April 2nd, 2000
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The announcer said he was a Kirk fan but admitted that after spending time with Kate, and seeing her on stage in Melbourne, that she was THE CAPTAIN and we were in for a treat. On questioning the audience it came out that there were people from every state present. One man had driven all the way from Darwin. When asked how long it took him he laughed and said "about a week".
After being introduced Kate came through a door that was halfway up the room and not far from us. She arrived to thunderous applause. First impression: she's small, extremely fair, her hair appeared to be strawberry blonde, although in my photos it seems much darker, and she could easily pass for a 35 year old. She is even more attractive in life than on screen and the minute she hit the stage she was in total control. Nearly every thing she said evoked a laugh. Serious answers often ended with a humorous tag and her impressions were hilarious. She is very dramatic. It's often not what Kate said that was funny but rather the tone of the delivery and the body language. Her voice, although still wonderfully gravelly, is a lot more melodic in life.
Kate began by saying she was sorry to start out on a serious note but "Has anybody seen my children?" She said it was heartbreaking being on the other end of the phone for a change. The typical exchange was "Hi mom, we won't be home for dinner but try to have fun". She then thanked everyone for coming. She also thanked the people who had been showing them around and entertaining her children. She said they had seen more of her kids than she had.
Kate reaffirmed her dedication to Janeway and expressed how happy she was to have the role. She stated that she loved all the cast, bar one, as she didn't know Jeri very well. She commented on Genevieve Bujold’s departure occurring after "2 days and eighteen takes" during which she apparently said "Ongarge" repeatedly. Then, not only did Genevieve say "Ongarge", but she also said "Au revoir". Kate’s agent then rang. It seems they (producers, network, etc.) would like to see her again since now they were really desperate. She joked that this didn’t seem to be much of a compliment to her. When Kate shot her first scene Rick Kolbe’s (the director of "Caretaker", Voyager’s pilot) advice to her was "Treat it like a dinner party, you are in charge. And whatever you do don't say Ongarge". So she walked onto the bridge, tousled Tom’s hair, sat in the captain’s chair and just for the hell of it said "Engage".
The audition was harrowing. She had the flu and a temp of 102. But Kate said, "I didn't care. I was having my first truly Zen moment, the only Zen moment I've ever had. I think I was high on my own phlegm". Kate said she looked at all the suits in the room and there was no pity or compassion in them. She put her script aside but was told they would rather she read from it. Her reply was that she would do it her way "and if you are intimidated by my talent I'll do it your way". As she did her three monologues she saw a light dawn in one of the suits’ eyes, "and that light was saying, I may have a job tomorrow".
Kate did a great impression of her housekeeper making her check her answering machine. With much arm waving and an accent "Senora, Senora you musta check your messages, you musta check them now" and her sons saying "Yea mom, you have to", so she did and after finding out she had the job they dropped to their knees, thanked the lord and then got out the champagne.
Kate said her future plan is to live in Cleveland and have a place in New York so she can do some plays. She'd like to be able to cook for her husband. She wants to leave Hollywood "while I still have my money. Before I'm tempted to spend it on plastic surgery.” “It's painful"”, she said, "Hollywood is so unkind to women over the age of 12". She then made a comment later that this, waving her hand to include her body from head to toe, was just a hanger for a person’s personality and spirit and was not very important. Kate said she will write her memoirs and asked, "Would you buy it?" The audience responded with a resounding "Yes". This seemed to make her happy as she nodded and said "Good" with a big smile. She said she has had a very interesting life. "There will be pictures", she said. Then she turned slightly and patted her backside in reference to the Tim Russ butt shots that people had been asking to see.
The holo-lover came up as well. Kate didn't like the idea. "He's short," she said as she mimed bending down to kiss him while saying "Hello little man". She noted "It's not very interesting kissing the air" and made the motion. She wants a real man but not Chakotay. Kate then threw out the following lines indicating the relationship would not work. "Red alert! Commander to my ready room". "Yellow alert! Commander to my ready room", "No alert! The rest of you leave. Commander you stay". Kate then told us to write to Paramount and said, "I'll even tell you what to write":
"Janeway needs a man"
This was met with a round of applause and a lot of laughter.
Kate then related that she had been for a ride on the Skyway in the mountains. The driver stopped it midway as a joke. Kate told him this wasn't funny and to get it going. We were then told of her adventure when she visited Costa Rica a few years ago with her sons. She and her sons went for a balloon ride and couldn't land because of crosswinds. The pilot told her to prepare to throw the kids out when they got low enough. "What about me?" she asked. The pilot responded, "You stay, I need your weight". This was said with a laugh and a question "What is it with men?” So they did it. After hitting a few trees they were down in one piece. But we could see why hanging from a cable in the Blue Mountains was not her idea of a good time.
Kate then opened it up to questions. A young girl about 10 years old and a teenage boy both thought they had been selected. Kate called the girl up and looked surprised when she put an arm around her and got a hug in return. She just smiled and hugged her back. It was nice to see. Next the teenager got his shot. He had come fully prepared with a very long, written question. Kate stood there with a bemused look on her face and then stepped back and put her hands on her hips. When he had finished she still waited then said, "I'm just wondering if there is a PS on that". I can't remember what the question was but she did try to answer it for him. On the question of her voice she stated that she spoke from the diaphragm and that this was her normal voice and she felt Katherine Hepburn’s voice may be an affectation. Kate then did Hepburn saying, "Do you think anybody really talks like this". It was hilarious and spot on. We also got an impersonation of Garrett Wang (Harry Kim) forgetting his lines as payback for his Janeway impressions.
After someone asked about him, we were treated to a re-enactment of Tim Russ's antics. The story has been told many times before. Kate noted that her close ups were always done last and commented, "that's not a nice thing to do to a woman my age". She played the scene with Tim with emotion, nearly in tears, the first two times. But by the third take, after continual spitballs in the face with Tim being the perpetrator, Kate said, "I'm no longer crying and I’m saying my lines with barely suppressed rage.” She does a great mime of someone copping a spitball in the face. We had a wonderful impression of Kate’s first sighting of Tim’s butt shots. She related, "It was dark, I went to my trailer and fumbled for my keys, opened the door and then I saw it, hell." She said it was no good hitting Tim below the belt because he would just remove his clothing. Kate said we might have noticed that she doesn't always look so great as Janeway. That’s because she doesn't care. She just wants to act and the less time spent in hair and makeup the better.
When asked about a Voyager movie she said she didn't know what might happen. Then she commented that one of the captains would have to die for that to happen. "And I think it should be the oldest one, don't you?" she said laughingly. Kate also said she is tired of the Borg storylines, doesn't think they are scary anymore and wants a new alien threat. She thinks they will get home before the end of season 7 but she's not asking for directions. She would love to settle things with “Q” and meet her godchild but she thought the producers felt they may have come too close to the line with the Janeway/Q relationship. Kate did say she had to go back to work the next week. She would be in Borg costume and said, "I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing". Kate was disconcerted by the return of Kes. The dynamics on the set had changed and it wasn't the same as before. She is still upset that Jennifer was made to leave for rating’s purposes and found it hard to deal with the loss of one of the family.
When told that it was time to go Kate laughingly asked, "This is Australia, what else have we got to do?" This was met with much applause and laughter from the crowd. At the autograph table the young girl Kate had had on the stage gave her a gift. Kate offered a cheek for a kiss but she was shy and declined. It was funny watching Kate try to convince her it wouldn't hurt. As all but the last two rows got autographs, and our personalization tickets (this entitled you to have your name and a brief message written with your autograph) were numbered over 200, we were amazed at how neat her writing was when it was our turn. I asked if she had trained for this and she said "No, but I should have".
After waiting 4 months and flying 4,000 km I could honestly say I wasn't disappointed. The lasting impression was that Kate and Janeway are so similar it's scary. The only difference is that Kate laughs a lot and is very relaxed. She was everything we had been led to expect but her wicked sense of humour was a wonderful surprise.