Photo: Walt Disney World
Announcer: .... Our very special guest star. Our star today first came to our attention as Mary Ryan on 'Ryan's Hope'. She has gone on to portray a doctor, news anchor and detective. And she is now the first woman in a leading role to command a Federation Starship as Captain Janeway, in the hit television series 'Star Trek: Voyager. The Disney/MGM Studios is thrilled to welcome her here today and to give you a chance to meet her and ask some questions. Folks do you have your questions ready? All right. Ladies and gentlemen, right now, please help me welcome Kate Mulgrew.
Kate Mulgrew: Thank you very much. Is this working? Thank you very much. Hello!
Announcer: It's great to have you here.
Kate Mulgrew: (laughing) It's great to be here. It's a little hot though, isn't it?
Announcer: Yes it is. A little warm.
Kate Mulgrew: Yes.
Announcer: Now you're in town... you had a convention this weekend, correct?
Kate Mulgrew: I had a convention in Orlando. Yes.
Announcer: What was that like? What's it like participating in a Star Trek Convention?
Kate Mulgrew: I haven't done enough of them to give you a perfectly articulate or coherent answer. But I will tell you that I am continually overwhelmed and deeply pleased, I mean you would be... and also moved by what appears to be unconditional support.This fan network is an amazing, if not an extraordinary thing. I mean they are so ardently devoted to Star Trek.
Announcer: It's become an American institution.
Kate Mulgrew: I suppose it has. I hope I don't become an American institution... (laughs)
Announcer: Well, you're part of it. Congratulations.
Kate Mulgrew: Thank you very much.
Announcer: Well folks, if you have a question for Kate, Jason and Matthew are out in the audience. All you have to do is raise your hand and they will get to you as soon as they possibly can and ...just ask away. We have some questions up here...
Kate Mulgrew: Here we go...
Announcer:.... Lot of questions...
Kate Mulgrew: Yes. Yes. Madam. Stand up. Yes! Yes!
Q 1: Yes. I'd like to know if anything is going to happen between the Captain and Chakotay?
Kate Mulgrew: Ahhhh.... You and the rest of the world. Why is it so fascinating? Because he is so charismatic, right? You know Robert Beltran has attracted every woman in the Western World. He doesn't need Kathryn Janeway to complete it. Let me never say never and never say die. I am not in an executive position and I'm not a writer. But as the actress portraying the role, and as the actress passionately portraying the role, I would say to you that I don't think it's a wise idea. I think that they can have a very deep and textured friendship. But I think that once you cross that line, and I'm a woman, it's very delicate business, I don't think it would be suitable.
I'm sorry what was the latter part?
Q 1: Then he's free for B'elanna!
Kate Mulgrew: She doesn't care. Then he's free for B'elanna , she says. Thank you!
Q 2: Hello.
Kate Mulgrew: Hello!
Q 2: First of all I'd like to say I think you're the perfect choice for the Captain.
Kate Mulgrew: Thank you very, very much.
Q 2: And I'd like to know if the crew gets along as well as they seem to when they're performing?
Kate Mulgrew: We get along absolutely beautifully. And it's a miracle. Any nine people thrown together under these kinds of circumstances would inevitably bear some sour fruit. Not one bad apple. With one possible exception. Mr. Tim Russ. And that's only because he's a 'dead man'. He has been a very naughty person to me for the last two seasons and I said to him the last time he threw a spitball at me in the middle of a take "You're dead! Absolutely dead!" I adore them all.
Kate Mulgrew: Yes sweetheart.
Q 3: (small child) When you were little did you want to be a TV star?
Kate Mulgrew: No. I wanted to be an actress. (much laughter) Do you know the difference honey? Come back to the microphone. Do you know the difference between being an actress and a TV star? What is it?
Q 3: An actress ... acts?
Kate Mulgrew: And a TV star... does what?
Q3: ...Is famous. (more laughter)
Kate Mulgrew: Give her a hand. That was absolutely brilliant! And I would rather act, honey!
Kate Mulgrew: Hi. Hi!
Q 4: Kate. Do you ever get tired of gender being an issue? For you and your character.
Kate Mulgrew: ... laughs, indistinguishable comment...
Q 4: .... People are always focusing on the fact that you are a female captain.
Kate Mulgrew: It's pretty understandable, don't you think? I mean I follow a long and very successful legacy of males portraying this role brilliantly. Shatner did a tremendous job. And then Picard took off... I mean it was a virtual trajectory with Patrick Stewart. But I feel so ennobled and so uplifted by the fact that I've been given this opportunity that it's a constant challenge. It's a delight. Put yourself in my position. I mean every day I get to play this extraordinary woman who I truly love. So no, I have no quarrel with it. And I would be a little surprised if there were no controversy about it. Wouldn't you? No. Thank you.
Q 5: Would you like to become Captain Janeway, and do you admire her?
Kate Mulgrew: Would I like to become Captain Janeway, and do I admire her? Well of course I do. I emulate her. And that's why I say, at my age... I'm 41 years old... to find a character like this that I love, so well, is extremely rare. I've been a professional actress for almost 25 years. And she's noble, she's kind, she's brave flawed, she's deeply human. She's passionate. She's passionate about space, about science. She's a woman who transcends her own gender. I think you know, you can ask for a lot of things in life and this would be foremost among them as an actor. So thank you, yes, I do love her.
Q 5: Well first Miss Mulgrew, I would like to say that I love what you've done with the character and I really like the direction she's gone. And as for my question, I was wondering how much control you have over the character, and how much is decided by producers, writers...
Kate Mulgrew: It's like... I've often likened it to a love affair. You've had a love affair? Yes? So you know! The beginning stages are a little rocky. Right? There's the initial flirtation which is the acquisition of the role. They must have liked something about me or they wouldn't have hired me. Then you go to the next level, which is the confession of love to one another. Right? You're still uncertain as to the commitment. When the commitment takes place in that love affair between the actor and the writers, then you have mutual harmony. Mutuality of understanding. So at this point, without my input they probably wouldn't move dramatically in any given direction. And vice versa. Because without me being able to channel Janeway through their writing the whole thing would fall down. And at this point we've established who she is, both the actress and their characterization. So we work together very well, and they are a tremendous team. Thank you.
Q 6: Hello, yes. I'd like to say I'm a very big fan. And I was interested in a description of an upcoming episode with Grace Lee Whitney and George Takei. Have you all started filming, and could you tell us anything about it?
Kate Mulgrew: We have filmed and completed that episode. And that will air in honour of the 30th anniversary. Indeed it does star Mr. George Takei who I had never met before. And what... what a time that was working with him. This guy is just terrific. He told me miles of anecdotes about the beginning of Star Trek. He himself was utterly professional. A joy. Great sense of humour on the set. And I think the episode will surprise you. It's essentially involving Tuvok and myself going back in time. And what happens when they go back in time. And they're confronted by Sulu, played by George Takei. So that'll be coming up, I think, hot off the plate, in the third season. Thank you.
Yes? Oh, yes honey? Are you having a good time here at Disney World?
Q 7: Yes.
Kate Mulgrew: Isn't it fun? Have you been on the scary rides?
Q 7: Yes.
Kate Mulgrew: What's the scariest?
Q 7:.... (couldn't make out answer, or Kate's repeat of the name!)
Kate Mulgrew: ..... You can forget it! Isn't it the scariest? My boys go on it over and over. Who wants to do that? They're dying and they get off and then..... they want to go again...Oh you boys. What's your question honey?
Q 7: What is your favourite Star Trek episode?
Kate Mulgrew: On Voyager? That we've shot, so far? I would say... I'm often asked this so I have a ready answer for you. Emotionally it's a tie between 'Resistance' and 'Death Wish'. But I would say for production value... for the sheer happiness and opportunity to work with my great friend John DeLancie, it would be 'Death Wish'. That was my all time favourite episode. Good question. Thank you for that question.
Yes. Stand up!
Q 8: Yes. I was a Vulkon this weekend.
Kate Mulgrew: You were there!
Q 8: You were great. You were wonderful. You said your two boys were non-Trekkers, they are not interested.
Kate Mulgrew: No. They're hiding backstage.
Q 8: Are you ever going to get them into a Cardassian or Vidian costume or something or...
Kate Mulgrew: Get them involved? Interesting question. Obviously, you're a mother! Right. So you understand that if I could engage them theatrically I think that they would be very happy to be a part of it, because then they could lose themselves. But I think that as appendages to me in a celebrity position they are not very interested and frankly I think it's very healthy of them. Don't you? I'm their mother. I'm their mother and that's the way it should be. Thank you. Good question.
Q 9: I've enjoyed your previous work, prior to Voyager, and I was just wondering what was the first job you had where you got your Screen Actor's Guild card and also, what was you worst audition?
Kate Mulgrew: Ah... I don't really want to answer that.... Are you an actress? You're an aspiring actress. Yes. Good for you. My first job was Mary Ryan on 'Ryan's Hope', in concert with my stage debut as Emily, in 'Our Town' at the American Shakespeare Festival. So it was quite a summer for an 18 year old girl. And I was flying. It was the best three months of my life.
The worst audition.... Oh honey I could tell you stories. When you just fall flat on your face in that room with forty people staring at you? My final network audition for Voyager was no, you know, bowl of cherries. It's a harrowing experience. Thirty-five people are sitting behind tables... so that's not a Disney World (?) is it? And you know you've got 15 minutes to do it. If you do not you're out, and on to the next one. So the composure that's required, the relaxation, and I would have to say the confidence in a split second, will make or break you. And so there have been many times when I have just not been able to go the distance for the character in so short a period of time. Often you have not very nice people auditioning you. There's a whole group reading in Hollywood, and frankly, I think they're a little lazy for my taste. Right. They don't care whether you were trained, or not trained. They don't care if you are from the theatre or from the garbage can, from the lot next door. To them you're just another.... And it's hard to see that happen. There used to be more respect. It's a lot easier when there's respect in the room. Good question. Thank you.
Q 10: Kate. We haven't seen a great deal of Star Trek: Voyager in the U.K. but it's making a big hit. But the question we want to ask is does Voyager get home?
Kate Mulgrew: Does it get home? Now I can't answer that question. That really wouldn't be fair! I think all things being equal, we'll find our way home one day. But not too soon I hope. This season, however, you'll have watch carefully. Big changes are in order. I mean big changes. Fascinating changes. Anybody who's a really devoted fan I think will be quite surprised with what they've come up with for Season Three. But it's great to know that you're a fan. Where are you from in England?
Q 10: Nottinghamshire.
Kate Mulgrew: Ahhh... yes. Thank you.
Q 11: I've been watching Star Trek my whole life.... Did you have a hard time adjusting from soap opera to science fiction?
Kate Mulgrew: Well. I only did one soap opera and I only did it for one year when I was 18. I hate to repeat this because it makes very sad but I will... I'm now 41 and this is the first time I've ever tasted science fiction in my career so was that an easy leap? It was a considerable leap wasn't it! No. You know, as an actress it doesn't really matter what the genre is as long as you love the character. And I already knew what excellence I was diving into here. The reputation of Star Trek preceded it beautifully indeed, so no, I had no trouble making that transition.
Anybody else? Yes, sweetheart? What?
Q 12: I was going to ask if Voyager had anything to do with Q again?
Kate Mulgrew: Will he come back again? Where are you from?
Q 12: .... North Carolina.
Kate Mulgrew: North Carolina! Beautiful state, isn't it?
Q 12: Yes.
Kate Mulgrew: I hope Q comes back because he's the best, isn't he? First of all, he's a top quality actor. He's a madman in life, John DeLancie. Absolutely insane. Should be chained up. The best. He's a delicious Q. And if we have anything to say about it he will come back. But you have to understand that it's rather difficult. He's omnipotent. Right. He can do anything. So it's hard to get him in there on a regular basis. But I had an idea that I threw at the producers. Why do they always have to be adversaries? What if Q and Janeway were diabolical allies? Would that be fascinating? We're working on that. Thank you honey. That was good.
Q 13: When you were a child were you interested in space?
Kate Mulgrew: I'm still a child.... honey, I don't really think I was interested in space, terribly. I was interested in acting, as a child. From the time I was 12 years old. I am now increasingly more interested in space because of course when you play that, and you become fascinated by the character you are playing, you fall in love with what she loves, and she loves space like nothing else. So increasingly so I find it interesting. Yes.
Q 14: I was wondering if Voyager is continually working its way home, why is it still within the Kazon borders and why aren't they meeting new species? (much applause here)
Kate Mulgrew: Well you can clap. You can clap even harder after I say this. We've crossed over the Kazon borders. You can kiss those Kazon goodbye! (lots of cheering!) The Kazon were holding us up in many ways! Isn't that your question, essentially. That's a very astute thing. Yes. Why would they be in the Delta Quadrant? What's going on? Why can't we get passed them? So we have. Also, I think, the producers and writers felt, I felt it myself and I think the audience shared this... it isn't scary enough. Maj Cullah doesn't reeeaaally do it. You know who really does it for me? The Vidians. I love those.. they're (fierce?). So I want to get to work on the Vidians. I think they're working on alien species that will be so terrifying. Because they would have to be terrifying to really dramatically imperil Voyager and the lives of these crew.
Q 15: How hard is it to be a Captain?
Kate Mulgrew: How hard is it or how fun is it?
Q 15: How hard is it?
Kate Mulgrew: It's fun! It's like anything else in life. I mean if you had to play one role on Star Trek. If You got to play one. Right? You could be the Captain. Or the Chief of Security, or the Chief of Engineering or, what else have we got there, we've got a million of them... what would you choose to be sweetheart? You don't know... The Captain. The Captain is the most fun. Because I'm so involved in everything. I'm totally involved in everything that's happening in all the lives that are going on around me. So it's wonderful.
Where are you? I can't find you...
Q 16: Uh... what kind of role will Mr. Suder play in the season premiere?
Kate Mulgrew: Mr. Suder, absolutely beautifully played by Brad Dourif, don't you agree? In 'Basics, Part 2' I think you will see how ... something else that Star Trek is famous for... that only Star Trek is executed in this manner. You'll see how a pathological, psychotic murderer can become a hero. And you can see it done in a very labyrinthine powerfully human way. And that's because of Brad Dourif and because of the writers. I'm giving away top secrets here....
Q 17: What do you think of where the show's going?
Kate Mulgrew: I hope it's going up! What do you think? You tell me! Do you like it? Do you watch it? Regularly? Well, you tell me. Where do you think it's going?
Q 17: I think you need to pick things up.
Kate Mulgrew: We need to pick things up. Why do we need to pick things up honey?
Q 17: It's like going too slow.
Kate Mulgrew: It's going slowly? In what way is it going slowly. Not enough action?
Q 17: They're not going home fast enough.
Kate Mulgrew: Well, I want you to think of my livelihood as an actress! If we get home too soon... we agree. I think everybody here agrees with you ... they're going to pick it up. But it's delicate business. We're lost, aren't we? I think what you're saying is let's have more hands on action and drama every week, rather than always bemoaning our fate of being lost. Let's get on to the business of investigating the rest of space and how to get home. So that's good.
Yes. One more question and then we'll wrap it up.
Q 18: Captain Janeway, may I have your autograph?
Kate Mulgrew: You may.
Q 18: If you leave that part of space, then what's going to happen to Seska and the baby?
Kate Mulgrew: You know I've given away too many secrets here!.... You watch and see.
Thank you all for coming, you've been wonderful. Thank you for watching.
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