Rick Berman Proud Star Trek Gave Tom Hardy And Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Their Hollywood Starts

The official Star Trek site began a new series today which takes a look at the “director’s school” where many Star Trek actors were given the opportunity to direct during Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. They started it off with an interview with executive producer Rick Berman, who established the unofficial program of training these actors to go behind the camera.

Berman takes a special pride in how many of those actors who participated have moved on to have a lot of success as directors:

Oh, I think they’re all appreciative, which makes me feel terrific. In the case of Jonathan [Frakes], who’s still a very close friend, I feel very proud that I put him through his paces and that he ended up setting an example, because every future actor/director knew they had to do what Jonathan had done and they all knew what Jonathan went through. In the case of Roxann [Dawson], Robbie [Duncan McNeill], LeVar [Burton] and some of the others, it’s great to be able to give somebody an opportunity to do something that bolsters their career and gives them a whole new vocation. Acting is a tentative life, and to have a second career is helpful and creative and financially beneficial. So, it makes me feel terrific…

Rick Berman on the set of Star Trek: First Contact with Jonathan Frakes

Pride for The Rock and Tom Hardy

Berman then added that he also takes pride in giving some of today’s big name actors their first big break with Star Trek roles:

[T]here are some actors that we gave a first job to that have become successful. People like Dwayne Johnson, whose first acting job I think was on Voyager, and he’s a world-renowned movie star now. You could say the same about Tom Hardy, who never had a role bigger than a couple of lines prior to getting his role in Nemesis. Now, he’s a world-class movie star. So, that’s a good feeling, too. There’s luck involved in all that, but when you give somebody a first shot and then they manage to take advantage of it and let their talent soar and allow them to build a career, it feels good.

Berman has also posted on twitter about how proud he is to have given a number of actors their starts in Hollywood, including Johnson and Hardy.

It is certainly true that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has had a hugely successful career since his appearance in 2000 in the Voyager episode “Tsunkatse.” His role as the unnamed alien champion of the sport was also a tie-in to UPN’s WWF Smackdown!, which helped garner the episode the best ratings for the show that year. Johnson was in one of the top grossing movies of last year (Jumanji) and has appeared in films with a worldwide gross total close to $10 billion. His next next action movie Skyscraper is due in theaters in July.

Star Trek executive prouder Rick Berman with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Tom Hardy has also had significant critical and box office success as an actor since playing the Picard clone Shinzon in the 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis. However, after Nemesis flopped, Hardy says his life went “entirely off the rails” and he fell back into depression and addiction, which he didn’t recover from until later that decade. Hardy will next star in the feature film Venom, due to come out in October.

Poster for Venom

Berman happy to see Frakes directing Discovery

Berman had particular pride and praise for his first Trek actor-turned-director, Jonathan Frakes, even noting how he has recently returned to the franchise:

Let me tell you that Jonathan was the first and, I think, probably the most successful in terms of Star Trek. He went on to direct two of our movies and then to direct other movies and to do a lot of directing in other television series. After Jonathan, the highlights that come to mind — and it’s years later — would be LeVar Burton and Robbie Duncan McNeill and Roxann Dawson, who did remarkable jobs directing and who have all gone on to careers as directors on numerous television series. And because we had different series, these actors we’re talking about, the four that I’ve just mentioned, as well as a number of the others, would get assignments on future Star Trek shows that we did. Jonathan, of course, is directing Discovery now.

Jonathan Frakes directing the Star Trek: Discovery episode “Despite Yourself” © 2017 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

Check out the full interview at StarTrek.com for more from Berman.

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Harry Ballz

Tom Hardy has never impressed me as an actor. He is mediocre at best.

GQMF

He’s a big guy.

Antonio

For you

kmart

You probably want to steer clear of Brando’s first couple decades as an actor, those probably wont’ work for you either.

(I’ve often thought Hardy was doing an impression of the director on NEMESIS.)

BorgKlingon

LOL. Yea, whatever.

alphantrion

Sometimes if he really gives himself to the role, he is very good, but he often seems to mumble a lot too, which I believe is from the school of acting of Marlon Brando. It can be annoying sometimes and I didn’t like Brando for this fact too, even though he was an imposing actor.

PEB

um what? Please tell me that’s sarcasm Harry….

tacotuesday

I had no idea Tom Hardy went into a period of depression and addiction after Nemesis — heartbreaking.

HN4

Who wouldn’t? What a stinker of a movie.

Jlestr

The first thing I noticed and couldn’t get out of my mind is when Tom Hardy spoke his first line in Insurrection, was his British bottom crooked teeth. Haven^t followed his career. Maybe he’s fixed them now?

PEB

I’m pretty sure he hasn’t. But I’ve seen far too many young British actors with the same thing going on that it just doesn’t bother me anymore. I would seriously like to know why it’s a thing for British people in general though but that’s another story.

HN4

Americans have an unhealthy obsession with teeth.

Dom

Lots of Hollywood actors and actresses have crooked lower teeth.

Chris

What? Hardy is freaking awesome in everything. I don’t know what you think a good actor is if you don’t like this guy! Hard to please

Harry Ballz

No, not hard to please, just high standards. Anthony Hopkins? GREAT ACTOR! Tom Hardy? One lucky bastard to get jobs!

Trek in a Cafe

If haven’t seen him in BRONSON, then you could be fooled. If you see him that film, you will be convinced.

BorgKlingon

Exactly!

BringBackKirkPrime

In fairness, I couldn’t understand a word that man said as Bane. I need closed captioning to watch that movie. I don’t know if I can blame that on Hardy, or the sound editor.

PEB

More-so Nolan than anyone else. He either asked for or approved that. I liked the cadence in which he spoke but sometimes it was just too hard to understand.

Trek in a Cafe

Yes – this was somehow intentional by Nolan.

CmdrR

Sorry, not a Tom Hardy fan. He’s on my D-list, next to Colin Farrell.

kmart

I don’t have much respect for Colin on a personal level, but as an actor, when he works in these low-budget smart films, he is usually excellent. And I think he is an old drinking buddy of Neal McDonough (fantastic in BOOMTOWN, less so in FC), so a slight TREK connec there.

Ian

What’s wrong with Colin Farrell on a personal level? He was a kid in a candy store when he was the hot new thing, but he did rehab and has stopped drinking, cares for a son with special needs, champions the rights of his gay brother and by all accounts is a gentleman on set.

kmart

It was the stories about his early behavior that I remember taking as unforgivable; so I don’t forgive them.

Even so, I still so wish they’d gone to him for Bond after Clive Owen told Campbell he wasn’t interested. I could have bought him as being young enough to act that bratty in CR, and definitely seen him aging into a Connery type, instead of the unappealing thug we’ve been stuck with for these long years.

Paul

Wonder how proud Berman is of the treatment he dished out to Wil Wheaton when he wanted time off to do a movie!

Ian

What did he tell him? “You’re not Colm Meaney?” I assume that’s what he told Terry Farrell as well.

BorgKlingon

Berman might as well hang his hat on this, because taking pride for Voyager and Enterprise wouldn’t exactly be credible.

He righted the ship on TNG, and he stayed “hands-off” on DS9, so he gets credit for those early in his Trek career. However, the latter Berman era, with the pretty bad Voyager and Enterprise, and only one decent movie out of four, was largely a failure, and nearly put the death nail into the franchise.

Tiger2

Believe it or not some people actually do like Voyager and Enterprise. I know Enterprise is the only one that was prematurely cancelled but it seems many people (like me) has gone back to it and now really love it. But I can see where this argument will go, like all the others lol.

End of the day there is a lot of Trek out there, some great, some bad, but most importantly something for everyone. There are plenty of people who don’t like Discovery now, but in the future that might change. I have liked every Trek show although yes I clearly like some better than others. But I’m happy we have it all and so much of it, including now Discovery.

But I thank Rick Berman for keeping the franchise alive and proof that Star Trek is more than just one group of characters or even about a star ship.

TomR

Well said my friend.

Alec Grimes

Love all the treks. Watched Enterprise from the beginning and really enjoyed most of the episodes except for that horrible finale.

HN4

He stayed “hands-off” with DS9 only because he wanted to be “hands-on” with 7 of 9.

Ian

It’s easy to nitpick in hindsight, but he kept the shows on budget, he hired a lot of fiercely talented writers, directors and actors, many of whom have gone on to further successes. Voyager had ups and downs, but Seven of Nine was a pretty ingenious stunt which planned out creatively and boosted the ratings for months. He deserves some of the credit for her. Enterprise also at least got a serious creative boost in its 3rd and 4th seasons, and even though he stepped back in the last year, he gets credit for not rocking the boat, just as he should get for DS9.
I get the arguments of his detractors, but he presided over nearly 2 decades of Trek with a lot of under appreciated successes.

Daniel

I like the Berman era over Disco.
I enjoy the movies of this era more than the movies before and after.

It was a high standard in my opinion.

Tiger2

Star Trek has always been like Law and Order to me in the sense that so many actors in their early careers have been on it and later became bigger stars. Its quite amazing when you realize how many actors who did a guest star role trying to catch a break would become bigger TV and move stars later. Of course tons of well known actors have done it as well like we are seeing in Discovery now.

And I actually remember when Nemesis was coming out and there was SO much talk about Tom Hardy. And there was a lot of hype around his character and they kept saying he’s going to be a big star because of it. Of course that was just hyping the film but it is true he did end up becoming a big star. I’m not sure if they can say because of the movie lol but I think they were right when they hired him they saw something special and why there was so much promotion over an unknown actor.

I kinda dig that episode of Voyager.

BringBackKirkPrime

I think Tom Hardy is fair, but The Rock got his start in the WWE, and his episode of Voyager meant nothing toward his acreer. Had someone else been cast in that role on Voyager, The Rock would STILL be exactly where he is.

If Berman wants to talk about a great actor that DID appear on Voyager, I would say Daniel Dae Kim.

I did not like Voyager as a series at all. I thought it was unoriginal, terrible writing, and a disgrace to Star Trek as a whole. I haven’t watched since it aired. So 20 years later, give or take, I still remember a rare episode that I actually liked–Blink of an Eye, and the reason I remember that episode was because of the performance of guest star Daniel Dae Kim. Kim didn’t get his START on Voyager, but I think that was the first time I saw him, and he really stood out. So I was glad seeing him in Lost and Hawaii Five O.

Curious Cadet

@BringBackKirkPrime — I think Berman is applying a bit of revisionist history with respect to his role in any of this. As part of the DGA contract the producers are required to give numerous opportunities to new directors throughout a season. Many staff and crew have been given those opportunities. Those that are good at it, will continue, those that aren’t won’t. As an EP, he certainly can take more credit for green lighting a director than either of those two top stars. The Rock was likely not even a choice on his part, but rather a demand made by the network and studio, and ultimately as you say had no bearing on his career. In fact, his appearance likely did more for Berman than Berman ever did for the Rock. And Berman likely did little more than rubber stamp Stuart Baird’s choice of Hardy. Indeed, if I were going to give credit to anyone, it’s likely Patrick Stewart and Stuart Baird. If I had to guess, I’d bet Berman actually fought it.

Alec Grimes

That is prehaps my favorite Voyagee episode. Blink of an eye could have made for a great big screen movie. Very emotional episode. Especially the end . After voyager warps off…you know he …in their time…is long dead.

Danpaine

Tom Hardy is pretty much my favorite actor out there today. Whatever role he takes on, movie or tv, he knocks it out of the park. Just excellent.

ML31

OK. I’ll be the first to say it. Dwayne Johnson is a terrible actor. Action stars don’t need to be great but the fact is Arnold Schwarzenegger is Oscar worthy compared to Johnson. And to be fair, maybe part of it is that Johnson hasn’t been in any good movies ever. Let’s see what he can do if he had a little quality to work with.

HN4

Rick Berman killed Star Trek.

Dom

Dwayne Johnson was already famous. Poor Tom Hardy’s career was almost tanked by Star Trek. Best thing ever did was bulk up and cover himself with tattoos. Not a hint of Shinzon there to remind anyone of that disaster! :D

Maybe cast him as Picard in the Kelvin-verse though. He’s seven years younger than Patrick Stewart was when TNG first aired.

Dom

Poor Tom Hardy’s career was almost tanked by Star Trek. Best thing ever did was bulk up and cover himself with tattoos. Not a hint of Shinzon there to remind anyone of that disaster! :D

Maybe cast him as Picard in the Kelvin-verse though. He’s seven years younger

Dom

No idea how variant posts appeared hours apart…