StarTrek.com continues our full week of interviews with Star Trek: Discovery’s cast and creatives as we zip toward Thursday’s season-two premiere. That premiere, “Brother,” will give fans their first look at Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike, who beams over from the U.S.S. Enterprise to the U.S.S. Discovery – accompanied, of course, by a certain legendary Vulcan. Mount, in October, sat down with a small contingent of journalists at a Manhattan hotel, post NYCC, to talk about his love of Trek, recount meeting Sean Kenney and Chris Hunter, and to provide a glimpse into what makes Pike tick…
Is there a pressure that comes with a role like this in Star Trek because of the legacy and because you're a fan?
MOUNT: If I was in my 20s I would say yes, but fortunately I've been doing this for long enough to know what is useful to me as a technician and what is not, and that is not useful to me, to think about pressure or expectations. You go through your 20s with big questions about everything and then, in your 30s, you start to establish who you are, what you want your life to be. Then you hit your 40s and you just really could give a f--k about what anybody has to say or thinks. It's the best.
This also has with it a kind of wow factor, right?
MOUNT: Oh yeah, especially for a kid who grew up watching... Star Trek was my... It's hard to overstate this. I grew up with the original in syndication Sunday nights at 6 o'clock on the UHF channel. I've seen every (TOS) episode multiple, multiple times. It was me and my friends’ make-believe game. We would play Star Trek. It was my introduction to imagination. So, to suddenly be asked to walk onto the bridge and sit in the captain’s chair, I mean, I'm starting to get emotional just talking about it. It's crazy. It's crazy. It's one of those things that happens and you go, “OK, all this sh-t, existence, it can't be random,” like what is going on. Either this is a really good dream, or... I don't know man. It's just impossible. How does that happen? I feel very fortunate.
And then to add Spock on top of that?
MOUNT: And Spock. (Jokingly...) Well, Ethan Peck, though, that's a letdown. He's very disappointing. Constant pain in the ass, just not professional. Terrible actor ... Ugly as sin. I mean, look at him.
That's not what Twitter said.
MOUNT: He's hideous. No, my nickname for him was Hot Spock, which Anthony (Rapp) picked up on. Anthony's a Broadway singer. Anthony started to put that to the jingle for the Hot Pockets commercials. But as soon as he did it, I was like, “Oh, my god, that is good.”
Do you get the Hot Pike? Have you had a Hot Pike hashtag yet?
MOUNT: Dude, no, no, no. I'm past being hot. I'm like... Now I'm like ... What are the words? What are the words that I'm getting now? Mature. I'm getting a lot of… Mature. When a young lady comes up to me at an event now, more likely are they to say, "My grandmother is such a huge fan of yours."
Discovery is building up to the TOS canon. Where does Pike fit into that? There seem to be lots of wrinkles that can be played with him because we know so little about the character…
MOUNT: Oh tons. When you think about how much we actually know of Pike or have seen of Pike, it's got to be the most-revered character that's had that little amount of screen time. People are really into Pike, and we have... one episode, one two-part episode really, and it's not even an original episode. It was taken from the original pilot. And we have a movie in the Kelvin timeline, that's not even about Pike. So, there's a lot to be explored, and yet you don't want to veer wildly off course. So, we get to learn a lot more about his leadership style, his relationship to Starfleet, his relationship to his crew, including that of the Enterprise, and his relationship with Spock, and, really, his relationship to the fundamental attitude of Starfleet, which is curiosity. He is driven to figure out these seven signals. When I say he will stop at nothing, I don't mean that in a Lorca sense. Within reason, he will stop at nothing to figure out what is going on.
What has it meant to you to meet Jeffrey Hunter's family? And, then, at Star Trek Las Vegas you also met Sean Kenney...
MOUNT: Chris Hunter was a lovely guy. He came all the way to Comic-Con just to tell me that he thinks his father would have approved of my being cast. It meant a lot. I don't think that's ever happened to me before. He's great, a really great guy. I hope I see him again. As is Sean. Sean's lovely, man. He is such a character. You will never meet another Sean Kenney. First of all, he's just the loveliest, nicest, man, such a part of this family. I could never have predicted Sean Kenney. He is so not what I thought he would be. I expected to meet this lumberjack kind of, guy, and he wears an ascot. He was so sweet. He gave me an autographed picture that I have on the mirror in my dressing room.
What do you think makes now the right time for this Trek resurgence, with Discovery and the upcoming other shows?
MOUNT: Is there ever a wrong time? It will always work. Let's be honest, this is here because CBS wanted a streaming platform, OK? And they happen to own the rights to Star Trek, and they needed a flagship and they've invested in it. There's never going to be a wrong time for this show. My favorite quote by Gene Roddenberry is, “There is some basic human need in that there is a tomorrow.” I love that, that there's something built into our survival DNA that is rooted right in where Star Trek is. We want to believe that we're going to overcome all this bulls--t, and that we're going to become our better angels. And I think that the fact that we have such a desire, this fan base is so huge, and the number of people that have that same wish, and want and believe, is part of what gives me hope that we actually can do that. We can overcome our present, more animalistic instincts and become what we imagine we can be.
Star Trek: Discovery's second season will premiere on Thursday, January 17, 2019 on CBS All Access in the U.S. and on Space Channel in Canada. The series premieres in 188 countries on Netflix on Friday, January 18, 2019.