Dominic Keating on the discomfort of the Suliban Make-up and Hi-jinks on the Set.
Source. SciFiPulse
4 August 2002

By Ian M. Cullen

Actor Dominic Keating never expected to be a regular cast member on a US television show, much less a Star Trek show. But over the first year of Enterprise he has had some wonderful opportunities to stretch his acting chops. In the new issue of STAR TREK: MONTHLY, Abbie Bernstein caught up with the actor.

One of the first things that Keating shares is how he feels his role as Lieutenant Reed has changed him as an actor. “I think this was the first part I’ve had that quite frankly I couldn’t hide behind much as an actor, Malcolm’s this straight guy. He wasn’t the Lord of Darkness (Played by Keating in the ‘Immortal’). He wasn’t some camp bisexual ghost. The parts I’ve played, particularly in front of the camera here in America, have all been real character acting. For this, I had to suit up and bring Dominic as best I could on screen.

“Malcolm initially wasn’t particularly funny-he was quite dry and just an Officer. You had to be a man, if you will. All that sort of stacked up and I went, ‘My god, am I enough to play the part?’ I think most actors get that- ‘You mean it’s just me? Oh my god, that wasn’t enough’. A year later and I’ve got over quite a lot of that fear”

For the role of Malcolm Reed, Keating has drawn a lot from his own experiences growing up. “I was talking about this the other day with my Mum on the ‘phone. Malcolm Reed is basically me when I was 17 and about to join the army. I was a very keen cadet officer at my public school in England and so that’s who he is. I went to visit the Scots Dragoon Guards in Germany (Osnabrook) for six weeks. I came back understanding that I quite liked playing at being in the army, but I didn’t really want it for real”.

Earlier on in season one of Enterprise, Keating had some complaints about the environmental suit, which he had to wear. Keating’s complaints however did not deter the writers from inflicting further torture on the actor in the form of some Suliban make-up for the episode ‘Detained’.

“It was a hell week,” he says, recalling the complicated make-up. “You’ve got a full helmet piece that goes to the top of your eyebrows and then all the was across the head and down the back of the neck onto your upper back, and that glues down in place. And then they’ve got two cheek nits, one nose and mouthpiece, and then a bunch of neckpieces which sort of crisscross around your neck to cover that. And then it’s a lot of airbrushing and it takes about three hours to put it on. It’s quite a process. I have to say, a day in that, is a day well paid”.

One of the things Keating has become known for on the convention scene is his willingness to share some of the on set shenanigans with the audience. And the actor shared this humorous story with Star Trek: Monthly about a joke, which was played on Scott Bakula.

“Years ago Scott (Bakula) did a musical commercial for Canadian Dry Ginger Ale,” Keating explains. “He was in a tux with a bunch of dancing girls behind him, singing some really musical theatre song”. Keating bursts into verse “He’s goin’ over to Canada Dry/he never knows it, but he doesn’t try! It was just a real 70’s ‘Oh my God, it’s a living kind of gig. (Enterprise line producer) Brad Yacobian had got some bottles made up, and they looked just like real Old Canadian Dry. Scott got called to set to start shooting this scene we’d rehearsed, and there was a bottle sitting on his chair and he walked in and saw the bottle. Ben, who runs all the monitors on the bridge, hit the start button and the monitors on the bridge including the huge plasma screen at the back in the situation room- and we all started dancing around singing this song with bottles in our hands. You should have seen his face!”

Although production has started on the second season of ‘Enterprise’, Keating is already contemplating doing some fringe theatre in London during the 2003 hiatus. Other than that the actor remains positive about his first season and is enjoying his role and the people he works with. “It’s been an extraordinary year, it’s an amazing bunch of people to work with, cast and crew, and I’m really, really grateful”.