Kate Mulgrew has always been a tell-it-like-it-is lady, and so it’s no surprise that her new memoir – Born with Teeth, out now from Little Brown – pulls no punches, either. You can hear Mulgrew’s voice, that cadence, in every sentence, sharing anecdotes from her life in vivid, deeply personal detail, all of it Irish to the core. She delves into her childhood, her romances, a brutal rape and the life of an actress. She recounts blowing her first Star Trek: Voyager audition and later inhabiting Captain Janeway, as well as the tremendous guilt she felt over being away from her sons while traversing the Delta Quadrant. Mulgrew also spends many a page describing her efforts to locate and reunite with the daughter she’d given up for adoption in her youth. In recent days, Mulgrew has been making the rounds to promote Born with Teeth, and StarTrek.com caught up with her by telephone on Friday to talk about the book, Voyager, Orange Is the New Black and more. Below is part two of our conversation, and make sure to check out Part One if you missed it.
MULGREW: Almost inexpressibly rewarding. To find a character like Red Reznikov at this stage of the game is like somebody tripping over me with a bag full of jewels. It’s just wonderful. I adore her. I adore this cast. I think Jenji Kohan is a genius, unparalleled in my experience. It’s just a wonderfully liberating atmosphere and full of surprises and full of danger and a sense of the unknown. This show, combined with its model-maker, Netflix, is like riding a crazy horse into the Wild West. It’s a new day and we’re in the vanguard of a new model, and it’s quite exciting.
Give us a quick sense of what kind of trouble Red will be causing and/or dealing with this season?
MULGREW: In season three I don’t think Red is up to too much trouble. Season three is lighter in tone than season two, but there is a story in it involving two other actresses, not myself, and they are so unexpectedly and explicitly matched, the audience will find itself alternately weeping and laughing. It’s just a brilliant idea that Jenji came up with. It soars. And we just got a pickup for a fourth season, so that’s great.
MULGREW: I find that hard to believe because Janeway is always with me. She’s what people remember. She has been a great part of my life. It doesn’t feel like it was 20 years ago. It doesn’t at all. So I don’t know how to answer that, except to say it must be a tribute to the experience itself.
The entire Voyager cast, with the exception of Jennifer Lien, will gather together for Creation's big convention in August. How excited are you for that reunion?
MULGREW: Oh, I didn’t know that everybody is going to be there. That will be fun. That will be great. I’ve seen most of them individually at different times, but I haven’t seen them all together in years… in years and years.
Do you ever still hear Janeway's voice in your head or think, What would Janeway do? Or even just wonder what she's doing now? Or was she a role you played, it’s over and life goes on?
MULGREW: The latter. Janeway was a magnificent role. It was a life-changing and certainly career-changing role that I played, and I played her with every particle of my being. So now, she is resting. She is blissfully resting, but I am always in gratitude to her. And she may be resurrected. You never know.
MULGREW: Yes, but only if I can do it with William Shatner and Patrick Stewart. The captains have to get together. And it’s so sad about Leonard Nimoy, isn’t it?
Both as Kate Mulgrew and as Kathryn Janeway you’ve been a role model to many, many young women. We’re guessing that hearing about that never gets old, right?
MULGREW: Of course not. I get that a lot. I got that last night in Chicago. I got that in New York, at the launch of the book. I think much of that is connected to Janeway, and I’m grateful to Janeway for that and I’m very grateful to Rick Berman for that, for the opportunity to play her. And I’m most grateful of all to Genevieve Bujold, who had the wherewithal and the grace to step down and not leave the whole thing hanging.
MULGREW: I’ll be promoting the book. I’ll be promoting the new season of Orange Is the New Black. And then we go back to work on the show, actually. We start season four in June. I have a full load for the next few months, and it’s been busy – blissfully busy – for the past three or four years, which has been great. All good. And I’m hoping to get back to the stage soon, too. I’ll be doing a workshop in May with Jenny Schwartz. I did a play with her a couple of years ago called Somewhere Fun. So, Reed Birney and I are working with her to that end. We want to develop a play about the dissolution of a long marriage. He’s one of my closest friends, a brilliant actor. So I’ll be doing that for two weeks in May, right before we go back to work on Orange Is the New Black.
Check Part One of our interview with Kate Mulgrew. And visit Amazon.com to purchase Born with Teeth.