Anthony Montgomery spent four seasons playing Travis Mayweather on Star Trek: Enterprise. He loved his time on the show, working with his co-stars, developing Mayweather – when given the opportunity – and building a strong, warm relationship with the Star Trek fan base. Enterprise ended in 2005 and Montgomery has spent the years since then concentrating first on his personal life and then on his career. These days, he’s married, a dad, and back on screen in the VH-1 series Single Ladies. Montgomery filled us in on all of that and more during a recent interview in which he answered questions provided almost entirely by you, the readers of StarTrek.com. Below is part one of the conversation, and check back tomorrow for part two.
How’s life for you these days?
Montgomery: It’s great. I live in L.A. and I’m splitting time between L.A. and Texas. I’m married and we’re approaching our four-year anniversary this August. We now have a one-year-old son and I already had a daughter (from a previous relationship). So my family life is absolutely wonderful. In terms of work, I now have a new show that I’m on called Single Ladies. It is VH-1’s first scripted programming. Queen Latifah is executive producing the show and it’s written by Stacy Littlejohn, who is also our executive producer and show runner. VH-1 picked it up for 10 episodes. I was initially hired for four episodes, but then they loved my work, so that expanded, and I ended up doing six out of the 10 episodes. So I’ve got a major recurring on Single Ladies. I don’t know where it’ll go from here, but they did leave it open-ended for my character to come back.
What interests you about Darryl as a character?
Montgomery: I like that Darryl is a nice guy. I often play the nice guy on a lot of the shows I’ve been on, but when Darryl is scorned, he also shows a darker side. He shows a vindictive side that most nice guys don’t really show. So that’s a lot of fun for me. A lot of the women on set or who know the storyline called me “Angry Darryl.” And it’s fun doing “Angry Darryl” because I don’t play the bad boy most of the time. I’m ready to come back if they do a second season and they want me, but the show is not necessarily about Darryl. It’s more like Sex and the City or Desperate Housewives, where it’s actually about the women, but then you have really cool men who are featured. So I am one of the men of Single Ladies. Wherever they want to go, I’m on board because I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed working with the cast and Charity Shea, whose husband I play. She’s a very talented actress and a really sweet girl. I had a blast on the entire project, so if they want me to come back, I’m definitely open to it. And I think, for my fans, for my specific Star Trek fans, it shows them a different side of me, something they never got to see on Enterprise.
Where does Enterprise fit into your life at this point?
Montgomery: It’s been interesting. Just in general for everybody in the business, the industry has not been very kind for the last three or four years. There was a writers’ strike years ago and then an actors’ strike, and it took a while for the industry to right itself. So, instead of jumping more into production at that time, I focused on my personal life, because having work go well and not having anyone to share it with, that’s a very lonely experience. So I didn’t focus as much on going right to the next project as I did making sure that I had my personal life in order. Now I’ve got my wife and my family set, and I’m ready for the next wave. Enterprise will always be a part of my heart because we became a part of some many other people’s hearts and lives over the years. But, for me, when it ended, speaking as an actor, it was literally on to the next job. As an actor, you can’t just rest on your laurels of the wonderful things you did in the past, because you get stuck there. In Hollywood, you’re only as important as the last thing you did. So, being on Enterprise was great, but to a lot of people that was ancient history. We went off the air in 2005, so from 2005 to 2011, that’s a long distance as far as Hollywood goes.
So, for me, being on Single Ladies is great fun and great timing. I’ve also done a graphic novel. I created an animated series years ago. My agent and I went out and pitched it. I got a little resistance; it’s just not easy to break into the animation world. So I’ve had it turned into a graphic novel. I changed the title, because I didn’t want it to be too similar to anything else. It’s going to be called Miles Away. It’ll be a 96-page, full-color graphic novel, created by me and written by me with a very talented writer named Brandon Easton. I have some really talented artists who are doing the renderings. And I’m course to have the first 24 pages done by the end of June. Then my agent and I will be taking those pages out to see about a publishing deal.
How ready were you for more seasons of Enterprise or was it, in its own way, the right time for the show to call it a day?
Montgomery: I personally thought that we had finally found our sea legs, or our space legs, if you will. I thought by season four we’d actually hit a very nice stride. So I thought we would be around for three more seasons and do several movies, and everything. I really felt that after the Xindi arc, after we’d saved the world, that people were really enjoying the two- and three-episode story arcs that the fourth season was composed of.
What did we not get to learn about Mayweather that you wanted to know about him?
Montgomery: Oh, we barely scratched the surface of Travis. I wanted to actually see and meet some of his alien girlfriends. We talked about them, but we never got to see any of them. The one girlfriend that we saw over the 98 episodes was human. I was like, “Wait! I wanted an alien girlfriend.” Also, I wanted to meet his sister. We had the episode (“Horizon”) where his father passed away, but I remember that we’d talked about Travis having other relatives, having a sister, and her having a husband. I was looking forward to actually learning more about his family. And because we’d done it so quickly in “In a Mirror, Darkly,” I was looking forward to playing Evil Travis again. That would have been a blast, because I think Empress Sato (Linda Park) and Evil Travis were about to run the mirror universe.
Is acting in a sci-fi setting any different from acting in a more realistic setting?
Montgomery: No. Acting is acting. You have to bring truth to the character. You have to find the honesty of the part and the reality of what it is. It just so happens that some reality has you fighting alien monsters and some reality has you fighting the legal department down at the city county building, but acting is just about finding the truth. So, no, to me, there is no difference. If you get into a situation where you say, “It’s a sci-fi show, so I’m not going to ‘act,’” then you take away from what the craft is and get into more, to me, slapstick, and your performance turns a lot campier.
A number of fans asked, in a variety of ways, how you felt about being under-utilized. One fan even joked that you ended up with fewer lines than a red shirt. Be honest, how frustrating was that?
Montgomery: Well, it was hard. As an actor, of course, you want to work. So, for me, I knew what it was that I signed on for initially. The show was about the captain, the engineer and the Vulcan, and not necessarily in that order. I knew that was what I was signing on for and, for me, the bottom line is it was an honor to be a part of Star Trek, to be a part of the global lexicon, to be a part of history the way that I am. So I will not, and I was determined not to let it happen while I was on the show, let Star Trek define me as a person, to not let it define my career. It was a very wonderful note and portion of my acting career at that time, and now I’m ready to move to the next phase, whatever that next phase is.
Check back tomorrow for the second half of our fan Q&A with Anthony Montgomery.