Dominic Keating on the discomfort of the Suliban Make-up
and Hi-jinks on the Set.
4 August 2002
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 Ive had that quite frankly I couldnt hide behind much as an actor, Malcolms this straight guy. He wasnt the Lord of Darkness (Played by Keating in the Immortal). He wasnt some camp bisexual ghost. The parts Ive 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 wasnt 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 its just me? Oh my god, that wasnt enough. A year later and Ive 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 thats 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 didnt 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. Keatings 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. Youve 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 theyve 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 its a lot of airbrushing and it takes about three hours to put it on. Its 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 Hes goin over to Canada Dry/he never knows it, but he doesnt try! It was just a real 70s Oh my God, its 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 wed 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. Its been an extraordinary year, its an amazing bunch of people to work with, cast and crew, and Im really, really grateful.