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Steven Culp on "Star Trek: Enterprise"

Production Notes: 315 - Harbinger

Stunt coordinator Vince Deadrick Jr. supervises a fight scene between Dominic Keating and Steven Culp
Production Report: MACOs & Mayhem in "Harbinger"

The cast got more of a workout than usual in an episode that evolves the relationship between the MACO contingent and the NX-01 crew.

"Harbinger" takes place entirely on the ship and explores more than the usual number of character throughlines. In the "A" story, Enterprise encounters an abnormally large and volatile gravimetric distortion, and rescues an alien from a craft trapped inside. The alien rapidly degenerates while in Sickbay, and mysteriously refuses to reveal why he was inside that anomaly. In the "B" story, MACO leader Major Hayes initiates new training drills for the security team and the senior officers, raising the ire of Malcolm Reed. There's also a "C" story involving Trip Tucker and a female MACO.

The training drill scenes gave the actors an opportunity to burn off some of those extra grams right before Thanksgiving. The principal cast (minus Scott Bakula and John Billingsley) and six guest MACOs took part in martial arts practice with stunt coordinator Vince Deadrick Jr. before spending a very long day on Thanksgiving Eve playing out those very physical scenes on the Ship's Gym set. The drills were particularly strenuous for T'Pol and Mayweather, so stunt doubles Karen Sheperd and Mark Hicks did some of their moves. The makeup people stayed close by to ensure the characters had the proper amount of "sweat" in each shot, and also to apply drops of red or green blood and bruises as needed.

But the two who got the biggest workout were Dominic Keating (Reed) and Steven Culp (Hayes). Tensions between those two characters erupt into a literal knock-down drag-out fight that spills out from the Ship's Gym into the Corridor. Those scenes were shot separately from the other Gym scenes, and took two half-days to complete. Marty Murray and Alex Chansky stunt-doubled for Keating and Culp, respectively.

Photography on this episode actually started two weeks ago Wednesday, for a seven-day shoot that was interrupted by the holidays. The first three days covered scenes in the Mess Hall, T'Pol's Quarters, the Bridge, Ready Room and Command Center. Then the next week, a day and a half was spent in Sickbay with Trek veteran Thomas Kopache as "The Alien," whose makeup changed for each of his shots to show his skin deteriorating. There was also a scene in the Launch Bay where a dummy was used in lieu of Kopache, because of how the character is found when he is recovered from his pod. Tuesday afternoon had the fight scenes and Wednesday the training drill scenes, followed by the respite of a four-day weekend.

Monday finished out principal photography in Engineering, Launch Bay (with an Alien Pod set piece), Sickbay and other ship sets. The production went into second unit on Tuesday, while the next episode commenced, in order to complete a couple of scenes including the very involved Reed/Hayes fight. By then the workplace was starting to look pretty festive — colorful lights started appearing in various places, especially on the Hair and Makeup trailers where a white Christmas tree was also set up right outside.

As mentioned, Steven Culp is back in his recurring role as Hayes, last seen in "The Shipment." Thomas Kopache has appeared several times in each of the Trek series from TNG on, along with the movie "Star Trek Generations," but he is perhaps most recognizable as Kira Nerys' father "Kira Taban" in two episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He was also in "Broken Bow" as the Vulcan "Tos." The MACO character "Amanda Cole" is played by newcomer Noa Tishby.

"Harbinger" was scripted by Manny Coto from a story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga. Coto previously wrote "Similitude" and "Chosen Realm" (the latter airing in January). David Livingston directed for the third time this season, starting pre-production on this episode immediately after shooting "Proving Ground." He also helmed "Impulse" (which will repeat on Christmas Eve).

This episode is tentatively scheduled to air February 11.
Additional information:
The shoot lasted seven days, which were spread out because of the holiday weekend. The shoot began on November 19th and finished up on December 1st. Extra scenes were shot on December 2nd, including some of the Reed/Hayes fight scenes.
Copyright © 2004

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