season 1 publicity photo of Tom Paris

Robert Duncan McNeill
Prodigy Chat Transcript
August 24, 1995

Moderator: Actor Robert Duncan McNeill, who stars as Starfleet Lieutenant Tom Paris on STAR TREK:VOYAGER, joins us tonight from Los Angeles to chat about VOYAGER's upcoming season. This Monday, at 8PM ET/PT on UPN, you can check out Mr. McNeill and his fellow Starfleet officers in the season premiere of VOYAGER.... But tonight, he's here with you, live in chat. Ladies and Gentleman, Robert Duncan McNeill.

Robert Duncan McNeill: Hi! Thanks for inviting me's great to be here. I can't stay very long, I must get back to the bridge.

Moderator: OK, Robert... Voyager Freak is up with the first question....

VoyagerFreak: Hey Robert, What's it like being on a Star Trek Show. It must be cool. Voyager is my favorite show. I was wondering, what is it like working with Kate Mulgrew? Is she nice?

Robert Duncan McNeill: It is very cool. From the first day we were all one big family. Kate is wonderful, she has a great sense of humor.

probemaster: Is your character going to become romantically involved with any members of the crew this coming season?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Not romantically involved with the crew, but probably with every beautiful alien.

PY BAD: What made you interested in acting?

Robert Duncan McNeill: To get girls.

Archimedes 1: I was wondering if you will be doing more with the character of Paris this season?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes. I had a conversation with Jeri Taylor, one of our producers, and everyone agreed that they had neglected Paris. So, she reassured me that things would get a lot more interesting for me in the future.

Hairy1: Where can I send pictures for you to autograph?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Send them to me c/o VOYAGER.

ParisLover: Hi Robert! Like my nickname? Well, anyways, I think that you, on top of being a wonderful actor, are the HOTTEST guy in the galaxy!! I just don't know how all the ladies on the set control themselves!! Anyways, I would like to know about how much fan mail do you receive a week? Thanks for coming!! I love you!!

Robert Duncan McNeill: They see me when I'm not in my spacesuit, that's how they do it.

PY BAD: Have you stared in any other TV series or movies?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I did a series recently called GOING TO EXTREMES about a foreign medical school. It was from the creators of NORTHERN EXPOSURE. I also did a film called MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE. I did a QUANTUM LEAP episode and a TWILIGHT ZONE episode. I also appeared on THE NEXT GENERATION.

Moderator: Robert Duncan McNeill, who plays Starfleet Lieutenant Tom Paris on Star Trek: Voyager, is answering questions now, live from Los Angeles. Thanks for joining us...

VoyagerFreak: Do you use computers much, considering you live in the 23rd century and all!

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes I do. I have a MAC and a PC. I use my PC for non-linear digital video editing. I use the MAC for everything else.

JP in NJ: Robert, What's Monday's show about? It's the new season, right? Anything you can tell us about the show?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Sharon Lawrence of NYPD Blue will guest star, and I get to land the ship on a planet--it's a VOYAGER first.

How do you feel being dubbed "Lt. Perish" by Mad Magazine?

Robert Duncan McNeill: MAD Magazine--GET A LIFE.

Tv's Dave: If you were not a fan of Star Trek before, are you a fan of it now?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes I am a fan. But it is hard to be a fan of something when you are so intimately involved in it. I am a fan in a different way.

Archimedes 1: How do you like doing conventions, and do you plan to be around Illinois anytime?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I don't have plans to go to Illinois anytime soon... I love the conventions! I was nervous the first time, but I soon realized that everyone was down to earth and I really enjoyed.

x Laurana x: I heard that there is a steamy love scene in a coming episode with Lt. Torres, She sort of hinted that maybe you were the significant other. Can you elaborate on this a little?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I would say Torres does have a steamy scene, and I would love to be the significant other. Unfortunately I am not... yet.


Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes. Yes, and again... YES! I started last season observing the directing process with Rick Berman's blessing. Hopefully next season I will get a shot at it.

Tyche 1: What sort of practical jokes occur on the set?

Robert Duncan McNeill: The joking is non-stop. It's hard to think of just one. I loved it when Tuvok broke into his James Brown impersonation during a mind meld... that's was pretty great.

Tv's Dave: Is Lieutenant Paris going to have any shows focused on him this season?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes. I have already had one which was focused on me and Neelix and a rubber chicken, that was one of the best episodes.

VoyagerFreak: Do you think we, as humans, will be able to explore the galaxy 500 years from now?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I hope so. I hope we, as humans, are still here in 500 years. If we are I think we probably will.

trekker 2: what's it like acting on a hit Television show?

Robert Duncan McNeill: It feels great. It makes the work so much easier. You do better work when the fans support you. You are excited to do it.

Moderator: Trivia time... What popular daytime drama featured Robert Duncan McNeill in an Emmy-nominated role from 1984-1986? We'll have the answer in a few minutes. Please submit your questions to Mr. McNeill now.

probemaster: I saw you on The Next Generation in an episode involving Star Fleet Academy, did you do any other Star Trek appearances on TNG, or was it just that one?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Just that one.


Robert Duncan McNeill: I was in Atlanta, Georgia at a children's theatre as a munchkin in THE WIZARD OF OZ.

mypicard: Are there any new aliens going to be introduced?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes.

Tyche 1: How long does it usually take to film one episode?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Usually about a week and a half.

overp20: How do you feel Voyager is doing as far as ratings, now that the second year is about to begin? Do more people like Voyager than TNG?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I think the ratings are going to get stronger... the shows are getting better. And more and more casual viewers are getting into it heavily.

Archimedes 1: How did you get your audition for the show, and was it as difficult as Mr. Picardo said it was?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Mine was very easy. They called me because I had done TNG. They called me in NY where I was doing a play. I did a tape and then they flew me out to Los Angeles to meet with all the Paramount Executives. I got the job after 2 auditions.

ShyLurker: Do you get along with all the cast members off set?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes I do, very well.

VoyagerFreak: Are you and Tom Paris similar or different?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Both. I think Paris gets to do a lot of things I would never get the chance to do. What makes acting fun is we get to pretend...

Semavision: The Space Chicks would also like you to know that you are our choice of stud on the Voyager.... we would make lots of good use of our long long voyage home... .... seriously... well.. that is serious.... LOL...

Robert Duncan McNeill: I am speechless .

labow: I've never had to sign my name as often as trek actors at a con. How hard is it and do you mind?

Robert Duncan McNeill: No, I don't mind. What I feel bad about when there is so many more fans than I have time to sign for. I want everyone to get an autograph... but it's not always possible.

overp20: How do you get along with Tim Russ on the show. At a convention, he told us that you get away with lots of things, and he got you back for that?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I am kind of the class clown on the set. Tim is very funny, but tends to be the straight man. But he got me with his James Brown!

mypicard: Do you enjoy being a part of the Star trek world?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes IT IS GREAT! I get to live out all of these fantastic stories and visit amazing places. The stories always deal with such big themes that it is always exciting.

Hairy1: What is your favorite Voyager episode?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I have two. FACES and EX POST FACTO.

Moderator: TRIVIA ANSWER.... What daytime drama did Robert Duncan McNeill star in from 1984-86?

Moderator: It was ALL MY CHILDREN, of course....

mypicard: Do you get to give your own ideas about possible story lines?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Not really. They are open to our comments on stories once written. They have such a good track record with stories, and such a good team of writers they really don't need need much help.

x Laurana x: I wondered what it's like working with Kate Mulgrew. I hear she is either very nice, or very mean. What is your opinion?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I have never seen her very mean. She is always prepared and always has a sense of humor, even after an 18-hour day.

Hairy1: Has there been any talk of Q on the Voyager series?

Robert Duncan McNeill: There has been a lot of talk within the circles of the fans about Q, The Borg, the Traveller, etc. I know Rick Berman wants to establish us as different from the other Star Trek worlds... we are supposed to be lost in the great unknown.

labow: What favorites do you have i.e. music, actors, movies, hobbies etc.... .......?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I don't like ABBA, but I like the Carpenters. I like jazz. I also like big band and swing music. I also like the outdoors: hiking, walking and the like.

x Laurana x: Do you answer fan mail yourself? Or does someoone else do it for you?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes, I answer it all myself.

mypicard: What does Paris think of Capt Janeway?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I think he respects her. I think he also feels like she has a position to uphold, and sometimes the situation requires breaking the rules, which he does not expect her to do.

overp20: How do you get along with the character of Robert Picardo--The Doctor?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Not particulary well. I think he's a wise[edit].

ShyLurker: How many years do you think Voyager will air for?

Robert Duncan McNeill: It will take us 75 years to get back to the alpha quadrant.

Hawk X: That is real obvious when Janeway gives you an order, and the way you say, "Yes, ma'am." Are you really like that?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I grew up in the south. We all say YES MA'AM and NO MA'AM.

Dr B Crusher: How much creative input do you have for your own character?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I think a lot. The different colors of the characters come a lot from the actors.

Moderator: Who are your favorite characters on Star Trek: Voyager? What direction would you like the show to take this year? Please submit your comments and/or questions to tonight's guest, actor Robert Duncan McNeill (Starfleet Lieutenant Tom Paris)....

Glindith: Do you think Voyager make it to movies as ST:TNG and TOS have?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes, I have heard rumors.

SHERLT: I would like to thank you for appearing at a Vulkon in Orlando, FL. Roxanne Biggs-Dawson also recently appeared at one and stated that Lt. Paris could not handle Belanna as a"love" interest. He would only cheat once on her. How do you think Lt. Paris might respond to this?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I'd bag her in a second... she would not know what hit her!

Majestic Me: We would like to see Lt Paris become a shark at pool like Riker was as cards... any chance of seeing more of that holodeck program this year?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes, that program is going to be our regular hangout. SInce I created it, I'm going to make sure I am always the winner.

Moderator: Did you know that Monday night marks the season premiere of Star Trek: Voyager? Ask our special guest, Robert Duncan McNeill, for the inside scoop on Monday's episode....Star Trek: Voyager airs on Monday nights at 8PM ET/PT on the UPN network.

Jeep Charoke: On the set, do any of the other acters anoy you? Or do you all get along fine. Do you guys get to together out side the set?

Robert Duncan McNeill: We all get along great. I wish I could give you some juicy gossip.. but I have none.

Shy Violet: Your character's relationships with the crew include a friendship with Harry Kim, off screen are you and Garret Wang friends as well?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes we are.

TECKNO MAN: Are there going to be any episodes with ship to ship battle scenes?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes there will. Look for them.

Spockulation: How many licks DOES it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I have never made it... I always bite.

SHERLT: Will the viewing audience ever see Lt. Paris and Harry Kim meet the Delaney Sisters?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I don't think we'll ever meet them... they are too much fun to talk about... and imagine!

THEBODYGUARD: Whenever the show includes a plot about a possibility of getting home, it is obvious that the ship will not do so as it would be the end of the series. What, if anything, is going to be done about this?

Robert Duncan McNeill: We could get back to the alpha quadrant and still have great adventures! It would not be the end.

LiL ElFiE: Is Voyager gonna get home?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I kinda like the Delta Quadrant a lot better than prison... y'know what I mean?

ParisLover: Hello!! Do you ever get recognized on the street? I am curious to know because you must be just as gorgeous off the set as you are on the set.

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes I get recognized....

Trekher: Are there any changes in cast members this season?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Not that I know of. The cast is perfect... why change it?

Topaz Blue: Are there any plans to do an episode that will tell us more about the incident that got Paris booted out of Starfleet?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I'd love to do it...But Rick Berman wants the characters to focus on the present, not the past.

Trekher: Do you have any movies coming up?

Robert Duncan McNeill: No, VOYAGER keeps me very busy.

Moderator: Robert Duncan McNeill is currently answering your questions as quickly as he can. Mr.McNeill plays Starfleet Lieutenant Tom Paris on the hit show Star Trek: Voyager.

Spockulation: The fan magazines said Season 1 was supposed to have 4 more NEW episodes. Where did they go, will they just count as Season 2, and do you collect a video tape of each episode like the rest of us?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes, I do try to get a copy of every show. The 4 episodes will be part of season 2.

LiL ElFiE: When the ship lands ..ummm...does anyone like die and stuff?

Robert Duncan McNeill: No... I am a pretty good driver. Even though I wrecked my car last night... I'm a better spacship pilot !

LonelyMillio: Kate Mulgrew seemed nervous and agitated the first few episodes. Do you think she mellowed out and relaxed more as the season progressed?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I think what you saw was a lot of pressure by the studio and producers to make a strong acting statement as THE CAPTAIN. I think she was just trying to establish her position. I think it worked fine.

TrekhedTerry: What's it like to be a part of the "Star Trek" phenomenon?

Robert Duncan McNeill: It's a great job!

Moderator: We have time for a few more questions....

kamil: So, how come so few episodes? Does the federation have a budget problem?

Robert Duncan McNeill: We started the show mid-season... but this season there will be 30 episodes, and we'll be starting this Monday.

Imaginings: What is your favorite aspect of your character?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I like his sarcastic sense of humor and his ability to always get the space chicks. He's also honest and I like that.

Scott Bo: How do you think Paris will change and grow this season?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I think this season he's going to become a real leader. He'll be the first one to say "Gimme a shot at that dangerous mission!" He'll also learn to handle responsibility better, even getting to take command of the bridge!

THEBODYGUARD: Do you think that the start of your series' coinciding with the start of the UPN network helped ratings?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I think they were both mutually beneficial.

TrekhedTerry: How many marriage proposals have you received because of ST:VOY? How many have you gotten TONIGHT?!?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I have gotten LOTS of PERVERTED one-night stand proposals... but nothing long-term in nature!

LdySilvrRose: Mr. McNeill, I do wish to thank you for coming on Prodigy Tonight. You are very kind to do so. Is there a phone number and an address where I may obtain an autographed Portrait of you and write you as well?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Send it to me, c/o PARAMOUNT PICTURES, 5555 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90038.

BARIL: Do people scream when they see you?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Kate Mulgrew often screams when she sees me at 5 AM each morning !

Mogh: I heard that you play Doom, if this is true, do you wanna deathmatch me? I'd waste you....

Robert Duncan McNeill: GET A LIFE, and deal with your hostlity somewhere else. I don't know about DOOM... I'm too busy dealing with REAL people.

CE PANTERA: What kind of car do you drive?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I drive rather poorly a CAMARO Z28. It is very souped up.

Moderator: Time for a final few questions with Robert Duncan McNeill.

Imaginings: Has the phenomenon of "Trek Mania" hit you with its full intensity (i.e., Shatner's "get a life" skit on SNL)?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I don't know... if this is as bad as it gets I think I'll be fine.

Dragon76: Do you ever feel a little "Overwhelmed" by the fact that Star Trek fans are very thorough and catch any glitches on the show?

Robert Duncan McNeill: Yes I do. We try our best, but the fans are much smarter than us when it comes to glitches.

Jade O: Do you have concerns about being typecast in a trek role for your acting life post-trek?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I think all of those barriers are imaginary. Just look at Patrick Stewart. I think those barriers are breaking down.

Moderator: Last Question for Robert Duncan McNeill....

KayKay2: Where would you like to go with your career? Do you see yourself staying with television or moving onto the big screen? Perhaps directing or producing?

Robert Duncan McNeill: I think that VOYAGER has been a gift for me as an actor and a director, which I'd like to do. I'm learning a lot just doing this show. I'd love to direct. I'd also like to do movies. As long as the work is fun I'd love to continue acting.

Moderator: Our thanks to Robert Duncan McNeill for a GREAT chat tonight. Best of luck with the new season, Robert. We'll all be watching... Thanks again...

Moderator: We have a final comment from Los Angeles....

Robert Duncan McNeill: It's been fun. Good night all. We're having pizza in the mess hall, so I gotta go. See you all Monday!

Moderator: Thanks again Robert! And thanks to everyone who joined us tonight. Good night...

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