Actor, musician, director and film producer, Star Trek: Voyager‘s man of many talents Tim Russ talks to Sci-Fi Pulse…
SCIFI PULSE: How did you become involved with Star Trek: Gods and Men?
TIM RUSS: I was just sitting around one day and the phone rang. It was [Of Gods and Men producer] Sky Conway, who told he had a project he wanted to do and asked if I would be interested in playing a role in it. I said I would if I could direct it as well. Since there was no one attached and I had already directed Roddenberry On Patrol for him successfully, he thought that would be a good idea.
SCIFI PULSE: In the series, which you have directed, you got to reprise your Star Trek: Voyager role of Tuvok. What’s changed for the character in the years between Of Gods and Men and Voyager?
TIM RUSS: In Gods and Men, Tuvok is a civilian, and he very close friends with Uhura. He’s residing on the planet Vulcan, and the timeline is parallel.
SCIFI PULSE: You released a music CD a number of years back and one thing I noticed from the cast list of Gods & Men is that you have a few people who have also recorded music. What would the chances be of you, Chase Masterson and Nichelle Nichols recording something together, and if that could happen would you like to do so?
TIM RUSS: It’s possible that Chase and I would work together on something if either of us came up with a concept, but I don’t see all three of us working on anything musically.
SCIFI PULSE: As the director of Gods and Men you have a great responsibility in bringing the story alive. How much story input did you have on the project and did the experience differ in anyway from the few times where you directed episodes of Star Trek: Voyager?
TIM RUSS: I worked on the story with the writers, Jack Trevino and Ethan Calk, Sky Conway . We all pitched in with ideas even down to the hours before shooting each day on the set. We made changes constantly to clean up plot and timeline as well as editing material we didn’t need to shoot – which at times included input from the 1st A.D., Mark Linn. On the series, any changes, even down to one word of dialogue, would have to go through the executive producers first.
SCIFI PULSE: Given that Star Trek has had a somewhat bumpy ride of late with the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise back in 2005. Do you feel that the franchise may have lost some of its relevance in today’s more cynical society, or do you think it just needed a short break?
TIM RUSS: I think it needed a fresh start and a different perspective. With a new producer on the feature, it should have a completely different look and feel. I think any future series concept should have an edgier look and feel.
SCIFI PULSE: What if anything character wise would you have liked to have addressed with Tuvok when you did Star Trek: Voyager? If you’d been able to write your own episode, what character aspects of Tuvok would you have liked to have spent more time with?
TIM RUSS: It might have been interesting to have seen Tuvok in a situation where his logic was not as useful to him as he would like. So he would have to rely on other instincts or behaviour or choices that perhaps might be more human.
SCIFI PULSE: As you know J.J. Abrams is producing and directing a new Star Trek feature, which is being billed as a combination of reboot and prequel to the original series. What are your thoughts about this and what advice would you give to the actors who have the daunting challenge of taking on some of Star Trek‘s most iconic characters?
TIM RUSS: If I were them, I’d use Kirk and Spock’s characters as we know them as a template, and build their younger versions from there. I’m sure they will bring their own takes on the characters as they work them. I don’t like prequels, because you know what the ending is already. There can be no surprises as to the lives of the main characters only background information. It’s like reading the last page of a book first.
Written By Ian M. Cullen