Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The New Dawn for Equinox

Fans of Star Trek: Voyager will no doubt be familiar with Equinox; the two episode arc spanning seasons five and six, detailing the last stand of the fantastically named Captain Rudy Ransom (played by Hollywood legend John Savage) and his crew. 

It may have only comprised two episodes, but the story questions a lot of the foundations of Janeway and her crew, specifically the lengths she is willing to go to protect them, ‘bending’ the prime directive as she calls it, whereas Ransom nonchalantly admits flat out breaking the rules to ensure their survival.

It’s a fascinating look at two Starfleet captains that are dedicated to their ship and crew above all else; when the bombshell drops that Ransom and his crew have brought their fate upon themselves, we see he and Janeway at opposite ends of the moral spectrum but, slowly, we realise they’re a lot closer than they seem. It highlights just how thin a tightrope Starfleet captains walk, especially in the savage space of the Delta quadrant. 

The episode ends, or so we would be led to believe, rather definitely with the death of Ransom – however, a new production, Star Trek Equinox: The Night of Time is looking to introduce a ‘what-if’ scenario, skewing Ransom’s fate slightly to one of imprisonment as opposed to death.

I managed to chat with Eric Nyenhuis, who is attached to play Lieutenant Lawrence Styles, and tried to discover a bit more insight into Equinox: The Night of Time, and what we can expect from this ambitious project.

What’s the key selling point for Equinox? And Why Equinox? Why not Prometheus?
First thanks for reaching out to me, as I am a huge Star Trek fan from way back when, This is all my personal opinion, and   observations. I along with a lot of fans thought and think that the Voyager episode of Equinox was brilliant. John Savage is Hollywood royalty as is Gary Lockwood. Rick Berman created Equinox and again my opinion but Equinox + Rudy Ransom + John Savage is poetry in motion. Star Trek does not put a lot of people in the Captain's Chair and whomever doesn't understand that I don't believe has a clear view of what we are trying to do. 

How did you (Eric) get involved? What’s the draw for you? Has Star Trek always been a part of your life?

Funny how I got involved. I've been professionally acting about four years now and just finished Sensory Perception with John Savage which is due to be released in April 2014 and the week of shooting coincided with the famous Chiller Convention which John and Gary were both a part of. At the end of the convention a few of us got together and John told only a handful of us this great story of sort of a "what if" Rudy Ransom was stuck on this planet and had to escape. 

I told the story to Camren T Burton and a week later this brilliant script was finished. When an actor looks at a script with so many interesting characters we always seem to gravitate to someone we feel we resemble. Im personally not at a level to challenge my acting yet so I went to David Gere and he told me that Lieutenant Styles "sounds like you" so I really have nose dived into character mode. You asked about what was the draw? 100% Gary Lockwood. 

As an actor you study and study every aspect of the craft and I have followed Gary Lockwood's career from the second pilot to films such as RPM etc I have emulated his style and swagger. So to simply answer your question Gary and John were absolutely the draw.

What’s the story with the ‘what-if’ aspect to Equinox?

I think the "what if" is the wrong way to say it. When you have set limitations and you have a chance to return Gary Lockwood to Star Trek you have to adapt certain things, so I dont think its a what if but more of a lets capitalize on what is available.
It’s been noted on the Facebook page that industry veterans have said this is the best Star Trek script they've read in a decade – what makes it so special?
There are always three parts to a script; the beginning, middle and end and I have seen a lot of FAN FILMS and again this is no shot on them but for me they are way too wordy, too much dialog and for non-actors to have so much dialog it's sometimes brutal to watch. The Night of Time is fast-paced and the script and story come together as if you were actually in the film.

Why is this different to Axanar? Do you think the marketplace is a bit full at the moment – with Continues, Phase II, Exeter, Farragut, Hidden Frontier, Renegades and indeed Axanar?

I think that everyone of those projects has a place in this world, I just don't know enough about them to really comment.

You chose to go with Indiegogo as a funding campaign, what factors were involved in choosing that particular means on fund-raising? Why not Kickstarter?

I'm not involved in the funding campaign so I really can't comment. The investors that David Gere brought to the table have put up close to $20,000 so far that my extent of knowledge on this subject.

It seems as though the fans have been vocal about the funding campaign, how have you found the response?

I have no idea. I know that the producers are regrouping and looking at everything and I believe that a Kickstarter campaign is in the works.

Isn't Equinox from Voyager and these are The Original Series uniforms?

C'mon you know they are, but I do know this those uniforms are not going to make it past the pilot. Once you read the script you will understand that they had a place at that particular time.

What’s the best case scenario for Equinox in terms of production (if funding is hit etc.)

From what I know some bridges have to be mended with the crew down in GA and if we can overcome that hurdle I think they would like to see this production wrapped in June.

If the funding fails, what then?

From what I know the pilot will be completed and turned over to CBS television and if there is no money to produce the feature well, what can I say.

Are you promoting abroad (UK conventions/events ie Collectormania/Memorabilia?)

I'm sure they are. The guys over at Woodhaven are brilliant and they understand that projects are not field of dreams. "You build it they will come"

What sort of perks will contributors get on the fundraising? Did you expect such reaction?

What shocks me is lack of reaction. You would think people would want to see this. As far as perks a chance to work with A List actors was a surprise and a great perk, but what do I know. 

Where are you now in regards to production, and what sort of timeline are you anticipating?

I'm personally doing two films between now and June and my agent has my penciled in for June, so lets hope it happens if not I will continue acting and attaching myself to other projects until I get a call sheet.

Anything else you can tell us? Perhaps a bit ‘exclusive’ info?

Well I have sent you the script, and I want to personally apologize for the time line to John Broughton as things happen behind the scenes that I nor the cast was made aware of and to Jack Marshall whom I know and consider a friend is BRILLIANT and hard working and has such a great moral foundation. I can honestly say that Equinox wouldn't even have gotten this far without him.  Thanks for reaching out to me this was a great interview.


Truly a very candid Q and A from Eric Nyenhuis highlighting the trials, troubles and decisions that have gone into the Equinox project so far. As we've talked about with Axanar and Futures recently it's all about making something different and this might snatch a prize for a total curve ball What If moment, changing the end of an established episode to create an entirely new thread and possibilities.  In this now increasingly crowded fan-production marketplace will this show go the distance especially considering the high regard that the script apparently has already garnered? What about that casting of Lockwood and Savage at the heart of the story? Could this be a touch of genius almost linking the two ends of the franchise timeline together by bringing their characters together?

What we can be certain of is that we won't have heard the last from the Equinox project. While this article might have answered some questions and given a deeper insight into the production it's probably just a brush of the surface. The next challenge will be to see what they can bring to the screen as way of tasters and testers before production continues in earnest.

You can find out more about Star Trek Equinox: The Night of Time by visiting their website or following them on Facebook.

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