New York Post
Broadway vet Rapp moves to ‘Star Trek: Discovery’
ANTHONY Rapp isn’t a Trekkie, but he plays one on TV.
“Knowing people who are real Trekkies, I would never put myself on that level. That would be a disservice to them,” says Rapp, who stars as prickly Lt. Paul Stamets in “Star
Trek: Discovery” on CBS All Access. “I’m a fan. I’ve been a sci-fi fantasy geek since I was a little kid, and ‘Star Trek’ was one of the many things that I consumed.”
This is the first regular TV role for Rapp, 45, who has done guest parts on shows like CBS All Access’ “The Good Fight” and “The Knick” (Cinemax). His “Star Trek” character is an astromycologist — an expert on space fungi — and is named after a real-life scientist in Olympia, Washington. Lt. Stamets clashes with both disgraced First Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs), whom Stamets resents for using his scientific research for military purposes in the war with the Klingon Empire.
Rapp, a Broadway vet who first found fame as an original cast member of “Rent,” recently spoke with The Post by phone from Toronto, where he was filming Episode 15 — the “Discovery” season finale airing next year.
Do you have a favorite “Star Trek” TV series?
I think the original. There are aspects of Spock — and Leonard Nimoy as Spock, his incredible performance — that resonated so powerfully through all of the different series. He became an archetypal way to examine the human condition, so I have a real soft spot for him.
What was it like trying on your Starfleet uniform for the first time?
It made me incredibly giddy. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures at the time but, shhhhh, don’t tell anybody: I took a couple pictures. (laughs) So I have a record of the first time I put the badge on. Then I walked on the set and they handed me a phaser and a communicator — and I’m like bouncing off the walls. It was crazy.
Lt. Stamets comes off as controlling and condescending. How would you describe him?
Stamets is incredibly intelligent and a true expert in his field. He doesn’t have a lot of time or space for people who aren’t on his level. The science, the exploration is the most important thing to him and he has been essentially conscripted into this war.
Were youu surpised that Stamets would be gay and have a partner, played by Wilson Cruz — a first for the TV franchise?
I was happy to see it; I’m really proud of how it is depicted. There was the little nod they did in [the 2016 movie] “Star Trek: Beyond,” with Sulu [played by John Cho] putting his arm around his husband and their kid — although it was so subtle ... that there were people that probably even missed it. It wasn’t as explicit as it’s going to be in our case.
Diversity has always been a hallmark of “Star Trek,” yet people criticized the “Discovery” cast for being too diverse, even calling it “white genocide.” What was your reaction to that?
They’re crawling out from under their rocks. People have always felt this way; it’s just right now they feel very emboldened to wear their prejudices and divisive ideas on their sleeves.