×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Listen: Lance Reddick on How a Childhood Love of ‘Star Trek’ and William Shatner Informed His Career

Lance Reddick never planned to be an actor. But the star of series such as “Bosch,” “Corporate,” “Fringe” and “The Wire” always cites his youthful obsession with William Shatner as the catalyst that eventually led to his career on the screen.

“I didn’t really start acting until college and I didn’t even think about being an actor professionally until I was 27,” Reddick told Variety‘s “My Favorite Episode” podcast. “But whenever I’m asked about my early influences, what made me want to be an actor, it was William Shatner.”

As a teenager, when Reddick learned that Shatner had been a Shakespearean actor, he unearthed his father’s copy of “Julius Caesar” and taught himself the speech that Brutus makes to the crowd before Mark Antony takes over.

“I started trying to do it the way I thought Captain Kirk would do it,” he said. “Growing up I kind of wanted to be Captain Kirk.”

On this edition of the podcast, we talk to Reddick about his favorite episode of TV ever, the classic “Star Trek” installment “Space Seed” and the actor’s unusual path to fame. Listen below:

CREDIT: Paramount Television/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Written by Gene L. Coon and Carey Wilber and directed by Marc Daniels, the “Star Trek” episode “Space Seed” first introduced the iconic character Khan, played by Ricardo Montalban. The episode aired during Season 1 of “Star Trek,” on Feb. 16, 1967.

“Space Seed” follows the USS Enterprise as it comes across the SS Botany Bay, a ship featuring superhumans who have been in suspended animation for centuries. Khan, the leader, takes advantage of ship historian Marla McGivers to attempt to take over the ship. Kirk eventually exiles Khan and McGivers, and of course we see the return of the character in the 1982 film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”

“When I was a kid, and I would watch ‘Star Trek’ in reruns, I would always wait for that episode,” he said. “It took me awhile to realize how much I loved the chemistry that Montalban and Shatner had. To see [Captain Kirk] up against somebody who was really his match, if not his superior in every way, is just cool.”

Reddick eventually also became a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” fan, and was hooked on “Star Trek: Voyager” in the 1990s. He admits the original wasn’t perfect, however, as it was a relic of its late 1960s time in at least one regard.

“One of the things that was so interesting to me about that original series is how, given how often they addressed race and ethnicity in the show — and how difficult that is — how misogynistic it was,” he noted.

That’s why it was notable that “Voyager,” and now “Star Trek: Discovery,” have made up for that. “‘Voyager,’ the smartest, most powerful characters on that show were the women,” he noted, “and the black guy!”

CREDIT: Aaron Epstein/Amazon/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

It’s a busy 2019 for Reddick, who stars as Deputy Chief Irvin Irving on Amazon Prime Video’s “Bosch,” which returns for Season 5 on April 19, and as Christian DeVille on Comedy Central’s “Corporate,” which finished its second season in March. He’s also Commander Zavala in the video game “Destiny” and its sequel, and returns in “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum” this May.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” he said.

Variety’s “My Favorite Episode With Michael Schneider” is where stars and producers gather to discuss their favorite TV episodes ever — from classic sitcoms to modern-day dramas — as well as pick a favorite episode from their own series. On “My Favorite Episode,” some of the biggest names in TV share their creative inspirations — and how those episodes influenced them.

Be sure to subscribe to “My Favorite Episode” on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every week. 

More TV

  • "We Turn Up This Music Louder

    TV Review: 'The Red Line'

    For all that broadcast TV’s power has attenuated in recent years, what they choose to put on still means something — and, from a certain point of view, something more than the choices made by prestige outlets. After all, the reach of broadcasters is without parallel. They’re simply in that many more homes than prestige [...]

  • Grey's Anatomy Season 15

    Broadcast Bubble Shows 2019: What's Coming Back, What’s Not

    While many broadcast shows have already been picked up for next season, plenty of favorites are still waiting to learn their fates. Given that the broadcasters are currently evaluating this year’s crop of comedy and drama pilots, some current shows will unfortunately have to shuffle off to that great network in the sky, where they [...]

  • Elizabeth Olsen Wanda Vision

    Elizabeth Olsen Says Disney+ Series 'WandaVision' Is Set in 1950s

    “Avengers: Endgame” star Elizabeth Olsen tells Variety that “WandaVision,” the forthcoming Disney+ series about her superhero character, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, will be set in the 1950s. “There’s quite a few other comic books that we’re pulling from and it’s going to be Wanda and the Vision, and I think at the Disney+ launch chat, they [...]

  • CBS HEADQUARTERS

    CBS Chiefs: Former Exec's Claim Network 'Has a White Problem' Is 'Disheartening,' 'Painful'

    Susan Zirinsky, president of CBS News, and Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment, sent emails to staff Tuesday expressing concern over claims made in an essay published in Variety in which CBS veteran Whitney Davis detailed racist discrimination and sexual harassment she witnessed and was subjected to at the network. In response, Zirinsky said Davis’ [...]

  • BBC Studios Making Prince Charles Series

    BBC Studios Making Prince Charles Series for ITV

    ITV has greenlit a BBC Studios-produced series about Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne. “Inside the Duchy” (working title) will follow the Prince of Wales over two one-hour episodes to mark his 50th year as the holder of the title of Duke of Cornwall. The producers said the series will give an unprecedented [...]

  • Catch-22 Episode 101

    TV News Roundup: Hulu Releases Trailer for George Clooney's 'Catch-22' (Watch)

    In today’s roundup, Hulu releases the official trailer for George Clooney’s “Catch-22,” and Disney Channel announces its “Andi Mack” series will end after season 3. DATES Gabriel Iglesias will star as a high school history teacher in the Netflix multicam comedy “Mr. Iglesias,” launching on June 21. The comedian teaches gifted, but misfit students and helps them [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Scandal: 'Empire' Cast Inks Letter Supporting Actor

    “Empire” stars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard are appealing to Fox for their embattled co-star Jussie Smollett to return for the show’s sixth season. Henson, Howard, and the rest of the drama series’ top cast, penned an April 19 letter to Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier, Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment chair Dana [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content