Here are the Jeri bits of trekmovie’s STLV19 write up with Jeri Ryan, Jonathan Frakes and Jonathan Del Arco:
Ryan happy to lose Seven’s catsuit, but “freaked out” finding her new voice
Jeri Ryan revealed how returning to Star Trek started as casual conversations among friends that she didn’t think would ever go anywhere:
We were at the Hollywood Bowl and Johnny [Del Arco] was with me and one of the creators of the show – James Duff – who is a dear friend of ours, after about four glasses of champagne, he was like: “this might be a good time to bring this up, here is what I am thinking…” And he pitched an idea. The story is not the same story as he was originally thinking, but the way he had conceived of this character, is basically what he had described to me, and it sounded really cool. I thought yeah, that sounds fun but, whatever. This was like a year and a half ago, well over a year. So, I didn’t think anything of it, but every time I saw him again, he would mention again. Then cut to the Creative Arts Emmys [September 8, 2018] and Alex Kurtzman was there, and he mentioned it as well. And I thought: “oh, this might happen,” and it did.
Like Frakes, Ryan had some concerns returning to her Star Trek role, but hers seemed to be even more intense:
Honestly, it was freaking terrifying, and these two [Frakes and Del Arco] can attest to that! They both saved my ass! I was freaking out. She was a very specific character for four years on Voyager. There was a lot of growth, and all of that. She went from being a machine to learning to be human. But, particularly the way she moved and her voice, that was what I was really hung up on. Her voice didn’t change that much in four years. So, she had a stilted, very formal, very stylized way of speaking, at the end of Voyager. So, when I got the initial script, and from I knew from the original pitch with James [Duff] a year and a half ago, she is not the same Seven. She is much more human. She been on Earth for a long time, she has been through a lot. So, when I saw that initial script and as you saw “what the hell are you doing out here?” It’s a very, very different voice. And that is what was freaking me out.
Ryan revealed it was Del Arco who helped her through it:
So I was happy because Johnny [Del Arco] was working before I did and he said: “once you get in costume, it helps.” And it does. It informs the way the character moves and the way the character stands and that kind of thing. But, I was having a real hard time with her voice. I just couldn’t hear her in these lines. I couldn’t find it and it was really freaking me out to the point where my husband was like: “I have seen you get freaked out by a script, ever.” And so thank God this one [Jonathan Frakes] was directing my first two episodes. And Johnny [Del Arco] worked before I did, so he had just gone through all of this himself.
I was literally freaking out. I was bursting into tears: “I don’t know what her voice is! I can’t find her.” So, Johnny came over and we had lunch and read the script for like an hour and finally he just – I was so freaked out I couldn’t think clearly about it – he said after an hour: “just try this, what if…” The Borg have always been hated, they are universally hated because they were bad guys, they were tough. But, there’s other elements in this world with the Borg. And, what if she had to make the choice to be as human as possible, to survive, to sound as human and act as human as possible. Clearly, she is always going to look like a former Borg, because she has these implants that cant go away. So, what if she had to make that choice – a conscious choice – to sound as human as possible. And that’s all I needed. That’s what I needed! I just needed something for it to make sense as an actor as to why she would have that huge of a chance. Then it made sense to me. I was still freaking out in my first scene.
Jeri Ryan also talked about what it has been like to work with Patrick Stewart for the first time:
[Working with Patrick] is amazing. I don’t think I had actually ever met Patrick once over all these years, except some after party like eighteen years ago. He is lovely. I know most of the Next Gen cast better than I know my own cast [from Voyager]. I know these guys so well and I have seen them at so many shows over the years and we hang out. So, it’s funny that I know so much about him and I know him from the periphery. But he is lovely, he is just lovely. And of course, he is an incredible actor.
The show is using the same kind of secrecy on set as the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies, including requiring Jeri Ryan to always wear a hooded cloak when outside of her trailer, including gloves. Ryan talked about how she was surprised it worked, revealing that earlier in the year they shot at Universal City Walk in Hollywood, which is a tourist destination and she would be driven around (cloaked and hooded) in a van between her trailer and set right next to the tour trams, and thinking at the time “this is so going to get out!”
Picard Analysis: Based on what Ryan said at STLV, it appears her first episode for Picard will be episode three, which is the first episode Frakes directed (based on what he told TrekMovie.com in an earlier interview). Ryan’s comments indicate Seven will appear in episode four, also directed by Frakes, and given her phrasing of “my first two episodes,” it seems as if Seven will appear in more than just those two directed by Frakes. As shown in the Comic-Con trailer, the Seven seen in Picard has adapted be more human, as a way to fit in, or assimilate.