“Axanar is everything that an actor could ask for.”
That’s veteran Star Trek actor J.G. Hertzler’s perspective on his contribution to the most prolific fan-funded Star Trek film project currently out there: Star Trek: Axanar. Remembered by Star Trek fans for his role as General Martok and building on his experience in working with the 21 minute Prelude to Axanar, Hertzler anticipates that the full-length film will be of the same excellent quality as he encountered on the Prelude.
“Everything will be done as well as it was on Prelude. If not, then I have a problem! But, hopefully it will be and everything that’s been happening leads me to believe that it will be …”
Hertzler has thirty years of experience working in the industry. If he has faith in this project then it’s a good bet that it’s one that needs to be backed in order for the film to be completed.
“Everything that has happened with Axanar thus far, is a miracle to me. So the fans need to keep the miracles happening until we get this thing in the can and edited for people to enjoy.”
For the most recent status of the Indiegogo campaign funding Axanar, visit www.savethefederation.com.
But there is more to this project than just the fans. It’s clear that Hertzler is also immensely satisfied with the role of Captain Samuel Travis in this film and shared some of his process of getting into the role.
“Regarding Sam Travis, I love the idea of a Sam Travis character; a crotchety old … sort of a cross between Richard Widmark … I think he played Sam Travis in the John Wayne Alamo. I mean, Sam Travis is the name of Lieutenant Sam Travis who was not a particularly likeable fella in The Alamo, but I don’t know for sure if it was Richard Widmark – might have been, but a cross between him and George C. Scott. I like the idea of him being Scott and I used a little of Shakespeare’s Richard, Duke of York – Richard Plantagenet. He gets to burn Joan of Arc at the stake and that was a bit of a thrill! But I was able to bring some of the aspects of Richard to Sam Travis – but with slightly less language flourish! I wanted to make Sam basically a Texan who was educated but lived a farming life before he got into flight training and whatnot. My dad was in the Air Force, so there’s also a little bit of my dad in there – and in Martok as well.”
The quality of Axanar promises to be extremely high. With the special effects of Tobias Richter (The Light Works) and the directing efforts of Robert Burnett, Hertzler and the cast of Axanar have nothing but complete belief in its success.
“But I think I can really speak for the rest of the actors, we were all stupefied by the … when we got to where we were shooting Prelude to Axanar … and when we got to the set, it was filled with people that we all knew from the business as department heads – real pros and the way it was run, and Alec had everything to do with it, he and Christian Gossett. It was incredibly professional; green screen work and then what we saw on the day of shooting, once we saw the CGI from Tobias Richter, it was phenomenal. Every department was spectacular and that NEVER happens – ever on a fan film, in my opinion.”
The relationship between the production team of Axanar and professionals is key to its success. The connections that producer, Alec Peters has formed with people in the industry go well to assure the film’s quality and inspires the stellar performances of veteran actors like Kate Vernon, Tony Todd, Gary Graham and Richard Hatch.
“There’s no difference between that and a day on the set of DS9. There were guys I knew from there: Brad Look was doing make-up; I saw him every day on the shooting of DS9. I saw people from the costume department; it was stunning.”
“I love working with these folks. I never got a chance to work with Kate Vernon before and I love her. Gary Graham and Tony Todd – they’re good friends. Richard Hatch? All good friends and it was everything that an actor could ask for: well done and surrounded by your friends.”
With a talent pool like this, Axanar will be an undoubted success. In the meantime though, Hertzler can look forward to an enriching and enjoyable experience performing a role that was not only tailor-made for him but to do it in the company of friends and professionals he has known for years. In short, Axanar will also be everything that a fan could ask for as well.