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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. 

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