We sat down separately with Jeri Ryan and Kate Mulgrew, both more striking in person, both petite and luminous in black, to talk about the movie as well as some changes in their personal and professional lives.
[Jeri Ryan segment omitted]
Q What do you like most about Janeway?
A I love her spirit. I love her guts. She's really got that mettle that I so admire. She's actually a little noble, but she's deeply flawed. And she understands the absurdity of life, and she has that curiously scientific mind, which is the great challenge to me.
Q Are your sons Voyager fans?
A [Shakes her head ] Alexander will occasionally watch it with me. He's my youngest. They love my work. My oldest son has a deep and abiding resentment. They want me out. They're begging me to get out. It's the celebrity quotient at a time in their lives when they need to be nurtured. They're 14 and 15, so they were 10 and 11 when it started. The phone never stops and the demands are constant. I'm presenting them as spoiled brats, they're not. They'd come in here and be very gracious and charming. But it's too tough. It's heartbreakingly tough. Maybe this is what they should have thought of when they put a woman in this position. I found this very revealing about myself. I thought I was terrifically ambitious, needed this desperately, wanted it, took it, tried really hard to deliver and believe that I have. But is there anything on earth that is more important [than family]?
Q I understand you're getting married.
A Yes, to Tim Hagan, the outgoing commissioner of Cleveland county. He has two little girls, 9 and 11. And this too has changed my life. We met five- and-a-half years ago in Ireland. He was there at the embassy visiting the ambassador, who is my mother's best friend...she told us to get together.
Q How did your sons react to your impending remarriage?
A Timing is everything with kids. When I speak this way about how Voyager has impacted them, I'm exaggerating. If they came in here you would not sense what I am telling you. I have learned this over the years. This engagement is new. They didn't know where in my 80-hour work week I managed to fall in love and get engaged. But I loved what my oldest son said after my fiancee pled for my heart and my hand in a 25-minute, most eloquent speech you could ever hope to hear as a woman. My oldest son is sitting back looking like Al Pacino in The Godfather listening to Tim. And at the end [of Tim's speech]he says, "Tim, mother, I can appreciate the irrational nature of your love, but don't you feel this proposal is a bit precipitous?" And he turned to Tim and said, "Are you fully aware of my mother's shortcomings?" And I just thought, "This is amazing." That's my oldest boy.
Q If Tim lives in Cleveland and you live here in Los Angeles..
A I've made up my mind. When we fell in love five-and- a-half years ago, it was very deep and very romantic. But it couldn't be, because we allowed all these impediments to get in the way, Star Trek, his daughters, my sons. Cut to five-and- a-half years later and we meet again. Five-and-a-half years can make a big difference. We are simply going to make it work; nothing is more important. In two or three years my boys are out the door; children grow up and move on.
Q What about Janeway's love life? Will she and Chakotay [Robert Beltran ] ever get together?
A We missed that dance, and I called it. I didn't call it ultimately, of course, I'm not the boss, I'm just the actor, but I certainly had some input and I didn't feel it was a good idea. I felt that it would be far, far more interesting and far more genuine if they had a deep and intimate and wonderful relationship and didn't go to bed, because I think bed rocks the boat. A captain loses her nobility; Janeway would not do this.
Q How scary are Star Trek fans?
A The collective is not [a problem] but I would say the obsessive or obsessed individual is always frightening because he has lost reason. [But] in the last five years, there has been just one person [who has been a problem]. I have been in obscure places and there she is. It gives you that feeling at the back of your neck.
Q Do you foresee the end of Voyager?
A I think by the end of the season, certainly by the middle of next, it will be well determined what the future has in store. As long as there's a market for it [it will continue ].
Q If it did end, do you think they'd do another series after this one?
A I would hope they would just end it with this, and I say that very selfishly. It's my ego speaking.
Q How long are you contracted to play Captain Janeway?
A I'm signed for next season, then I'm free.
Q Sounds like you're anxious to leave.
A I'm taking it one day at a time. I don't want to talk precipitously, because you get yourself in trouble. I have loved this. It has been the most intriguing chapter of my adult life, because I had no idea what this would mean. I walked into this thinking ‘Oh, thank god I got this job,' because I needed it so badly and it changed my entire way of life. I never knew that such a thing could exist, because I was always so proud of my autonomy, my independence. [But] it's an undeviated commitment. And if you put that on yourself every day you have to know that after a period of time, it's hard.