TV Guide Online Chat
Robert Duncan McNeill
May 16, 2001

TV Guide Online: We are now LIVE with Robert Duncan McNeill from Star Trek: Voyager! Hi Robert! Thanks for joining us!

McNeill: Hello thank you. It's a pleasure.

Question: If you had it your way, what would be the outcome of your character?

McNeill: Well, I LOL, I think my character has a part of him, that would love to get lost in the Delta Quadrant. He's had a bad time back on Earth.

Question: How much of your own personality is brought into Tom Paris?

McNeill: I think in the beginning not very much. As time has gone on he's become very much like me. Not completely, just a lot of similarities.

Question: Were you a Trek fan before joining the show?

McNeill: I was a Trek fan because I had been a guest star on Next Generation. Ever since I worked on that show I had a real appreciation for it. It was really fun with the people I worked with.

Question: How do your kids feel about all the action figures and merchandising featuring their dad?

McNeill: You know my kids are very jaded to it all now. They don't notice it. My nephews and nieces still get very excited by the merchandise. The toys and the games. My family is very jaded. My action figure is stuck way back in the closet. I still play with my action figures. My kids can care less.

Question: Are you generally happy with the way they've wrapped up the story on Star Trek: Voyager?

McNeill: Yeah. I'm personally very happy with it. I think seven years on a show and nine series regulars is a very ambitious thing to try and end and still make everyone happy. So I think they've done a great job. This last episode not only does it really give every character their own kind of... It honors every character. It also leaves you hanging until the last scene of the finale. I think it's really a very clever clever idea.

Question: You started out in live theater. Now that the series is over, will be looking for opportunities to return to the stage? What kind of play would interest you?

McNeill: I would love to return to the stage. I was just in New York doing a movie for five weeks. While I was there I saw a lot of live theatre. I was getting very exciting about doing projects till I realized how complicated it would be to move my family to New York. Taking them out of classes, baseball, dance. It would take a special pledge, an effort. I'd love to do something in Los Angeles.

Question: I just heard that you are in a movie. Can you give us some details on it? Like, what? when? where? et cetera.

McNeill: I don't know when or where it's going to be out. The movie is called Infested. It's a horror thriller movie about killer bugs. Kind of like the bugs in The Mummy. All CGI. They terrorize a group of friends who go away for a relaxing weekend. We shot near the Hamptons. The actors were all great. It was fun to get out of the Star Trek world and do something edgy. I started the day after I wrapped on Trek. I didn't have that panic of would I ever work again.

Question: Did you get to keep any of your character's props?

McNeill: It's funny. There was this mad rush on the set. I got a couple of space suits and my shoes that I wore for 7 years. I got to keep some console panels from the bridge, engineing and the turbo lift. I got my chair that I sat in for the last 7 years. I just heard that I probably could have kept some of the stage. We had the same set as Next Gen and our show. It turns out the stage was rotting. So they're modernizing it and reinforcing it.

Question: Have you been approached to direct an episode in the new series entitled Enterprise?

McNeill: They started shooting the pilot and it looks like it's going to star Scott Bakula as the Captain. I've talked to people at the studio about directing and I'd love to do that. I've got some other shows I'd love to direct. Dawson's Creek, Charmed and Roswell if it comes back. Directing is a really big part of what I want to do. Cause I got a great chance to direct a bunch of episodes. I'd love to stick around the Star Trek family and do more episodes.

Question: Was it fun to work on the Jackie Collins movie Lucky Chances?

McNeill: Yeah. It was fun. I got to marry Nicolette Sheridan, which she's not a horrible person to get married to. Actually the guy who played my father in that miniseries. He played the character who was my father on All My Children, many years ago. So that was a great reunion to talk with him. And work with the same kind of family, the same kind of people.

Question: Hi Robbie, thanks for being here! My Q: For you, what is the most rewarding aspect of directing, and which the most tiresome? And why?

McNeill: The most tiresome aspect is the hours. As an actor you get breaks between scenes. As a director it's exhausting cause you never get a break. You never get a chance to have a private moment. It's 12, 14, 16 hour days.

Question: Do you have a favorite episode?

McNeill: There's a lot of shows that were really special. One that comes to mind was "Someone to Watch Over Me". I directed it and had quite an acting role as well. That one had some magic and a lot of heart. And I think the fans really like that. And it was a light comedy which we don't do that often. And it had a wonderful love story. I thought it was really good.

Question: Where did you get the idea for your short film 9mm of Love? I thought that was a great film.

McNeill: Oh. Wow. I made two short films since Star Trek. But 9mm of Love was a combination of inspiration. It took the Cupid myth and updated him into a Tarantino hit man. It came from if you had that kind of character, what would the moral be. People want a quick fix to fall in love and they aren't willing to do the work. The work that deep love would take. It had a lot of comedy with Cupid. I love the balance of Star Trek and the mass appeal entertainment, and my quirky stuff, where I don't have to generate a lot of profit. 9mm of Love was on the Sci-Fi channel and on their website. I love the short film format. I've always been a fan of short stories. You get a distilled idea very quickly. You don't have to sit down for 2 or 3 hours. You can get an idea in 5,10,15 minutes I've been a fan of that genre. Hopefully, I'll do a lot more.

Question: Did you and the rest of the cast show any emotion after Voyager ended?

McNeill: It was very strange. We all probably had different expectations. There was a big sense of denial till the last couple of days then it really hit people that it was over for good. There were tears, job, fear. Like I mentioned before, I left the next day and just got back, so I haven't seen anyone since the last day. I know that from day one on Voyager, we had a bond and got along like we've known each other for years. There's something about Star Trek where the casts bond and it's different than any other experience. Because of the conventions, you do end up getting to see each other throughout the year and all over the world. It's nice and keeps everybody connected. I still run into actor from the Next Generation that I met over the years, when I was there. It's great to see them. I love when I run into Michael Dorn, Marina, Johnathan Frakes. We met in Detroit last year and just stayed up and drank. I probably wouldn't see these people in LA. We all have our own lives and it's a great way to stay connected.

Question: You're a fan of author Jonathan Lethem ... which of Lethem's books would you most like to make into a movie?

McNeill: I would love to make Motherless Brooklyn, although I think I Ed Norton picked up the movie rights. And I'm sure he will be brilliant.

Question: Any hopes of a big screen Voyager movie?

McNeill: I know the fans have always said they'd love to see a multicast kind of movie. With all the casts in some epic. I think that's the best chance of the Voyager cast of getting into the movie. The whole franchise has build up a diversity of characters and actors. If the Next Gen cast stops doing movies on their own, we'll bring it all together. I would love to do that. That would be a great experience if we were to to it with all those cast members.

TV Guide Online: Thank you Robert!..for this chat and the last 7 years of Voyager! Please come back and talk with us again soon!

McNeill: Thanks to everybody for 7 amazing years and I hope I do them again and get involved in more Star Trek or other projects. We'll talk again.

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