Live Long and Prosper
BY Eric Henrickson
April 15 2009 12:00 AM ET
Any actor, whether a
Hollywood star or a chorus boy in a community theater
Beauty and the Beast
, can talk about the thrill of putting on a costume and
becoming another person. But add to that the 40-year legacy of
a TV icon like
pulling on that teal, black, and gray Starfleet uniform,
complete with communicator badge, was enough to make this big
sci-fi fan positively giddy.
And the fact that my
character is gay makes the project that much more special. You
don't see a lot of positive gay characters in sci-fi. It's
still largely a straight boys club, with strong hetero
characters and plenty of female eye candy. That's not to say
the shows aren't smart, but the lavender ceiling isn't showing
too many cracks.
So to play half of a
loving gay couple, even one literally light-years apart, as
part of one of the best-known sci-fi franchises in the worldâ€¦
Well, it's that proverbial dream come true.
Sure, it's filmed in a
basement, and we had to delay production one day while a
snowplow was noisily clearing the condo complex's parking lot,
but our props looked just as good as the ones I've seen in
touring Star Trek exhibits. And when we put on those costumes,
applied those Vulcan ears, and stepped in front of the camera,
we were Starfleet officers.
Once we stopped
giggling, that is. As much as we take the project seriously, it
doesn't escape our notice that we're among the world's biggest
nerds. A sense of humor is essential.
But when we watch the
opening credits, see our names as the
whizzes by, we know we're part of something special. Our little
Star Trek family is doing its part to continue the vision of
creator Gene Roddenberry. We're here, we're queer, and we've
got phasers set on stun.
If my character dies
(no one is safe, Miller says), I can still say I had a small
part in Star Trek's enduring legacy. And even "Third
Romulan on the right" charges $15 for autographs at
conventions. Who needs a 401(k)?