SCOTT BAKULA INTERVIEW
DO YOU SEE THE FAN DEVOTION?
How do I
see it? Well it's fantastic. Sci-fi fans, and I have worked for a lot of
sci-fi fans in my career, ironically, they are, and I don't want to rip
any other kind of fans, they are incredible fans because they are so
devoted, they are smart. They are terribly interested in details. They
want you to do it right and they want you to push their envelope so all
the things creatively as actors and writers and technicians that you want,
your audience is saying give us more, more, more we can handle it, you
don't need to explain it, we can handle it. So when you are in the
entertainment business in all the different facets of it, the people you
are entertaining are demanding yet they are faithful and loyal and follow
us to a Friday night, where we premiere and open a night for a network
without any fanfare, without any big splash, so the fans are fantastic. So
ultimately we work for the fans.
WHAT REACTIONS DO YOU GET FROM FANS ON THE
get everything. My favourite reactions traditionally are when I get other
captains saying: 'Well done Captain' or 'Way to go Captain'. Or a guy who
is flying you to NY, he comes by. Or you get a captain from World War II
and was a captain on a battleship and he says: 'Nice to meet you Captain'.
There's a kind of an acceptance and connection. It shows the fans we have
in the military and in NASA and around the world. Again, you like to know
we live in this vacuum, we work in a corner of a lot, we make a show, we
go onto the next show, someone mentions the ratings, what does that really
mean? It's so great to have this personal relationship with them and I
will get more of it now we're not shooting and I am out there travelling
more and meeting great people. It's great fun.
SURPRISED AT THE FANS' DEVOTION TO THE SHOW?
HAVE YOU BEEN TO A STAR TREK CONVENTION?
No, I have
missed out even though there are several every week! I'm waiting for time
to go. I was the only actor in this show who had children. So these guys
would show up at work on Monday and they would be exhausted. It was like:
'How was your weekend?' 'Oh, I was in Philly'. Or: 'How was your break?'
Oh I was in New Zealand, Australia and Germany'. They were all over the
place and none of them had kids and I have kids of all ages, four of them.
ARE YOUR OWN CHILDREN FANS OF THE SHOW?
have come to enjoy it on their own. The first season my nine year old was
five and five and a half year old was one and a half and they wanted
nothing to do with the Andorians. I literally had to say, they would ask
me: 'Are the blue faces going to be there today?' And I would say: 'Yes
they are'. And they would say: 'Well, I'm not coming!' Or if they weren't
there then they would come. But by the end of it, they loved Geoffrey and
were just thrilled every time he was there but they have become, my nine
year old especially, is very distraught about the show being cancelled.
DIDNíT SOME FANS GET TOGETHER AND TRY TO RAISE
SOME MONEY TO KEEP THE SHOW ON THE AIR?
been involved in that but you hear bits and pieces. But there was a huge
groundswell of support when we got cancelled. There was a huge rally out
front at the Paramount Gates. There were hundreds of people. Excuse me
there were five rallies around the planet on the same day, they were here,
there was one in New York, I think there was one, I want to say Beirut
which is an interesting one. Was it there? But there was one in London and
one in Germany, I'm not sure where. But there were five and they were all
the same day. That was impressive and they started this website saying
let's all send in money and we'll produce the show. Someone told me
recently that one person had donated $3 million.
I THINK IT WAS A GROUP OF PEOPLE AT SOME SPACE
TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMME DONATED THE $3 MILLION.
they pledged $3 million and the fans raised $100,000, they raised $47,000
in a week to place ads in the LA Times and the New York Times and then had
money left over that they gave the charities.
DON'T YOU NEED JUST $3 MILLION FOR ONE EPISODE?
roughly. But then if you get $12 million, we could make a movie, so you
know. But we couldn't make a movie like everyone's used to, it would have
to be like a sensible movie.
ON THE DVD, IS THERE ANYTHING FROM THE FIRST
SEASON THAT YOU HAVE WATCHED AGAIN AND REALISED YOU REMEMBERED IT
DIFFERENTLY, OR THOUGHT IT WAS BETTER THAN YOU REMEMBER OR THOUGHT YOU
COULD'VE DONE SOMETHING BETTER?
scenes seem better to me than when we did it and that's a good thing. You
hate to pick something up and go: 'Ohhh'. But it stands up beautifully.
Actually we put all this together and then recently before we wrapped we
did all the set up stuff for the second season DVD. I got a chance to go
over the second season. Obviously the third season it still in my mind and
this season is very vivid. So while we were looking at the second season I
got this ability to kind go: 'Ah, I just talked about the first season and
went through all that, here's the second season, which was picked on a
little bit but it's pretty darn good'. So I all of sudden I was thinking:
'We did great stuff'. So any time you see you see a trailer for us when
they are promoting the show and it's a two minute highlight excerpt, I am
always blown away by what we can achieve as a television show with all
these feature looks and capabilities and sets that are really really
beautifully done. I am always astounded by that. Then all that work in the
middle of it does not fall apart. We are working well too.
A HIT DO YOU THINK THE DVD WILL BE?
these kind of things are going to be huge. They are going to be huge to
the studio. I am hoping that potentially the people at the studio now, who
don't really even have time to familiarize themselves with what this
franchise means to this place and to the parent company, their eyes might
all of a sudden be opened a little bit. The joke is, and I don't mean this
in a disparaging way at all, but twenty years from now these DVDs will be
bought and viewed somewhere and the eight shows that are on UPN right now,
none of them will be. It's nothing against them, it's just the nature of
the genre. We have been told all along that studio is interested and they
need to make money and be successful, so we'll see.
HOW MUCH OF AN IMPACT HAS STAR TREK BEEN ON YOU
AS FAR AS THE REAL WORLD'S SPACE EXPLORATION AND THE DIRECTION IT IS
I think as
I touched on this briefly in the beginning, it made me think so much about
where we are now, here, and what it would take for not just physically put
ourselves into deep space but what it would take as a planet to have the
where with all and commitment and unity to put something together that
would represent this one tiny little planet in the galaxy. I had this
wonderful experience this year. Periodically we met astronauts from NASA
and people from JPL and they would come and visit and talk about how
influential Star Trek had been on them almost to a man and woman and they
would say: 'When I was a kid I dreamed the same kind of dreams and these
shows inspire other kids of today to grow up and be astronauts. I had this
great opportunity this year to get to know Mike Fink who just got back
from six months on the space station and he had been there with his
captain who was Russian. He left from Russia, he landed back in Russia, he
spoke Russian, they had this joint effort going on and all he could talk
about was how he couldn't wait to go back up and how great it was. He sent
us a video from space and sent us a message and they had a DVD player up
there so we sent some of the shows up on one of the shuttles so they could
watch our show. It was like a small little microcosm where I hope we are
heading with space exploration and what it will take and it's made me
think a lot about that and a tremendous amount about no weapons in space
and just how wrong that feels and how devastatingly challenging that could
be if that ever became a reality. So those are the kind of things that
were impactful to me.
BUT THE ENTERPRISE HAS WEAPONS ON BOARD?
Absolutely. And it's ironic and again its part of it wasn't our intention.
If you look back at the pilot we are peaceful exploration and certainly
that was my character's goal and it was the goal of the crew, certainly
was represented the same way by the Vulcan contingency, the realities were
not what we made them up to be, what we found, we were not able to proceed
in that fashion. It was our effort, our initial goal to go out that way. I
guess in an ideal world, and this would be in another franchise and it
would not be Star Trek, that ship would go out without any weapons. But
what would that have been like? We wouldn't have made it! It would've been
a short season! We wouldn't have left the planet without any weapons.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT CAPTAIN ARCHER'S EVOLUTION
FROM THE FIRST SEASON TO THE LAST SEASON WHERE HE SEEMS TO HAVE BECOME A
You get a
character in a pilot script and you talk to your creator about that
character. You say what you like about the guy, what you don't like about
the guy, where so you see this guy going, where do you see everything? I
always talking about everybody, I talk about other characters too. I was
very excited about playing this man because he had been in this very
specific world his whole life and I always referred to him as a Star Fleet
Brat. He lived and breathed it. He was at his father's side the every
step of the way, as much as he could, every chance he could be there, he
was there. He had a kind of limited view on everything except: 'I've got
to get this engine my dad helped build into space'. So he was a little bit
of a blank page in terms of what was before so I encourage by that. He was
going to get up there and have this kind of awesome, incredible journey in
the beginning where everything is new and he doesn't have a clue what's
around the next corner, who's going to be there, is it going to be
exciting, is it going to be beautiful, is it going to be a disaster? So he
could start that way and be able to learn from and have his own
experiences and ultimately kind of reshape who he was, so good some not
good. Obviously in the third season we got into some stuff that was,
choices that he would never have dreamed of making three years before he
took off on that shape, it was not part of his nature. But for me as the
actor, all of that was great because it gave me new stuff to consider. It
enabled me to be able to pick up the phone and say: 'Do you really think
he would do that? If he does that, why don't we take him one step further
and push him that much further? Often times the most controversial talked
about episodes over the course of the years and the first year were
confrontational episodes when I was on somebody on my ship, I was in their
face about something, I was upset with them about something, I was
disappointed, I wasn't just happy go lucky, we are exploring. I got the
best job on earth, anywhere else, I got the responsibility and there was a
man in many ways maturing and this last season it really kind of started
TEN YEARS AGO THERE WAS A BIG SEPARATION BETWEEN
THE TV WORLD AND THE MOVIE WORLD AND IT WAS FROWNED UPON WHEN A MOVIE STAR
WOULD COME DOWN TO DO A TV SHOW BUT THIS HAS CHANGED IN THE LAST FEW
YEARS. WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ON THAT?
My goal as
an actor is to try and not get pigeonholed. What this town likes to do and
had liked to do is say: 'Ok you are the funny cute sidekick and you are
the handsome, you're the body and that's what we need'. So when you call
them and say: 'The body would like to audition for the funny sidekick'.
They say: 'Are that's nice, but we don't really see that. Who else?' So my
goal as an actor and because I come from theatre, you know in the theatre
you are not really handicapped by that kind of thinking because that's the
joy and beauty of theatre that you can put this on and everybody makes the
journey and then everyone takes it off and you go and meet somebody
backstage or you meet them later and you see they were not really the
Elephant Man! So on the one hand it has been great for all of us, actors,
directors, writers that the doors have started to swing both ways and that
started a few years ago. But now at the moment they have really just kind
of swung one way and there's this stream of movie people and you can't get
a pilot made unless there's a movie director directing it. And ideally
they are trying to convert a movie actor into a TV actor because that will
sell it. So there is a feeling in this country right now, wrongfully so in
my opinion, that the only way to get a hit show on television, is to have
all movie people do it. And then they all go away and you get the people
who know how to make television, they come in and make the TV series
because those people don't want to say. Bruckheimer has all these shows
going on, he's got some great people that understand television and he's
following all these great opportunities. But does Bruckheimer make a
better TV show than Dick Wolf who has got his pack of Law & Orders
while Bruckheimer's got CSI. Dick Wolf has been making TV for a
long long time and Bruckheimer's kind of new to it. So the only thing that
doesn't work and that is upsetting to me is television, commercials,
voiceovers, theatre, those arenas used to be where actors, new actors, got
their chances, they go their chance to break in. You can barely turn on
any voiceover for any commercial on television now and it's, I won't say
any names, it's a big movie star name. and that used to be a guy's way of
supporting his family while he's making the theatre in New York city, or
doing a commercial that kept him alive along with his waiter job, so he
could keep pursuing getting a guest spot on television. Look at the guest
starring roles every year at the Emmys for the people who are up for those
parts. That didn't used to be all movie stars and famous famous people.
That used to be, when I started out, that was me. I got to be Annie Pott's
ex-husband on Designing Woman but today, and I won't say names, but
they will go for, absolutely look for someone big and flashy to help that
pilot get some vision. In a perfect world, and I always think of our
English acting friends across the pond, only because I know more of them
and I can't say how it is in other countries, in England there is a sense
of there is no shame in doing a piece of theatre, there is no shame in
doing television, there is no shame in doing a mini-series and there is no
shame in doing a movie. And they just move along. They move along - work,
good, thank you: 'I'm still trying to get that job with the Royal
Shakespeare Company but I'll do this other this first and I'll do this
little part in whatever there is'. There's no stigma attached to it and we
are labelled crazy in our country.
DO YOU THINK TV ACTORS ARE LESS RESPECTED THAN
think so because so many of the TV actors now are movie actors. So it has
gotten very muddy. So it's hard for me to say and I stepped out of movies
for the last four years. I haven't pursued any and I haven't looked for
any. I haven't been interested in them. I've just been interested in them.
I've just been taking my hiatus with my family and that's what I wanted to
do but I'll let you know in a year or so if it's different for me than it
was before because I got to do some great movies fortunately in my life
and would like to do some more. But I would also like to go back to the
theatre and do other things.
THINK RECENT CHANGES AT PARAMOUNT AT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CANCELLATION OF
yes. There have been so many people that are just not here any more.
Paramount has radically changed from the top down in the short span of
time that we have been here, as has UPN, as has CBS and Viacom. So the
whole family has gone through this whole big change and we just started up
at the wrong time. Although if we hadn't started up when we did, we may
not have ever started up, so there is that side of it too.
I BELIEVE YOU AGREEMENT GOING INTO THIS WAS THAT
YOU WERE INVOLVED AS A PRODUCER. DID THIS INCREASE OR DECREASE AS THE SHOW
WENT ON OVER THE COURSE OF THE FOUR YEARS?
and continues to be a misunderstanding. I have never had producer input,
it was never in the contract that I would have producer input. I don't
know why that continues to be put out there. I had no influence in the
hiring or firing of anybody on the show. The only input I had was that I
was able to pick up the phone and call the guys who were writing the show
and say: 'What do you think about this? Or I don't like this, are you
interested in changing it?' I never had final say on anything, I didn't
have a say in casting. I came into this very late in the game, had I come
into it earlier I might've asked for that kind of participation. But I
literally came to it a week or so before the pilot was scheduled to begin
shooting, so if we can put that to rest as best you can, please do as I
was not responsible for the creative flow of the show any more than an
actor looking after his character and having input and an open channel
which I was grateful sure. I used the channel but it was an irregular
thing. Sometimes it was a lot but other times weeks would go by without me
talking to the guys. We had a meeting every year and would talk about the
upcoming season and they would tell me what it would be like, where it was
going. I would throw some ideas at them. In the middle of season two
because that year I felt very strongly that we needed to take a new
direction with the show and I got about five sentences into my spiel and
they said: 'Stop because we're all the same page, we agree and this is
what we are thinking of'. And they pitched me the whole catastrophe and
they showed me where my character was going and what was going to happen
the next year. The good news was that we were pretty simpatico most of the
time. And they were also always open to my input which was mostly about
characters, sometimes about themes. Sometimes I suggested ideas for
episodes, some they took, some they didn't. We had a great rapport. One of
my conditions for taking the show was: 'Am I going to get along with these
guys? Is this going to be is what it is, don't call us and don't talk to
us. Or are they going to be open minded?' And it wasn't just for me.
Everyone in the cast made phone calls and talked to them. And to their
credit they were great. It was a good experience and remained so til the
DID YOU STUDY ANY KLING-ON OR VULCAN LANGUAGE FOR
THE SHOW? AND WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE EPISODE FROM THE FIRST SEASON?
didn't study either the Kling-on or Vulcan languages. They would give it
to us phonetically and we would memorize it and learn it that way when we
had to speak it. The person who had the most challenge was Linda Park
(plays Ensign Hoshi Sato), she was the one who was expected to be fluent
in all these languages and happily she has a wonderful gift for language
especially at her young age and was wonderfully gifted at going and
switching between the languages. There is an episode from this series
where she had to speak six or seven different languages including three
from this planet! But I didn't have to seriously learn those. Favourite
episode? Certainly from this first season, the pilot was probably my
favourite. It was two hours and you get to tell a story better in two
hours. I also loved the finale of season one was phenomenal. I got that
script and called them and said: 'You're never going to get me out of this
one guys. I don't know what you were thinking, we're in trouble'. Which
either means it's a great finale or we're screwed for next year. But they
figures it out. You know I liked Fight or Flight which was were we found
these dead bodies which was our first experience and that was a great. An
episode I wasn't in very much but was wonderful was Shuttlepod One.
There's some good ones. Desert Crossing as a blast to make. And certainly
meeting up with the Andorians, that was the beginning of a beautiful
WAS IT EASY TO SPEND TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY WHILE
YOU WERE SHOOTING STAR TREK BECAUSE YOU HAVE FOUR CHILDREN?
biggest challenge with my four children is that they go from such a range.
They go from five to twenty-one, so that's the hardest challenge with that
group. The great thing, the other reason I took this job, was that it was
in town. At the time my youngest was a year old and it provided me an
opportunity to be around for those early years for him. There are no good
years to miss of your kids growing up, it's not like: 'Well they're 11
now, I think I'll go to Canada to make a mini series for the next six
months'. It's hard for people in our business, with relationships, it's
hard for kids, it's hard for families because so much of our time is away
from home. But this show gave me an opportunity to stay in town and we
very rarely went on location. You know, if we needed a comet we didn't go
to a comet, we built it. If we needed a jungle, we built a jungle, so it
wasn't like every Friday night you were rolling in at 8am Saturday morning
which blows and finishes your weekend. When we first started I bumped in
Robert Patrick who was filming The X-Files. I sat next to him at
an Emmy thing and it was a Saturday night and it was his first season. I
said: 'How are you doing?' And he said: 'Oh, I just got in at nine this
morning'. And I was thinking: 'Oh boy'. At least if I got home late at 1am
or something, I was in bed before the sun came up and I was having a life.
So it was great to work here. I love this lot, it's fantastic, it has a
great energy to it. It's always been a great lot for me and I got to stay
HAVE YOU SHOT THE FINALE YET? AND IF SO HOW
EMOTIONAL WAS IT? WERE THERE TEARS?
Yes it was
very emotional. We've shot it, it's wrapped. There were lots of tears from
everyone. There were people who have been here for eighteen years, so
there were lots of goodbyes. We've only been here for four years but
people were saying goodbye.
DID YOU EVER CONSIDER DIRECTING AN EPISODE OF
I did. I
directed some episodes of Quantum Leap but again this goes more to
the family issue. When you are directing you need so much time. An episode
to prep, an episode to shoot and an episode to do post and you are in all
three of those episodes, so you are casting at lunch, you're cutting at
night and cutting at the weekends, you're prepping, it's like triple duty.
We had a lot of wonderful directors and there is so much outside technical
stuff with this show. A lot of the directors were familiar with that and
some of the episodes were not as character driven for me which I like to
direct. And there is no guarantee which script you are going to get.
You'll direct episode 13 and then the script comes in, you might be in it
or you might not. I might've directed next year if we'd gone another year,
just for fun but I had my hands full. And it takes seven days just to
shoot and it takes several weeks for post. For exampled we just finished
shooting the finale but it will not air in the US until May 13 and they
will finish post production on that about the week before. They have to
edit it and score it. It takes a lot
DO YOU THINK IN HINDSIGHT, IF THIS DVD HAD BEEN
RELEASED TWO YEARS AGO AFTER SEASON TWO, DO YOU THINK THE SHOW WOULD'VE
HAD A BETTER FUTURE?
know, that's a good question. Personally in the long run, it always seems
that when a show's on and they are releasing last season's episodes, they
should wait a little bit. If you an avid fan and have just watched the
whole year, I don't get going out to buy it but when I go out to buy the
first season of Six Feet Under or something, that's not familiar to
me. But I know we are hugely popular around the world, way more popular
than we are here in the United States, just because of the nature of our
exposure here has been very limited. And much more exposed and enjoyed and
loved in other countries around the world than we are here. And I think we
are hoping that in syndication, we are now in ninety per cent of the
country which is more than when we were on UPN and we have more markets
now, that more people will find the show and enjoy it.
Star Trek - Enterprise - Season 1 is released on DVD
on May the 2nd
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