TRIPPIN'


As the new season of ENTERPRISE storms UPN in the US, we ask engineer Commander Charles 'Trip' Tucker III, other known as Connor Trinneer, 10 vital questions!

As the second season of Enterprise unfolds in the US, Connor Trinneer is still learning the intricacies of Star Trek and the inner workings of stardom. Dreamwatch catches up with the actor - who co-stars on the series as Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III, the ship's good old boy chief engineer - several weeks into production on year two. It's clear that he's content, sometimes a little overwhelmed by it all and trying his darnedest not to take himself too seriously...

Dreamwatch:

What did you get up to during your hiatus between seasons one and two?

Connor:

My girlfriend and I went to Europe for a month. We went to Provence and Northern Italy. It was great. I'd never been to that particular part of Europe before and we had a lovely time. It was nice to be able to do it with more than a couple of coins in my pocket than I ever had before. We did some of the things that you'd like to do on vacation that you might not have been able to afford before.

Dreamwatch:

Were you recognized in Europe?

Connor:

I only got recognized once. That was in a small town called St.Paul Devance, outside of Cannes. This guy was running a little villa where we were staying. He had a satellite feed from England, and he was a big Trek fan. It's one of the few times I had a real perk. We walked in and he didn't know who I was. He said "Wait a minute. Who are you? Are you an athlete? What do you do? I guess he thought I looked familiar. I asked him if he watched Star Trek. He said "Oh my gosh". He's a huge fan. He bumped us up to the honeymoon suite and didn't charge us any more money and gave us the run of the place. That was fun! That was the only time. I think that if I were to go next year it might be a different story.

Dreamwatch:

The writers spent a good portion of last season establishing a triumvirate of sorts between Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) T'Pol (Jolene Blalock) and Trip. How surprised were you by the amount of screen time devoted to the three characters together?

Connor:

To be honest with you I didn't know that was going to be the deal. I didn't know that they were modeling Archer-T'Pol-Trip after Kirk-Spock-McCoy from the original series. When I opened up the pilot script I really had no clue that I'd have the size of role that I do. It was a little bit nerve-wracking but it was also a challenge and I'm up for any challenge. So it was nice.

Dreamwatch:

How would you characterize Trip's relationship with Archer and T'Pol?

Connor:

The relationship with Archer I sense is one between old friends. Archer trusts Trip and brought him along and relies on him as a confidante. I like that we sometimes see them as a couple of guys hanging (out), and its been great to work with Scott like that. The relationship with T'Pol has been great because I get under her skin as much as anybody can get under a Vulcan's skin. Oftentimes sparks fly when we're dealing with each other, and that's always fun. Beyond the triumvirate, Trip has a relationship with Malcolm, especially since Shuttlepod One. That's been a surprise and Dominic (Keating) is a great actor, so I'm hoping that they'll flesh out that relationship even more as we go along.

Dreamwatch:

Early on in season one Trip was the focus of such episodes as Strange New World and Unexpected. This season, if we go by the synopses, there's no Trip-heavy episode yet. Series creators Rick Berman and Brannon Braga reportedly have an open-door policy when it comes to their Trek actors. Have you given thought to saying "Hey guys, it's episode five and Trip's been pretty light"?

Connor:

It's important to know that I can go to Rick and Brannon if I have a question or a concern, but I don't have any worries about them ignoring or forgetting Trip. I have a sense- and hope - that they will spend more time on some of our other characters. I'm having such a good time doing this show that I don't really have questions about what they're doing for my character. They have spoken to me and said "We're really keen on getting a couple out for you". At this point I'm a company man.

Dreamwatch:

What don't you know about Trip that you'd like to delve into?

Connor:

I'm curious to see some of his stillness. I'd like to see him in a quiet moment. I'd like to see Trip have to handle a situation internally, personally, singularly and give it the time. I don't know if that will ever happen, but I think that would be rather fascinating. You get so much of the other side of him, but the pendulum swings in both directions, always, and I'd like to see the other side.

Dreamwatch:

What have you made of the Temporal Cold War subplot and where's that headed in season two? It seems as if it's almost like the conspiracy arc on The X-Files, where it played out over a long period of time, some of it being made up on the fly and the actors having no idea how it will play out...

Connor:

I don't know the big picture. We all wondered and we continue to wonder what the arc of the show will be. We're not privy to that information. But I like the Temporal Cold War arc because it leaves a lot open for things to occur and it leaves us directions to go in. It, no pun intended, opens up the universe to us. I think we've just got the preface to that so far on the show. We (the characters) don't have a great deal of information about what's going on there. Again, I think that gives us and the writers the opportunity to come up with all sorts of things, because we'll have to.

Dreamwatch:

What are the most intriguing aspects of being an actor on Enterprise?

Connor:

The most intriguing aspects are that I am responsible and required as an actor to take this guy and keep him above water in terms of not getting boring or stale or that kind of thing. That's the most fascinating element as an actor. I have to stay on top of it and stay on top of what I sense is happening to the character and my own responsibility in terms of keeping him curious and driven, just like I am. I don't look at this in any other way than I am an actor with an awesome opportunity to walk through a vast forest and at each turn there is something else that I have to keep - a certain amount of innocence in terms of keeping my eyes open about the experience itself. having that opportunity, I luxuriate in.

Dreamwatch:

There are some unique acting challenges on a Star Trek show, though...

Connor:

In terms of the rest of it all, yeah, aliens are great. They look cool. They are a lot of fun to deal with. But when it comes down to it, I've got the great luxury every day of coming in and plying my craft with somebody. I love that. And I'm doing it with good people doing a good show. You'd better know how to do your stuff if you're going to be on this show. They cast it very well that way, the regulars and the guest stars. Most of the people that come in on the show are trained actors. In fact, a lot of my friends who I've acted with in years past have been on the show. Not a lot, but a few, enough that it's kind of surprising. It's like "Hey, you're here!" So you've got to keep your eye on the character and on your acting, because the other characters are interesting too and the acting is really, really strong.

Dreamwatch:

How about the whole fame element? How has the reality of being part of Star Trek differed from your expectations?

Connor:

The people that I've encountered have been exceedingly polite and low-key about it. That, I guess, is a little bit of a surprise and a welcome one. When you start doing something like this, when you start being a part of the Star Trek franchise - and I'm a new member of this club - you feel people stop and say, "Welcome". It's nice to have somebody come up and say they appreciate what you're doing and they think you're good. If it's handled in a respectful manner - if I have a mouthful of food, you might want to wait a second - it's great. In this town (Hollywood), really, I'm low on the totem pole. In this town, people don't bug you. People don't really walk up t o you and that sort of thing. But at the conventions that I've gone to, people have just been exceedingly polite.

www.connortrinneer.com