Exclusive Interview: JONATHAN FRAKES RETURNS FOR CHAPTER 3 OF 'THE LIBRARIAN' AND CHATS ABOUT THE 'STAR TREK' REDUX - PART 2
The former NEXT GENERATION actor helms his second LIBRARIAN film which debuts this Sunday (December 7) on TNT
By CARL CORTEZ, Contributing Editor
For a librarian, Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle) certainly gets around. Travelling around the globe throughout his two previous adventures in THE LIBRARIAN movies for TNT, the plucky bookworm with a mission to preserve history’s most famed artifacts has transformed from reluctant hero to more confident, reluctant hero.
For his third adventure, THE LIBRARIAN: CURSE OF THE JUDAS CHALICE (which debuts this Sunday, December 7, on TNT), Carsen travels to New Orleans where he battles Russians who are trying to resurrect Dracula in their attempt to create an ultimate army. The film is executive produced by Dean Devlin, whose new TV series LEVERAGE starring Timothy Hutton also debuts December 7.
Behind the camera for his second LIBRARIAN tour of duty is former STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION actor Jonathan Frakes who spoke with iF about the latest adventure shortly after the cast and crew screening on the big screen at the Arclight in Hollywood, CA.
iF MAGAZINE: Dean’s talked about a LIBRARIAN feature film – has he talked about you about coming aboard that?
JONATHAN FRAKES: He’s been talking about either doing the next one as a movie or further down the line. We’ll see what the numbers are like on this – it’s an interesting approach to go from television to movies, but Dean has never been afraid of interesting and radical approaches.
iF: HIGH SCOOL MUSICAL 3, even though it’s a Disney franchise, managed to be successful at that.
FRAKES: I keep thinking about that one too, but I don’t think we have the same core audience. They had a huge audience, and I’m not sure we have that demographic that goes to the movies.
iF: And of course there’s STAR TREK – but of course there was a long time between the original series and the movies and it was a logical progression to go from CLASSIC TREK to NEXT GEN movies. Speaking of STAR TREK, are you excited about the new J.J. Abrams movie?
FRAKES: I’ve very optimistic about the new movie. I’m a big fan of his as a storyteller and I was there and it looked great. I was lucky enough to visit the set and was overwhelmed how beautiful the [Enterprise] bridge was.
iF: You were just there to hang out – no top secret cameo?
FRAKES: My First [A.D.] was my first, and J.J. is married to a girl I know in Maine, so we had these connections and we’ve been trading notes back and forth and finally went over to have a little schmooze with them and it happened to be the day they were on the bridge. I must say, it was very emotional to be on someone else’s STAR TREK set, as you could imagine.
iF: At the same time, do you feel sad that the NEXT GEN movies have come to an end?
FRAKES: Yes. By all means. I had dinner with Patrick [Stewart] last week and we were both ready to go back to do another one.
iF: Do you think that ship has sailed that NEXT GEN anything is pretty much off the table.
FRAKES: I don’t think so. I think if this is successful, it opens up any number of possibilities for the whole STAR TREK franchise, so we’ll see how this does.
iF: ENTERPRISE gave an opportunity to offer another NEXT GEN ending, in a weird way – how was it coming back doing the final episode of that series with Marina Sirtis.
FRAKES: That was a very interesting choice. The theory was it was a valentine to the fans, but the reality is it was a bit of a stretch to have us shut down their show.
iF: I thought it was a disservice to everything that ENTERPRISE had done – it didn’t really give them a proper send-off.
FRAKES: I think maybe in hindsight, everybody probably feels that way.
iF: It must have cool though, in that it’s the last time you’ll probably get to play those characters for the time being.
FRAKES: It was great to be with Marina again and get into your spacesuit and not have to let it out. A lot of the crew I had worked with for 30 years, so it had a very nice sentimental value going back there.
iF: So there’s nothing on the table for NEXT GEN?
FRAKES: The idea of coming back together is the most attractive. Obviously my character has been promoted and has his own ship and is married, so we’ve toyed with the idea of a sitcom and an opera. There are a lot of spaghettis that have been thrown up on the wall.
iF: A half hour?
FRAKES: THE RIKERS IN SPACE and their wacky uncle Data and their little dog Worf. [laughs]
iF: Did you have conversations with Paramount about this.
FRAKES: No, I had conversations with Marina about this.
iF: Do you miss acting?
FRAKES: Since I’ve moved back to Los Angeles, I’ve been doing some auditioning. I would love to get some acting gigs. I’m hoping to dip back in.
iF: Do you enjoy the acting more or the directing more?
FRAKES: The directing is much more fulfilling. You’re involved in the whole thing.
iF: You directed two episodes of TNT’s LEVERAGE [which debuts after THE LIBRARIAN on December 7) – can you talk about that.
FRAKES: Every one I talk to is excited by the promos and every woman I talk to loves Timothy Hutton. I’m very optimistic about that. I think the show is so cleverly created. The concept is so good. People love a good heist and they’ve got five really distinctive characters who play off each other brilliantly and each have their own voice.
iF: Both episodes you did are completely different type of episodes too, correct?
FRAKES: One is a comedy episode. There’s a murder in it and it plays very, very funny.
iF: Some of the spirit of LIBRARIAN permeates through LEVERAGE, in the sense you’re mixing one genre with another. It’s light-hearted, but it’s got a real core solid action beats and suspense and twists.
FRAKES: Dean’s on a really good roll.
iF: What else do you have on your plate.
FRAKES: I’m going away to Mexico City, to do a new show called PERSONS UNKNOWN. It’s a little bit weird. It should be interesting. The pilot is written by Christopher McQuarrie from USUAL SUSPECTS fame and VALKYRIE. It’s being run by Remi Aubuchon who did BATTLESTAR GALACTICA with Ron Moore. Remi’s running the show. I’m really looking forward to doing this. Remember PRISONER. It has a little big LOST, TWILIGHT ZONE and psychological drama.
iF: Is this a go show?
FRAKES: I’m doing the third or fourth episode. They’ve ordered 12. It sold to Italy and televiso. They’re deciding if they’re going to put it on FX or SCI FI Channel.
iF: Any feature films?
FRAKES: I’ve got a movie I’m trying to sell called MERIDIAN, which is a political thriller. So I have some irons in the fire.
CLICK HERE FOR PART 1 OF iF'S EXCLUSIVE JONATHAN FRAKES INTERVIEW
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