Before the New York PaleyFest Star Trek: Discovery panel (see report), TrekMovie had a chance to speak with Jason Isaacs about about Captain’s Lorca’s backstory, what was going on with him and Commander Landry, whether or not the captain is a hero or a villain and more. The full video interview and highlights are below.
Isaacs needed to know plans and backstory for Lorca
When asked how much he was briefed about Captain Lorca’s backstory and arc before taking on the role, the actor revealed knowing everything was part of the discussion going in:
Everything is planned in terms of [Lorca’s] story arc. One of the joys of telling a story over 15 hours is you can see things and they come to fruition later. I knew everything [ahead of time]. In fact, it was part of the discussions i had going in. They said “It’s a 15-hour story.” And I said “What is it?” They went “What?” I said “So, what is going to happen?” They said “Well, it could be this and it could be that.” And I went “So, which one is it going to be, because I need to know what his history is.” So, there was a lot of discussion and we ended up with what it would be, where he came from, what he had done, what informed him, and then what the plans were. Some of that changes in execution, but I was in discussion all the time, which made it a lot more fun.
Neither hero nor villain, but Lorca is a ladies man
One of the different things about Discovery is how Captain Lorca is not your ordinary Star Trek captain. The actor would not say where Lorca was on the spectrum of hero or villain, noting:
There are very few people that can be classified in those terms [hero or villain]. He is a guy who is trying to win the war his way. There are other ways available. There are some we see on the ship and he comes into conflict with people, but in his mind he is trying to save the Federation and everyone in it, so if he has to break some eggs along the way, so be it.
Isaacs may not be ready to classify Lorca’s morality, but he is ready to declare him a ladies man when asked what was going on between him and Commander Landry (before her death in episode 4):
I think there is a big something going on [between Lorca and Landry in episode 3]…There is a lot of stuff going on. When you watch characters on screen, the most interesting thing is trying to work out what they are thinking, what they are feeling, and what is the stuff they are not telling you. The stuff they are telling you is fine, and will lead you to the drama. But, the things they are thinking and holding back are what make you lean into the screen. I am not going to lay things out for you, but Lorca is certainly very popular with certain members of the crew.
Wants ‘Discovery’ to spark debate
Isaacs is often outspoken with his political views and he told us he hopes that Discovery starts discussions after the credits roll:
This is 21st century Trek, for our troubled and divisive times. The idea of Trek was to always was to present great stories, but subliminally to show you a vision of the future where people worked together across gender and sexualities and species. We live in times now where we are told we should all hate each other – hate someone of different colors, hate someone of different sex or sexuality, hate someone of a different countries. So, we deal with those things in ways that hopefully start discussions, if not arguments at home.
More from PaleyFest to come
TrekMovie has more interviews with Discovery cast from PaleyFest NY 2017. These will be posted over the next few days so stay tuned.
Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusive in the US on CBS All Access with new episodes released Sundays at 8:30 pm ET. In Canada Star Trek: Discovery airs on the Space Channel at the same time. Discovery is available on Netflix outside the USA and Canada with new episodes made available Monday at 8 am BST.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.