Garrett Wang Rejected As Voyager Director

By Christian
March 7, 2001 - 1:50 PM

The Star Trek franchise has served as a breeding ground for good television directors, with actors such as Jonathan Frakes (William T. Riker), Alexander Siddig (Julian Bashir) and Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris) all given the chance to helm one or more Trek episodes. Only one actor, Garrett Wang (Harry Kim), was turned down for a directing gig, and he is not happy about it.

"I'm the first actor to be turned down for a directing gig," he told British SF magazine SFX. "Is this a racial thing? I truly wonder. I don't know. I'm sitting here thinking, well, why else? Other than during season two and season three where I had some problems not being punctual, which got me in hot water at one point in time... but I've grown past that. I first asked in year five, then again during year six and they said no again. The beginning of this year I asked a third time, and again I was told no."

Wang's interest in directing began long before that, but decided to wait when he saw how many Trek alumni were already waiting in line. "One by one they all got their slot, and I had always said to myself, 'Save the best for last. I'm going to come in there, show them little old Garrett, the youngest one on the show coming up with this amazing episode.' [...] I waited, but when I did ask I was turned down by Rick Berman."

The actor has no idea why he was turned down. "I don't know why," he said. "I know that Rick Berman said something to the effect that he's not running a directing school here - well you could have fooled me! Everyone from Next Generation gets a guest shot, everyone from DS9 who has an inclination gets a shot, and everyone but Garrett from Voyager gets a shot. You put two and two together and try to figure it out. It's unfortunate, it really is, but all I can really do is wait until the next series begins, and go and ask again."

The rejection was especially bitter for Wang as he felt that he had always been extremely supportive of the show. "I've given my life to Voyager," he told SFX. "I've given my energy, my passion and truly there's nobody of my castmembers that can say, 'Garrett wasn't into the show. He wasn't somebody who put his time to it. He didn't care about the show.' I cared. I so much cared. I was always the one who was trying to make other people care, [and] I feel that these things are unseen by the Powers That Be."

"It was a little unfair," the actor said, though he admitted that it was the producers' right to turn him down. "Rick Berman holds the reins. He has the power. It's completely his choice to say no. It's not in my contract. It's a favour. It's definitely a favour to allow an actor to direct. But when he says no, I can't help but take it personally. I think that he thinks that I don't have the chops to do it, that I couldn't turn out a good product."

At the end of the interview, Wang also had a few more positive things to say about Voyager, which he thought did help in improving race relations. "That's always been my secret agenda and I think this character has done that. He has appeared as an unstereotypical, likeable character throughout these years, that people can relate to and people can respect. Just the existence of an Ensign Kim this long has done wonders because there have been no Asian-American role models out there in the last seven years on TV."

Much more from the Harry Kim actor can be found in the full interview, which was written by Paul Simpson for SFX Magazine. It's a rather interesting article, with Wang joining Robert Beltran (Chakotay) in claiming he was underused as an actor, though he also again stated "it's been fun." Find out more by buying the new SFX Magazine!

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