On Saturday, Star Trek: Enterprise star Anthony Montgomery will be one of the many Trek celebrities attending the virtual premiere and online convention for the sci-fi parody film Unbelievable!!!!!. TrekMovie caught up with Montgomery to talk about his role in the film, his four years flying the NX-01 as Travis Mayweather, and more.
Let’s start with Unbelievable!!!!!. What can you tell us about your role and the movie?
I play the Launchman, and I am in one scene that sends the main adventurers on to their mission. It’s a fun sci-fi spoof. I think I think Trek fans all over the world are really going to love it because they’re going to see some of their favorite past Trek actors. It boasts the most Star Trek actors in one movie which isn’t actually a Star Trek movie. So I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for the fans.
Who did you get to work with on set?
Nobody. Literally, it was just me. One scene by myself. I was in and out. I know Garrett [Wang] and all of those guys got to work with each other and have great interactions. I can tell you [director] Steven [Fawcette] and [producer/star] Angelique [Fawcette] are absolutely wonderful people. It was truly fantastic that they were able to pull this together. And Steven was great as the director when I was there. Everybody on the set was really wonderful. All the people and the energy was really loving. It felt just like every other Star Trek set that I’ve been on because there’s just an inherent love in the Trek universe.
We hear about different sets having different moods, like the TNG cast was wild, but the DS9 cast was very serious. What was the tone like on Enterprise? Did you have fun on those bridge days?
We did. But it was because we were, almost from the onset, the ones that were on the show that could be canceled. There was fun on set, but there was also a level of seriousness because we knew what was at stake. With Scott [Bakula] being our captain, he kept the energy light, but we also put in the work that we needed to, because literally from the first season the worry was that the show is going to be canceled. And then, eventually, it was.
Going back to that first season, you gave an early interview talking about Travis and you said, “I just want him to keep growing.” Looking back, did you get your wish?
No. No, Travis, he was there and I did my best with what I was given to the show and the evolution of the character, and hopefully, the fans got to see it. But there was not the kind of growth that I was hoping for over time. Travis didn’t have very much to do over those four years, the 98 episodes. They had a lot of people to write for and you have to pick and choose what stories you’re going to tell.
When you were auditioning and being cast, what attracted you to Travis? And did they kind of pitch you on any kind of arc or growth for the character?
No. I was never pitched on what the arc was going to be for him other than he was a space boomer and he had more space exploration and space experience than even the captain did. One of the things I do remember them saying was that Travis and Tripp were supposed to be good friends. And then as the show went on, I think that relationship that was going to be with Travis and Trip ended up being with Malcolm and Trip, but I don’t know.
Forgive me for sounding cryptic, but I’m also writing my autobiography right now. I address some of these things in the one chapter that I talked about Star Trek. I have a whole chapter that’s dedicated to my Trek experience. And I have a chapter dedicated to my General Hospital experience, since those were the two major series that I’ve done. I’ve done several series, but those have been the most poignant ones for me. So I will say things but I’m also leaving things out because I’m I’ve written a lot of these things into this chapter on Star Trek. People will actually hear these words from my own mouth when this book is done.
Great, when might that be?
My goal is to be done within the next couple of weeks for the first draft. But because of the way that I write, my first draft will be close to being the final draft. I have four writers that I respect that I will be sending it out to and once that’s done, my manager will get it out to the powers that be.
Since you are holding it all for the book, I will limit myself to one more Star Trek question. You did get a chance to flex a bit more in season four. For example, in the Mirror arc, even though some of your co-stars weren’t so happy with those episodes, you had more to do. Were you cool with that?
I was. [Laughs] It’s funny. I had more to do but less to say. Remember, for my Mirror character he may have said two words the whole damn time! [Laughs] But yes, it was fun. I didn’t have an issue with it, just because it was an homage to all the other Mirror Universe episodes from all of the other series.
You know I actually still have not seen our Mirror episodes. I’ve actually only seen three or four of our 98 episodes of Enterprise.
You know Garrett Wang and Robert Duncan McNeill have started doing a Star Trek: Voyager podcast where they are rewatching every episode. Could you imagine doing something like that?
No, sir. No, sir. Not at all. [laughs] Simply because whatever that time was, we gave our all to it and I will leave it for the interpretation of the fans. I will watch it one day, but unless I’m with my family or something, I won’t do a commentary on it. But I heard our show was really awesome. So I definitely want to watch it because I’m a sci-fi fan.
This may be a kind of brutal question. But looking back at your time in Star Trek, both personally and professionally, is it something that you look fondly at? Or not?
Absolutely fondly. Both personally and professionally. Anything that I did not like both personally or professionally, they are all a part of what that incredible time was for me and becoming a part of the Star Trek franchise. It made me a part of the global lexicon. That’s something much bigger than a kid from Indiana could ever have imagined. And again, these are the kind of anecdotes that I will be talking about in the book.
You said the show was constantly under the potential ax of cancellation. That ax finally fell at the end of season four. Before then, were you holding out hope for season five?
Well, I wasn’t necessarily holding out hope, but I knew that we had finally found our space legs by season four, and we had finally gelled as a cast. We were more than ready to go to seasons five, six, and seven and beyond if that’s where they wanted us to go. I was cautiously optimistic. If they were going to do it, it would have been wonderful. But because I had also been in Hollywood for quite some time by then, I know that usually when the powers that be make a decision to terminate something, it’s usually gone.
There was no reason for us to be taken off the air, in my opinion, in the first place. We weren’t in a good time slot, but I think we still had the best numbers for the network for what our show was. And we still could have been around. I was told that each of the different Star Trek incarnations took two, three to four years for the crew and everyone to gel together. Even the storied TNG crew.
So with so much Star Trek happening now, if the opportunity ever came, you would reprise the role?
Sure, of course, I would! [laughs] I’m an actor, man. That’s what I do!
You have kept busy since Enterprise. You mentioned your extended stint on General Hospital which wrapped up last year. So are you gone, or is there a chance you could be back?
You never know. I don’t anticipate them bringing me back. I’ve not heard from anyone but because he is not dead and they got him out of jail, then it’s always possible.
And he could have an evil twin, right?
Anytime. [Laughs] Even if they killed him, it’s a soap opera, they can bring him back.
You are also in the new BET+ series The Family Business. Have you had a chance to do any scenes with Robert Picardo?
I was supposed to, but I had to film something else out of town when they scheduled the scenes for him and me to work together. Told me, “Hey, we have one of your Star Trek brothers coming in.” And I was like, “Oh, Bob Picardo’s coming in? I love it, great!” But I ended up not being able to do it because of the dates.
I have done seven episodes of The Family Business. The first six are now streaming on BET+. And we are going back. We’re waiting to find out when the Screen Actors Guild will give us permission to go finish filming the remainder of the second season. This is a character that I’ve never played before. I’m playing a Muslim. Brother Elijah is part of a fictionalized radical faction of Islam. My character does some kind of reprehensible things, seemingly well for a good cause. It’s been a fun journey for me, and I hope that fans get a chance to check it out.
I’ve been gone for a minute. Still hibernating while I work in silence. Came up to let ya’ll know that The Family Business is streaming now on @betplus. Please check it out when you get a chance. 1st six eps avail. More coming this Fall. #brotherelijah #FamilyBusinessBET #BETPlus pic.twitter.com/vrE3TaYreJ
— Anthony Montgomery (@MrAMontgomery) July 4, 2020
Unbelievable!!!!! online premiere and convention on Saturday
The sci-fi parody film Unbelievable!!!!! featuring over 40 Star Trek actors is holding a virtual premiere on Saturday, August 1st, along with a virtual convention featuring many of the stars of the movie. The premiere at noon (Pacific) will include a Q&A with the team behind the film. The virtual con is also offering an online “lounge” where stars will pop in and out and one-on-one chats with the stars. More info and tickets can be found at bit.ly/UnbelievableTheMovieTix.
Keep up with all the Star Trek interviews at TrekMovie.com.