WATCH Magazine: June 2022: Isabel May

EP: To be perfectly honest, I was completely terrified about taking this on. I experienced absolute terror while I was on Discovery , and then there was a whole new batch of it when we started Strange New Worlds . They had laid out things on this show that Spock had never done before. There’s no blueprint for what he experiences. So to carve that out on my own with- out the guidance of Nimoy was a huge challenge. Honestly, I had no idea how I was going to do it. It has been a really long journey in terms of accepting and understanding this role and the impact it has had on my life. Being the keeper of this char- acter is such a huge deal. Rebecca, Number One has a big secret that’s revealed early on in Strange New Worlds. How did that affect the way you play her? RR: Oh, it’s a big one, isn’t it? She is very good at her job, but she also likes to make sure people are intimidated by her as a way to keep them at a distance. It is her way of hiding her secret. This level of shame that she carries as part of Starfleet— and Una is someone who loves Starfleet more than just about anyone—was really the most exciting layer to play. I had a lot of fun with that. Anson, are you anything like Captain Pike? AM: I’ll let you know when I figure out who he is! I will say that there are certain roles that you have to really stretch to fill, while there are others where the person just happens to be closer to your skin. This is definitely one of those. It is weird to me that I went to acting school to learn how to be like different people, and suddenly people are responding the most to some- one who is just closer to me than I have ever done before. Ethan, how do you begin that process of playing the world’s most famous Vulcan? EP: There is a culling of my expressions, responses to things, and sense of humor that occurs before I go on set. I have to do this process of withdrawing all of that within myself—which is not the same as detaching from it. Spock is a deeply emotional person, but it is so contained and controlled. That process has become more nuanced over time as I have become more comfortable with the character. I have found more and more emotional life within that little chamber inside of him. It seems to become brighter with my further experiences playing the character. For Anson and Rebecca, has playing these leadership fig- ures affected your own ability to lead? AM: Whether you like it or not, being number one on the call sheet is a leadership position. Pike is definitely a better leader

than I am, and I try to learn from him. I was fortunate that I had the great opportunity to learn from Sonequa Martin-Green when I worked on Discovery . She is a tremendous leader on that set. I don’t think that anybody really feels like a natural born leader. If they do, they are probably a tremendous a**hole. To be a good leader, you need to have a sense of doubt and deep humility. RR: I like to think that I have become a much better leader due to this show—my six dogs really listen to me now! Actually, that’s not true: Only three out of the six dogs have started to lis- ten to me. The other three still don’t give a crap what I have to tell them. I try the best I can to be a leader, but in truth I’m only successful at it when playing this character. How should we expect these characters’ relationships to change throughout Strange New Worlds ’ first and second seasons? RR: The captain and Una regard each other as best friends, but we still don’t know what our backstory is. We have talked about the possibility that we are exes who can speak straight to each other. You know, those people in your life where you can read each other like a book? I think these two have that. Those are the people you can trust the most. AM: I am not the guy to ask about the on-screen relation- ships—I take my cues from the writers. But I can tell you about the off-screen relationships: I could not be luckier to have this group of actors to work with. It was clear pretty early on when we were making Discovery that Ethan, Rebecca, and I generally had the same sense of humor. We would really enjoy spending more time together if we had the opportunity. We hang out together in the off-season. After we finished shooting pickups last fall, Ethan and I drove to Detroit together just because

/ cbswatchmagazine.com

MAY/JUNE • 2022

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