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Interview: Jeri Ryan & Michelle Hurd On Navigating A Relationship While Saving The Galaxy In ‘Picard’ Season 2

Interview by trekmovie.com

TrekMovie joined a group press interview with actress Jeri Ryan and Michelle Hurd to talk about what’s new for Seven and Raffi in season two of Star Trek: Picard. The pair talk about how the stakes of the season impact their characters’ relationship, the message behind going back in time, and even the possibility of getting their own spin-off.

Note: The interview contains some minor spoilers and has been edited for brevity and clarity. 

So at the end of season one, we see Raffi and Seven start to have a pretty immediate rapport. Do you guys remember finding that chemistry yourselves?

Michelle Hurd: Jeri and I are just like two peas in the pod. We’re like Frick and Frack. We really work very well together. And I know for myself, I immediately just liked her. I just liked her. [laughs] I mean, who doesn’t like her? For goodness sake. It was pretty easy for us to create a rapport and work on that relationship.

Jeri Ryan: That’s definitely true. We just had instant chemistry. We just worked well together. We have a similar working style where we just click. It’s easy.

Season two has some radical shocks and events. Does this put Seven and Raffi at odds with each other, or will they grow closer together?

Michelle Hurd: I think this season we will find that all these challenges and these extreme places that these two people find themselves in will be a test to the respect and understanding and the truth about two women who are strong and independent and stubborn and could be pigheaded, very vulnerable and emotional. And how they basically navigate that as two grown women who have lives that they have developed for decades. Now, they found themselves together and there’s been chaos and what would happen in that situation? To me, I think maybe they would somehow find some support for each other… I don’t know, that’s what I’m thinking. [laughs]

Jeri Ryan: Oh, and save the galaxy at the same time!

Michelle Hurd: Oh, yes. And save the galaxy.

There are a lot of things going on at once on this show. What was it like to play out the relationship drama in quick short spots in the middle of other scenes?

Jeri Ryan: I think it is a unique situation, the way that they’re telling this storyline for season two. Because they’re dropping us into the middle of the relationship. This is a year and a half, or whatever it is, into a relationship. You’re just in the trenches, every day slogging through trying to figure out how you make it work. And while all this other stuff is going on, and literally the entire galaxy is in jeopardy. We are not playing bits of a story that are interrupted by other stuff. That’s the subtext. That’s the relationship of these characters. That’s the way they interact. And so that’s just the subtext that’s there, no matter what else is going on. That’s not something that I felt like we had to play, whether there’s dialogue about it or there’s not dialogue about it. That’s just the reality of these characters. And that’s just being true to them into the story that we’re telling.

Michelle Hurd: I agree. You’ll see the truths in little moments where there are looks and stuff, but we’re not in that part where people are like trying to run off to the side and like snuggle or whatever. This is not that period of time. That would be right after that first season ended, right? Time has passed. We’re on two different journeys. Seven is working in the Fenris Rangers. I’m working with the Federation. We’ve gone to different paths, but you’ll see little glimpses. But I think it would be doing a disservice, honestly, to these two women, if we sort of dive into it during this time, when such huge stakes are in front of us… that we would be like, [mocks cute tone] “I like how you are dressed today.” I think that would be weird. [laughs] Although I do like how you’re dressed today.

Jeri Ryan: Gosh, thanks. Back at ya.

From what we’ve seen, Raffi and Seven have this great, almost buddy-cop dynamic going on in season two. [Co-showrunner] Terry Matalas has hinted about potential Picard spin-offs. Should we be thinking seriously about a Raffi and Seven spin-off?

Michelle Hurd: I think that everybody should be thinking about that seriously. There should be a Seven and Raffi show. There you go. One hundred percent!

Jeri Ryan: [laughs] Your lips to God’s ears. I’m going to go on record now and say I will do anything with that woman. I will work on anything with her, ever, ever. I don’t care what it is… well, there are some limits. But she’s the most delightful human being. I just love her and I love working with her.

Michelle Hurd: Same. So yes to the spin-off.

Jeri, about the scene in season two where you’re looking at yourself in the mirror. How much of that was Jeri Ryan looking and acting? And how much of that was Jeri Ryan looking and reacting

Jeri Ryan: That was an interesting way of phrasing that question. This is the first time that Seven has EVER, since she was seven years old, experienced just being human. So yeah, that was a shock to the system to see this character in this world–I mean, a much darker version of this world, of course–but without the prosthetics, without the Borg implants. And it was something she has struggled with her entire life; reconciling her Borg half and her human half. And always being treated… her experience has been the first reaction anyone that you meet is always either fear, anger, disgust, distrust, or all of the above. Because the first thing they, see no matter what the circumstances are, is this Borg implant, this metal on your head. And so to see herself just human was, I think, a pretty cool moment for the character.

Based on what we have seen so far, it feels like not since Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home has the franchise focused so much on issues on Earth in the present day. Are we in such bad shape that we need it again?

Jeri Ryan: Yeah, I think that’s a safe thing to say. [laughs] Star Trek has always, since The Original Series, set out to hold a mirror up to society. And yeah, there’s no clearer way to do that. It’s a little more direct by literally traveling back to the present day and showing us how we’re screwing it up, and what we need to fix.

Michelle Hurd: That’s the hope, isn’t it? You’re right, times are so volatile and so crazy right now that our writers and producers felt the need to actually try to address it a little more spot-on than usual. But hopefully, we fill it with a lot of exciting adventure. But I do hope that at the end, we all sort of look at ourselves and look at our surroundings, and see if there’s anything that each one of us as individuals can do to help this planet that we live on, and the society that we are part of.

In different ways, both of your characters really make this a modern Star Trek. For Seven it’s all about her past and a little window into her humanity. And Raffi, even with her mission and duty, she’s the one who gets angry over what she can see going on. Could you talk a little bit about how both your characters ground this season?

Michelle Hurd: Absolutely. Raffi sees it immediately, immediately! As soon as she lands in 2024 she sees this homelessness. The dirt…the sky isn’t blue anymore. [The air] is not clean to breathe. She’s almost mugged. Literally, she sees it. She says, “You’re killing it, 2024, you’re killing it.” Raffi basically walks with her heart on her sleeves. She is an emotional person. She is a vulnerable person. She’s driven and she’s passionate. And when she gets fixated on something, she’s going to go to the ends to try to make it work, to fix it.

I really love the fact that the writers gave us the opportunity to expose the egregiousness that has happened in our world at times. And also in that moment where she sees Seven for the first time and she goes, “What is this? Why do you seem so relaxed?” And how beautiful is it that they did that? They didn’t really pound it in that life is better for a beautiful, to be completely honest, blond-haired, blue-eyed woman as opposed to this woman of color… As Star Trek has always tried to say, this is all about inclusivity. This is all about diversity. This is not about other-ism. This is about telling all of our stories. We’re here on this one planet. Let’s respect it. And let’s call each other brother and sister. I’ll get off my soapbox.

Jeri Ryan: I think for Seven, her struggle has always been that she’s always been the outsider. It’s always been a struggle between her Borg half and her human half and trying to figure out where do I fit in? Who am I really? What is my true self? Who am I? And I think there are so many people in our society who are experiencing that same kind of struggle. And trying to figure out where they’re accepted and where they fit in, and who they really are and where they feel right, and at home. And, and I love and I hear from so many of them. Whether it’s non-neurotypical people or people in the trans community or in the LGBTQ community who relate to Seven, and have for years since her introduction on Voyager. And I love hearing from all of them that they found a character that they could relate to and that they felt represented by. It’s an honor.

The second season of Star Trek: Picard will arrive on March 3.