Kate Mulgrew
Captain Janeway in private
(Interview from the German publication - “SPACE VIEW")
(Issue 4/98 - July/August 1998)
(Translated from German to English - Thanks Danah!)

During her stay in Germany for FED CON VI we had the chance to interview Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway). Even though she just finished a long panel, she seemed relaxed and kind during the interview and participated in the conversation with great interest.

Space View:  We heard, that you and John DeLancie (“Q“) are good friends....

Kate Mulgrew: Yes, he is one of my best friends.

Space View: What do you think of his comment on German TV, that he believes “Star Trek" is a dying phenomenon?

Kate Mulgrew: He said that? John! Bad, bad, bad. He said that on German television? Bad, bad, bad. (laughs) He is a bad boy! It isn’t a dying phenomenon, no way. Maybe it dies for him. He played “Q" for many years, he is an unbelievably talented actor. Maybe he’s simply a bit tired of playing the role. But he shouldn’t say that because it confuses people and it’s not true! He is very provocative, he is just like “Q"!

Space View: How was it to work with him on the Voyager episodes “Death wish" and “The Q and the Grey"?

Kate Mulgrew: I love working with him! But it is impossible to film one single minute. He makes me laugh so hard, he is outrageous. He doesn’t respect anybody or anything. He does exactly what he wants to do. He makes me laugh, he is wonderful! He is the most amusing person I know. He celebrated his 50th birthday last month and people from all over the world came to his party. He is loved by many people, but he is crazy!

Space View:  When did you first notice “Star Trek"?

Kate Mulgrew: I have always been aware of it, because John played “Q". Then I was introduced to Patrick Stewart at a party. Everyone said: “There is the Captain", and I asked “Captain of what? He doesn’t look like a Captain to me, he wears jeans trousers!" “The Captain of Star Trek", and we spoke a little bit about it. To me this job was like passing a test, I jumped into the cold water with this job. I think it was good that way. I came to Janeway being innocent, naive and fresh. I didn’t have any prejudices.

Space View: You are a very experienced series actress. What are the differences between “Star Trek" and the other series you did?

Kate Mulgrew: “Star Trek" is harder - much, much harder! In every way! In “Star Trek" there is no place for mistakes. We don’t make mistakes. When I make a mistake, we shoot the scene again. Every word must be perfect and exact. It is important that all of us know our techno babble and it must look natural. It is hard a hard job, but it is a good job!

Space View:  And where are the differences in the atmosphere on the set?

Kate Mulgrew: Sometimes I think it must be like a school ship at war. I think, when it gets serious, the soldiers are focused. But when they laugh, then they really laugh a lot. That’s the atmosphere between us. We can be very serious, some scenes are five or six pages long. Especially when I lead through the scenes, like those in the conference room or on the bridge expect quiet and help. Nothing will be screwed up then!

Space View:  Is it true, that Tim Russ knows everything about Vulcans?

Kate Mulgrew: Tim - Mr. Trek! He really knows everything. He is a very smart guy. Until he starts to correct me at midnight - that’s not good! (laughs)

Space View:  Would you like to see more funny elements in “Star Trek"?

Kate Mulgrew: Absolutely! There should be more comedy and tension! I believe, there should be more arguments and friction, a lot of friction. And that should be compensated with humor. I mean real humor, where people throw their heads into their necks. They are stuck in the Delta-Quadrant together and share the most intimate details about their personalities.

Space View:  How was it to film “Future’s End" in Los Angeles in a real environment?

Kate Mulgrew: That was fun! It was great, to leave the sets and work in a “real" surrounding. We were at Venice Beach in casual clothing, it was really great! But it wasn’t as good as in “Year of Hell" this season. I had the most fun doing this episode. That’s how I like my Captain: hard, brave, frightened and sensitive.

Space View: We got the impression that the farewell scene between Captain Janeway and Kes in the episode “The Gift" was very emotional. Did that have something to do with the farewell between Kate Mulgrew and Jennifer Lien too?

Kate Mulgrew: The farewell scene was very real. It was my farewell from Jennifer Lien, it was a really hard day. It was hard - for myself as much as for the others - to say good-bye to her. The circumstances were - as you might imagine - very disturbing. What you saw in that scene was something that really touched me.

Space View:  How do you like your relationship between Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine?

Kate Mulgrew: I like it. It’s rather a mentor/student relationship than a mother/daughter relationship. And God knows, how much we have explored that relationship in the fourth season. I was surprised myself. I thought “She has something special". The camera loves her, her strength and her unpredictability. We worked very well together. The camera likes this relationship, there seems to be something prickling about it. But we truly explored this relationship and now it is time to get back to the whole crew. I believe things will calm down a bit and that makes the next season even more interesting.

Space View:  Did you ever hear your German synchronization voice?

Kate Mulgrew: No, how does it sound? I want to hear it!

Space View:  We believe that the voice of an actor or actress is a very important instrument....

Kate Mulgrew: Very important! How are the people who synchronize chosen?

Space View: It is difficult to find a voice like yours. Garrett Wang said at Fed Con IV, that your voice is a mixture of Kathrine Hepburne and a smurf. We probably don’t have anybody sounding like that.

Kate Mulgrew: Garrett! You better start to read your scripts. (laughs) That is so mean!

Space View: What do Kate Mulgrew and Kathryn Janeway have in common and where are the differences?

Kate Mulgrew: We share the humanity, compassion, curiosity and leadership qualities. We differentiate by the fact that I am romantic, sentimental and I have children. There are many differences, but they become more similar. When you love a character you portray, then you have to become closer.
Authors and photos: Thorsten Karsch and Tschiponnique Skupin