UPN Press Party Cast Interviews

By Caillan
September 15, 2001 - 1:22 PM

 'Enterprise' cast photo - courtesy StarTrek.com, copyright Paramount Pictures

The passing of the torch has begun. The bittersweet emotions of the departing Voyager cast stand in stark contrast to the vibrant enthusiasm of their successors, who were interviewed in July at the UPN Enterprise press launch.

Six video interviews with the cast and producers of the new series have been posted online at StarTrek.com. Not only did the new crew speak excitedly about the series, but it seems that the behind-the-scenes stalwarts are just as eager to embark on a new enterprise.

"I think it went great," series star Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer) said of the pilot episode, 'Broken Bow.' "I think the best barometer of how it went are the people who have been around here for the last fourteen years who have worked on the shows - they're thrilled. They're jumping up and down and we don't even know what they're jumping up and down about half the time. But they're very excited about starting fresh and having some new designs and some new approaches to what they're doing and it's kind of infused everybody with a new enthusiasm. So we're kind of the happy recipients of their new enthusiasm."

Bakula, who starred as Dr. Sam Beckett on Quantum Leap, has an inkling of what Trek rollercoaster has ahead for the latest recruits. "I have been part of a little bit of a lore in the past, so I somewhat understand what all of that's all about," he said. "I know this is a different thing, and certainly thirty five years, it's an amazing accomplishment. So I'm looking forward to being a part of it and hopefully everybody will all work together and it'll be a good journey for everybody."

Someone who has a proud Trekkian tradition to uphold is Jolene Blalock, who plays the stoic Vulcan observer, T'Pol. "I had my choice of talking to anyone, it would be definitely, no question, Leonard Nimoy (Spock)," she said. "And if I was to ask him any question it would be 'What does it feel like to live forever, long beyond your days?'"

The actress was certainly pleased with how Enterprise has turned out so far - comparing it to the best that Trek has to offer. "I'm so proud of the writers, Rick Berman and Brannon Braga [and] the way they are staying so true to Gene Roddenberry's idea. His original concept is not just about good versus evil, it's about taking humanity into the dangers of illusion or nuturing our imagination. It's about something bigger than all of us. Humans are so much more capable than what they yet understand and there are no limits. [...] There is something bigger involved here and so being a part of that - being a part of extending that history, extending that legend, is amazing."

 'Enterprise' cast photo - courtesy StarTrek.com, copyright Paramount Pictures Dominic Keating came alive when asked of his reaction to scoring the part of weapons officer Malcolm Reed. "Yesssss!" he cried, jubilantly throwing his arms up in the air. "Pretty much that. I was surprised actually initially because it's that old actor thing - I didn't think I was particularly right for the part when I read the breakdown. But Rick [Berman] said he saw something. I'd auditioned for them about two years ago - he remembered me and he was toying it around in his head for me to read for quite a while so I didn't make too much of a mess of it when I went to the audition."

The actor recalled the day when he got the news that he had the part. "I was very excited to get it," he said. "I was just walking down here actually, it was about five o'clock in the afternoon and the sun was on my back and I came out of the last audition with Ron Surma, the casting director. Rick Berman had said something very cryptic like 'So are you ready for the next seven years, Dominic?' And then he went off down the stairs and way out the door. There I was with Ron Surma, and I said, 'Did I just get that or what?' and he goes 'You didn't hear it from me Dominic, but...'" And at that, he stuck his thumb in the air, grinning wildly.

Keating wasn't the only one cheering after scoring a role on the series - Anthony Montgomery (Travis Mayweather) has a very similar reaction. "I was at my agent's office, and business affairs called and they said 'We're calling to do a pick-up for Anthony Montgomery for the role of Travis Mayweather,'" he said. "I didn't know that this was going on - I'm looking at another script - so really to me it was just another audition. I didn't say 'Okay, I'm going in and I'm auditioning for Star Trek' - I just went in and when I left my test for the line, I went over to pick up another script. I'm going 'Okay, yeah, I could play this part, for a low-budget feature' and then as I'm reading this she [Montgomery's agent] goes, 'Can you repeat that? You're doing the pick-up for Anthony Montgomery? He got the role?' and I said 'Ahhhhhhh!' I just screamed, because come on, look at what we're doing, this is Star Trek, this is so much fun it's ridiculous!"

 'Enterprise' cast photo - courtesy StarTrek.com, copyright Paramount PicturesWhen the interviews were recorded, the cast had just completed filming on the pilot episode, 'Broken Bow.' "It went great for me," recalled John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox). "I also had the cushiest schedule. I only worked five days out of five weeks. So it really was pretty smooth sailing. Nor did I have any of the bridge scenes, which I think are the hardest in the world, where it's somebody in the background saying, 'And now, shake!' and you shake around and you pretend to see aliens when they're really pieces of cardboard. So it was pretty much a breeze for me. Ten hours in the makeup chair, a few days, while they were trying out different chins and different eyes and different forehead pieces, that was a small ordeal, but nothing I couldn't handle."

Last but not least, co-creators Rick Berman and Brannon Braga spoke of the creative release brought on by Enterprise. Having been involved with every series from The Next Generation on, Berman couldn't pick which incarnation was the greatest challenge. "Well I think it's like having a group of children, and saying 'Which one do you like better?'" he said. "They're all great challenges. This one has been more fun, so far, than any one that I've been involved with. Working with this guy here [Braga] has been remarkable for me and I think the fact that we're creating this whole new universe a hundred years before Captain Kirk makes it a great challenge for us."

"Absolutely," Braga said in agreement. "The key is to make it quintessentially Star Trek, yet somehow just different enough to show that there are new ways to tell Star Trek stories, and hopefully that's what we've done."

Berman was coy when asked how long he thought Enterprise would run, but did offer this thought. "Well, if you look at the averages, the last three have run seven years, it'd be nice to think that this one will too."

The video interviews, which feature more comments from Keating, Montgomery and Billinglsey, can be downloaded here at StarTrek.com.

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