James Frain loves challenge of playing Sarek on Star Trek: Discovery. Each day on the set, he’s learning something fresh and exciting about the iconic Vulcan character, he told StarTrek.com and Star Trek Magazine during a conversation at Comic-Con, following the Discovery panel there last week. “I really feel like every episode, I'm discovering anew,” said the British star of Hilary and Jackie, Tron Legacy, The Tudors, Orphan Black and Gotham. “It's really interesting. I don’t think I've had quite this experience before. Usually, you have some sense of the whole journey of the character and who the character is, but I'm literally exploring it as we go along and finding the different colors. Also, it's really demanding to have your emotional life so completely in check. So, sometimes I feel like, ‘Am I doing too much?’ I feel like I'm doing an opera or something. They're like, ‘No. You're fine. You're not moving an inch.’ I'm like, ‘OK. Good. That should do it.’
“But it seems really interesting, the whole Vulcan ideal, where they basically come to the conclusion that emotion, all emotion, is a problem,” Frain continued. “And that is just so alien to us. Ultimately, is it really achievable? And who is this guy who is like a U.N. Ambassador who marries a human being? I mean, how did that happen? Who is this guy? That's what I feel like I'm doing every day when I come to work.”
Mark Lenard, of course, original the role of Spock’s father on Star Trek: The Original Series, and he went on to reprise the role in several TOS features and on Star Trek: The Next Generation. So, did Frain go back and check out Lenard’s work before stepping before the camera for Discovery?
“I watched enough to know what the texture of it was, but not so much that was I was intimidated, which is very easy to do,” Frain replied. “I love to see Mark, and it's really interesting and fascinating, and I hope I do justice by him.”
Visit StarTrek.com tomorrow for our conversation with Shazad Latif. And keep an eye out for the next issue of Star Trek Magazine, which will feature additional in-depth coverage of Discovery.
Star Trek: Discovery will debut September 24 on CBS All Access in the U.S. and Space Channel in Canada. The series will premiere on Netflix in the rest of the world on September 25.