EXCLUSIVE: The Man of Many Characters, Rick Worthy
Rick Worthy will be one of the guests taking the stage next week at Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention, and it’s easy to see why the show’s organizers saw fit to invite him. After all, Worthy played six different characters across Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise and Insurrection. The versatile actor portrayed 3947 and 122 in Voyager’s “Prototype,” Kornan in the DS9 hour “Soldiers of the Empire,” an Elloran officer in Insurrection, Noah Lessing in the Voyager two-parter “Equinox” and the recurring role of the Xindi-Arboreal Jannar on Enterprise. Worthy recently chatted with StarTrek.com for an exclusive interview in which he shared memories of his Trek adventures and updated us on his current projects.
What are you working on these days?
Worthy: I just finished filming the season-five opener for The Vampire Diaries... lots of eye-opening moments in this one. As much as I'd like to tell you, I'm sworn to secrecy!
How much of you will we see this season on The Vampire Diaries, especially considering recent events concerning Bonnie?
Worthy: All I can legally say is: "Stay tuned"...
You'll be headed to Las Vegas next week for Creation Entertainment’s big Star Trek convention. How excited are you to meet and greet, take questions from and sign autographs for the Trek faithful?
Worthy: I love Star Trek. I always have. Growing up in the '70s in Detroit, I watched a lot of great television... and one of my faves was Star Trek, The Original Series. Uhura, Kirk, Spock, Bones, Sulu, Scotty, and Chekov were my heroes. And I love to meet and talk with people. People are wonderful. People fascinate me. I love hearing people's stories. I met a wonderful married couple at Star Trek Vegas in 2010. They met at a Star Trek con about 15 years ago. I loved meeting them.
How did you land your first Trek role(s), as 3947 and 122 in the Voyager episode “Prototype.”?
Worthy: I auditioned at Paramount Studios, where all the Trek films and series are produced. Jonathan Frakes directed the episode. He liked what I was doing in the audition and he hired me. I love Jonathan and love LeVar Burton, who later hired me to be in an episode of DS9 called "Soldiers of The Empire" LeVar made me a better actor. They’re two brilliant and wonderful guys. I am blessed to have had them as the first group of directors I worked with when I first came to L.A.
You played Kornan in the DS9 hour, "Soldiers of the Empire." What stands out most about that episode -- which had you in full Klingon regalia?
Worthy: I loved that episode. I love the Klingons. They're warriors with a code. They live for battle, honor, the taste of victory. I remember thinking, "This is so f---ing cool! I'm playing a Klingon, one of my favorite characters, on Star Trek DS9, one of my fave series, in an episode that's all about Klingons!" We all had to learn the Klingon battle anthem, and to this day I can still sing it. I have some friends in Prague who arranged a tour of the National Theatre of Prague and the woman who gave us the tour allowed me to get up on stage and sing the Klingon battle anthem. It was awesome! To an audience of 5, but still awesome!
How did your role as the Elloran officer in Insurrection happen? Did your agent submit you? Did Jonathan Frakes or the casting people ask for you?
Worthy: I auditioned for a much larger role, but they gave it to a more established actor. But Jonathan wanted me in the movie, so he offered the Elloran Officer role. I only worked for a week, but it was Jonathan, and it was a huge Star Trek film, so I said yes.
What did you make of your exotic look in the film?
Worthy: He had a long lizard-like and he was keenly intelligent..., a very cool character. I just wish they had written more for me to do.
You played Noah Lessing in the Voyager "Equinox" two-parter. Great character: stubbornly loyal to his captain, yet ethically challenged, given what he did to other species in the effort to get home. What intrigued you most about Lessing and his predicament?
Worthy: Thank you. I enjoyed playing Noah. He has a great name, first of all; it ties directly to the biblical Noah and the story of the Arc, the quest for home, safety, family. But our Noah is on the same quest, led by his Captain, but at the expense of eliminating a race of innocent and sentient beings. I really liked Noah and I wanted to make sure I portrayed his inner ethical conflict. Also that was my first time meeting Kate Mulgrew, and I developed a bit of a crush on her.
At some point someone in the Trek production or casting office must've said, "Rick, we really like your work and we're going to find roles for you when we can." Did that conversation happen? Were you eventually offered roles rather than asked to audition?
Worthy: I had to audition for every Star Trek role I've done.
Finally, there's Enterprise. Can we assume when you came on board to play Jannar that they told you he'd be a recurring character?
Worthy: Enterprise was a blessing for a couple reasons: I really needed to work, and they offered me 10 episodes. I knew it was going to be a recurring role.
How grueling was the makeup process?
Worthy: The makeup process was long, maybe 2-3 hours usually early in the morning, but I really enjoyed it. I love Michael Westmore and his entire team. Very cool folks.
What did you find unique about the character, his species?
Worthy: I loved that the Xindi all looked different. My character, Jannar, looked a lot like Chewbacca and I thought that was fun.
How sad were you to see the Xindi arc end with "Zero Hour"?
Worthy: I thought it ended well. The Xindi were a great nemesis for Star Trek: Enterprise, and the idea of WMD seemed timely.
All in all, how much did you enjoy your time in the Star Trek universe?
Worthy: I totally loved it. I hope it's not over! Star Trek can never really be over. The people need it to live long and prosper.