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Dominic Keating
at Toronto Trek,
July 7, 2002

Transcribed and annotated by Karen Bennett; photos of Dominic Keating at Toronto Trek by Lynda Ciaschini.

I've had a really, really wonderful weekend here. Thank you, guys, from the bottom of my heart. This hotel is like a time-warp, isn't it? It should be an episode all to itself. You ought to see my bathroom. It's like 1973 or thereabouts.

I don't know what to tell you because you kind of got the best of it yesterday. I'm tempted to go to Q&A and see what happens in that format. So why don't you all rush up to the microphones? Stories will come of your questions, I'm sure.

Someone's going to eventually ask me about practical jokes. We played a couple. We did a big one on Scott [Bakula], the captain—the old fan, as I like to call him. Years and years ago, he was a jobbing actor, much like myself, and he did a commercial for Canada Dry, which you probably all know about. The props department had to rush off and get these green bottles and they made up these Canada Dry sticky labels. They got a whole crate of this stuff together. The commercial was like a really bad Broadway musical. Scott was your leading man, and he had a bunch of dancers, and it was 1976. He had dancers behind him, and they were doing this really tacky number. He had this bottle of Canada Dry, going "Canada Dry, I'm the Canada Dry man." At the end there was some moment—I can't even begin to do it—where he did this wiggle.

Brad Yakobian, who is one of our producers, arranged this little joke. Unbeknownst to Scott, we all got armed with our bottles of Canada Dry. He was in his trailer, waiting to come in to do this scene on the bridge. Ben, the video guy, who handles all our monitors, had gotten the commercial. We call Scott in, and he comes walking in like nothing's going on. Just as we're about to start the take, Brad goes, "Ah, just one moment. Press Play," and Ben hits the video. All the monitors on the bridge, every single computer screen, the big one at the back, starts playing the commercial, and we all whip out the Canada Dry bottles. Me and Linda [Park] started doing the little bit at the end, the shuffle at the end. You should have seen that man's face. You've never seen a man go quite so puce-red in his entire life.

There's a couple of others. When we go in to do the looping, when the sound hasn't been great on the take, there's one moment just before it was coming to my moment to loop in the armoury. The ship was under some hellish attack. It started with the bridge getting really hit, and sparks flying everywhere. Connor [Trinneer] looped in "Holy shit!" over what he really said. Linda went, "Jesus Christ," and Jolene [Blalock] went, "Ow, I banged my head!" It makes a change from those magazine shots she does. I don't 'half rib her about that. "Oh, Jo, go on, do that one."

There was one other. When I do these Creation conventions, they always show the same scene. It's me and Anthony [Montgomery] kneeling down in the armoury, pressing some buttons, looking like we're doing something. Then Scott comes sliding down the metal rail ladder. He landed with quite a thud on the take, and Anthony goes [in a high voice], "Oooh, you scared me, Captain!"

The first thing I saw you in was The Immortal. I was wondering how you liked being on that. Were you really glad to leave that show for Enterprise?

I don't know who was seeing The Immortal; you had to be up at 4:30 on a Tuesday morning. I really enjoyed playing Mallos. He was the right-hand man of the Overlord of Darkness. It was a great part to play. The show wasn't bad; it is what it was. They didn't have a stack of money to spend on it. Lorenzo Lamas, who was the lead, was a really wonderful guy to be with; very generous. Mallos was good fun. Between each take, just to get into him, all I had to do was go [grunting] "Unh" and he was there. I got to wear some sharp clothes and drive around in some snappy cars. He was a real cellphone demon.

If they asked me to do it again, I'd do it. That was a couple of episodes that we did in Prague. I got to be the king of the castle, throwing peasants to wild boars and pinching cheeky serving-girls on the ass-and get paid. It beats working in a haberdashery store. "Yes, I think we've got that in brown, sir."

What direction can we expect to see your character take in the second season for Enterprise?

I think he's going to become the interior designer on the ship. "Where have you been, Malcolm?" "I've just been in the ready room, wondering about the curtains, Captain."

When I first got the job, I was in my supermarket in Hollywood, and there we were—our first TV Guide. I picked it up and I was looking through it. "Dominic Keating, a British actor, will be joining the cast, reportedly"—turn to page 53—"the first gay character on Star Trek." I nearly dropped my sushi.

I get home and I ring up [executive producer] Brannon Braga. I go, "Brannon, it's Dominic. Listen, I know I shouldn't believe everything I read, but—"

He goes, "What, the TV Guide?"

"Yes, the TV Guide!"

"Yes." There's a pause, and he goes, "It's going to be wonderful, Dominic. You're going to be outed in November and you're going to get the front cover of the TV Guide, and apparently The Advocate want to put you on the front cover."

I go, "The what?"

"You don't know The Advocate?"

"No, I don't know The Advocate!"

"It's the largest gay publication in the world, Dominic. The publicity is going to be amazing."

That's when the actor in me goes, "Oh. You know what, it will. I've played a gay character before. What the heck; let's go for the figures."

It was at that moment, when he knew he had me, that he went, "Don't be ridiculous, Dominic." I can't repeat what he said after that.

What was your question? Yes: Where's Malcolm going?

Yes, what can we expect to see from him?

Do you know, I haven't got a clue? I really don't. We get the scripts—I said this yesterday—more than likely, we get it the night before. It's really new to me every time.

I would imagine you'll get to see the flourishing of the Trip-Malcolm dynamic. I notice from reading the first script back, for the cliffhanger, they've reprised that Hoshi-Malcolm little moment. It's a very fun sequence in that. You're going to love it.

Other than that, I really can't tell you. Who knows, I might be designing skirts for the captain.

In the dream sequence ["Shuttlepod One"], what was it like to kiss T'Pol?

Actually, our lips never touched. They were looming, they were moving down, and "Cut!" So I couldn't tell you. They're big lips, close up; they're big lips. Did I say "lips"?

I noticed you were very fit. I was wondering if you have a specific workout routine or a special diet.

I've always liked doing sporting stuff. I've had to watch more lately what I eat; after a certain age you notice that you can't just eat anything, like I used to. I go to the gym. I like to do quite a lot of yoga, and I'll swim a lot. I used to do a lot of weights. If I see one of those decontamination scenes three days from now, "I've got to go to the gym. For all you lucky ladies."

Nothing too regimental. Yoga, pushups, situps. We've lately been doing—what are we doing?

[From his girlfriend, Jill] Body for Life in the Zone.

Body for Life in the Zone. I'm sort of loosely following in the wake of my girlfriend, Jill, who's much more well-read on these matters than me. Workout tips from Keating. You get workout tips, you get interior design tips—

What about acting tips?

Acting? Fake it. What's that one actor said? "The great truth about acting is honesty. If you can fake that, you've got it made."

A quick one, yes or no: Do you actually like pineapple ["Silent Enemy"]?

No. I have eaten it, I will eat it, but it's a rare day that I go, "Oh, give me pineapple."

My fan question is: Everyone here seems to love your presence. You've been great upstairs and in the line. What so far has been your weirdest/worst or oddest fan moment?

It was that episode "Sleeping Dogs," the Klingon one, and there was a scene before we went on the Klingon spaceship when I was in the doctor's surgery with a dreadful cold. I thoroughly overacted there; I apologize for that, people. I thought I was doing really well at the time, and when I watched it, I thought, "Oh, dear God. It looks like I've got pneumonia."

One very kind lady sent me half-a-dozen cans of condensed chicken soup, along with Robitussin, a night nurse, and a gun, because I am The Armoury Man. I know her now; we have met, and she's not at all alarming. I thought at the time, "I think I've got the makings of a stalker." But no, she's a lovely lady, and she's kind of into the show.

You were mentioning yesterday about T'Pol's leotard, and how you would like to sit on the captain's chair with it. I was wondering, if we petitioned the writers of Enterprise, do you think we could get it?

That would be some kind of weird dream sequence, wouldn't it?

I have a serious question, though: When is Malcolm going to get a woman?

When I first got the job, I thought it would be interesting to write this show somewhat unlike Voyager and the past incumbents and actually be something like ER in space, so that it's just human drama but within a science-fiction setting, and have the human drama be amongst the crew members, and then possibly external aliens when we meet them—rather than having the aliens meet us each week and have the aliens be the star of each week's episode, have our characters be the stars of each week's episode. We're getting a balance of it.

Have you seen any really embarrassing trip-ups on set with T'Pol? Anything she did?

Jo? Embarrassing moments? Not really. She's a good actress, and she knows her stuff. I can't tell you that she walked past the chair and snagged her catsuit and it unravelled all the way to the—I wish I could, but I can't. I wasn't there that day.

Of all the conventions that you have done, is there any embarrassing moment with a fan that you could tell us about?

Is this Groundhog Day? I refer you to my answer [above].

Like I say, she was my muse, this lady who sent me the condensed soup. She sent me a lot of Japanese poetry too.

As a man who works nine to five on a weekly basis, I wanted to ask you, what is a typical production day for you?

Mondays, I play golf. Tuesdays, I'm at the beach. Wednesday afternoon, I go in for a haircut. Thursday, I do maybe one scene. Then Friday—it's the weekend!

It varies. Some weeks have been like that, and then other days are 16-hour days, Monday through Friday, finishing at Friday at 25 past 3 in the morning. You never know what they're going to throw at you. But it's good fun. Everyone's really sweet on set, and we've got a great crew, a great cast. I'm really looking forward to going back to work on Wednesday. I'm ready.

By the end of 26 episodes—and I never thought I'd hear myself say this, because I really love acting—I was done. It was good to have some time off. We were tired. It's a long haul.

On Enterprise, you had some interesting aliens. Finally, you got the original Andorians. But then all of a sudden you had the Nausicaans and the Ferengi. I was kind of hoping you'd pass on to the producers—could we see more of the original—maybe an encounter with the Tholians for the first time?

Say that again?

The Tholians.

Oh, yeah.

Also the Gorn.

Oh, yeah.

The Gorn: big lizard guy. The Tholian: rock boy. OK?

Are they big?

They're quite small, but they're very powerful.

I'll pass it on. But like I say, they don't listen to us much.

The Andorian was an amazing episode. [There were two Andorian episodes in the first season: "The Andorian Incident" and "Shadows of P'Jem."]

They're good at the blue skins, aren't they? Jeff Combs plays that fellow pretty well.

They wing it pretty much themselves. I don't know how much of a game plan they have. I think Brannon holds storyline meetings and he throws out 80% of what comes to him. Something will catch his interest and he'll say, "OK, go away and write a first draft," and that's how it works.

I'm sure that as the years pull up to Kirk and Spock, you'll be seeing more of what you all know and love.

When Dean Stockwell was on an episode ["Detained"]—and as is well known, he worked together with Scott on Quantum Leap for five years or so—was there any special event or camaraderie to the fact that they were coming back together?

Now I think about it, Dean had his full alien garb on and these really old sneakers. He says, "God damn it, these shoes are just killing me, Scott. I don't know how you guys work here." He was great fun. If you can talk about golf with Dean, you're really in. He can talk about golf all day long. If you don't talk golf, he just sits there. But he was great in the episode. You could tell that Scott was really pleased to have him on his set and for them to be back in the saddle together.

I want to state without reservation that you are by far the best Enterprise guest we have ever had at Toronto Trek.

I'm the only one, aren't I?

I didn't say that.

I am an actor, but I'm not that stupid.

I thought you'd appreciate an appreciation from a fellow thespian. One of my shows was scheduled opposite you so I hadn't seen you until now. I'm very impressed. I couldn't even see you in the autograph line. I wanted to know, first, if you're even allowed to take on other contracts or guest appearances in any other shows, and if we're going to be seeing you within the next year.

You can. There is a limitation; I think they allow you maybe two or three guest-star appearances during a season. But during the hiatus, you could do whatever.

What are you scheduled to—

Nothing happened in the two months I had off. There were a couple of movies that were mooted and they wanted me to do, but the movies ended up not getting made in that time span. Too bad.

I had a good time off. I bought a house just now, so I was busy shopping at Ikea, quite frankly. There was one other guest-star appearance on a TV show that is coming up on NBC, but that didn't work out either.

Since, as I said, I haven't been able to see you at all and I didn't even get into the autograph line to see you, I just wanted to know if I could shake your hand. Would that be all right?

Yeah. Please come on up. My pleasure.

Very, very firm handshake.

You've done so many other shows that had the supernatural format, like G vs E, Special Unit 2, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Poltergeist: The Legacy, and I know those are all fine shows. Do you have a love of supernatural-type shows, or was it just work?

Being a British actor in America, the voice lends itself to that genre. To be honest, as a somewhat-struggling, guest-star-appearance, jobbing actor, this is the mainstay of guest-star appearance work. Let's face it: A lot of the shows have this as their theme. It wasn't like I said to my manager, "I only want to do stuff where there's prosthetics and demons, man. Screw CSI." It's just what came along. I think that having a theatre background and a British accent sort of helps. Particularly, I know for the G vs E, they were both Russian parts, if I remember.

I'm sorry that show didn't last much longer.

That was a great show, wasn't it? The Pate brothers are really clever guys, and it had a real cheek to it, that show. I think USA [Networks] just didn't know what they had, and they screwed it up with the transmission. They didn't know when to show it, what audience to go for, and then they pushed it around in the second season. But you'll see plenty of Josh and Jonas Pate, who created that. They're clever lads.

I'm sorry Special Unit 2 got cancelled after one year.

Yeah. Again, I did a guest-star on that. I got eaten by a mummy. Hey, it's a living.

And you were a Watcher on Buffy, right?

I was a Watcher on Buffy ["Helpless," season 3]. I chased around Glendale for a good week.

What were you on Poltergeist?

I was dastardly on Poltergeist. The lead guy thought he was seeing visions of his father, and I was called in because this very same phenomenon had happened to me in England. The lead guy's father and my father were friends. Then it turns out that I am my father; I have sold my soul to the devil for eternal youth. There's this wonderful moment in the show when the lead guy and—I forget her name—Cheech and Chong's girl—

Rae Dawn Chong.

—Rae Dawn Chong [it was actually Rae Dawn's sister, Robbi Chong, who was in the show]—are trying to figure this out. There's this photo of me with this huge mustache and this big wig on. Little by little, they're trying to go through the photo to clean it up, and suddenly my face appears, but it's not that sudden. They're staring at me with this fat mustache, going, "I don't know; who do you think it could be?" and I'm standing right next to them, wondering if they'll ever get it. Whenever I see that, I have a good giggle.

What is your favourite episode of Enterprise, and why?

"Shuttlepod One," because I was in it the most. Next question.

It was just a great acting job. It was a treat, and I didn't expect it on this show.

What was your worst one, and why?

Is there a worst one? I suppose my favourite one was when the Ferengi were on ["Acquisition"], because I literally went in for about 20 minutes and went [unconscious] in the chair, and then went off for the week. I was at the beach and I was playing golf, and the Ferengi were screwing with our ship.

I guess sometimes the directors can take a long time finding out what their shot is. I can't really tell you what episodes those were. Sometimes it's so long you think, "Oh come on, man, just make the shot!"

I was wondering if you liked Star Trek before you were a cast member, and if you didn't, if you do now.

I love it now, religiously. As a kid, I watched the show. I was right into Spock and Kirk. I said yesterday [that] I nagged my father rotten to get our first colour TV so I could watch Star Trek in colour.

I always remember the fried-egg one ["Operation: Annihilate!"]. It always stuck in my mind, and Kirk's chiffon ladies. "Oh, she's nice, isn't she?" Then I watched a bit of Next Generation when I first moved to America, quite by accident really. I was sort of interested because we had a British actor in the captain's chair, and it was interesting to see a British actor in an American TV show, which was something I was coming to try and do. As I said yesterday, a lot of actors back home in England were bemoaning the fact that Patrick Stewart had left the Royal Shakespeare Company. "Oh why, oh why, Patrick? You could be playing Mistress Quickly at Leatherhead."

I lived in this wacky place for my first 18 months–two years in America, out in Malibu in this crazy commune while I was waiting to get a green card and trying to get started. I was lorded over by this old ex-peripatetic hippie called Victor, a very crazy, pot-smoking man. We had a satellite dish, which was our one angle to the real world. He said, "Get a TV; I'll hook you up." What he neglected to tell me was that if I did, I could only watch what he watched. Victor only watched one of two things: It was either triple-X-rated porn from Canada, or The Next Generation. Whenever I came in and turned the TV on, it was either Patrick Stewart's bald head or some guy's bald bottom, and sometimes you didn't know. "Is that Patrick or is that...?"


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