I was to be the voice of Spock’s teacher in Star Trek.
The call time was 10AM in the Marilyn Monroe ADR stage at Fox Studios.
Soft bagels, Starbucks coffee, and a myriad of exotic fruit awaited me in the sound stage–and also an engineer. No other human in sight. Because it would be some time before the others arrived, the engineer asked if I wanted to see what I was going to voice, so I nestled back into one of the sofas, sipped my coffee, and peered at the big screen in front of me.
This was my first time as an ADR actor, and I was thrilled. (For those who don’t know, ADR means Additional Dialogue Recording.)
How nice to, basically, have the luxury of a theater to oneself. Yes, there was the menacing microphone and its stand that crippled the screen, reminding me of what I was hired to do, but everything else was lush and playfully serene…until the screen came alive with the young James Kirk at the wheel of a screaming Mustang…and then the moment he nearly falls off the cliff. And then the word “Vulcan” appeared on the screen. Suddenly we see the boy Spock at school and hear him answering his teacher’s questions.
A few days before the session, I was sent a script which consisted of numerous perplexing questions whose answers, I assumed, only Stephen Hawking would know. I had to look up some words just to get the correct pronunciation.
When the two editors arrived, they sat on the sofa behind me, and I stood before that daunting microphone and read the lines. No sight of J.J. Abrams anywhere, alas. I had been told he would be present.
My voice is heard, on and off, for only 30 seconds in the film. Andy Warhol once famously said everyone gets “about 15 seconds of fame.” I am lucky to have doubled that number.