Today was the first day of voting for Emmy nominations and CBS boosted their FYC campaign for Star Trek: Picard with a new extended behind-the-scenes video and more.
Ready Room talks to Patrick Stewart and goes behind the scenes on the making of Picard
Today CBS released a special version of the official Star Trek web series The Ready Room hosted by Wil Wheaton, focusing mainly on the making of Star Trek: Picard, but also featuring a nice interview between Wheaton and Sir Patrick Stewart. During the chat Stewart gave an update on season two:
I had some encouraging news only yesterday about when we might be starting again. All these predictions are based on the best possible circumstances. I can tell you that CBS is utterly committed to another season of our show utterly committed. It’s going to happen. Other than that, I’m not being provocative, but I’m actually I don’t have much to tell you.
The video (which you can see below) also features a tour of La Sirena sets from production designer Todd Cherniawsky, a look at how creatures go from design to makeup with creature designer Neville Page and makeup designer James MacKinnon, and a discussion of the wardrobe with costume designer Christine Clark.
Stewart talks politics of Picard
Sir Pat was also the featured guest on today’s episode of NPR’s Fresh Air. During the interview, he talked about how Star Trek: The Generation evolved in terms of how it dealt with contemporary issues, and how it was important to him that Star Trek: Picard continued to take on issues of the day:
[Gene Roddenberry] made it perfectly clear to me that although he didn’t mind referencing the present day a little, he was not going to get the [Star Trek: The Next Generation] caught up in contemporary politics or contemporary society and so forth. And I respected that. When Rick Berman took over, that changed a little. And Rick was more interested, which stimulated me in talking, making connections. Well, it became perfectly clear that Alex [Kurtzman] and the team on “Picard” felt a responsibility to do that. And that impressed me a lot. You know, I’ve been an activist all my life, certainly politically. And we were living in a society two years ago when all this began in which there were profound concerns about not only whether U.K. or the USA but where the world was going. And so I was affected by that.
When NPR’s Sam Brieger brought up how he admired the utopian vision of TNG, Stewart said he believed Picard continued that optimism, but it took some time to get there:
I think that we have been fulfilling that in the series “Picard.” You know, the whole issues of international problems of of refugees, of organizations, whether it’s Starfleet or the Conservative Party in London (laughter) changing what they are, what they were and what their priorities were. So we did reflect that. I mean, even so, it was very modestly done in “Picard.” But it gave me a sense that we were behaving responsibly.
I think that “Star Trek: Picard” is still fundamentally optimistic, although it has taken Jean-Luc a whole season to bring himself around to that belief. When we first meet him, he is a rather severely depressed, anxious, guilt-ridden, bored old man. Well, some of those elements vanish during the course of the first season, I’m happy to say, although it was very interesting to have to perform them, to act them and make them real. And I am sure that whenever we get to start shooting Season 2, which we will shoot, that will continue in the same way.
The wide-ranging interview (which you can listen to below) covered a lot of ground, including Stewart’s difficult childhood and early years.
The level of hype for the Picard FYC campaign also ramped up today on Twitter, including a bit of Academy shaming on the part of CBS, pointing out that no actor has ever won an Emmy for their work on Star Trek.
— Star Trek on CBS All Access (@startrekcbs) July 2, 2020
Some epic reunions. Does it get any better than seeing guest actors @BrentSpiner, @jonathansfrakes, and @JonathanDelArco on screen with Patrick Stewart? #FYC #StarTrekFYC #StarTrekPicard pic.twitter.com/xCF4XEzoff
— Star Trek on CBS All Access (@startrekcbs) July 2, 2020
And actor Jonathan Del Arco got in on the action, with a bit of humblebragging about being part of the Emmy campaign along with the likes of Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis.
— Jonathan Del Arco (@JonathanDelArco) July 2, 2020
MORE on the making of Picard from CG sets to getting away from Seven’s catsuit
Visual effects supervisor Jason Zimmerman spoke to Variety about the Mars sequence and Borg cube, and some of the less obvious visual effects:
We extended the Borg cube interiors [through VFX]. I enjoy doing the invisible stuff because they see the breakdowns and they don’t even realize what we’ve done. They were just so much fun to do because the Borg cube is such a part of the “Star Trek” world and a big deal in the universe. The bridges of both the Federation and Romulan ships were all CG. Typically, we’ve built those in the past, but in this particular instance, it made it more fun to do it as CG, and most people don’t realize. It’s subtle and refined.
He was also interviewed by VFX Voice, going into some detail on his team’s process and the tools they use to create the effects for Picard. He also spoke in general about the approach the show took:
There was a specific tone planned for the show’s visuals right from the beginning, and that aesthetic breaks some from what had been seen in past series. We felt justified, given that a lot of time has passed for this character between his last appearance [in 2002]. Making it look more cinematic was an important concern, plus our new dramatic situation informed our choices, with more happening on various planets.
And finally, Gold Derby has another interview with costume designer Christine Clark, who talked about the motivation to use certain materials for Jean-Luc Picard’s wardrobe:
I think oftentimes synthetic becomes the old reliable and there’s where you get that feeling. And because Picard is a lover of history and an archivist and a reader of paper books even in 2400, we really wanted to keep ahold of a lot of the natural materials, especially in … the beginning of the series. We eventually get into lots of synthetics [when he goes to space], but we transition,” Clark said. “We made almost everything that Patrick wears in the series. In the beginning, yes, it was very much grounded in natural materials — cotton, wool, linens — and doing blends of those. Because the ability to create depth of color and get textures and mixtures of those things without that glossy feeling, those materials are definitely the best. And they have an old-world feeling.
Clark also talked about working with actress Jeri Ryan on changing Seven of Nine’s look and moving away from the catsuit:
We both very, very, very much wanted to get away from the sleek, hourglass, sexy catsuit from ‘Star Trek: Voyager,’ It just didn’t fit the story and we wanted to show time passing for that character as well. So as much as we have reverence for that hourglass silhouette … we’re doing in a very different way, and the way to do that now is to show her power and strength physically for the journey that she’s on now. But again, using texture and knitwear to create a connection. We didn’t want to feel so distant from these characters that they were so far in the future that we couldn’t be emotionally connected to them. If you’re going to be kicking ass all the time, you should be able to do a little roundhouse.
Much more from the costume designer in the full video interview below:
Keep up with everything Star Trek: Picard at TrekMovie.com.