‘Star Trek’s own Michael Dorn was a big highlight of the annual StarFest convention in Denver, CO this past Mar 11-13, 2016. Best known for his role as Worf in ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’, ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’, and the ‘Star Trek’ films, this actor/writer/director has had roles in a ton of film and television. He was great in the film ‘Ted 2’, TV series ‘Castle’ and ‘Con Man’ and lent his amazing voice talents to ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ (TV), ‘StarCraft II:Legacy of the Void’ (Video Game), ‘Infinite Crisis (VG)’, and ‘Code Name S.T.E.A.M’ (VG). Dorn took time out of his busy schedule to chat with me.
Colleen Bement: Are there any projects in the works that you’re allowed to talk about?
Michael Dorn: I’ve been auditioning as usual. My gist right now is I wrote a pilot for an aviation series, and we’re in the process of polishing is so that I’m ready to pitch it to the networks.
CB: Thanks for the segway in to my next question. I read that you own and fly a couple of Air Force jets from the 1950’s. What inspired you to become a pilot?
MD: It’s a dream come true. I was always a student of airplanes and aviation since I was a kid . What happened was that we had a writer’s strike after the first year of ‘Star Trek’ so we had five months off, and a guy I knew that was a pilot said come on, we’ve got to do this . You’ve got to go out there. I said you’re right. I went out there–took my introductory flight and I was hooked nobody could find me during the day because I was out at the airport flying. Then, to make a long story just a little bit longer, during, I think, the third or forth season of ‘Star Trek’, one of the producers on ‘Cheers’ called me and they said that Woody Harrelson was invited to fly out with the Blue Angels, but he couldn’t do it. Do you want to go? So I flew out. They pulled me out there. I had a twin engine Cessna in between the F-18’s and parked it there. Of course, I’m the coolest guy in the world, and so when I flew with them it was eye opening. I discovered that you could own these airplanes. So I started researching it , the rules and regulations and what’s available, and all these airplanes were available for pretty cheap. So, I took my time, learned how to fly, and I went through the same type of process the air force pilots go through. And got to the F-86 and it just kinda happened. It was amazing.
CB: What’s it like to fly them? It must be surreal.
MD: A couple of things. First of all, you’re like so this is what these guys were doing. You saw it on television and movies, so you’re like OK. The second thing is that you really do get a sense that you’re in a larger world than just going from your house to your job. It really is something. You kind of look around and say why is anybody so upset about anything? Look at how beautiful the world is from up there. The other thing is that they are incredible flying machines. You get a sense of what it’s like to say OK, I’m going to go over there and I’m going to roll over or dive down and it just is great. The best part was that in the F-86 it’s a single seat airplane. So your first flight in the airplane is your solo flight. I’m walking out to the airplane–never flown that airplane before, got my helmet, and I jump in the airplane. I’m like Michael, are you insane? Then once you take off, you’re like wow. OK. Then you do your stuff and you’re like oh my god, I’ve got to land this thing. I’ve never landed it before. But it gives you a sense of an airplane’s an airplane. There is no difference. The speeds are different, there are different handling qualities, but airplane’s an airplane. It’s easy to do.
CB: I’m a big Dodgers fan. If you were a baseball player, what would your walk up song be?
MD: Big Dodgers fan, huh?
CB: Uh oh. Yea. Is that cool?
MD: Since ’57. What would be playing. It would be “We Are Family”, which was Pittsburgh’s thing when they won. I like that song. (Regarding the 2015 playoffs) It was infuriating. I was very unhappy. I’m there. I don’t care. I’m always going to be there.