Garrett Wang – Interview

I was never a Trekkie, until that is, I started watching Star Trek Voyager. After that I worked my way backwards. At risk of provoking the wrath of Star Trek fans the world over, “The Original Series” didn’t quite do it for me. Although I loved Spock and Bones, Kirk just reminded me of James Dean hooning around in a space ship that had Cadillac tail fins. With Voyager, and the characters of Kim, Paris, Janeway and Torres I found myself a regular appointment in front of the TV.

So at this years London Film and Comic Con (Winter), when I was faced by Garrett Wang before the crowds came in, I just had to seize the moment to grab a quick interview with him. His reputation as a very nice guy who talks openly candidly is well deserved. I had heard things that he supposedly said, but wanted to hear them for myself, and his observations on Shatner, well, I’ll comment on those at the end!

You’ve said in the past you’d like to do something more along the lines of comedy, like Scrubs set in space. Did you ever pursue that idea?

No, I didn’t, but I still believe in it that idea. It hasn’t developed any further, any more beyond me saying I’d like to see that idea, but maybe you are the impetus, the spark, the catalyst that makes me go on that path now!

I certainly hope so!

I hope so too

And just to clear something up, you were told to play down your emotions so that the aliens would stand out more, how did you react to that?

(laughs) I didn’t, I just shut my mouth, I didn’t disagree, I didn’t agree with him. I disagreed with him in my head. It was my first show, what am I going to do, stand up and tell the boss go screw it. That wouldn’t have been good, so it was really just a matter of me keeping my mouth shut. Of course, I really wish that I had said something, because I felt it was the wrong advice

Latest Star Trek films, have you seen them yet?

Yes I have.

And your thoughts on them?

Yeah, I’m good on the first one, but I’m not good on the second one. The first one I was good on just because I liked the back story, watching them as Kirk and Spock as children, that was cool. But I didn’t think that the second one was very good in some areas. I thought it was a little too cliché, I think Khan, and I’m sorry to all the Brits out there, I think Benedict Cumberbatch who is an exceptional actor, he was the wrong choice entirely for Khan. He is a fabulous actor, but not my choice for Khan, no.

He is great, but he’s not Ricardo Montalban

No! He’s also not Sikh, they should have cast someone like Naveen Andrews from the English Patient. He should have been cast, that would have been beautiful.

Or Maybe Alex Siddig

Yeah, he’s a great actor too.

Talking of which do ever meet up with some of the other actors on Voyager and other series?

Sometimes I meet up with them at conventions, but other then that not really

And talking about other Star Trek actors at conventions, William Shatner, you’ve been a bit critical of.

Yeah, I just thought that if people are paying a very large amount of money to get his autograph that he should at least look at them if they’re coming by. He does this, I mean you can’t see what I’m doing as you’re not videoing this, what I’m showing is of an individual signing and handing over a photograph without ever looking up at the fan who’s been queuing for a while in front of them. That’s wrong, you know. I always tell people this, I love Captain Kirk, I’m a fan of Captain Kirk, I’m not a fan of William Shatner. So I got to make that totally clear. Or TJ Hooker, yeah.

It’s funny you should say that because I’ve spoken with Avery Brooks a couple of times, but when I watched Shatner interview him, it was a spectacular car crash. Some people said they thought Brooks was insane which I think was unfair.

Ah, you mean when he interviewed Avery for “Captains”. No he’s not insane, I think Avery Brooks, I always like to say this. I think Avery, he speaks in Jazz. When he talks to you it’s a very philosophical style of talk that he has, so, I think it’s really to feel out the other person. I mean whether or not you can handle it is interesting, but I think Shatner looked really uncomfortable in that, and I loved seeing that (laughs). That was the best part of that documentary, I was waiting “is there something that’s going to happen!? Something juicy!?”, and then it didn’t, but yeah you could just tell that Shatner was so nervous. But that entire documentary it was the same thing. He would be like “oh, er, Patrick, tell me about when you were in the Royal Shakespeare Company”, and Patrick would start talking, and he’s an incredibly interesting guy and fantastic actor, and I’m interested in what he has to say and then suddenly, boom, Shatner would interrupt with “ok, well, let me tell you about my first acting experience”. It was always about him, you know, turn it back on to me! If you watch that you can see. That’s somebody who is totally into themselves.

And talking about you, what are you up to at the moment?

I’ve been out of the industry since 2005. Everything that I’ve done in eight years has been favours for friends, like right now I’m working on something called “Unbelievable” for a friend, with some of the sci-fi alumni from Trek.

The interview comes to a close and we thank Garrett for his time.

It was great talking to him, seeing him laugh, and his passion for Star Trek is beyond question. His observations on Shatner may seem harsh, but sadly, having been on the receiving end I couldn’t agree with him more. More specifically I remember queuing for ages, photo in hand, to meet Captain Kirk. As I got nearer, I noticed he wasn’t shaking hands, just looking down, signing away furiously, not even looking up, not engaging in conversation. I put the photo down on the desk and walked away. So Garrett’s observations, I find myself totally in agreement with him.

It would have been nice to have chatted to Garrett for longer though, about his love for photography and golf,and about football indeed being the best sport in the world, followed by American Football 🙂

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