VENGEANCE TRIP


At the end of Enterprise Season Two, Charles 'Trip' Tucker III, played by Connor Trinneer, was in a bad way. Devastated by the murder of his sister by the Xindi, he was left wanting a little revenge and told his captain as much. However, will a thirst for vengeance be the chief engineer's only driving force in Year Three?


Although all of the Enterprise NX-01's crew have strong reactions to the surprise attack on Earth by the Xindi, as seen in the Season Two finale, The Expanse , Commander Charles 'Trip' Tucker may have had the most extreme response. His sister has been killed in the assault and he is both grieving and ready for revenge - as he says to Captain Archer when they embark on their voyage into the Delphic Expanse, "Tell me we won't be tiptoeing around, none of that non-interference crap T'Pol's always shoving down our throats."


At a Q & A session for the press, Enterprise's executive producer, Brannon Braga, reveals what may be ahead for Trip in the new season. "One thing that's beginning to evolve is that he suffered a great emotional loss and is having trouble dealing with it," he says. "T'Pol's [Jolene Blalock's] character has a lot of ability controlling emotion, and they begin to form a connection. That may or may not evolve into something a little more interesting."


"In fact," fellow executive producer Rick Berman elaborates, "I think if we see any romantic interaction between [T'Pol] and anybody [in the crew], it's probably the man sitting to her left. " To which, Connor Trinneer raises his arm high, smiling.


However, in an exclusive STM interview, Trinneer says he hasn't heard too many specifics about what's in store for his character. "We don't have access to the directions that we're going to be going in. We got told that we were going to be doing the Xindi [arc], and that I was going to be having these new elements to my character. When I heard them, I was pleased, but they've got it kind of under lock and key about what they're going to do next."


STM exclusively met Connor Trinneer in his trailer on the Paramount lot during the filming of the season opener for the show's third season, The Xindi. Trinneer turns up for the interview fresh from the set, with face, hands and uniform liberally streaked with dirt and blue goo. So, is Trip starting the new year with a brawl? "Oh, we're in caves," the actor explains. "This is just atmosphere - blue atmosphere," he laughs, "but atmosphere nonetheless."


STAR TREK Monthly: Talking of atmosphere, what's the mood like on the set for Season Three?

CONNOR TRINNEER:

It's like the first day back at school. These people are my friends - I'm finding out what they did in their time off. You do a lot of work here, but you also spend a lot of time mucking around, chatting and finding out about each other's lives and how they've changed. I think everybody gets excited to come back to work.

STM:

Is there any difference in how people feel about coming back to work this year as opposed to last year?

CONNOR TRINNEER:

We're a little more focused, probably, on trying to get more people watching. For the first time, we have a mission - we're going after the Xindi to see if we can find out something about the swath that got cut across the United States and killed all those people. We have a specific mission for the first time, so that's different.

STM:

Trip looks like he might be out for some vengeance at the start of this season. Is playing a character as angry as Trip is at the moment something new for you?

CONNOR TRINNEER:

In that he has an aggressive nature to him, no. I've played a number of similar characters on stage, and a few on television and in guest spots. But it's new to Trip in terms of how he's going to react to things.

STM:

How would you describe Trip's evolution from the beginning of Enterprise to where he is now?

CONNOR TRINNEER:

This year is definitely the shift, the change. For a couple of years, he was the good ol' boy, foot-in-mouth kind of guy. I'm really excited about the change. I don't know what they're going to throw my way, but I think it's going to be with the colours of his need for a bit of vengeance.

STM:

Trip's certainly been through the extremes - in Season One's Shuttlepod One, the set was made physically cold, so, conversely, for the shooting of the second season's Dawn, was the set made very hot?

CONNOR TRINNEER:

Just very bright. It's a big room but they were only lighting a specific spot. I was stripped down half the time and they were spraying me to make it seem like I was sweating. I was actually pretty cold the whole time.

STM:

Which Season Two episodes did you particularly enjoy making?

CONNOR TRINNEER:

I enjoyed Dawn . I thought Cogenitor was quite well done. [Guest actress] Becky Wahlston was wonderful. When you've got someone with 'chops', it makes the scenes come more alive, it gives it an element that they probably didn't realize writing it, or you didn't realize in learning it. I also thought that it was important that Trip take responsibility for some of the stupid things that he does. Not to say that [helping the cogenitor] was a stupid thing, but sometimes he would catch his foot in his mouth and never really have to pay for it, and in this one, he really had to pay for it, because the person commits suicide. I'd shared with the producers and the writers that I thought [it] was important for the dimensions of Trip Tucker that there was some responsibility there, and he did have to think twice sometimes and not just fly off the handle. I thought that was pretty well handled.

STM:

Does your stage training help you when you're acting against a blue/green screen, with a location that will be added later via CGI?

CONNOR TRINNEER:

I can't say per se if stage training helps in that, but trust in your own imagination helps - it's required. I come from the stage, so I don't know what it would be like to not have done that. The [actual] location is pathetic, because there's nothing there - you're just told there's a movie theatre, there's a house......You're given directions and you have to fill in the blanks. I think probably the training that helped me the most in terms of what would be the Commedia Dell'Arte training, which requires you to imagine everything, because you're just there with a mask on using just your eyes. We were dragged screaming and kicking in graduate school to study it,but having done it, it's the greatest training I can imagine. Again, I think one of he things that makes an actor believable is their imagination coming to life.

STM:

Is there any correlation between doing the same play night after night in a stage run and playing Trip in different scripts over several years?

CONNOR TRINNEER:

Well [in Enterprise], the script changes all the time. In fact, the two things are completely different. When you work on stage, you rehearse the thing for weeks, if you're lucky. You've done your work and then you present it. In television, you're working as you're doing it. A lot of the stuff you're doing here is short - term memory stuff. You don't want to retain old dialogue because you've got 10 pages to learn for tomorrow. It takes a different muscle to make the choices in a limited span of time. One of the things you have to do is get to know your character. I get to play this character every day, so that helps in terms of shortening the span and still being able to be creative and being able to come up with ideas for things to do.

STM:

You have said that being buried under the sand in Desert Crossing was challenging. Was there anything that physically uncomfortable in Season Two?

CONNOR TRINNEER:

You know what - Desert Crossing wasn't the bad one; the bad one was being covered in slime and suspended for a week [in Vox Sola ]. That was the worst, hands down. Your legs feel asleep, you're up there for six or seven hours, this goop they had was a combination of what they use in McDonald's milkshakes for filler and KY jelly. I think the porn industry in Los Angeles went to a screeching halt that week, because I think we had all of the KY.

STM:

Do you have a favourite stunt you've done so far?

CONNOR TRINNEER:

The one and a half gainer [a dive] - they didn't use it in the actual episode, but it was a lot of fun. I don't know how to dive. The rappelling [in The Breach ] was a lot of fun, because I know how to do that and to rappel for a couple of days was a hoot. I think that's one of the things I bring to the table - I'm a pretty confident physical actor. I can do most things they ask me to do. I enjoy that aspect of the work.

STM:

Is there anything noticeable about those directors on Enterprise who have had an acting background, including those directors who have acted on other versions of Star Trek ?

CONNOR TRINNEER:

I think every director should have to act at least once. Yeah, absolutely. There is a language that we all understand as actors in terms of activating a scene or the nuances that you have. Some directors who have never had any sort of acting training tend not to have the vocabulary that actors do in relating to one another. So in terms of the face-to-face conversations we might be having about how to tweak something, yeah, it's infinitely easier to talk to a director who has acted. It doesn't necessarily make the rest of it good - directing is a talent unto itself.

STM:

Do you want to direct?

CONNOR TRINNEER:

I'd like to have that tool in my toolbox when I get out of here. I'm actually in a directing tutorial program. I'd love to have the opportunity to direct an episode or two before we get out of here. I'd be a good director - I could talk to actors, at least [laughs].

STM:

Do you interact with the other departments on Enterprise ?

CONNOR TRINNEER:

Oh yeah, its constant. I go to the art department to say 'hi' and see what they're doing, and they come down to see what we're doing. You go up to the make-up lab to see what's going on there. I think that's important - you can't just come to work, do your thing and leave. If you're going to be around, it is a part of your life, so make it a part of your life. That's the way I look at it. There's always a wardrobe person attached to you, and make -up and hair - it's all integral.

STM:

How do you feel about your work on Enterprise to date?

CONNOR TRINNEER:

I like doing this and I'm excited about doing this. I've got a good job, so it doesn't wear thin. I feel great pride and good fortune in having the opportunity to do this. I have a wonderful part. I think that they hear my voice in writing the part, so I feel privileged to be on this show and I work my ass off and will continue to do that to make [Enterprise] as good as I possibly can. I've enjoyed every minute of it, and I anticipate several more minutes [laughs].

www.connortrinneer.com