"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" as spoken by Prometheus in Henry Wadsworth's The Masque of Pandora.
I've known Alec for around 15 years so it was pretty easy to just launch right into the questions for this...and yes, he has always been a big fan of sci-fi!
The project in question of course is the upcoming Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar....
Shawn: So why a Star Trek project?
What made you want to do a Trek project as opposed to any other universe?
Alec: I have been a Star Trek fan since I was six years old...It is my favorite of "geekinesses".
I also love comics, sci-fi in general, gaming etc. So I am a pretty rounded geek...but Star Trek is my first love in that regard.
Shawn: So what made you choose the Battle of Axanar?
It's a fairly obscure reference from the third season of Star Trek, from the episode "Whom Gods Destroy" whose main protagonist is the character of Garth of Izar...
Alec: I was always fascinated by Garth...here was Kirk's hero. What was he like?
Why was he the role model of a whole generation of ship's captains?
And what was the Battle of Axanar and why was it a pivotal event in the Federation?...I wanted to know the answer to all these questions.
Shawn: So when you started this project out, what were your thoughts on casting?
Alec: I knew I wanted Richard Hatch as my Klingon leader...Richard was my first acting coach twenty years ago and he is now. He is amazing! I knew he could pull off the Klingon I wanted.
After that it was looking for actors who could fit the characters who I wrote in the script.
JG Hertzler made the perfect old crusty Starfleet Captain and we got lucky and got Tony Todd to play our Admiral...and he has serious gravitas.
The only exception was Kate Vernon who we specifically wrote in a character for as Christian Gossett and I loved her so much when we met her.
Shawn: As far as getting those actors to participate, how did all that come about?
Alec: Well, Richard turned us on to them...Christian and I are huge Battlestar Galactica fans.
But we pretty much wanted to have both Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek actors in Axanar.
Just two franchises with a wealth of talent...
Shawn: You portray Garth in the film..so how did that come around?
Alec: Well, back in 2010 I bought the original costume Steve Inhat wore as Garth.
I am a huge collector of screen used Star Trek props and costumes.
It was one of my Holy Grails, since I love that character so much...then I was talking about costumes one day with James Cawley of Star Trek Phase II & I had mentioned that I had gotten the costume.
We discussed what a great character Garth as and how it was too bad that Star Trek had never explored the character more.
James said, "Well, you know we are shooting an episode called 'Origins' which is about Kirk at the Academy and that was the time of Garth. We should add him to the script!"
And I said "You should!" to which James replied, "Well, you should play him".
So I did.
While at lunch with James one day during the shoot, I told him my Axanar story and he said I should produce it...and that started me on a journey, that is now four years later in 2014 finally seeing its culmination.
Shawn: Speaking of ideas for the film and it's origins...how much did the Four Years War storyline play into it?
It's a very detailed source book for the Star Trek role playing game...
Alec: I read the FASA role playing games and was of course fascinated by the story of Garth and the whole Four Years War story...it was just natural to give a nod to the FASA universe and make this about that war, of course I changed things around to fit my narrative...
Shawn Have you been surprised by the support for the film?
Alec: Yes, but then again...we are all fans and we KNOW what we want to see!
So it felt good with the direction we were going...and we are making Star Trek that we as fans want to see, so in a way it is not a surprise that others want to see that too.
Shawn: Do you think that combination of the subject of Star Trek and the inclusion of Battlestar Galactica actors helps to establish a bridge between the two universes?
Alec: Well, both are great franchises...I happen to think that the reimagined Battlestar Galactica is the best sci-fi show ever!.
Star Trek is my first love though...they each stand on their own.
We are just casting the best actors out there for the roles...and if they happen to be from Battlestar Galactica, so be it.
Shawn: Where do you want to take this?
Where do you want the film to go & what results would you like to see?
Alec: I think our ultimate goal is for CBS to take notice and think about talking to us and involve us in Star Trek moving forward....all the current films you see out there are independent Star Trek, but maybe we can show we are worthy of working on the next CBS Television series.
Be sure to keep up to date on the this film at: Star Trek: Axanar