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Since ending his stint in the Delta Quadrant aboard the USS Voyager, Robert Duncan McNeill has moved behind the camera. He is now a director and executive producer on the light-hearted NBC spy show Chuck. In a new interview McNeill compares the comedy and "bromances" of Chuck and Voyager.
Robert Duncan McNeill on Voyager Humor + Kim/Paris Bromance
Although Chuck is a show about spies, it has a lot of humor (especially geek humor). In an interview with io9, McNeill was asked about how he has handled humor directing both Voyager and Chuck:
McNeill:The comedy in Star Trek is always very subtle, if it’s there at all. You know, Paramount would always tell us that on Star Trek, they wanted to protect their franchise during those years, by keeping it very regal. There was almost this royalty quality felt, like Patrick Stewart or Scott Bakula or Kate Mulgrew. There was this regal aspect that they thought was very important to the show and [that meant] not making fun of it.
Particulary on Voyager, we tried very hard to get light comedy into the performances, even if it wasn’t scripted, to find the humor in the characters. We had a lot of funny actors, and so yeah, it was important to try and bring the comedy. And one thing [that was similar to Chuck was that] one week you could do a murder mystery on Star Trek, and the next week you could do a light comedy, and the next week you could do a romance and action adventure. And that’s one thing we’re also able to do on Chuck. One week, you can have a real heavy romance Chuck episode, and the next week it can be some kind of murdery mystery. It’s not like doing a procedural.
io9 also asked McNeill to contrast the Chuck/Morgan "bromance" with the relationship between Tom Paris and Harry Kim. McNeill stated:
McNeill: Zach Levi has a huge heart. Zach really cares deeply about the other actors on the show, and he takes his position as the title character on the show really seriously, as far as wanting people to be happy and fulfilled. And I think that translates, in the scenes you see with Morgan and any of the actors. Zach [and Joshua Gomez] bring a lot of their offscreen personalities into the show.
Garrett [Wang] and I worked the first scene of the show together, and we immediately bonded. He was a young actor, and in a few ways I was a few years older. I was taking Garrett under my wing in the same way that Tom was taking Harry under his wing. A lot of the off-screen relationship translates [onto the screen].
Much more from McNeill on Star Trek and Chuck at io9.
McNeill & Wang in "Bride of Chaotica" one of the more humorous episodes of Voyager
Chuck returns Monday
Here is a promo.