Cinefantastique Vol. 31 #11, April 2000


Tim Russ


Resident Vulcan Tuvok on moving his career into film and music


By Anna Kaplan


If it seems like Tuvok, played by Tim Russ, appeared onscreen less often during VOYAGER’s fifth season, it’s true. Russ spent a lot of time on other projects, but he enjoyed everything he and Tuvok did. For one thing, Russ was really itching to get to work on the Captain Proton set. During “Bride of Chaotica,” Tuvok went in with Paris to find out what was wrong with the program. Said Russ, “I was hoping to get a chance to work on that set. I wouldn’t normally be on it because it is his holodeck sequence. It was very nice to be able to go in for a minute, under the auspices of investigating what was going on that wasn’t quite right about it, and be able to work on the set, and be able to see it back in black and white. I thought it was very cool. I really enjoyed having an opportunity to do that.”


Tuvok had a chance to be funny in “Bride of Chaotica.” Laughed Russ, “Between the robot and Paris, there is a lot to play off of there, quite a bit actually. Paris has always been a perfect foil for this character. We had a lot of fun in ‘Future’s End I and II’ which is the same kind of thing. Paris is so careless and so off-center. It works very well against Tuvok’s straight and linear way of doing things. ‘Chaotica’ was a prime example, and the writers gave me several zingers to throw him.”


The show that aired immediately after “Bride of Chaotica” was “Gravity,” which featured Tuvok. The episode begins with a flashback to Tuvok’s youth, at a time when he had to learn to suppress his dangerous Vulcan emotions. In Voyager’s present, Tuvok, Paris and the Doctor have crash-landed on a desert planet and are marooned there for months, meeting up with an alien woman named Noss (Lori Petty). Said Russ, “’Gravity’ was a really big show. We had to go on location for two days. We rarely ever go on location, not more than maybe a couple of times a year. It was fabulous. We were out in Palmdale, in the high desert, and it was actually pleasant. Lori Petty is a very good actress, and did a fine job. Robert Duncan McNeill and I have worked together quite a bit in the last couple of years, and it’s always a lot of fun, because we do a lot of cutting up.”


Russ continued, “I thought it was shot well, and the opticals came together nicely. I was very happy with it. It was an enlightening episode for the character, a chance to peek back at his past, and see him as a child, see what he went through at that age and the kind of legacy that he left behind. It was a very eye-opening show.”


Tuvok performed a mind meld with Noss at the end of “Gravity.” He also melded with Seven to try and recover her personality in the episode “Infinite Regress.” The sequence was directed by David Livingston and done in camera, using a variety of lenses. Recalled Russ, “That dream sequence was pretty amazing, some pretty remarkable stuff with the camera, so you get the images and the feeling for being in that situation. That was a lot of work. That was a hard week actually. We were shooting on that stage some pretty long days.”


Russ noted, “Particularly the last six or seven shows, I’m not very heavy in them at all, because I had other projects going on. I requested to be light in those shows, to get these other projects done. They accommodated me, very graciously so, and allowed me to have a little breathing space. I have a feature project I am trying to get out, and a couple of music projects.”


Russ and partner Nate Thomas worked on a movie called EAST OF HOPE STREET, which won the award for Best Urban Drama Feature Film at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival in 1998.


And Russ regularly plays guitar and sings in the Los Angeles area. Sometimes he sings at STAR TREK conventions. Said the versatile performer, “I had a CD that I completed recently, called ‘Only a Dream in Rio.’ I usually sell it, take it to conventions. It’s also on the STAR TREK website under my biography. I am currently working on a second one and a couple of live shows with another band.”


Russ took a look back at the fifth season. “It’s been a very interesting year, because of the variety of stories. The show is only designed to run for seven years. When it’s done, who knows what then? I wonder about it myself sometimes.”