Written by Steve Krutzler
TrekWeb asked actor Jordan Lund to take part in an interview with questions submitted by our visitors about his role as the Tellarite 'Skalaar' in ENTERPRISE's upcoming "Bounty" recently and we're happy to bring you his responses. This episode, airing May 14th on UPN, marks the first time that the classic series species has had significant screen time since the TOS episode "Journey to Babel."
One of the most popular questions asked is whether there your role is going to become recurring, similar to Jeffrey Combs' role as the Andorian 'Shran'? Do you think that we will see other Tellarites in the future?
JL: Believe me, I hope the producers want to bring back Skalaar, who was one of the more fully written characters that I’ve ever done on TV, and a whole lot of fun to do. Of course, I’m just a hired gun, and don’t get consulted when it’s time to decide. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if other Tellarites find their way onto the ENTERPRISE.
Jan S. asks: Was there any big difference between the working atmospheres on the different STAR TREK shows? Which was your favorite?
JL: When I worked on TNG in ’91 and DS9 in ’93, I only worked for one day each episode. There were many other actors on the set both of those times. I did my scenes and went home (the TNG character I played: Klingon officer Kulge took about 20 hours of work that day), and that was that. In “Bounty” I played a much larger role, and got to come back a few more days to work with the whole crew. I felt like I had a lot more responsibility on this one, they were relying on me. The atmosphere on the set was more relaxed this time around, and though the days were very long, we all seemed to have a good time doing the work.
Drainer asks: What new characteristics will the Tellarites have on ENT that they didn't have in TOS?
JL: I think you’ll recognize in my character, Skalaar, and the character of my brother, Gaavrin (played by the wonderful actor, Ed O’Ross), many of the same characteristics of the Tellarites of old. I think we tried to give these beings as detailed an emotional life as we could, and make them fully realized, maybe a little more complex this time around.
Tribblechomper Dan asks: Given that all TREK series (TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY) and ENT have had slow starts in their freshman/sophomore years, finding their "voice" in the third of fourth year, so to speak, do you advise the fence-straddlers to hang in there?
JL: Even being on the set for the short time that I was, it was clear how much pride everyone took in the work they were trying to do. Everyone wants to make the best show for the fans that they can. Like any fairly new show, the writers and producers learn about the characters and the stories those characters tell as they see the actors bringing them to life. There’s always a chance of something very exciting happening by accident during the making of the show. There’s a lot of talent in this show…so stick around, it’ll be worth it.
Classic asks: Just curious about what kind of make up you'll be wearing. The TOS Tellarite get-up had to be one of the silliest looking creations not only on STAR TREK but in all of Sci-Fi.
JL: When I first met with Michael Westmore to do a cast of my face and teeth, I saw the pictures of the first Tellarites. We talked about how they had to look up to see out of the mask they were wearing, and that there was something about that posture that should remain in the new incarnation. As you know, Michael Westmore does not simply put a mask on an actor. The pieces of the makeup (or appliances as they are referred to) are designed to reshape the structure of my human face, and yet stay as flexible and expressive as possible. He was inspired by the original, but made the new version truly life-like, based on the facial features and skin texture of certain earth-bound animals. Nothing silly about this one.
Steve asks: Will we get to hear any Tellarite language in the episode or is it completely universally-translated to English as usual?
JL: I didn’t speak anything other than English, but you never know what they’ll do in post-production.
Chris asks: Mr. Lund, what was it like working with Scott Bakula? Were there any memorable incidents on set?
JL: I had a great time working with Scott. He’s a hard working pro and he always wants to get it right. Whenever there was an issue of whether something was truthful and faithful to the spirit of the show, Scott’s opinion could be counted on to keep us in line. He’s also an actor who’s had a tremendous amount of experience on a set, so he knows how to get the work done very efficiently. On top of that, he treats everyone on the crew with respect and warmth, and they genuinely like him as well. No, there weren’t any particularly memorable incidents, it all seemed to go pretty smoothly. On a side note, we actually met about eight years ago at the wedding of a mutual friend, and sat at the same table.
Allison Hinnegan asks: Are you a STAR TREK fan and if so, how big? Have you read any TREK books?
JL: When I was a kid, I watched TOS when it was first on the air. Then when I was in college I watched the reruns. I use to know about many of the episodes and characters. No, I’ve never read the books.
Kieran asks: Was the makeup for your character laborious to put on? Was it comfortable?
JL: Comfortable would not be the word I’d use to describe the wearing of alien makeup. It took about three and a half hours to complete the process. There was an amazing makeup artist, Brad Look, who did the actual application from Michael Westmore’s design. First he glued on the front face piece (or appliance), then he put on the mouth/lip appliance, then he painted it to blend with my own skin. This process was repeated for my hands. Then I went over to the hair department and the talented hair supervisor, Michael Moore put on my wig. Then back over to makeup to have wizard, Bob Romero apply my beard. Then after I was all glued and painted, they put in my contact lenses (which were very eerie and cool) and I popped in my teeth. The best thing to do is to try to ignore all the layers and rubber and glue, so you can just get on with the acting and the fun. It’s also important to try not to complain, which will just make you more uncomfortable, and annoy everyone else. An interesting note of trivia, Bob Romero’s father was a makeup apprentice under Michael Westmore’s grandfather back in 1926.
Tantalus asks: Did you know anything about the Tellarites before you took this role? And, if you knew, have you been concerned about the (pardon) ugly appearance of this race?
JL: I didn’t know much more than what I read online at [this page]. As an actor who’s played some pretty ugly characters, I can tell you that it’s never a concern of mine. Sometimes it seems the uglier the better. It’s like playing bad guys, they’re always more fun than the good guys.
TheeBlueWolf asks: Is the bounty hunter going to have some cool gadgets and toys? Kind of like bounty hunters in the STAR WARS universe...
JL: Everything I got to play with on this show was cool. That’s part of what makes acting in sci-fi fun; it’s like being a kid and getting to play. When I was a kid I played pirates and cowboys and spacemen, and now I get to keep doing it…but they pay me for it!
Gustavo asks: In the original series, the Tellarites were very a animalistic race and very aggressive towards the Vulcans. Will this be acknowledged or otherwise played out in the ENTERPRISE episode?
JL: I didn’t have any interaction with Vulcans. Let’s hope sometime in the future there will be.
Slappy asks: Is your speaking role very big?
JL: Huge! With the exception of playing a regular role on a series (MERCY POINT, UPN 1998), it was as big a role as I’ve ever played on TV.
Bucky asks, with a sense of wry humor: Ok. You're playing a pig. Where do you go from here?
JL: Maybe I’ll get to play a goat sometime..I’ve never worn horns before. Actually it’s all downhill from here, in Rob Reiner’s next movie: “Alex and Emma”, coming out in June, I play a French butler. But I do work for Sophie Marceau, so that’s some consolation.
Reza asks: Are there any other TREK characters you'd like to play? How would you like to play Tobin Dax, the Dax Symbiont's host during the ENT's time period?
JL: To tell you the truth, I’d love to play any character that comes along that is a challenge, so there’s no limitation. As far as playing Tobin Dax: it sounds like an intellectual challenge to play someone who can add to Fermat’s last theorem. However, if I’m not mistaken, hosts are accepted in their mid-twenties, so that makes me too old.
Guyute03 asks: Do the Tellarites have the same uniforms? Are they updated or completely different?
JL: The Tellarites in the episode “Journey to Babel”, were diplomats and had an official presence. I played a bounty hunter, and as we all know, bounty hunters are an independent breed. No uniforms for them. But the costume that Bob Blackman designed and the wardrobe crew built in two days was really cool and was very comfortable.
Tshirt asks: Does "Bounty" reveal anything about Tellarite ships or Tellarite society as a whole? Are you all bounty hunters in this time period?
JL: There is some discussion of ships in “Bounty”, but not a lot of Tellarite society discussion. You’ll get to see a lot of my ship, where quite a lot of the story takes place, and I thought they did a great job building it. This story is about these individuals and not about a representative of the whole race. My brother in the episode works as a plasma injector cleaner.
Chris (a different one!) asks: Did the extensive makeup influence your performance at all? I read that in "Journey to Babel" the original actor was forced to look upward due to the way the mask had been constructed, thereby creating an aura of superiority. Does the new design have any electronics built into it like the new Andorian's antenna?
JL: There wasn’t anything electronic on my face, but the construction of the eyelids on this version covered the upper portion of my eyes, so it was necessary to tilt my head back a bit, so in that way it was inspired by the original. And if Tellarites have an aura of superiority, it’s because they are superior. ;)
When you wear heavy prosthetic makeup for an alien character, you have to fight through the latex and the teeth and make sure you express your feelings and thoughts very fully.
If you let the stuff on your face make you feel constrained, then you will constrain yourself.
ENTERPRISE and other Sci-Fi shows tend to hire actors with classical theatre training and plenty of experience on stage, to play aliens.
I played an alien character as a regular on a UPN show called “Mercy Point”, that was on for seven episodes in ’98. I was a snobby, brilliant surgeon who hated working with humans. I had a tail and no legs, plus I had a prehensile tentacle coming out of the back of my head, and had hands with eleven fingers and was strapped into a motorized chair covering up my legs with my huge tail, and then I had fake teeth and contact lenses that restricted my vision by about 50%. It sometimes took over four hours to get me into the makeup. The thing is, when you get to play a great character with clever dialogue to say, you’re lucky…so I opt for having some fun. I don’t waste anyone’s time bitching about my face itching.
Cranston asks: Does the new Tellarite makeup preserve the "sunken-eye" appearance of the original?
JL: Yes, but not the same way they did it in “67. We got a similar look from using contact lenses that are very spooky.
Don't forget to submit your question for our Q&A with ENTERPRISE writer and story editor Andre Bormanis!
This Q&A is © 2003 TrekWeb.com. All rights reserved.