This is it? And then he has to realise, through the help of Chakotay, that okay, we have to make the best of our stay here, we still have to do the right thing... and understanding that he takes a leap forward, he evolves."
Another moment that springs to mind for the actor is the season one episode "Jetrel". "[Neelix] had to face this guy who was basically his Hitler — his race's Hitler — and he has to forgive him," said Phillips. "And that's a very tough moment for him, as it is for anybody who has to face somebody who's been toxic to them in their life ... he doesn't absolve him of his crimes, but he does forgive him, and then he's able to let go of that terrible pain that he's been carrying."
In his talk, Picardo was invited to talk about the audition process that landed him the role of the Holodoc. "I heard they auditioned 900 actors for the part of the Doctor," he said. "The Doctor was the least written role; he only had about a dozen lines in the pilot. And in the audition scene, the description of the Doctor said, 'Colourless, humourless — a computer program of a doctor.' And I thought, 'Gee, that sounds like a lot of fun for seven years!'"
Picardo has an idea of what helped him clinch the role of Voyager's medical officer. "I'm convinced the reason they hired me was because, when I went in and read, I made a joke that was very much a Bones-ism, without even being aware that I was doing that. At the end of my Voyager audition after my last scripted line — which was, 'I believe someone has failed to terminate my program' — I took a long, droll look at the 22 people watching me in the room, and said, 'I'm a doctor, not a nightlight!'"
The full convention report can be found here at STARTREK.COM.