This week, The Celeb Watcher brings you casting news for Trek vets Scott Bakula, Connor Trinneer, Simon Pegg, and George Takei. We also got appearances for Nichelle Nichols and Jolene Blalock, confessions of a Star Trek: Voyager writer, Saldana getting the cold shoulder at a Beverly Hills jeweler, and more. Plus: Win a date with Paul McGillion!
Enterprise stars get new roles
Variety reports Enterprise stars Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer) and Connor Trinneer (Trip Tucker) have won major roles in two upcoming projects. Bakula will play the second lead opposite Matt Damon in The Informant, an espionage thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven). Bakula’s character is FBI Agent Brian Shepherd, who joins with Damon’s biochemist character to foil an international price-fixing scheme. Trinneer, in the meantime, will star in the Sci-Fi Channel movie Termination Shock. He plays the lead role, a “space smuggler” with a beautiful woman as his cargo. (Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn’t it?)
We got more work! Woo-hoo!!!
Takei + Sandler = Comedy Gold
On Thursday morning
TOS star George Takei (Sulu) revealed on The Howard Stern Show (where he has been appearing all week) that he just landed a part in the new Adam Sandler movie and had to fly back to California for filming. He didn’t know anything about the role or even what film it was, but it is likely Bedtime Stories, the fantasy family comedy Sandler is currently filming. And for the ‘it’s a small Trek world’ category, Takei was supposed to be seeing Macbeth (starring TNG’s Patrick Stewart) Thursday night, but had to skip it for the Sandler flick. In the meantime, Takei talked with MediaWeek about the popularity of reality shows like the one he’s on, Secret Talents of the Stars (premiering Tuesday, April 8th, on CBS):
I think people take a certain evil glee in seeing celebrities out of their element, wrapped in hubris and possibly falling on their faces.
Simon back with Frost and Wight + sees a Who
Variety has confirmed that Simon Pegg (the new Scotty) is current writing the third film with his Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz writing partner, Edgar Wright, called The World’s End. Pegg will also star in the film along with regular collaborator and friend Nick Frost. In other Pegg news, he recently geeked out at the premiere of the fourth “series” (or as us Yanks call it "season") of the newest Doctor Who in London. Pegg played a villain, "The Editor," in the first series episode called "The Long Game" back in 2005, but gave no indication he would return to the show. He did, however, call the premiere two-part episodes "wonderful." [BBC]
Pegg going from Who to Trek did the Geek Exacta
Blalock presenting at space tech awards
The US Space Foundation has announced that Jolene Blalock (ENT’s T’Pol) will be a special guest presenter at the 24th National Space Symposium’s Space Technology Hall of Fame Private Induction Ceremony in Colorado Springs. She will also be special guest master of ceremonies for the Space Technology Hall of Fame Dinner… the question is, will anybody be able to focus on the actual dinner? Both events take place April 10th.
Tiffany’s Saldana snub
Zoe Saldana (the new Uhura) was spotted shopping in Beverly Hills this week and, according to E! Online, encountered a very snooty employee at Tiffany’s. She then went shopping at Bulgari, where she had a more pleasant experience. Okay, enough about this, I wanna know when Zoe is gonna talk Trek?!
How could you snub that face?
Nichols at the Backlot
Speaking of Uhuras,
TOS star Nichelle Nichols has invited us all to attend the Los Angeles-area premiere of her new film, Lady Magdalene’s, at the Black Film Festival. The problem is that the screening began Thursday at 7pm, so you’ve already missed it. Bummer. While you’re all cursing me for not bring you this news sooner, check out Nichols’ press junket for the festival below.
But wait, you may have missed Nichols this time, but you can still catch her in two weeks at Starfest… in Denver. Also joining her will be Zachary Quinto (the new Spock) and Nana Visitor (DS9’s Kira Nerys).
Gay Trek geeks highlighted + Fuller on sci-fi
DS9/VOY writer Bryan Fuller and Trek author Andy Mangels are among the six “gay geeks” whom AfterElton believes have most influenced current popular culture. Mangels was specifically highlighted for bringing gay characters into the Star Trek universe via the novels and comic books, while Fuller is seen as “a strong advocate for gay visibility on the shows he’s worked on.” In other Fuller news, the writer talked with The Guardian regarding the popularity of “harcore” sci-fi with mainstream audiences, using J.J. Abrams’ Lost, Ron Moore’s Battlestar, and his own Pushing Daisies as examples.
What Lost did was to introduce a high concept that was dabbling in science fiction that wasn’t hardcore. Battlestar Galactica … is one of the best shows on TV in my personal opinion, yet it hasn’t achieved mainstream popularity because it’s people on spaceships. It works better for a mainstream audience when it’s a much more grounded world with one element. So in Pushing Daisies the element is touching dead things and bringing them back to life. Because I think in America, we need heroes.
Klink talks Voyager
Voyager writer Lisa Klink discussed her profession with Adopt A Writer. Regarding the challenges of writing for a Star Trek series, Klink reveals:
The toughest thing about writing for “the franchise” was the fact that so many stories had already been told in that universe. It was really difficult to come up with something original.
That certainly explains a lot. Incidentally, she also said Trek’s long history was one of the great things about working on the franchise… in other words, Trek’s history was both a blessing and a curse for Klink. Interesting…
Dinner with Paul
Want a dinner date with Stargate Atlantis actor and Star Trek movie cameo-maker Paul McGillion? The Vancouver Province reports that McGillion and several other celebrities are auctioning dinner dates (as well as TV & film memorabilia) on eBay to help fund the cancer treatment for Babz Chula, a popular Canadian actress. The auction began April 2nd and runs until the 12th, so start bidding!
Awww! McGillion shows his love for Babz Chula.
Wheaton turning chicken?
Sony has tapped TNG’s Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) to appear on its web-based comedy channel, C-Spot, according to Monsters & Critics. Specifically, Wheaton will be a guest-star on an episode of Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Show. He has already appeared on Chicken Soup for the Soul, now all he has to do is voice on Robot Chicken and the poultry trilogy can be complete!
Happy birthday, Grace!
The big Trek birthday this week is Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Janice Rand), who turned 78(!!!) on April 1st. Other Trek luminaries who celebrated their birthday this week are:
- Sharon Acker (Odana, TOS: “The Mark of Gideon”) is 73
- Richard Bellis (composer, DS9: “The House of Quark”) is 62
- Casey Biggs (Damar on DS9, etc.) is 55
- James Black (Klingon Helmsman, DS9: “Shattered Mirror”) is 46
- Estelle Harris (Old Woman, VOY: “Sacred Ground”) is 76
- Steve Holladay (stuntman, Star Trek Nemesis) is 59
- Jana Marie Hupp (Ens. Pavlik, TNG: “Galaxy’s Child”; Lt. Monroe, TNG: “Disaster”) is 44
- Jacqueline Kim (Demora Sulu, Generations) is 43
- Harry Landers (Arthur Coleman, TOS: “Turnabout Intruder”) is 87
- Marley McClean (Mezoti on VOY) is 21
- Phil Morris (Cadet Foster, Star Trek III; John Kelly, VOY: “One Small Step”; etc.) is 49
- Rae Norman (Penny Muroc, TNG: “Tapstry”) is 50
- Adam Scott (Defiant Conn Officer, Star Trek: First Contact) is 35
Happy Bday Grace
- Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway) will star in a reading of the one-act plays Farfetched Fables and The Fascinating Foundling at The Player’s Club on April 21st. (TheaterMania)
- Tim Russ’ (Tuvok) hit sitcom, Samantha Who?, will return to ABC this Monday. (KETV)
- TOS director Ralph Senensky will be Ralph Senensky will be included in the 2008-2009 edition of the Cambridge Who’s Who Executive, Professional and Entrepreneurial Registry for excellence in television production.
- TMP model-maker Greg McCune discussed the finer points his profession with Popular Mechanics.
- Star Trek film producer Ralph Winter is producing a new action series for Fox called Man and Wife. (Hollywood Reporter)
- TOS guest actress Elinor Donahue (Nancy Hedford, “Metamorphosis”) discussed her days on the old sitcom Father Knows Best (co-starring the late Jane Wyatt) with The Arizona Republic.
- Maryann Plunkett (Susanna Leitjin, TNG: “Identity Crisis”) will be performing in a production of The Good German at the Museum of Jewish Heritage this Sunday. (Huliq)
- Starfleet Academy superintendent Tyler Perry discussed his vast media empire in an article featured in this week’s Time.
- Walter Koenig (Chekov) will be attending the Planet Comicon in Kansas City, which starts this Saturday.
Special thanks to Tara Jeffrey, Jennifer Kirk (no relation to James T.), J. Neil Schulman, and Mary Jo Tenuto for submitting stories for this column.