There are few people more disarming, candid or amusing than Dominic Keating. The British actor, who played Lt. Malcolm Reed on Star Trek: Enterprise, tends to tell it like it is, speaking his mind and cracking jokes along the way. He’s always done that, actually, and he remained true to form when StarTrek.com caught up with him by phone the other day to talk Trek and catch up on what he’s doing these days – did you know he was just on Sons of Anarchy and auditioned for both Star Trek (2009) and The Hobbit? Below is part one of our exclusive interview with Keating, and be on the lookout tomorrow for part two.
Let’s start with Enterprise. How satisfying an experience was it? Did you feel you had enough to do as Reed?
Keating: I was very satisfied. And I was very happy with the workload I was given and the story arcs I had and the general fleshing-out of Malcolm. I got just of the heavy work days to make me feel like I was earning a crust. But I’d often have five-day weekends, and you can’t beat that with a stick, mate. I’d often break on Wednesday afternoon and not go back until Tuesday morning, and the checks would still come. I know that Connor (Trinneer) and Jolene (Blalock) and Scott (Bakula), particularly, of course, they had heavy work schedules. They did regular 16-hour days five days a week, every week, and that can get pretty grinding. But it all depends on the quality of things you’re saying, and they all had some great stories and some great episodes to do. Also, for me, thankfully I was mature enough and sage enough and wise enough -- even when I had the boring days with two lines on the bridge that would take 12, 13, 14 hours to shoot – to know, “Don’t be getting too grumpy here, kid. They’re paying you a lot of money to sit around and wait here reading books and eating fine craft service and making phone calls.”
So I was very happy. All in all, I got just enough to do, quite frankly. There were some stints in there somewhere where it was like, “Come on, give me something to do other than this slightly perfunctory stuff.” But all in all, I got thrown a nice couple of bones every year and I got some great B-stories. And I inadvertently and unwittingly became the action man on the show, I guess, running in to save Trip’s and the captain’s screw-ups. That was a lot of fun, other than in the EV suit. God bless that suit. But believe me; I would have happily done seven years without even blinking, mate. There’s a certain regret that we didn’t get the chance, but I don’t dwell on it. It’s a shame because we were good and there was a great chemistry there with our cast and it was a lot of fun.
What was your opinion of the controversial series finale?
Keating: I loved it. I’ve said this at the conventions many times, but I had no issue with it. It was such a treat to work with Marina (Sirtis), who’d become a chum over the years on the convention circuit. They were shooting Nemesis next door to us during our first season. And I loved Jonathan (Frakes). I had that one scene with him in the kitchen galley when he was playing the cook, the chef, and that was one of the funniest days I ever had filming the whole show. He is a crack-up, a funny, funny man. We laughed. There’s nothing like two actors when they’re just having a giggle in between takes. He’s as sharp as a tack, that lad.
So you’re not among the majority who believe that the finale was a Next Generation episode that gave short shrift to Enterprise?
Keating: No, no, no. I don’t really think so. I don’t think it did that. Here’s the thing; I thought that device they used in order to include them was a bit clunky. The reason was a bit spurious, them wanting to go back into the archives to check… What was it? I can’t even remember. But once you’ve gotten past that, it was fine. And fair dues to (executive producers) Brannon (Braga) and Rick (Berman), they were winding up 17 years of their take on the series. It wasn't just our four years. They’d done a lot more stuff prior to us. So I thought it was fair enough. I didn’t have any sort of issues with it at all. I enjoyed working with Marina and Jonathan, and there’s some idea of a heritage there, of start to finish.
Who from Enterprise are you still friendly with now?
Keating: I see Connor. I see John Billingsley. We see Scott every year at his Christmas party, which is always lovely. I haven’t seen either of the girls, really, since we broke. Maybe at a couple of conventions right after the fact, but it’s been a long time now. But I still see the lads a lot, and we keep in touch, and I see them at conventions as well. Anthony (Montgomery) has gone away. He’s gone to Atlanta. He’s making a show there and he got married and he had a kid. Connor and I don’t see each other as much socially as we used to. He’s got a child and they moved to the Valley. They used to live right around the corner from me. Things change. But we do see each other at the cons, which is nice, and Connor and I often go as a double act, talking to the fans and doing some comedy. We always have a lovely weekend together. We went out to Spain together last year, at the end of the year, for a con. It’s always good fun.
How close did you come to landing a role in Star Trek (2009)?
Keating: (Laughs). I don’t think they knew who I was, to be honest. I went back twice. It was to play Kirk’s abusive father, which became a voiceover in the movie. They cut him out of it in the end, but there were a couple of scenes back at the ranch when he was knocking the kid around and Jim decides to haul ass and get out of dodge. And there was a great scene when he’s riding away from the father in the dirt. I don’t think they knew my work. I have a feeling they might have done their due diligence once there was some interest there and realized that I was on a Star Trek show. And it went away pretty quickly.
Check back tomorrow for part two of our interview with Dominic Keating. And for more information about Keating, visit his official site at www.dominickeating.com.