No one can forget Manu Intiraymi. Really, with a name like that, he’s pretty unforgettable. But he was also mighty impressive on Voyager, transforming Icheb – the former Borg/Brunali youth – into a memorable recurring role. Intiraymi is 32 years old now, still acting, and branching out into writing and producing as well. StarTrek.com recently caught up with Intiraymi for a conversation in which he looked back at his days on the U.S.S. Voyager and filled us in on his post-Star Trek life.
Intiraymi: I probably saw the first TOS film with my parents (on video) and I saw the other ones as they came out when I was in my teens. I moved out to L.A. in 1996, so I’d probably seen everything up to Generations and First Contact before I did my Voyager audition. I’d seen a few Voyager episodes. I hadn’t seen any of Deep Space Nine. I actually hadn’t seen a lot of Next Generation. I wasn’t a huge fan, but it was a huge enough show that it was hard not to have seen it a couple of times. But I’d say I was probably an original-cast fan more than anything when I got the audition for Voyager. Before I did my audition, I was aware of Jeri Ryan, because they’d pitched the whole “super-hottie on the new Star Trek show” thing and that had reached my world. And I had a friend named Damien who was a big, big Voyager fan, so I’d caught a few episodes when I was at his house. The episode that stuck out in my mind when I actually went in to audition was the one with the invisible aliens on the ship, and they were all doing experiments on the crew. Finally, Seven did something to where she could suddenly see them. I remember watching that at Damien’s house and thinking, “Wow, this show is really cool.” That episode had kind of a Twilight Zone feel to it and it was very well written.
What do you recall of the audition itself? In what ways did they guide you? And did they tell you it was for a role that could/would recur?
Intiraymi: No, they didn’t tell me it would be a recurring role. I guess they must have known, right? But I went in for “Collective,” and I actually auditioned for First, the bad guy that got killed at the end of that episode. They brought me back, all the way to the producers, to Rick (Berman) and Brannon (Braga) and the director, who was Allison Liddi. I got the role and then, when my character didn’t die off, I got a call about a month later saying, “Hey, would you like to do another episode?” Then I got another call a couple of weeks after that and another call after that. That was season six, and when I was still getting called about episodes when season seven started, I figured, “Hey, I think I’m going to be on this show for a while.”
You ended up appearing in 11 episodes and Icheb actually had a pretty full story arc. How pleased were you by the character’s evolution?
Intiraymi: Ultra-pleased. No one’s going to say they wouldn’t want more, but I can’t be anything but humble for that whole experience. It was awesome. The first couple of episodes, I was a little bummed that Icheb was as whiny as he was and I was really hoping that they’d develop it into somebody who wasn’t just a cranky kid, and they immediately did so. It wasn’t like I said anything. It wasn’t my place, you know? But I was happy, man. Icheb was fun.
Which episode stands out most for you?
Intiraymi: Most of us who act or paint or write or make music think of ourselves as artists, and we all want to make a piece of art that affects people in a big way, that touches people in some way, shape or form, that makes them feel something. I’ve been in this business about 15 years and I’ve probably done 30 or 40 projects now, and not many of them can I say, “Wow, I know that that affected a lot of people.” I had that with one particular episode, “Imperfection,” where I gave my cortical node to Seven. It wasn’t that I felt it making the episode or that I even saw it watching the episode, but going around to the cons over the years a lot of people have told me that that episode affected them in an emotional way, that their brother or sister or mom was going through a kidney operation or a transplant of some kind, and something in “Imperfection” touched them. Any time someone tells me that, even now, it rocks me to the core because it’s why I do what I do. So, “Imperfection” is the episode I’m most proud of. I know it did what I want to do with my life.
Most of your scenes on Voyager were with Jeri Ryan. How was your working relationship with her?
Intiraymi: She was awesome. I was a young man and I was full of angst because she was such a hot chick, but I couldn’t flirt with her, of course, first of all because she’s 10 years older – though I don’t care about that – but also because she was dating Brannon (Braga). Luckily I figured that one out real quick and didn’t get fired for flirting with Jeri. I always make that joke, but really she was fun and has a great personality and kind of a contagious laugh. She’s a cool woman. So it was fun. Plus, she forced you to bring your best. That whole group was like that. There wasn’t a lot of ego, either. They were a bunch of consummate professionals and getting to work with them – Bob (Picardo), Kate (Mulgrew), Jeri – was like a dream.
You’ve continued to work since you wrapped Voyager. What do you have going on now?
Intiraymi: I’ve got a WWII film coming out later this year that I’m excited about. It’s called Fortress, and it’s about a plane called Lucky Lass, which flew 17 missions in WWII, from Africa over Italy, and it’s about the crew and the life of Irish-Americans flying those planes in WWII. I play the lead role of Charlie O’Hare, the medic and operator. So it’s a lot of bullets and blood and CGI. I did a romantic comedy recently that’s called Driving by Braille, which is with Ryan Eggold and Tammin Sursok and Steven Bauer, and that might make a splash. It’s a cute comedy for teens. And I did a short called Expired, which is just crazy, and no one’s seen me do anything like it before. It’ll be on the film festival circuit, so hopefully people will get a chance to see that.
And I’ve also made a movie called Zah – A Pizza Movie, that I wrote and produced. We spent about $12,000 on it, and it’s a first movie, but I’m really, really proud of it. It was like my film school and hopefully it’ll lay the foundation for me to do more writing and producing and also directing. That’s the ultimate goal, to do it all. And if someone really wants to see Zah, they can go to email@example.com, send $20 and their address, and we’ll ship ‘em a copy. I’ve got about 300 copies left.