Last month fans came together at the 40th Anniversary of the StarFest Convention in Denver, CO Apr. 21-23, 2017. One of the most popular conventions in Denver, StarFest brought in the fun with three days of stunning cosplay, gaming, informative panels, videos, and an amazing dealer’s room. One of the best parts of the weekend were, of course, the celebrity panels. Christian Kane, Walter Koenig, Rene Auberjonois, Hale Appleman, Jodelle Ferland, and more were on hand to meet their fans. Check out some of the entertaining panel highlights.
Best known as Pavel Chekov from the Star Trek franchise and Bester from Babylon 5, Walter Koenig is ingrained in sci-fi culture. The actor was such a delight. Not only in his panel but through the weekend as he spent much of his time around the hotel restaurant mingling with fans. Entertaining and genuine, Koenig had so much to say. Here are just a few highlights.
- In regards to the future of Star Trek films, Koenig mentioned that he didn’t think that CBS would ever relinquish the license. He said that “greed is motivating factor in much of life. It’s so absurd to think that people who make fan films are going to deplete the income of these major multi-billion dollar film companies make. These fan films have helped keep Star Trek alive. So they should be grateful for the folks out there.”
The Maximum Surge story
- A fan asked about a live-action shoot for a video game back in the 90s that later came out in a terrible film Maximum Surge. There has to be a story around this. This was so freakin’ bizarre, just with the possibility that there are people here under the age of 16 I’m using the word freakin. So help me, they negotiated a fee that as I realized later, I should have asked for about 100 times what they gave me. They had my character, they didn’t dub it into a bass voice, or even a light, lilting tenor, they dubbed it to something so peculiar and so inhuman, that I don’t know how to watch it and not fall over (high pitched voice) So I never talk about it.
Memories of Richard Hatch
- Beautiful story about Richard Hatch. “The movie was Innuendo Richard was a really delightful guy. He did not let anybody know how ill he was, not the director, the producer; no one knew who ill he was, and he was truly ill. He knew he was going, and I thought how amazing and what kind of strength you must have to you must have to put aside your eminence of your passing to fulfill an artistic obligation and make the movie. I just find that astonishing. What a strength of character and I did like him. I liked him a lot. He was one of the good people.
The hilarious ‘Space Seed’ story
- Honestly, how many of you do not know that story? You still want to hear it? Well, first of all young man, you don’t know your Star Trek lore very well, because Chekov wasn’t in the episode ‘Space Seed” in which Kahn appeared. He was working behind the boiler room, which he was ill with malipraxis malibu, and was ensconced on the bathroom and had been there for hours and hours, while poor Mr. Kahn was genetically engineered until he was about to explore, banging pitifully on the bathroom door begging to be let in, until the door was thrown open and Kahn said your face I will never forget.”
Christian Kane brought all the excitement with his StarFest panel and his special Saturday night musical performance. The super popular actor is loved for his role as the badass Eliot Spencer on Leverage, on Angel, and now Jake Stone on the popular show The Librarians. This guy does all his own stunts! On stage with his beanie, Kane shared some great stories about his character Jake, working with David Boreanaz, and more at the recent StarFest Denver convention.
- Story from Angel was there was a scene with bodies in tubes, he and David are there- kinda gross, to be honest. The problem was he had been up drinking with David Boreanaz the night before…they weren’t feeling too well. “Boreanaz threw up!” (Audience laughs)
Doing his own stunts
- A fan asked about his stuntwork. Kane explained that doing stunts was more like a dance: One, two, three four, dance. Some actors came on set thinking they could do their own stunts, and one time he time he got hit in the face.
- Fun story from Leverage: There was anything he had to learn for the episode. “They told me they had a hockey episode for me. I went to Portland on my own dime, hung on to the wall in full hockey gear, while others like hockey skaters and figure skaters skating around me. I worked really hard at it and I was pretty proud!”
Kane’s music career
- His music and acting careers started out at the same time. Kane talked about his start singing with Fame LA singing Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” He shortly after made the choice to stick with acting. Lucky for fans, he actually has another album coming out soon.
- What musician inspired him? He was inspired by Alice in Chains and Elton John.
Jake had to become book-smart
- When asked about taking on his character of Jake Stone in The Librarians, Kane talked about the difference in this new character to many of his others.
Rene Auberjonois has the most amazing career. Best known as Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Rene has enjoyed characters such as Clayton Rynnymede Endicott in Benson, Chef Louie in The Little Mermaid, Paul Lewiston on Boston Legal, played the original Father Mulcahy in the film M*A*S*H, and the list strings so far back to 1964. He mentioned that he was 77 years old and “had acted as much as anybody had the right to be given a chance to act. That’s a pretty rich existence.”
Film festivals and old friends
- “Next week I’m going to go to Dallas; I’m not in Dallas now, am I? (All laughs) I’ve always wanted to visit Indianapolis. You were here last year. Next week I’m going to go to Dallas for the USA Film Festival. My friend Charlie Haid (Hill Street Blues); a couple of old geezers. Anyway, he’s an old, old friend and his son is a young college ffilmmakerand he made a film that I played a character in. They’re going to screen that at the festival and do a retrospective of some of my work. It’s just unbelievable: The less you have to do, the busier you are.”
Admits he’s a Trekker
- “I’ve been around long enough that I’m not scared to confess that I was a “Trekker.” I love it people come up to me and say oh I love your work, but I never watched Star Trek. Sure you never watched Star Trek. Even in the most denial people know more about it than they want to confess to.”
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- I once told Armin (Shimmerman), you know what would have been a great episode? If Odo shapeshifted into a clone of Quark. He could be getting Quark into all sorts of trouble. Armin said yeah, uh huh…so you’d have the week off!”
- The casting director told Rene just before his audition that nobody had been groucy enough for the part of Odo. The first line out in the reading was, “Quark” (deep gravely voice), and that was the birth of the character’s voice.
- “One of the great gifts of getting that show (Boston Legal) was becoming real friends with Bill Shatner. There would be hours where we would be sitting in our director’s chairs and we would just talk and talk and talk. I just adore him; you know, he’s a character, and he’s got a reputation; he’s Shatner. He’s genuine and he’s interested in other people. He loved my artwork. He always reminds me “you know, in the bathroom in my office, there’s a whole wall of my drawings.”
The Little Mermaid
- “I love doing voice work. I really think that voice work has been an important part of the foundation of my work and my career.”
- An audience member asked if Rene could he sing you sing what he remembered of the song from The Little Mermaid. Auberjonois instantly became Chef Louis and performed the perfect “Le Poisson.”
He turned down TV series film M*A*S*H and Charlie’s Angels.
- He talked about working on Bensen. At the time he wasn’t quite ready to commit to a character on a television show. He had created the character of Father Mulcahey in the film M*A*S*H. He was about 30 at the time and he said that if he had done that show, it would have been his career. He also resisted an offer to do Bosley from Charlie’s Angels.