Production Report: Creepy Crawlies in "Hatchery"
An eerie look inside a Xindi-Insectoid ship and how they breed their young defines "Hatchery," the 17th episode of the season and the last to be shot in 2003.
In the script written by Andre Bormanis and Mike Sussman, Enterprise discovers a Xindi-Insectoid ship crashed on a small barren planet, its crew dead. Upon investigation, it's learned they weren't killed in the crash, but rather they intentionally suffocated so all life support could be transferred to an incubation chamber on the ship holding several dozen Insectoid eggs. The eggs are trying to hatch, but their bio-support is failing, and Archer seems determined to help the offspring survive.
The Insectoid sets and set dressings created by Herman Zimmerman's production design crew, along with special effects makeup from Michael Westmore's team, made for a creepy immersion into the world of the overgrown bugs. In the dimly-lit "hatchery," we'll be seeing egg sacs suspended from organic-looking tendons, with insectoid "fetuses" inside. The lighting crew also utilized smoke works to create a thick, humid haze in the Hatchery chamber set.
Most of the shooting during the seven-day schedule, however, took place on standing ship sets such as Sickbay, Crew Quarters, Mess Hall, Armory and Bridge. A portion of a day was spent in an Insectoid Shuttle, then a full day was devoted to the Hatchery set. The final shooting day covered other portions of the Insectoid ship, including Corridors and an Airlock. About half of those scenes will be enhanced with optical effects in post-production, including some live "hatchlings."
The MACOs once again play a prominent role in the story, led by Steven Culp as "Major Hayes" — he was on set for five full days. Daniel Dae Kim also returned as "Corporal Chang," as did Sean McGowan as "Corporal Hawkins." The other MACOs were stunt players — including Dorenda Moore (seen prominently in "North Star"), Justin Sunquist, Kevin Derr and Jason Collins — and several background extras.
Production wrapped last Friday, Dec. 19, in time for a two-week holiday break. (The cast and crew had their Christmas party after work on Wednesday at the Paramount Commissary.) Filming resumes January 5, for the last seven episodes of the season.
"Hatchery" is directed by Michael Grossman, a newcomer to the Trek scene. Grossman worked his way up through the ranks as first assistant director and second-unit director in both TV and film to become a full-fledged director, and has helmed such genre fare as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly, along with the Sci-Fi Channel's The Invisible Man.
This episode is tentatively scheduled to air February 25.
Alex Chansky stunt-doubled for Steven Culp as "Major Hayes."
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