Dominic Keating of STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE Talks Blu-ray Discs & More
Just in time for the tenth anniversary of the last STAR TREK series, which was also the "first" series - the prequel series, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE, CBS and Paramount have released the second season in a six-disc Blu-Ray set.
Notably, for the first time since the series ended, the entire cast, led by Scott Bakula, assembled in one place to talk about the show. The conversation was filmed, and is included on the Blu-Ray set as an extra feature.
At Dragon Con in Atlanta, over Labor Day weekend, ENTERPRISE cast member Dominic Keating, who played armory officer Lieutenant Malcolm Reed on the NX-01, spoke to us, to a small group of his fans, and to a fairly large crowd of STAR TREK fans who wanted to know more about the Blu-Ray set, the show, and cast member updates. We've gathered the pertinent information for Trek fans here, courtesy of Mr. Keating. Aside from ENTERPRISE, Keating has starred in Showtime's CHROMIUMBLUE (aka CHROMIUMBLUE.COM) directed by Zalman King, in THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN with Burt Reynolds, and notably with Tim Allen in JUNGLE 2 JUNGLE as well as starring in SPECIES 4. Previously, while still working in England, he was one of the stars of the popular Channel 4 series, DESMONDS.
Many fans of the Trek franchise are familiar with some of the earlier series' infamous "blooper reels," collections of outtakes from various episodes that crew deemed especially funny. There aren't any for ENTERPRISE, Keating explains, and therefore none to be found as extras on the Blu-Ray. "We'd get the scenes for the next day's shooting just before we'd leave the set. They were really controlling on our knowing what would happen, as well as what we said. There was absolutely no room for improvisation or replacing a word, and they didn't keep the missed takes about."
While he may have stuck tightly to the script, Keating reveals that there was still plenty of room for him to cut loose - as the ship's armory and security officer, he was the one to settle scores physically. "It was great Being the action man on the show. The captain fouls up, and then Malcolm walks in. My big fight scene with Stephen Culp - we rehearsed that for eight or ten hours the day before filming it. We came in second for the fight awards that year, right behind THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, and they had - what? Six weeks to rehearse? We were proud of that scene, I tell you."
But what Keating really enjoyed about his character, Reed, was his depth. "The nice thing was that he got to be so contradictory. It's more fun than Being a two-dimensional character." He found that especially true in the infamous "Section 31" episode in which his loyalties to the ship were divided with his past undercover work for Starfleet's Rogue intelligence organization. Reed's idiosyncracies were also tested in the show's "Mirror Universe" episodes, in which the crew were in Trek's Mirror Universe original series uniforms, and Reed, as head of armory and security, was a major - a higher rank than he had in the "regular" Trek universe - but was also a redshirt. He also got to be slightly piratical. But the fun of the episodes was tempered by bad news: "It was in The Middle of shooting our Mirror Universe episodes that we got told we were cancelled. It was a tough little period."
"It was a fine time in my life, and luckily, I was old enough to appreciate it. There's a certain thrill to driving through those iconic Paramount gates every day."
Unlike many actors in later Trek series, Keating is a fan of the original series starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. "I was a huge fan of the original show. I would run home from school to watch it. The episode that had what looked like fried eggs on the ceiling still sticks in my memory. And Kirk's chiffon-clad alien ladies were my first foray into erotica at age nine." His family was also the first on their block to have a color television, and he recalls running outside to tell friends the ship's officers' uniform colors.
Many ENTERPRISE fans have expressed disappointment with the series finale - which is not on the Season Two Blu-Ray. Keating is more sanguine. "I didn't have a problem with the series finale. I found out recently that Scott Bakula had made a call to the production offices complaining. That surprised me. I think the device used to get Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis into the episode was a little clunky, but Robert and Brannon [producers Robert Berman and Brannon Braga] had seventeen years of Trek production between them and of course they wanted to wrap that up, since it looked - and looks - as if that was the end of the television franchise."
Keating reveals that he did audition for the first J.J. Abrams STAR TREK film, when there had been going to be a plot line about Kirk on the farm in Indiana. I read for that - I was back a couple of times. Then I suppose they did due diligence and found out I'd been on one of the series."
Fans at his panel asked additional questions of Keating about individual episodes of ENTERPRISE, followup on anecdotes told at previous science fiction conventions, and on his work in JUNGLE 2 JUNGLE.
What are he and the rest of the cast doing currently? Aside from voice work on a number of popular electronic games, "I love playing bad guys. I've played a lot of bad guys since ENTERPRISE went off. Did you see my CSI: NEW YORK episode? I was a badass in that. It's fun to play bad." Keating's also been an Irish motorcycle thug on SONS OF ANARCHY. He may be playing again, though bad or good he's not sure, with a possible recurring role in Brannon Braga's upcoming WGN America series, SALEM. "It's rather True Blood meets GRIMM, with a backdrop of early Salem, Massachusetts. They're building a mini-Salem in Lousiana for it. I had lunch with Brannon in Las Vegas, and he sent me the pilot script. There's nothing for me in that, but there may be something recurring." John Billingsley, who played Dr. Phlox, is preparing to star in the upcoming CBS series, INTELLIGENCE, slated to start in February. Scott Bakula was recently in the HBO made-for-television movie, LIBERACE: BEHIND THE CANDELABRA, for which he received an Emmy nomination.
The Blu-Ray set has just been released (it became available at the end of August) and features 1080p high definition picture and remastered 7.1 sound. Official retail price is $120.99. It's available online at Amazon.com and other online retailers.