Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention took place this weekend in Boston, and StarTrek.com is pleased to report back from the event with a recap of highlights.
Day one was an unusually packed and long day. First guest was former Voyager actor Tim Russ, who spoke of progress on his Renegades project. He has now been working on this for nearly six months and is in post-production, mostly involving CG special effects. Much of the show takes place in space (not so unusual these days), but in order to give the show a little more edge and to make it more competitive, they are doing a lot of things around the actors- aside from the various explosions and weapons blasts. It is not just a pilot; he wants it to be something more. He believes that if you do not have a number of new projects out there, you are in trouble, especially now with so many available outlets.
Asked about Star Trek, he told the audience that what he loved about Gene Roddenberry’s creation was that it was a moral space in which one could comment on society. It produced great stories and he would hope that any new Trek series would have strong, similar stories. Russ then told us he lost his wallet. He was about to cancel his credit cards and do all the things that one does when he got a call (through his father) that someone had found the wallet. He tried to reward the finder, but was told that the man was a fan of Tim Russ -- not from Star Trek, but from Spaceballs and asked for a signed photo from that. Russ believes that the two days he spent on that show was one of his most rewarding jobs ever.
Klingons Martok and Gowron of TNG fame were next and, thanks to attracting such a large crowd, they made demands for the next show: a full-sized Bird of Prey, from which they could descend onto the stage, or a pastrami sandwich… whichever. They also wanted a microphone for each and every member of the audience and a World Series star to escort them from the spaceship, all of which Creation co-founder and co-CEO Adam Malin agreed to at the presentation’s conclusion.
After the Klingons exited to cheers, Disruptor Beam gave a presentation on their new game: Star Trek Timelines, a story-driven role-playing game usable over many platforms, from phone to laptop. It differs from earlier games in that it does not focus on fighting and incorporates crew members from all the Trek shows.
Robert Beltran of Voyager followed and was peppered with questions about his relationships with, first, Janeway and, later, Seven of Nine. He wondered if one of the questioners thought Janeway and Seven shared a Mother/Daughter sort of relationship which might make him uncomfortable, and told the audience that he thought of it more as a Bette Davis/Joan Crawford Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? sort of thing.
A spirited auction followed, during which several Trek cast shots found new homes. Best of the lot: a vintage and original TOS complete cast image.
The Enterprise trio of Connor Trinneer, Dominic Keating and John Billingsley came next. The conversation started with a discussion of Connor’s accent in the series, which, all agreed, was from Florida, not Oklahoma. Billingsley reported that he loved his Dr. Phlox role, as it gave him a chance to play a character who was happy-go-lucky and generally nice rather than the roles he had been playing, mostly killers and child molesters (though he says he doesn’t even like children). Asked how they were cast for their roles, Billinglsey and Keating said they had auditioned for the network suits together and were told -- on the QT -- by the casting director that they had the roles. Afterwards, they skipped across the Paramount lot and called everyone they knew to tell them the good news. Trinneer, on the other hand, said he had to wait seven long days -- seven business days -- to get word. Not a comfortable thing for an actor.
The ensuring costume contest drew nearly sixty entries and was difficult to judge due to the high level of artistry displayed. Four winners were named, but several others were certainly award-grade.
Former Deep Space Nine actress Terry Farrell followed, drinking a huge cup of tea and explaining that she was quite sick. Sick or not, she soldiered through and fielded several tough questions, most notably dealing with the love life of a Trill; after all, Dax had experienced the emotion from both sides as she cycled through different bodies. Love, she told the audience, doesn’t really care what you look like on the outside.
Near the end of the day it was announced that Avery Brooks had cancelled his appearance scheduled for the next day due to unavoidable circumstances. Nana Visitor, contacted at the last minute, had agreed to take his place.
The second day of Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention in Boston opened with Anthony Montgomery, who started by telling the audience what he had been doing since Enterprise went off the air. He has gotten married, had a child, and gotten divorced. He explained that he had learned that marriage is a business, not a match where both sides “put up with stuff.” He also explained that in Hollywood terms a six-year marriage is like 60 years in the outside world. He then spoke of his graphic novel Miles Away and his “Read Initiative,” through which he uses his celebrity to excite kids to move out of unfortunate circumstances by exciting them about reading, which in turn allows them to discover new worlds and new ways to enter these worlds. He doesn’t pander to kids, but rather just tries to get them excited about reading – and if you’re excited about reading, you read more, which is the ultimate goal of the program.
Robert Picardo and Garrett Wang were next up and they were in a joking mood. They started with hair stories -- on a TV Guide shoot, for example, Picardo posed staring at Wang’s hair). They then spoke of having action figures, which, they pointed out, gave them the ability to play with themselves in public without being arrested. Wang said that when the first group of figures came out, Robert Beltran peered over his shoulder while he was looking at his and, referring to the toy, told him ‘You look Mexican, man!’ They moved on to favorite episodes and Picardo said he particularly enjoyed the one in which Torres played footsies with him and he was asked to massage Janeway’s “seat of power.”
He then told us an amusing story about his first encounter with Meg Ryan (who he later co-starred with in Innerspace). He was working on The Howling and they were preparing for his first big transformation and had rigged his clothing to rip away. On the way to the set, they ran across Meg Ryan, who, in Picardo’s words, was “26 and gorgeous.” He was introduced and, just as he moved to shake hands, the assistant director said: ‘Check this out!’ and yanked the control that whisked away his clothing, leaving him wearing nothing more than a tiny patch of hair. He says she’s been warm to him ever since. Both spoke of being given leftovers to wear. Wang’s first pair of shoes had a “Brent Spiner” tag inside. Picardo topped it by saying he’d once ended up in Robert Redford’s pants from The Great Waldo Pepper.
StarTrek.com guest blogger John Tenuto then gave a remarkable presentation on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He has obtained access to the Nicholas Meyer archives and illustrated his talk with previously unseen imagery from behind-the-scenes on that seminal and extremely important film.
The Ferengi Rom and Nog (Max Grodenchik and Aron Eisenberg) were next and entertained the crowd with a rap song and a Ferengi dance. Terry Farrell then made her second appearance of the weekend, but her cold had grown worse. She took questions from the audience and her voice held out long enough to finish, but it was clear that by tonight she would be pretty much silenced. The final guest of the weekend was Nana Visitor, Creation's last-minute replacement for Avery Brooks. She was warmly greeted by the fans and filled them in on how important the show was for her both professionally and personally. She is close to most of her co-stars -- she and Farrell took their children to see Pippin together -- and has nothing but good feelings about her time on the show.
It was a good ending to a busy, guest-filled weekend.