Scroll To Top
Arts & Entertainment

Live Long and

Live Long and


One Star Trek fanatic's proverbial dreams come true when he's asked to play the lover of the captain of the starship Osiris in a new Trek fan series -- albeit one filmed in a 400-square-foot basement.

With a flashy new movie coming in May, Star Trek is on the mind of just about every sci-fi fan these days.

Keeping that flame alive since 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis and the end of TV's Enterprise in 2005 has been a series of Internet-based shows lovingly created by fans, and I'm lucky enough to have a Trek history-making role in one of the latest, Star Trek: Osiris .

I'm a full-time journalist, sometime actor, and all-around sci-fi geek. After being an extra in the Transformers movie (I'm "Little green dot running in terror"), I was online looking for my next opportunity when I ran across the audition notice for this Star Trek fan show. I was busy in the chorus of a community theater production of Beauty and the Beast , but it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get my feet wet with real lines in front of a camera.

Filmed on a green-screen set in the basement of cowriter, coproducer, codirector, and star Jay Miller's home, the new series boldly goes (sorry, had to get one pun in there) where the various TV series and movies have balked. Miller plays the starship Osiris 's captain, Kieran Bale, and I play his partner, Lt. Commander Justin Ambrose.

Granted, it's a small role. Since Ambrose is stationed on a different ship, I only appear in one short scene (so far) as the proud but long-suffering spouse of a starship captain. But that captain is gay, and while Osiris isn't the only Trek Web-based series with gay characters, that's still not something you see on prime time.

The first half of the pilot episode of Star Trek: Osiris is available starting Saturday at . The second half is coming soon. The series takes place about nine months after the events of the movie Star Trek: Nemesis , which left open the opportunity for a lasting peace between the Federation and the Romulan Empire.

Captain Bale is taking the USS Osiris out on its maiden voyage, an important diplomatic mission, when a threat from within Starfleet itself threatens the crew of the Osiris and the very core of the Federation.

Miller, who's gay, and his friend Todd Adams, who's straight, have been Trek fans for years. Inspired by the Web series Star Trek: Hidden Frontier , which launched the phenomenon in 2000 and has also included gay story lines, they decided to create their own.

Inexpensive video equipment and improved home video editing software have put these kinds of projects within reach of just about anyone wanting to express their inner George Lucas.

They pulled in their friends to help. When those ran out, they turned to auditions, pulling in some local professional and amateur actors to volunteer for the completely nonprofit project (the only way copyright owner Paramount will allow these series to be made). After filming, Miller spent hours at his PC adding computer-generated backgrounds, special effects, and space scenes.

From the day we did our first read-through of the script, I knew this was going to be a blast. My brownie decorated to look like the Osiris (I ingratiate myself with new people through baked goods) was a big hit, and everyone was so friendly and enthusiastic about the show. It was like an old Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland movie, only instead of a big barn stage, we had a 400-square-foot bit of basement.

A very green basement: The walls and floor were covered in kelly green, and some other set pieces were painted the same shade so effects could be added later. There was one camera.

After some costume and prop delays, I was one of the first to sit in front of that camera. I'd been rehearsing my lines for weeks. So, of course, I promptly messed them up. Blooper footage! And then I was done. Other scenes went on, and I got to be the director's slate guy -- "Scene 12, take 15 [ snap ]!" Or I'd go back on days I wasn't filming just to hang out with my new friends.

Any actor, whether a Hollywood star or a chorus boy in a community theater production of 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 Star Trek -- 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 worldaEUR| 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 Osiris whizzes by, we know we're part of something special. Our little Star Trek family is doing its part to continue the vision of original Trek 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)?

Just kidding, Paramount.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Eric Henrickson