East Rutherford, New Jersey
January 4, 2002
Many Thanks to 'My Two Regular Transcribers'
MC: I cannot be more excited to introduce our keynote speaker, Captain Janeway herself: Kate Mulgrew.
KATE MULGREW: Thank you very much. Happy New Year!
First it was freezing, and now it’s hot. I’ll take this off. Thank you for coming. What a wonderful group of people you are. This is going to be a good year, isn’t it? It’s going to be better than last year, isn’t it?
How many of you are from Manhattan, or New York? Would you stand up? Can I see that? The greatest city in the world! And I know this – in the city of my soul – New York City. I have spent eighteen years getting back here. This city makes me profoundly happy. There’s no accounting for that. A lot of people feel the same way about L.A. But this city has courage. History. Chops. Passion. Power. Fear. Life. Martinis. Dancing. Kissing. New York is the best city in the world. And I am delighted to be here. However I have just returned from Los Angeles, where I finished my short stint in the new Star Trek film “Nemesis” starring the inimitable Patrick Stewart, and I must tell you the truth: I didn’t feel very well that day. It was a ghastly flu this year. Wasn’t it? Did anybody get it? It was appalling in Los Angeles. It makes no sense. In New York it makes sense. In Iowa, and in Cleveland darling, it makes a lot of sense to be sick. But it doesn’t make any sense to be sick in Los Angeles. It’s eighty-five degrees, right? The children are running around naked. Everybody’s blonde. Everybody’s buff. Everybody’s great. And I was sick as a bleeping dog, right? So I have a five o’clock call, I got there – and this is a true story – and this is why he is so marvelous – came in four hours early to do his off camera with me, which he did beautifully and most graciously. Mr. Berman also came in. I found that rather curious. As if I’d not seen him in the eight years of my tenure, examining me. So “Nemesis” was great. Finished that. I think that will be fun. And now we turn the corner into a new year. I say good-bye to “Voyager”, which of course is a very poignant thing for me, but evidently as I look out, and the more I interact with you people, I see that it will not, in essence, ever die. Right? But the daily, the daily rigour of it and the daily joy of it, must by necessity, of course, end. And I have tremendously mixed feelings about that, which I will have to drown, I’m sure, in a small vat of champagne tonight with Robbie McNeill and John Ethan Phillips. They’re very good at doing that, by the way. I am about to go into rehearsal, with some trepidation on Tuesday. I’m doing a play, which has been written for me, by a wonderfully talented guy, whose name is Matthew Lombardo based on the life of Katharine Hepburn. (applause) Thank you. It’s called “Tea at Five”, and it’s a one-woman show and will open at the Hartford Stage on I think the thirteenth of February. Thank you. And play through the seventeenth of March with any luck. However it’s daunting to me. I haven’t been on stage in eight years. And they say it’s like riding a bicycle. They say that about something else, don’t they? I’m excited. But I’m not so silly as to think that it’s going to be a breeze. I’ve done a lot of research on Miss Hepburn. Very complex person – this is not a vanity piece. And so I think it’s going to be quite a bold undertaking. My husband – this will be my - three years – we’ll mark our third year in April, some of you may know, is running for office – he’s running for governor of Ohio. There he is in the corner. This is the last time he will attend any of these with me, because he’s going to be a very busy man, aren’t you darling? Yah. He promised me a nice and easy life, do you know that? “I’m just a no class guy from Ohio,” he said. “We’re going to settle down on my farm here. You can cook me a nice meal, rub my shoulders, have a glass of wine. We’re going to live a quiet, ordered, simple life. But in the meantime I think I’ll run for governor and you do the life of Katharine Hepburn”, and life goes on. It’s an exciting life. It’s a wonderful marriage. He’s an extraordinary man. And I’m learning something that I would have to suggest puts the entertainment industry to shame. Politics. Right? They know how to play. We’re playing with the big boys. It’s a very different world for me. I hope that I have not embarrassed you, sweetheart. I’m very very proud of you and I think this is going to be a remarkable race and that you will be the next governor of Ohio.
And I have a profound sense of renewal and happiness this year, which I have to be honest about, I didn’t have last year. This may be in the wake of this great tragedy, the devastation of the World Trade Center. Possibly it has stirred up in me something that needed to be stirred up, which is that deeply buried and terribly important vulnerability which I think we now can share together. And this will reveal itself in empathy and for the first time probably, in the history of this very young nation we now must look at the rest of the world as our friends – equal in every way – and our helpers. So I think it’s a time to sort of renew a spirituality and a vulnerability with one another because we have been awakened to something far greater than ourselves, haven’t we?
Now this time always goes very quickly in my experience, so I’d like to hear some questions, if you have any questions, or is this just sort of the paparazzi section over here?
Photographers are just mad, aren’t they? It’s so fierce, isn’t it? Right? Fierce! Get the photo… (unintelligible…)
Now I’d like to answer some questions – I don’t know if there’s another microphone. The room is very large, you’ll have to shout it out or come up here and you can have my mike when you ask the question - how about that?! Want to do that? Why don’t you come forward – those who would like to ask questions. Here’s another mike. So this gentleman is right here with the mike. Boy, that’s an interesting thing – there are no questions! Well come forward. Come forward.
Q: Hi Kate.
KATE MULGREW: Hi!
Q: You said your husband is running for governor of Ohio.
KATE MULGREW: I did say that! As you know that very well since you dined with us one evening, right?
Q: Yes. How can we help?
KATE MULGREW: How can you help!? This is like Mr. Rogers gone political, right? How can you help!? Well. You’ll have to move to Ohio for starters. Vote for my husband. I would say visit the website which is www dot… what is it honey?
Tim Hagan: TimHaganforgovernor…
KATE MULGREW: TimHaganforgovernor dot com. See.
Q: I figured there might be some other answers that maybe they could help.
KATE MULGREW: There are a lot of fundraisers. You can also visit my website which is TotallyKate and find out what you totally don’t want to find out. Thank you. You have already been so generous and kind. Very nice to meet you though too. This is a great love affair. Can I say that out loud? Great love affair going on here in the front row.
Q: Good afternoon again. We met in November.
KATE MULGREW: We did.
Q: I made you a promise and I’m here to fulfill it.
KATE MULGREW: Oh my God! (much laughter). Honey?!! Yes?
Q: You told me your preference was for dark chocolate.
KATE MULGREW: He’s scaring me, but he’s delighting me at the same time. Yes. Yes.
Q: I’m serious, this is no small thing I’m doing.
KATE MULGREW: Let me help you.
Q: I went to the Hershey factory for this.
KATE MULGREW: You went to the Hershey factory.
Q: It commemorates your upcoming play, which I really want to go see because I think you’re heart breaking.
KATE MULGREW: Oh… unbelievable. It is a large and delicious bar of chocolate inscribed with these words: Kate does Kate. Bravo. Thank you so much. How thoughtful of you. And Tim Hagan does bar of chocolate! (much laughter and applause) Thank you. Thank you very much.
Q: Just in case that wasn’t dark enough – we’re talking darkness here…
KATE MULGREW: A real chocolate aficionado here… he knows there are shades of darkness…
Q: Is that…
KATE MULGREW: Excellent. Oh… dark, dark, dark chocolate. Oh thank you! Thank you so much.
Q: …. I will be there opening night…
KATE MULGREW: All right. But don’t tell me! No really. It’s an awful thing - opening night.
Q: I have something more for you then.
KATE MULGREW: Don’t do it in the middle of act one! Thank you so much. How great of you!
Be nice to me today, sweetheart. How sweet. Aren’t people generous? Don’t you love the generosity of people? Especially when it’s coming right at you. Yes? Yes darling?
Q: I think Captain Janeway was a wonderful combination of grit and compassion. Was that hard for you to portray?
KATE MULGREW: This is life! On one hand you get the chocolates, on the other you get the flack. Captain Janeway was a combination of grit and compassion, was that hard for me? How sweet you are. No, not particularly. I believe that those are attributes I could possess. Thank you very much. Is there something else? No! She’s wearing my costume.
Q: You once said you were planning on writing an autobiography about your time on Voyager and I was wondering if you’re still planning on doing that?
KATE MULGREW: I was planning on writing that. Those are… are dicey things. You know. Because I… first of all I love to write and I’ve done it all my life, I was thinking that this morning, in the shower. Well we don’t need to go any further than that! But I was thinking about it, and how I wanted to do it all my life – my husband and I were talking about it yesterday. I really have written all my life. But I can’t write a little - a vanity piece. I can’t write a narrative that would be soft. It would be the truth of my journey. Oh grit! Oh compassion! So if and when I do decide to do it, I think it will embrace that entire decade, probably going into this one. And I will write the truth, right? What? What? … People are getting sick in this section. My life has been very interesting, so yes, one day I will write it. Thank you. I will send it to you.
Q: Hi. I just wanted to tell you that you will always be …. Katharine Hepburn. I think you are so much like her. I started watching Ryan’s Hope on Soap Net – and the first time I saw it I went ‘Oh my God, that’s Captain Janeway!’ And a lot of your mannerisms are all in there… and I think that the fact that Mary Ryan is so much --- in a way that is strong like you are…
KATE MULGREW: Captain Janeway is Mary Ryan grown up. Am I correct? That makes sense, doesn’t it? Not as well dressed, perhaps!
Q: And in the “Bride of Chaotica” the briefing room scene…
KATE MULGREW: The briefing room scene…
Q: What was that about because everyone in the background was trying not to laugh really hard.
KATE MULGREW: I did eight million briefing room scenes. Which one?
Q: “Bride of Chaotica”.
KATE MULGREW: Which one darling?
Q: “Bride of Chaotica”.
KATE MULGREW: Oh, “Bride of Chaotica”. Briefing room scene. Briefing room scene…
Q: Where Tom convinces Janeway to go…
KATE MULGREW: Oh where he convinces me… and what was the blooper?
Q: Everyone there was trying not to crack up…
KATE MULGREW: The fans today are having a bit of a love hate relationship with me, aren’t they?! Everybody was cracking up?
Q: I think that everyone else in the background was trying to crack up as you were talking…
KATE MULGREW: They were cracking up. That’s Roxanne’s fault. Don’t let her fool you, okay? They gave her the pregnant pad, she didn’t stop laughing for three years. And she is infectious. She starts, and then what she does – have you ever noticed her? In the briefing room or on the bridge, if somebody is trying to be rather clever or cute or something, she starts to laugh. You noticed? And then have you noticed how she disappeared behind somebody else? And all you see is that belly? But what I see are tears streaming down her cheeks, the belly going like this, and one by one they fall like dominoes. Guess who the camera is on?!
Q: Was it difficult for you when you first…
KATE MULGREW: I’ve seen you before, haven’t I?
Q: Not that I know of! (much laughter)
KATE MULGREW: Alright… continue… continue!
Q: I’ve never been to a convention…
KATE MULGREW: It must have been somebody else. Go on…
Q: What I was about to say was, was it difficult for you when you went from doing different acting to a standard series that was science fiction? Is science fiction acting differently?
KATE MULGREW: Very. Good question.
Q: My other question was…
KATE MULGREW: Ah! (laughter) You know when there are twenty, you know, that's it. What’s your other question?
Q: Do you feel that in the long run it was a good career decision to do a science fiction series, so that you won’t be type-casted. I mean aren’t you afraid that you’ll only be able to get roles that are similar to what you’ve done?
KATE MULGREW: Did my husband send you up? (laughter)
Q: I’m just an acting student so…
KATE MULGREW: You’re an acting student. Atta boy. How old are you?
Q: I’m twenty.
KATE MULGREW: Where are you training.
Q: In Erie, Pennsylvania. A little school.
KATE MULGREW: You need to be in this city. This is where you’ll really train. What’s your name, honey?
Q: My name’s Eric.
KATE MULGREW: Eric. You need to come here. And you need to do it soon. But to answer your question about science fiction which I had forgotten because I was so absolutely riveted to you. I found it the most difficult episodic television work that I have ever done and I’ve done about six series, and I found science fiction to be – this genre – Star Trek is not like other science fiction. Not at all. Highly stylized. Very disciplined work. Very very tough. But like everything else in life when you really start to embrace it, it’s sort of like looking at this monster – it’s you or me. And it’s not going to be me. So I had to just control that, you know. And I’m glad I did. I think it’s been a great discipline in my life. I wish you the best of luck.
Q: Thank you.
KATE MULGREW: Get into this city, all right. You have a very nice presence. It’s a good life – acting. A good life. Yes sir?
Q: Hello Miss Mulgrew.
KATE MULGREW: Hello, how are you?
Q: My name is Lorenzo.
KATE MULGREW: Lorenzo. How are you?
Q: I have to relate a story to you.
KATE MULGREW: Oh dear.
Q: And I’m going to embarrass you.
KATE MULGREW: Now he’s going to embarrass me. Okay. What is it?
Q: A couple of years ago I was hospitalized for about a month. And I was in very serious surgery…
KATE MULGREW: May I ask you why.
Q: They at the time they didn’t know what was wrong with me… I was in the hospital down with something, which was really weird. But after surgery, the nurses tell me they were having trouble bringing me out of the anesthesia. They could not wake me. Since I'd been there a month, the nurse kind of knew me. One nurse said “it’s Wednesday, turn on the television”. True story. And what I remember was hearing your voice, seeing your face …
KATE MULGREW: Get out of that bed now!! (much laughter)
Q: I opened my eyes and there you were on the screen. And the nurses are all laughing. She said “we couldn’t wake you. We knew you were a Star Trek fan, we turned it on – you were right up.”
KATE MULGREW: Amazing…
Q: … your face was the first thing I saw.
KATE MULGREW: Awwww….
Q: I didn’t know where I was then.
KATE MULGREW: Which nightmare you were part of…
Q: I thought I was on the set of Voyager.
KATE MULGREW: Is everything alright? Did they find out in the end? What is it?
Q: Yes. It took a while, but yes.
KATE MULGREW: What? What?
Q: I had… oh I…
KATE MULGREW: Amnesia!
Q: It was… uh…
KATE MULGREW: I feel like Jerry Springer! Well anyway folks!
Q: It was something in my lungs.
KATE MULGREW: Something bad. It was corrected.
Q: I will say this. Because of that ailment, I got a part in a miniseries.
KATE MULGREW: You got a part in a miniseries?
KATE MULGREW: Because of that ailment?
Q: I had a drip tube and I was in the corridor when they were filming.
KATE MULGREW: You are one of the most extraordinary people I’ve met. That’s unbelievable. Thank you very much! That’s a wonderful story.
Q: You’re the reason that I came out of the coma.
KATE MULGREW: Thank you. Fascinating. Fascinating man.
Q: I was wondering, as many of the cast members of the original series and many of the cast members of Next Generation have done, are you going to be willing to take your character, take Captain Janeway eight years down the road and still make the motion pictures developing your character even further than it was in the TV series.
KATE MULGREW: You know it’s purely speculative at this point for me to hazard an answer. I don’t see it in Voyager’s future. I think the market has been there for Next Gen and I said to Patrick Stewart at six o’clock in the morning ‘you caught the wave, baby’! You know. And I understand that. I think I would be surprised if there were such a market for it. For Voyager. But if I personally were asked to go on with Captain Picard, for whatever reason, I suppose I would feel compelled to do so! Particularly as it as been established that one captain has to sort of save the other dying captain! And don’t you feel very strongly the dying captain should be the older, balder captain?! Thank you, thank you very much.
There you are. Let’s give this guy a hand. He’s been patiently waiting.
Q: Hi Kate.
KATE MULGREW: How are you?
KATE MULGREW: Good!
Q: Are you going to be doing the Katharine Hepburn play… (unintelligible)
KATE MULGREW: You know we talked about that. That’s a good question. We talked about after finishing in Hartford. But you see their intention is to bring it into the city. Into New York. And of course my husband’s intention is to move himself to Columbus. So somewhere in the middle is where some decisions are… but yes, we have talked about it. For a couple of weeks, yes. Yes… it would be great. Thank you.
Q: And what was it like doing “Roots: The Gift”?
KATE MULGREW: That was so long ago. They were all in it, weren’t they? LaVar. Tim ‘the dead man’ Russ. And me on a horse – that’s the biggest laugh. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Q: … enjoyed it?
KATE MULGREW: I did. I very much enjoyed it. Avery Brooks! Right?! I had the bounty on that man, didn’t I? Really… that horse stuff. Yes? Yes ma’am?
Q: Good afternoon.
KATE MULGREW: Good afternoon.
Q: First … I worked as a trauma nurse …I’d like to share a story… I was talking to John, if that’s okay with everybody (most of the beginning of this question was unintelligible).
KATE MULGREW: Why don’t you come up here and tell the story? So people can see you. Come on up. What’s your name?
KATE MULGREW: Hi Kat. I like that name. Stand back a little bit so you can tell the story.
Q: I worked trauma seven years ago as a nurse. I worked on the floor and they brought up a gentleman to me to care for. The gentleman was a hobo meaning that he simply road the railways. He missed one night, and instead of making the train, he ended up going under. The train removed three extremities and left him with four fingers on his left hand. My introduction to him was I had to do his dressing changes. You might imagine this is a very painful procedure. Unfortunately medicine only has so much to do with pain. We can only give somebody so much morphine before it causes respiratory depression and death. He was at the tolerance but still, he experienced a lot of pain. I could only talk to him so much and I could only do so much as a nurse.
KATE MULGREW: Right.
Q: He was a hobo, so he had no experience with watching TV. He watched your show. I did not. I glanced at it, but I worked at mostly during the evenings, so I had no real exposure to the show. And on those nights that I remember – it was Monday at eight o’clock I always had him. Monday, eight o’clock. He said “Please turn on the TV. Let me have what you can, and let’s get to it.” And he told me something. He started watching you and he goes “Look at that lady. She wouldn’t cry. She’d tough this out. She could do this.” And that hobo never , how is that possible, but I made a kind of questionable ethic promise to him before he left. He saw a commercial on the TV while we were doing dressing changes “Miss Kate Mulgrew is coming to our town to visit”. He asked and pleaded with me, would I go check her out.
KATE MULGREW: Okay, Lorenzo!
Q: I agreed, which of course is anybody’s method that reaches out and so I went and I was impressed. I managed somehow to get close to you which I understand from fans was an amazing thing – you were just a nice lady at that point!
KATE MULGREW: Boy, you know you are in New York now.
Q: So I got to meet you. I had two errands. First, you checked out very well on his behalf. And second was to bring you a message from the trauma nurses to say hello… I gave you the message… you stopped me, which of course bothered people … said something about I should be canonized and I told you ‘damn straight!’ I’m not Catholic – I’m not (…) shot out of a canon…So I returned to him and he asked me “What’s she like?” and I said “She may be an actress, but what you saw on that screen is pretty much what you’re going to get.” And he said “That’s it, I knew it.” He didn’t return as a hobo. He got training. And the gentleman who one night one way or another ended up under a train, ended up getting trained in a job…
My best friend gave me this – stitched this cross-stitch picture of you and Tim at ICC.
KATE MULGREW: Hanging up isn't it, sweetheart? In the house in Cleveland. It’s lovely. Absolutely lovely. It’s great. That’s you? It’s lovely. Thank you very much. That’s her. Thank you. What a story. Thank you. I started out crying, then coughing.
We’re having some pretty amazing stories here today, aren’t we? Huh?
Q: I wanted to ask you how you felt about body art? Tattoos and …
KATE MULGREW: How do I feel about body art. Oh. You want a real answer to that? Because I know you’ve got tattoos all over your body don’t you. Just one. I don’t think tattoos are a good thing for women. Bottom line. Only because, after you’ve spent eight hours undergoing the worst excruciating pain in your life having ‘I’m yours Bob forever’ etched on your behind, what happens when you dump Bob ten years later? No, I have mixed feelings about tattoos. Is that all right? All right. Thank you.
Q: You mentioned earlier that you were going to perhaps share some champagne this evening with Robbie and John Phillips and I just wanted to know between the three of you who is drinking who under the table?
KATE MULGREW: Why don’t you tell me who you think? If you have – the guts! Who would drink who under the table, in your opinion?
Q: I think Mary Ryan would.
KATE MULGREW: Yes but she thinks she’s being polite. Um… I’m not so sure about that.
Q: Actually – you want my real answer? Actually I would think Ethan would drink you under the table.
KATE MULGREW: John Ethan doesn't drink honey.
KATE MULGREW: AA for years!
KATE MULGREW: I wish I could say the same for Lieutenant Paris. Unfortunately I can't! (much laughter) Yes?
Q: This is kind of a geeky question.
KATE MULGREW: Oh, a geeky question!
Q: Nothing crazy like in episode 124… Now you asked…
KATE MULGREW: Oh, do go on…!! All right! What?
Q: As you probably know there are some action figures of you out there. How do you feel about them? Do they scare you? Are you afraid to look at them? Do they…
KATE MULGREW: Boy the things scare me! Have you seen my original action figure? Would you like to run into her in a dark alley? That is the scariest tiniest broad I have ever seen! Absolutely horrible thing with the little pointed bosoms! I said I'll take Seven of Nine from the neck down…
Q: I was in Blackpool over the summer and I saw you there…
KATE MULGREW: Good for you. That was pretty wild, wasn't it? And I've seen you there – I have seen you before, haven't I?
Q: You mentioned that you had first met your husband when you were in Ireland along the Dingle Peninsula and I had gone along on a walking tour there and I just wanted to ask you where you'd been, and to agree with you that it is absolutely the most beautiful…
KATE MULGREW: Dingle Bay. Dingle Village. Have you been there? That's where we… well, we didn't actually meet there, we met in the lobby of a hotel in Trallee. We were supposed to have one drink in the lobby of the Trallee Hotel, because my mother sent him to me. So you can immediately surmise how I was feeling. I needed this and wanted this like a hole in the head. Another Irish Catholic Democrat. (Kate slurs her words!) Come on over … gimme the party…. And he'd put his big greasy paws all over me… I beat him to the punch on that one!!
KATE MULGREW: Hi!
Q: A couple of questions. First of all, I want to know if fans write letters to you, do you read them? And do you ever respond?
KATE MULGREW: I read them selectively, because it would be absolutely impossible to read them all. I read them a lot, which I like to do. And then I respond, in kind. I find mostly compelling letters of what I would call – emotional urgency. I respond to the young. Mothers who have children in trouble, I will respond to. But it's impossible to do a personal thank you for every letter. And they're all beautifully written, so I hope that answers your question.
Q: Thank you very much. Second question is – you're raising money for Alzheimer's. My husband of 25 years has drunk himself to Alzheimer's. I just wondered how the money was going and …
KATE MULGREW: What himself to Alzheimer's?
Q: Drunk. He's an alcoholic for twenty five years.
KATE MULGREW: That wouldn't…
Q: His brain is undergoing…
KATE MULGREW: Dementia. Yeah. They're making great strides with Alzheimer's. In fact they're undergoing clinical studies right now in about twelve different sites in the United States. 365 candidates from throughout the world are (part of) a fifteen month study. The product – the vaccine – has come out of Elan – has come out of Ireland - Elan Corporation. And if the study is as effective as they hope it will be, the FDA should approve this in the next year and a half. We could have a vaccine that does not prevent Alzheimer's, but will arrest it in its progress. And actually have a (…) regarding the plaques. You know Alzheimer's is all about plaques building up in your brain that don't disintegrate naturally, like the rest of ours do. So thank you very much for that question and yes, we're making great strides.
Q: Thank you.
KATE MULGREW: Thank you. Thank you.
Q: I just have a question. I always wanted to know. Do you really like coffee?
KATE MULGREW: I love my coffee. I love coffee. Yes. Doesn't everybody love coffee?
KATE MULGREW: Then you always run into somebody and they say "I can't drink it. Can't have caffeine." Why? Might hurt my heart, might hurt my… Well, what is it in the end? We have to live, don't we? Oh you must have a cup of coffee now. Let me take you for a cup of coffee! An Irish coffee? "Oh, all right"!
Q: Hi Kate, I'm from Connecticut and…
KATE MULGREW: How are you? Where in Connecticut?
KATE MULGREW: Ah! That's where I made my stage debut at the Shakespeare festival.
Q: I remember when you were there.
KATE MULGREW: You remember? You must have been…
KATE MULGREW: How old are you?
KATE MULGREW: You're forty? She looks great… Does she look forty to you?! Anyway, go on!
Q: I was wondering if you know if we can acquire some backstage passes for Hartford Stage on opening night!
KATE MULGREW: You want the answer to this one too, don't you! No… I can give her a better answer than that. Honey, I don't know how you acquire backstage passes, I really don't. Why don't you go on the 'net and see what they're offering. I don't know much about ticket sales. The theater has had a tough year because of the World Trade Center and they've not… they've really had to … you know…restabalize themselves financially. But if I come up with an idea, or I know of something, I'll put it on my website. How's that. And you can find out that way. Thank you. You may return to your seat!
Q: I was just curious. Years ago you did a Remo Williams and..
KATE MULGREW: Did he have to say it like that! Years ago!
Q: Back before Star Trek.
KATE MULGREW: Back before God!
Q: The character you played in Remo Williams – how would you compare her to Kathryn Janeway. I see a lot of similarities. Rank. She was a major.
KATE MULGREW: Yah. There's no comparison. Nothing compares to this role, and nothing ever will. I was the Captain. I was the first female captain. (much applause)
Q: I guess what I was getting at was the style of the woman. They're both very similar in…you know.
KATE MULGREW: Well I played those roles all my life. What you're saying is ballsy, right? And bossy right?
Q: A little.
KATE MULGREW: Right. Thank you … you're very much a gentleman. I don't suppose you want a backstage pass!
Q: I don't want to get too greedy. Thank you.
KATE MULGREW: Thank you! Happy New Year too.
Q: What are the odds of the man in front of me asking the question I was going to ask?
KATE MULGREW: Oh, did he?
Q: But I can do better.
KATE MULGREW: There is a real under (tow) today. It's really on the edge in here. Yes. What is your question?
Q: Were you allowed to take any liberties as an actress when you did the series, Voyager, as far as adlibbing, doing your own thing? How tight was it as far as the screenplay, what you were handed, this is the way it is?
KATE MULGREW: Inexpressively tight. This is no joke and I have a witness to the prosecution in the person of my husband who accompanied me for two years. It was his idea of a whopping courtship, stand next to me for eighteen hours. Honey, true or false? We get into the ready room or briefing room. The briefing room is murder, ladies and gentlemen, absolutely death. Nine people. What are the chances you're going to get through those seven pages without one idiot, one idiot saying "the" instead of "or". And we go all the way back. Back … Is it true Tim? Oh, you get to the point… it's midnight, right. May I indulge myself for one second with you? I'm not being petulant when I say this. You know, I was the Captain, so very often the camera would be on me, particularly in those long scenes where I had to do the walking and everybody else just had to do the sitting, and I had to do the bulk of the information giving and the briefing and the decision-making and everybody else just sort of had to say "Aye Captain", or "Let's take her out". So I would get to three and a half pages of this camera following me – I mean everything's on a dime. I got gaffers here, I got technicians over there, I got marks here, I got the view-screen there, I got the lines on the board, I gotta hit this guy, this girl, oh and I get to Lieutenant Paris and "Well… dunno – I'll be a son of a gun!" Because what happens is, and this is very human and very fair – you know, the person who has the Shakespearian monologue is totally focused. They have to be – "To be or not to be, that is the question" well you better stay on those words, right? But the little guy in the chorus who has to say "Oh, but…" falls asleep! And so the next thing you know you feel the hand on your shoulder and you're looking up and you know it's important and you know it's all going to fall on you and you have not one bleeping clue where you are! Love you Robbie!
Q: Good afternoon Kate.
KATE MULGREW: How are you?
Q: Fine, how are you?
KATE MULGREW: I'm good.
Q: I'd like to share a little story with you. I started watching Star Trek when I was about seven years old in syndication. And I grew up watching it and I watched a lot of war movies that are basically – males are always the authority figure. Very male dominated society as far as war. When I got out of high school, went into the Marine Corps. Served six years – still a very authoritative male dominated society. Same with Next Generation, Deep Space Nine.
KATE MULGREW: Right.
Q: Well when I heard that Voyager was coming out, the first thing I heard was there was going to be a female captain. I rolled my eyes and I thought, god, what if they screw up. Let me give credit where credit is due. I do know that you're a real person and what you played is a character on the series. But – you did enlighten me – opened my eyes. And your portrayal on Voyager as the captain – you showed me that a woman is capable of commanding a ship in the real world, maybe even commanding a combat unit in combat. So you've opened my eyes – I'm sure you've opened many other people's eyes as far as how woman can work in today's society.
KATE MULGREW: Thank you. You know, I think it's important that I share this from my perspective. You can imagine how high the stakes were, ladies and gentlemen, when I took this job, because Genevieve Bujold had just quit - after a full day's work – imagine that! And I'm very grateful to her for her (…) and her wisdom. But believe me, Paramount was very nervous. I was scrutinized to within an inch of my being – had they made a dire mistake? And I know for a fact they were looking at men even as I began shooting. Because they weren't at all convinced. Hard on the heels of this wonderful actress leaving after one day, saying "I can't possibly ..it's just too much work" right. They weren't at all convinced that a woman could handle it. So they watched me, thirty guys in suits. You that type? They never smile. They never talk. They just (…) and they stand and they watch, right? They watched me for six months. Maybe eight. And over time I understood what their great concern was, but it unfolded itself in an odd way. Revealed itself pretty strangely. Their concern, although they could never voice it, because it would lend itself to a kind of incredibility, was that young men, which is their strongest demographic, males between the ages of thirteen and twenty-eight, would not only be dubious about a female, assuming this position, pardon the expression, but a woman, who could be their mother, right?
Q: And who of your contemporaries do you find, I won't even say your equal, but worthy of emulation.
KATE MULGREW: Meryl Streep, probably the greatest actress of her generation, don't you think? I watched "Out of Africa" again the other night. I weep, not only for the beauty of her inexpressibly marvelous performance, but the sheer knowledge that this kind of genius is just untouchable. She is – she is the character. And she transcends even that. Did you see "Sophie's Choice"? And I will tell you this. She can't get a job. Because she's raised five children. She's put on about twenty pounds, and she looks like a fifty-five year old woman should look who's raised five children, right. Hooray for Hollywood. What's your second question?
Q: The second question is – have you had a chance to meet and speak with Katharine Hepburn, or are you working strictly from the script?
KATE MULGREW: I have not had a chance to meet Miss Hepburn, and I think it's now too late. Although I heard a few weeks ago that she'd been seen at a Christmas party, but it was my understanding that her dementia was so far advanced that she was spending all of her time at home. It is to my advantage I think that I have not met her. I am glad that I have that separation. Just as I would say it was to my advantage when I auditioned for this role, Captain Janeway, that I had never seen Star Trek before. It really was. Can you imagine if I had come in with all that information? In my little noggin? I would be talking like that (Kate does an English accent a la Patrick Stewart). Thank you very much. Yes?
Q: My name's Marge.
KATE MULGREW: Hello Marge, how are you?
Q: Pretty good.
KATE MULGREW: Good.
Q: I'm from New Jersey but I spent most of my life living in Ohio, Akron.
KATE MULGREW: You did? Are you going back there?
Q: No but my Mom and Dad and most of my brothers and sisters which I have ten of will probably be voting for him!
KATE MULGREW: My husband is one of fourteen. What is it in that Ohio water?!
Q: Great people back there. I wish I was living back there, but my husband has a job here. But anyway people probably asked you many times how you got the part and I'd just like to say that I saw the first show and I fell in love your acting. My Grandma and I used to watch Ryan's Hope every day. But I liked you then and the other shows subsequently, but Star Trek: Voyager, haven't missed an episode.
KATE MULGREW: Thank you very very much.
Q: I'm sorry I distracted you from the question. How did you get the part? Did you have to audition many times or…
KATE MULGREW: Um hmm. I think I auditioned three times. I was in the first go round. At that point they were looking very carefully at Bujold, who, by the way did not have to audition. Which reinforces my old theory that nobody's so big for their britches that they can't walk into a room and audition, right? You want the job that badly? Go on in. This is not her – they offered it to her. Nothing against her. But perhaps if she had come into the room and they'd worked it out a little bit, everybody could have said… a lot of things could have been avoided, right? So she quit. I was called in Ireland, by my manager to come home, and I said no. I was there with my two kids and it was an important time – (addressing someone in the audience) she's walking away?! So I come home, not immediately, but when I did finally get home I understood that it was still open. So they called myself and four other actresses back in, whom (…) four great actresses. And we had a 'knock out'. Do you know what that is? Are you familiar with 'going to network'? The term is 'going to network'. They're all in a room – about thirty-five people – from the top executives at Paramount to the lowest writers on the staff, right? And they're going to watch you and the other actresses knock each other out. Like prize fighting, in a way. You come in, you get to do a scene, you go out, the next one comes in she does the scene. You come back in, she does another one, and that one is dismissed and you're still left and two more. Boom boom boom boom. One by one – who's standing, right? In this very odd case we were all left standing. I've never seen it before, and I've been to network twenty times in my life, maybe twenty-five. You know. It was odd. (So I figured they were going to go with a guy…) And we were dismissed "Thank you ladies very much for coming". Went home. Yom Kippur, which you know is a high Jewish holiday. Shuts down. Didn't hear anything for two days. Finally I said, "I have to go out and get something to eat we're all going to die in the house! Oh no", okay. So I got in the car, I went to the market and I came back from the market, and my housekeeper, who's been with me for eighteen years, Lucy, and my two young sons were standing on the porch, which I'd never seen before! Never. Never. Never seen two little boys standing stock still with their nanny holding them by the hair like this, right, and she's very serious, right. (in a Spanish accent) "Oh senora, you gotta come in now, listen to your messages, you've got to do it now!" (…)"You gotta do it"… she's leading me to the phone, I play back the messages, one message, two messages, three, "Miss Mulgrew, this is Rick Berman, from Star Trek Voyager and I just wanted to say, welcome aboard." I said "Boys, Lucy, on your knees! Our father who art in heaven… go get the champagne and get this thing going…" and that's what happened.
I went to work right away. That was Friday and I started on Monday. You wouldn't like it! You have no idea… And the first scene, could be - right, walking in, "take her out" - had to be introducing the entire crew - when Janeway first enters her ready room. Tuvok to Kim to Lieutenant to Chakotay. I mean, and the technobabble. Really. It was just mean. But you are all so smart. I mean you spoke fluent Japanese…I mean, getting over that was tough, those first few months. I lost a lot of weight. Yes.
Q: You talked earlier about the difficulties of picking a woman as the captain. I'm wondering if you have seen or heard at all about "Enterprise". I know that one reason I appreciated Voyager was that how women were presented, I thought. I'm wondering if you have any opinion on what some people say…
KATE MULGREW: No but you do, don't you? You don't like it, do you?
Q: Well… I have a problem that the only female human on the show, that the first time she saw a dead body screeched and screamed and almost fainted.
KATE MULGREW: No. That's not what I thought you were going to say.
Q: Yah, and well… the Vulcan…
KATE MULGREW: They love that! Gene Roddenberry thought of that, didn't he? It's always been that from the very beginning, right. And even the aliens have them. Which I've always found so odd. … if you're going to do it, why don't you give her eight! I have not seen "Enterprise". I know for a fact that he's a terrific guy. You know that. Of great reputation, Scott Bakula. And the crew loves him. I don't think it's regressive. What's happening is obviously Voyager took a great leap, right? And it was very bold and very brave and very innovative. But now they've done something equally as innovative by going all the way back, right, to pre-dating it. So you just have to – you know – have something for everyone - and there's a time for everything, right? She said. Lying through her teeth…
Q: I very much admired your performance as Captain Janeway.
KATE MULGREW: Thank you.
Q: I thank you. I recently saw a movie that I had forgotten you were in and I saw it and I said my gosh – "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins".
KATE MULGREW: It never ends!
Q: Did you have as much fun filming that as it looked as though you did?
KATE MULGREW: I had great fun. I had great fun, and you know that's where I first met and made friends with Joel Grey, who later on was on Voyager. It was great and Fred Ward, and to be in sunny Mexico for six months shooting was great. I have nothing but happy memories of it, no, but thank you. Does it look like we were having fun? That's what we were having.
Q: Very much.
KATE MULGREW: Yeah. Thank you. Okay…The last question.
KATE MULGREW: Hi.
Q: I was just wondering, do you feel that your portrayal of Janeway would have been any different had Voyager been a more mainstream Star Trek or she would have had Star Fleet Command back on all the other starships and stuff instead of having been lost…
KATE MULGREW: Do I think she would have been a what? A more…
Q: If the character portrayal would have been done any differently than the…
KATE MULGREW: If we'd been for instance at a space station or in the Alpha Quadrant?
KATE MULGREW: Well, you know, that's almost unanswerable, wouldn't you say? I mean it was what it was. We got lost, I forgot to ask for directions again. And I'm delighted that we did. Because it has allowed the audience to see what were all the ramifications of being lost in the Delta Quadrant, and I think if any actor has enjoyed her captaincy beyond words in the sense that it has not only given me a great sense of privilege and joy, but that I have loved this character from the day I read page one, to the moment they pulled lights and I was still on the soundstage, shooting. "That's a wrap" and they pulled the lights and it went to dark, and I could hear them coming in to dismantle my chair and the rail behind me, and I just stood there and I saw … this silhouette in the doorway – here I go. And it was Bob Picardo, my friend, right. Without a word he just walked over to me, put his arms around me and I looked at him and I said, "Well, that's all she wrote." He said, "It was great, wasn't it?" I said "Yeah, it was great." That was it. And so to happy memories. I thank you all. Thank you all, thank you.