Interview with Roger Nygard
MillionairePlayboy.com: In our previous interview you were visiting Europe and other countries. How was Trekkies received in other countires? Were other countries happy that you were focusing on them?
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Roger Nygard: Itís amazing just how widely Trekkies has been seen. We asked people all over the world for their reviews of the first Trekkies, and that segment, where they critique the film and tell us how it affected them plays under the end credits [of Trekkies II].
MillionairePlayboy.com: How different are American fans from fans in other countries? Or are they the same?
Roger Nygard: We found small differences in every country. In the United States, sometimes the fans go more out there with their expression of Star Trek fandom. The phenomenon started here, and Americans are the most creative with it. Witness the Star Trek theme bands in Sacramento, or the fan films, or the massive conventions.
Germany: They know how to party! And they had the best Enterprise bridge recreations (youíll see Christoph Hees' fan film, Star Trek: Das Vermactnis) and the second best costumes (sorry, but the Italian's took that crownthe best Italian tailors are in Italy).
Italy: Yes, the best costumes. The best food at a convention by far. The best convention location: seaside on the Adriatic. Not just a great convention, but a great vacation as well.
France: The best food that involves cheese, duck liver, or snails. We learned that the Star Trek fans are still not mainstream in France because television shows are not considered a part of culture there yet.
England: The Exceptional Fan Award goes to Tony Alleyne for the amazing remodel he did to his flat, turning his living space into a starship interior, 70% based on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Check out the photos on our site; Trekkies2.com.
Australia: The cliché is true, the Australians really do have a quirky sense of humor. And it also extends to their enjoyment of Star Trek. We met Judith McGinness, who told us, with a twinkle in her eye, that she wants to open a retirement home for old Trekkers, called The Decaying Orbits Home for Geriatric Children.
Brazil: The most colorful, upbeat Star Trek fans. The most varied mix of people. And the best nightlife! A beautiful country, and beautiful Star Trek fans. Sao Paulo is also the largest city we visited, with 14 million people.
Serbia: The heart of the documentary. We were privileged to attend the first convention ever held in the Balkansan historic event. And it was an emotional event as well. There were tears in our eyes when it came time to leave.
But the lesson was that you could take all these people and put them in a room together and they would all belong, because they all share similar beliefs, based on the philosophies underlying Star Trek.
MPb: Gabriel Koerner was the young Star Trek fan from the first film. With Trekkies 2 you give the audience an update on Gabe. How has Trekkies changed his life and what is he up to now?
Roger: First of all, we offered him the gig of doing all the visual effects in Trekkies 2. He agreed, so not only does he star in the film, again, but heís in the main credits as part of the crew. He's now an accomplished visual effects artist, with credits like Battlestar Galactica and Captain Scarlet. Not bad for that 14 year old kid from Trekkies. When we checked in on him this time he was shooting his own Star Trek fan film in his mother-in-law's garage in Bakersfield and we filmed him at work behind the scenes. And yes, he has gotten married. And he gets constant requests to reprise his catch phrase from Trekkies, Peter, this is the worst time you could have called!!!
MPb: Ethan Phillips was a Star Trek actor that you had interviewed and said that he had wonderful comical stories. Now that filming is completes what other memorable moments are there from the Star Trek actors? Who can we expect to see? Will there be anybody from Enterprise?
Roger: John Billingsley and Domnic Keating were hilarious when we caught up with them in Australia. Dominic said the actors are just people too, like the fans, and this is especially evident if you have ever eaten with them. We also met a group of Aussie moms who get together every Wednesday to watch Enterprise and freeze frame on Connor Trinneer so they can check out his butt. We showed the interview to Connor when we got back and got his reaction to it while he was on the set at Enterprise. He said, If I wasn't wearing make-up you'd see me blushing.
MPb: Lately there have been a lot of questions about the future of Star Trek. Star Trek: Nemesis did very poorly at the box office and the Enterprise cancellation rumors will come around again. Judging by the fans from the time of Trekkies to Trekkies 2 is Star Trek dying or is it as strong as ever?
Roger: We asked the fans all around the world for their predictions for Star Trek, not just next year, but 50 or 100 years from now. Most fans agreed that they would like to see the show take a break for a few years so the producers can return to it with some fresh ideas. Actor Casey Biggs (Damar) said, In 50 years they won't be doing ER conventions or CSI conventions, but in 50 years they will still be doing Star Trek conventions.
Everything goes through cycles. Nothing can match the amazing streak this show has been on. No other show can boast two spinoffs and sequels, much less five spinoff series and 10 movies so far.
MPb: With 5 different versions of Star Trek (original, Next Generation, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise) what do you find to be the most popular with fans?
Roger: You are forgetting the Star Trek cartoon series! That's six versions. In my experience the most popular is Original Series by a hair, The Next Generation is a tight second. All the others have there hard core devotees though.
MPb: I read in an article about Trekkies 2 that you were going to pay homage to Deforest Kelly (Bones). How was this done?
Roger: Itís still on my list to do. We didn't get to it. I'd like to dig out the original Trekkies interview footage and revisit that. It was one of the last interviews DeForest did. Perhaps we can include it in an upcoming bonus material release, box set, or Trekkies 3.
MPb: There is a funny theory that all of the even numbered Trek films are better than the odd numbered films. Does this boost your confidence that the second Trek documentary will be better than the first?
Roger: Ha! Good one. Please, tell me when you see it, if we learned from our mistakes the first time and improved, or ran out of ideas. There is only one first time, and we'll never achieve that special first-time magic a second time. But for my money, I like to think we have improved, and delivered an even better movie this time. I hope the audience agrees.
MPb: What is the official release date for Trekkies 2?
Roger: August 31, 2004.
MPb: Now that Trekkies 2 is complete will there be a Trekkies 3? If so what would you like to do with it?
Roger: I hope so. It's all about the trilogy these days you know. It all depends on the reaction to T2. We still have 4 continents left to visit to ferret out the greatest Star Trek fans on the planet: Asia, Africa, India, the Middle East. And you could probably add Antarctica. I'd also like to see what controversies arise from T2 and address them in T3, as we did with the criticisms fans had about T1. e.g., One criticism we got was that we only showed the extreme fans and not enough normal fans. So this time we asked people all over the world to define for us what is a normal fan and what they considered fan behavior that is too extreme. We got great responses and included them in T2. (By the way, I prefer the word "exceptional" to "extreme" to describe the most interesting fans. If you did a documentary about soccer players, you wouldn't focus on the average players, you would focus on the more exceptional players.)
MPb: Besides Trekkies 2 what else do you have going on? Do you have a new film in the works?
Roger: I have so many irons in the fire the fire is in danger of going out. For one project I'm in a partnership with Trilogy Entertainment and producers Charles Bender and Simon Barry to develop a re-imagining of the classic Gerry Anderson series UFO. Gerry is involved as well. I have several other documentary, feature, and series ideas. But if I told you what they were I'd have to have Charlton Heston convert you into Soylent Green.
MPb: Now that you have done both Trekkies 1 & 2 what is one thing you have learned about the Star Trek fans?
Roger: They are a good hearted group. As my producer, Mike Leahy, put it, No matter which country we visited, we came to realize that there would always be a group of people waiting for us at the airport who we could trust with our lives. Our local contacts in each country were of course Star Trek fans, and they would be there to guide us. We were welcomed everywhere. It was more than simply a job, or a learning experience, it was a life-changing experience to travel to 8 countries, meet so many people, and listen to their unique perspectives. We are excited to return to some of these countries to screen the documentary. We will start with a trip to Italy and Serbia. Others will follow later. Check our web site for specific details.
MPb: Thank you for your time.
Roger: Any time. You da man!
Read Lando's exclusive preview of Trekkies II!
See the original interview with Roger back when the filming was just beginning.
Pick up Trekkies (1) from Amazon.com
Tate Blackmore gets in on the fun, check out his look at the Top Ten Hottest Women of Star Trek
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