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Saturday, December 23, 2017


Silver screen and small screen actor Cas Anvar couldn't believe he was stepping onto a soundstage in a STAR TREK episode when he first emerged in costume as Sentek in Episode 10 (“To Boldly Go:  Part I”). 

After playing opposite Ben Affleck in Argo, an Oscar winner for Best Picture, Anvar has stayed busy with Hollywood in film and TV roles in productions like the Princess Diana biopic Diana, the sci-fi adventure Source Code and suspense thriller The Factory.  He has also appeared in Steve Spielberg’s The Terminal and then there’s a long list of TV roles on Anvar’s resume, including appearances on NCIS:LA, In Plain Sight, Boston Legal, Castle, and 24.

But to emerge in full Romulan garb on a planet set in rural Georgia?  That was one of his personal career highlights – so far.

“On my very first scene, they brought me to the planet set.  And it was amazing.  I’d never really seen a real STAR TREK set before.  You don’t realize how those sets were constructed back then.  This thing was so authentic with its fake boulders and sparkly mineral dust and the elevator on the surface of the planet.  Then I had my first exposure to holding a disruptor and doing the big fight scene.  It was everything you’ve ever imagined when you watch STAR TREK!”

Anvar is a Canadian born and trained actor whose big break came with his role 2003’s Shattered Glass with Hayden Christiansen, and his professional career began following graduation from Canada’s prestigious National Theatre School.  Anvar is also a well-known voice actor, whose talents can be heard in some of the world’s most popular video games (including Call of Duty: BO2, Halo 4, and Assassins Creed: Revelations.)

As a voice actor, he was familiar with Star Trek Continues executive producer Vic Mignogna.  Anvar learned about the opportunity to join the cast as a guest star following a fortuitous meeting with STC director James Kerwin and through a connection with STC make-up artist Lisa Hansell.

“I’d been exposed to STAR TREK CONTINUES before I found out about the opportunity to participate.  Their reputation was very high, and the production really is amazingly impressive and very high quality.  I like the way STC uses technology to make it possible to produce ‘new’ episodes of The Original Series without losing authenticity,” Anvar said.

Anvar is a fan of all flavors of STAR TREK, noting that “there’s not one that I’ve missed.  I’m a Roddenberry fan – a fan of the universe that he created.  But each of the STAR TREK series is like a movement in a symphony.  Each one has a place and a purpose and its own unique flavor.”

The “Vulculan”

To prepare for the role of Sentek (“I call him a ‘Vulculan,” says Anvar), he thought about what would be required for a cool and collected Vulcan to appear as a hot-headed Romulan.

“This is a character who grew up on Vulcan with emotional suppression.  And he’s masquerading as a Romulan, who is much more emotional and volatile.  So how does this character allow himself to pass as a Romulan?  He has to behave in a way that is a little less Vulcan, trying to find the balance.  You have a lot of imagery and a wealth of knowledge of Vulcans by watching Leonard Nimoy as Spock.  Of course, Sentek was performing in a very non-Vulcan way.  That made for an interesting challenge to try to figure out how he could rationalize such impulsive and dangerous behavior.  It was fun to figure it out.”

In the Steps of Bill Shatner

“I studied psychology and sciences at McGill, and I think Bill Shatner did as well.  He started in theater and did some Shakespeare, and of course everyone knew that he was an alumnus of the school.  He went on to perform at Stratford in Toronto.”

That connection to Shakespeare proved very fortuitous.

“I actually got Bill Shatner to endorse a fundraising effort for a Shakespeare campaign, along with Christopher Plummer (an honorary McGill graduate.)  Both of these famous actors came from my hometown.  But after 9/11, our Shakespeare company had a financial problem.  These great actors were sympathetic and helped us raise the money we needed.  Later, of course, I also worked with Shatner on Boston Legal and saw him as the incredible Denny Crane.”

The always-busy Anvar just finished season three of The Expanse, which will reach viewers on the SyFy network in the coming months.

“Season three of The Expanse is looking amazing.  And I'm just about to go to Toronto to shoot another feature film called Beneath Earth and Sky.”

But thinking back, he loved the opportunity to play a STAR TREK alien.

“Honestly, it was a surreal experience.  Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be on STAR TREK and play some sort of an alien – ever since I was a kid.  To getting to realize that dream was exciting,” Anvar says.

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