Just like fans had speculated for long, actress Jeri Ryan finally confirmed that tensions were indeed high in some of the final seasons of Star Trek: Voyager.
Interestingly enough, this confirmation came from a podcast that was released last year. On Aisha Tyler’s podcast “Girl on Girl,” the actress went on to confide how her introduction to the main cast of the popular show in the fourth season wasn’t well-received by many of the other cast members.
Ryan talks about how UPN and Paramount tried to promote Star Trek: Voyager and the entire franchise into the mainstream with the introduction of Seven of Nine. As the central character of that plot, she found herself amidst a lot of attention:
“It was understandably tough for an existing cast that had been together for three years already. Star Trek, traditionally — because this was like the fourth incarnation of Star Trek at the time — was always the Captain, or the Captain and First Officer. Typically, it’s the Captain that gets the attention of the press, and the shows revolve around that.
So all of a sudden, all of that shifted drastically in Season Four and now the writers, who have been writing for the same seven characters for three years, are salivating for something new to write with. They’ve got this character that’s so rich because she’s not even human when they start out…
Consequently, all the scripts revolved around Seven of Nine and her relationship with the other characters, of course — which actually ended up leading to some really rich storylines for the other characters.
But that’s hard when the new kid comes in and suddenly it’s all about them. That was tough, and it was particularly tough for some more than others, which was not real fun. It really made it an unpleasant work experience.”
Ryan further stated that the initial bitter experience continued for a long time:
“It continued, for quite a while. I mean, for the most part, everybody was phenomenal and absolutely great — and the guys, my God, I loved my boys on that show. [Laughs] They were hilarious to the point that if I had a two-shot with and then it’s my close-up, I had to look off-camera because if I looked at them I’d just break and crack up.
But yeah, it was unnecessarily unpleasant for a couple of years — basically, until I started dating [showrunner Brannon Braga]. Once I was dating the boss, funny how things suddenly cleaned up!
[Laughs] But it was really, really tough the first couple of years. And there were many days when I was nauseous before going into work because it was that miserable. Just unnecessarily, intentionally unpleasant.”
She further shared that on the sets of a TV show, it is quite difficult to escape uncomfortable feelings from fellow cast members. She talked about the various things she had to survive on the sets:
“There was nothing I COULD do — literally I would be nauseous when I knew these scenes were coming up. When there were a lot of scenes with this person the next day, I was sick to my stomach all night, just miserable. It was so unnecessary and just so petty; things like, oh my God…[Laughs]
We’d have scenes — because a lot of my scenes took place in this set they built for my character called the Astrometrics Lab. It was a really impressive-looking set with this huge, massive, curved green-screen and this giant window. So there’s only one entrance to the set, because all the cameras were built up on platforms and stuff to shoot the window — there was just one set of doors.
I remember this one time in particular, I had this once scene with this person, just the two of us. We do their coverage first, and shoot their side of this really dramatic scene, and then it was time for my coverage. Before every close-up, the hair and makeup and wardrobe teams come in and do touch-ups and everything to make sure everything’s right… [Laughs wildly]
[The co-star] shut the door to the set, and said, “She’s fine. LET’S GO.” Wouldn’t let them in. Just stupid, stupid stuff like that.
Another time, I don’t even think it was the same day, but a different scene with that person on the same set — we do their side first, and then it’s my coverage on close-up for this really intense scene. The literally sat off-camera picking their nails, thumbing through a book, and just haphazardly saying their lines off camera without even making eye contact.”
Even though Ryan made sure not to mention any names, fans of Star Trek had no difficulty in guessing that she was talking about Kate Mulgrew, who played the lead role of Captain Kathryn Janeway. Interestingly, Mulgrew herself had talked about Ryan’s addition to the cast in some recent comments. She mentioned that Ryan’s introduction (and that of Seven of Nine) led the show to a path of sex and sexuality that conflicted with Mulgrew’s personal opinions.
The actress did seem to address the hostility Ryan was talking about:
“That moment stands out for me when Jeri Ryan arrived. That was an interesting moment because – there’s been a lot of controversy about it generated by me – again unfortunate,” Mulgrew. “When you’re the first female captain you hope against hope that that’s going to be sufficient until the day it wasn’t. Because men like – as they should, as all of you should and I love and adore every one of you – they love sex. And they need it. And I said ‘No’ to all of that going in.”