Tim Russ America On-Line Chat Transcript

OnlineHost: Critics' Choice is delighted to welcome Tim Russ, who stars as Tuvok, on STAR TREK: VOYAGER.

OnlineHost: Tuvok is a Vulcan who serves as the Starfleet Tactical/Security Officer aboard the Starship U.S.S. Voyager in STAR TREK: VOYAGER, the newest installment in the highly successful STAR TREK franchise.

OnlineHost: When the Starship U.S.S. Voyager is caught up in a strange occurrence that takes it to the far reaches of the galaxy, Tuvok's powerful combination of wisdom, experience and physical skills make him a valued addition to the crew.

OnlineHost: Born into a military family in Washington, DC, Tim was raised on Airforce bases around the world. He and his younger brother and sister spent time in the Orient and the Middle East before his family finally settled in Sacramento.

OnlineHost: Tim feels there is a direct correlation between growing up in a military family and being an actor... each have elements of insecurity; each make you adapt to change; and both are unpredictable by nature.

OnlineHost: Ironically, Tim had a long history with STAR TREK even before landing his current role as Tuvok. He played a humanoid terrorist in an installment of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION; he appeared as T'Kar, a Klingon mercenary, in several episodes of STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE.

OnlineHost: When not acting, Tim finds time to indulge his other passions -- writing and music. An accomplished guitarist and vocalist, Tim has performed in a number of bands and stage productions over the past 20 years. In addition, a public service announcement he wrote called THE ZONE won the Sony Innovators Award.

OnlineHost: The new season premier of STAR TREK: VOYAGER airs tomorrow night, Monday 8/28 at 9:00 PM (ET/PT) on UPN. Welcome, Mr. Russ!

CSEmcee3: Good evening and welcome to America Online, Tim Russ!

TRussLive: Nice to have a chance to chat with everyone!

Newsmann: I'm Critic's Choice TV critic, Bill Mann. Hi, all. Tim: Aside from Janeway's new 'do, any other big changes planned this season?

TRussLive: Not any BIG changes. The first few episodes will be dealing with characters that we didn't see a lot of last season.

Question: In the first season of Voyager, Tuvok showed his belief in loyalty and duty to both Starfleet and Capt. Janeway; how would you like to see your character evolve in season two?

TRussLive: I think we would like to explore his "Achilles Heel" of the character. Also where myself and Capt. Janeway came from, our background, our weaknesses -- sort of how we "evolved."

Question: Do you find it difficult acting "emotionless" as a Vulcan on Star Trek: Voyager?

TRussLive: I do find it difficult. When you're opposite of a character who's showing you hostility or passion, sometimes you find yourself feeling emotions. It's tricky remaining neutral.

Question: Robert Duncan McNeill (Lt. Tom Paris) says you do quite a rendition of James Brown during mind melds. Can you tell us what inspired this?

TRussLive: It was inspired by his consistent harassment of the other characters! During that scene. we decided that I would scream "I Feel Good" as a joke. It caused him to have to shoot the next four takes with that in mind. It was a payback!

Question: What is all the buzz about Capt. Janeway's hairstyle?

TRussLive: They're changing her hair based on what they'd like to see. I don't understand why it's a big deal to them, but it is. Control is in the hands of the producers! We have to go head to head with them to get things changed. Basically, they can't make up their minds! :)

Newsmann: Yours was the only UPN show not canceled last season... does that create added ratings pressure?

TRussLive: Not at all! They know that Star Trek had it own "built-in" audience that gives the Network great support. I think we'll have more viewers this season!

Newsmann: You said it was hard being "emotionless." Couldn't you just ask Shatner?

TRussLive: That's cold! I don't think he was. I think he was anything but. He's over-the-top!

Question: How did you prepare for the role of Tuvok?

TRussLive: I tried to memorize the dialogue. I have to decide how to play each scene. Something may be written one way... and I'll decide to play it differently. Memorization is the most important task.

Question: I saw you in "Generations" -- is that how you were chosen for "Voyager"?

TRussLive: Rick Berman, the producer, asked me to read for Voyager. The character was older originally. They decided that they didn't find anyone right for the part, so they changed the age. When that happened, Rick called me. He wanted me as a regular, so when they had an opening, there I was. I also read for Deep Space Nine.

Question: Can you tell us a little about the Voyager season premier?

TRussLive: A little? :)

TRussLive: We are cruising through space... we discover a rough trail... we discover that the trail leads to a red 1937 pickup truck... that's all I can say! :) Watch it! It will be a first!

Question: How many episodes for this season have been filmed?

TRussLive: For the new season, four from last season that haven't been aired and four new ones... so 8.

Question: Who would you say flubs the most lines?

TRussLive: Robert Beltran! (Chakotay)

Question: What is your favorite episode so far?

TRussLive: Ex-post facto! Because it was the first opportunity to see how the character works. When I did the mind-meld, it was a first person revelation! Quite fascinating!

Question: Have any Voyager fans started recognizing you on the street yet?

TRussLive: The percentage of recognition has increased by probably 30%. I get 4-5 people daily that recognize me.

Newsmann: Sharon Lawrence from NYPD Blue guest-stars on Monday's premiere -- she plays Amelia Earhart. Does she tell you where her plane disappeared?

TRussLive: Well! She didn't. It's a neat idea to have her there though. I didn't get a chance to work with her directly.

Question: Tim, are there any further plans to have you cross over to DS9 again?

TRussLive: That I don't know. I really enjoyed it at the time... anything is possible!

Question: Who is your favorite actor/actress?

TRussLive: A couple... Peter O'Toole, William Marshall, Sidney Poitier. Actresses -- that's tricky -- Sigourney Weaver. Linda Hamilton is great also.

Question: Will you be doing any other acting besides Trek this year or next?

TRussLive: Not until maybe next year. I'd like to produce my own feature project next summer. I will probably be in it also. I'd like to use my position on Voyager to launch a production career of my own! It's necessary to do that nowadays. For security reasons, I'd like to do that in the future.

Question: Hello, Tim! Have you ever met Leonard Nimoy and asked his input on how to play a Vulcan?

TRussLive: No. I was already aware of how to do the character. I didn't need to look back at his work. I've read books and I watched the show for a long time. I had the right voice and personality. I did meet him briefly recently. He said "I know who you are!"

Question: Tim, where are you typing from tonight?

TRussLive: I'm in the great city of Los Angeles!

Newsmann: Tim: You're on opposite "Fresh Prince and "The Nanny...." Great time spot -- not much crossover audience there, is there?

TRussLive: No, it isn't! Is Melrose still there too? However, I think it's two completely different audiences. We'll have to go head to head with Monday night football though! That might hurt! We'll see what happens! Everyone records things now!

OnlineHost: All good things must come to an end! Time has run out for this event!

CSEmcee3: It has been a pleasure to have you join us tonight, Tim.

Newsmann: Thanks, Tim.

TRussLive: Thank you so much! We're starting on Monday night -- please enjoy! Good night!

CSEmcee3: Thanks also to Newsmann from Critics' Choice for joining us. Good evening!