|The original version of this article in Italian
appears on Fantascienza.com.
Thank you to Flora Staglianò and Fantascienza.com
for permission to use the article.
Kate Mulgrew was a guest at the recent Telefilm Festival in Milan. She and her husband, Tim Hagan, stayed on in Italy for a few days before and after the festival, and accompanied by Flora Staglianò and several others, spent some time touring and sightseeing. Ms. Staglianò reports:
Over the last few years I have met a lot of famous sci-fi actors, but only a few really struck me. Kate Mulgrew and her husband Tim Hagan were surely among the most admirable. I met them a few years ago in England, during a series of interviews I did for the launch of Star Trek: Voyager on Jimmy, but I spent less than an hour with them - just enough time for a few questions - an acquaintance that stopped there. At the time what struck me most was their love for Italy; Tim has Italian origins on his mother's side and Kate had lived (for love) in Florence for three years. Surely it's a small world, or maybe it is Italy that is big!
When Jimmy wanted to bring Captain Janeway to the Telefilm Festival in Milan, I was asked to contact the actress and to take care of her during her stay in Italy (together with Angelica Tintori, Silvana Varlec and Gabriella Ascari of Deep Space One).
From the beginning I understood that Kate had an intense craving to come back to our country and spend a few days on holiday there with her husband; the problem was to make her understand that it would be a pleasure for us to take them around, stay with them, accompany them to restaurants and places where we would go with any friend coming from far away. Actors who do conventions on a regular basis usually get off the plane, go to the hotel, make their appearance and get back on the plane. But in this case it wouldn't be like this, because Jimmy (and Giusto Toni in particular) wanted Kate Mulgrew's appearance at the Telefilm Festival to be special: the public would have to understand that the actress really loves our country and was really happy to be the "godmother" not only of Star Trek: Voyager's reruns, but also of the channel's sci-fi schedule in general.
After a brief survey of the hotel where Kate and Tim were to stay and the cinema where the meeting with the fans was to take place, we reviewed the tentative agenda we'd made for them and got ready for our special guests' arrival the next day. At Linate's airport I didn't recognize Kate immediately - I was a bit awestruck because she was a lot more beautiful than I remembered, even if she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt! They were coming from London, where Kate had been playing in the theatre until two days previously, and she had been joined by Tim, who had come from the States. Straight off the plane I realized that they were very happy to be in Italy and they couldn't wait to go sightseeing. But Tim was tired, jet lag was taking its toll on him, so we took them straight to their hotel. We made an appointment for 10 o'clock the next day: destination Lake Como.
During the almost two-hour trip to Lake Como we were drowned in questions! Kate and Tim wanted to know what we do in our lives; they asked us about our families and were interested in aspects of everyday life in Italy. Our conversation went from religion to politics, with Tim particularly interested by this last topic, as he's a politician (in 2002 he was the Democratic Party's candidate for governor in Ohio). We realized straight away we were with two extraordinary people: Kate and Tim are smart, sensible and open to every kind of discussion. We stopped for an appetizer (and Kate discovered the crodino) and then to eat in a beautiful chalet at an altitude of almost one thousand meters above the lake. The landscape was breathtaking and the food excellent. As always in these cases, time seemed to fly too fast. We went down to Bellagio for a walk - only a hint to George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie! - Kate and Tim were more interested in walking around the lovely town streets. Kate bought a white shirt and a beautiful satin jacket that she would wear Saturday during her appearance at the festival. She asked for and gave us advice on fashion - it was like shopping with a friend. She's got good taste and an innate class, which we noticed that night too - when we got them to the hotel and met them to eat pizza, they arrived dressed in jeans and t-shirts. At dinner we chit-chatted about everything from world politics to the pepperoni on the pizza. We retired early, the day was long and the next day Duomo and Castello Sforzesco were waiting for us.
Friday morning we walked around downtown: we passed by LaScala and Kate regretted that she wouldn't be able to assist to a lyric performance during her visit in Italy. Then we went towards the Duomo; we remained inside a long time, because Kate and Tim were curious to see and know everything, stopping to ask for explanations about various paintings. Again I was struck by the sensibility and culture they have, and I understand that the humanity of Captain Janeway is a direct expression of Kate's own. Kate confirmed this, and declared with much boldness that she succeeded in affirming herself in a man's world; the first female captain to be the main character of a series, creating an incredible leader who can't lose time putting her hair up while she gives orders to fire at the enemy (and that explains Janeway's simpler hairstyle after the first episodes!). At lunch we met with Jimmy's staff, and Kate was really struck by everyone's professionalism and friendliness and by the fact that Giusto Toni is also a Star Trek fan. We finished eating and Kate asked if she could rest at the hotel for a while. This left us the time to prepare a few more questions and the promo for the interview the next day. We picked them up around evening time and headed towards Pavia, a city I had told her about before she came to Italy - one that she didn't know and that intrigued her. We had dinner along the naviglio, spending a pleasant evening and enjoying risotto, meat and red wine. Kate confirmed that she was very happy she had accepted the invitation to Italy and asked if she could practice her Italian a bit, as she had known it fairly well in the past. She intended to speak as much as possible in our language during her appearance Saturday, and worked hard to do well. We got Kate and Tim back to the hotel and set an appointment for the next day: Silvana would tour the museums with Tim while we'd take care of Kate, who had numerous interviews. The morning was taxing, but she's really a professional and did even more than was scheduled. After a fast sandwich and a few more interviews she went to rest for an hour or so at the hotel before the meeting with the fans. And what a meeting! Everyone who was there was amazed by Kate's verve, her friendliness, her class and intelligence! She was at ease with everyone, from children to more excited fans. At that moment many people asked themselves if the woman standing in front of them was the same one who in Italy got the nickname of "Grandma Duck". And many changed their minds! After her discussion Kate signed autographs and took pictures with everyone who wanted to, always warm and trying to exchange a few words with everyone. After the last interview there was a special meeting reserved for Deep Space One members. We wanted to recreate the same informal environment that Deepcon (our annual convention) does, or the meeting with actors that we arrange every once in a while, so the small gathering was held at a nearby bar, with gin and tonic, fruit juice, salatini, pizzette and cubes of bologna! And again Kate and Tim showed themselves to be really interested in the people that were there and we spoke about everything... and the scheduled half an hour was more than doubled.
Walking back to the hotel, Kate complimented us; she found everyone fantastic, both those who participated at the Telefilm Festival conference and the DS1 members with whom she had a bit more time to speak. So much that she insisted on coming to dinner with us. You should've seen the face of a woman at the table near us when she recognized her! But the best thing of the night was Kate and Tim's absolute relaxation - they fit perfectly into the group, joking with a nice dose of irony, and laughing with everyone. After dinner we got them back to the hotel and between hugs and farewells they thanked us again for Jimmy's invitation, promising to come back soon, because for them it was one of the most beautiful experiences they've ever had in this field... confirming that Italian fans are a bit special.
I'm left with the certainty that Kate Mulgrew
and Tim Hagan are two extraordinary people, but also with the awareness
that from now on I'll look at Voyager in a completely different way.
Photos - Page 2
Inside Star Trek Magazine