sexta-feira, 13 de maio de 2016

[EXCLUSIVE] Interview with Will Stape, author of "Star Trek Sex: Analyzing the Most Sexually Charged Episodes of the Original Series"

Will Stape is North American and lives since he was 10 years old in Bayonne, New Jersey, his home state. Journalist and writer, stape has contributed with stories for Star Trek twice. While attending the first year of college, Stape became one of the several freelance writers to sell scripts for TNG. His first work in the franchise was with a story called "Shadowdance", involving Worf and his adoptive brother Nikolai Rozhenko. That story would become the episode "Homeward", from the seventh season of Next Generation, with special guest Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas). A year later, he sold another script, this time for DS9. The story was called "Charity" and revolved around Quark, becoming the episode "Prophet motive", from the series third season.

Last December, Stape published the book "Star Trek Sex: Analyzing the Most Sexually Charged Episodes of the Original Series", still no translation to Portuguese, and that can be purchased at Amazon, in the kindle or printed version, clicking here.

In this work, Stape - who's a Trekker since he was four years old - analyzes the most sexually charged episodes of TOS. Without doubt, an unprecedented approach of the series, treating of a topic that's interesting for everyone.

Check below the interview the blog did with the author, where he says, among other things, about the new movies, the expectation for the new series, about the thrill of writing for Star Trek and, of course, about his book.

First of all I'd like to say it's a huge honor to the blog that you kindly accepted to give this interview. So, I'd like to ask you to explain this for Brazilian Trekkers: what's the importance of your book and what contribution does he gives to Star Trek universe?

It’s an honor to share my thoughts with your readers.  I love Star Trek.  I'm first and foremost a fan, this fact will never change.  Thanks for this opportunity to chat, Edoo!

Though much has been written about Star Trek in so many books, not much examination has been given to the very human element of sexuality.  This is what I explore in my book, Star Trek Sex.  I take the reader on a fun, breezy sexual adventure - using the original series episodes as backdrop and analyze how sexual the stories can be.

We’re familiar with the playful or even funny notions of Captain Kirk being the romantic man; he’s the lothario, in today’s terms, we’d call him a player.  That’s all fine, but it’s a bit overdone.  True, Kirk engaged in romantic adventures, however, the rest of his crew did too.  Not only that, but there’s a wonderful sexuality which permeated the whole show.  

It reminds me of the playfulness of Austin Powers, the spy spoof.  Mike Meyers took the 1960’s era - a time when sex and sexuality were finally being discussed in much more open terms - and used it as a fun, focal point in his comedy movies.  I look at original Star Trek as a kind of genuine Austin Powers romp - one where sexuality wasn’t hidden, but celebrated.

Do you think in the new series sex is going to have an open approach, treating homosexuality, for instance, in a natural way?

I hope the new show includes the full spectrum of sexuality.

Over the course of all the Trek shows, we ask:  Why aren’t there regular gay or lesbian characters?  Why don't we ever see gay or lesbian relationships?  Back in the 1960’s or even 1980’s & 90’s, that kind of depiction of alternate lifestyles may have been a ratings gamble, but today that’s all changed.

What I don’t want to see is a gay character whose sexuality is an afterthought or trendy.  I’m also not advocating seeing lesbians or gays in overly dramatic or controversial situations.  There’s a happy medium; the kind of storytelling which Trek is known for - depicting something normal, natural of even mundane and adding a unique sci-fi twist which Trek’s been famous for exploring.  I think fondly of TNG’s The Host or The Outcast as excellent examples of thoughtful explorations on differing sexual permutations.

Do you like the new movies? In fact, Kirk appears in them in more explicit sexual situations than in TOS, where everything was just suggested.

The new feature films have the kind of fun and playful sexuality that TOS nurtured.  I’m pretty sure I heard JJ Abrams stating the sexuality of the original series had to be explored and depicted in his films, and that’s just wonderful.

I only hope the new movies start connecting in a more narrative way - ala Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock and The Voyage Home.  Now that we better know these alternate versions of Kirk, Spock, Uhura, McCoy, Sulu and Chekov, let’s really see some story inter connectivity to give these feature films and characters more substance.  

"The Voyage Home" marked 20 years of the franchise and "First Contact" 30, and both are loved by Trekkers. Do you believe that Beyond will be up to the 50 years of Star Trek?

Excellent question!

I like the trailer.  I know some had problems with it, but I always keep in mind a trailer is merely a sample.  It can steer opinions in directions which may be entirely unfounded.  Clips from the trailer are fun and energetic.  Other than that, we can’t deduce much more.  Your point is well taken though, as a 50th Anniversary entry, let’s hope there are real memorable moments for posterity.  The poignancy of Voyage Home and the thrill of seeing the moment where Vulcans and humans first met in First Contact resonates and stays with audiences.

You've criticized Rick Berman for his work in "Star Trek Enterprise". What are the main problems that you point in "Enterprise" that should be avoided by Bryan fuller and his team on the new series?

Please, let me be clear.  I admired Rick Berman’s talents as a writer and producer before I wrote for the show, and I came to admire them even more after having my episodes produced.  I only dealt with his assistant and then script supervisor, however, Rick enabled me to have my Deep Space Nine script read, which was subsequently purchased and turned into the episode, Prophet Motive.  Juggling the entire Star Trek franchise for years - including the motion pictures - was an enormous creative and business responsibility.  Anyone who knows Trek knows how much merit Rick has brought to the franchise.  

My article on Star Trek: Enterprise merely pointed out, on the whole, the writing - including various story arcs - seemed to fall short of fan expectations.  The show did suffer lower ratings when compared to say Next Generation, Deep Space Nine or Voyager.  I feel the primary reason why many fans tuned out was more over the timeline/era.  Was going back so far in the past truly a mistake?  Who can say for certain, but detaching your characters from so much established narrative can make for weaker storylines and a sense of abandoning the core of your mythology.  For example, in Star Wars, Disney is planning to explore character backstory in other films.  Movies about a young Han Solo?  Honestly, they just don’t thrill or interest me. 

I love Bryan Fuller’s work and am a big fan of Nicholas Meyer’s Star Trek films.  His film Time After Time (starring Malcolm McDowell) is one of my favorite sci-fi films of all time.  I think advice any Trek writing staff needs to remember is: Stay true to what Star Trek is - The Human Adventure.

You wrote for TNG and DS9. How was the experience of writing for Star Trek and being a part of the franchise's history?

When Paramount called me to say they wanted to produce my teleplay, I was completely floored.  I had no agent.  I’d submitted my script through an open submission policy producer Michael Piller set up with the studio.  After turning in my script, I felt I’d get a nice note back - maybe some feedback - telling me thanks, but no thanks, etc.  The business affairs dept called, and executive Dirk Vandebunt gave me the good news.  I was so excited, I asked him if this was a common reaction he’d gotten from others.  He laughed and said, “I regularly call actors/actresses to tell them we’re hiring them for guest spots on shows such as Cheers.  I get the reaction a lot - it’s a nice part of my job.”

No matter what else I write or whatever other show I’m connect with in the future, writing for the final show Gene Roddenberry personally created remains an absolute thrill.  I remember Whoopi Goldberg saying how her character of Guinan was the last character Roddenberry created, and how special it was for her.  It’s that kind of thrill which surrounds being connected with Next Generation.  It’s a TV show with many special elements.  It was one of the best and most watched shows in syndicated television.  It helped change the landscape of syndication - which had really only offered cheap game shows or news magazines up to then.  

With Deep Space Nine, it’s another kind of thrill. Since DS9 embarked on a different Trek flavor, it’s often forgotten in favor of TNG or Voyager. Those who loyally watch Captain Sisko’s adventures realize how unique they are. DS9's storytelling depth impresses all who see it,  Its dramatic canvas is vast.  

I’ve gone back to watch episodes, and I still experience as powerful an emotional reaction as I did the first time around. Just a few of my fave moments/story lines:  Suicide of the Weyoun clone to save Odo, Dax’s tragic death, Odo sick with Changeling disease and his love for Kira, Sisko and Jake trying to make the station a real home, Kira feeling the strain of the needs of her homeworld of Bajor conflicting with her Starfleet interactions, Dr. Bashir’s genetic makeup manipulation revealed - etc.  There are so many incredible stories, and ultimately, we really came to know and care about these people.  That’s a special element for any TV show to nurture. 

LLAP to all!


I'd like to thank J. Tonelotto for the translation to portuguese.

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