Article / Interview and photo by Jason Setnyk
Cornwall Ontario – The 2016 Cornwall & Area Pop Event is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek with five celebrity guests from the original series including Michael Forest pictured here.
Michael Forest, BarBara Luna, Sally Kellerman, Louise Sorel, and Sean Kenney each appeared in the original Star Trek along side iconic characters like Captain Kirk (played by William Shatner) and Mr. Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy). Each will be visiting Cornwall for the second annual CAPE that takes place April 23rd and April 24th at the Benson Centre.
Jason Setnyk had the opportunity to interview Star Trek actor and CAPE celebrity guest Michael Forest.
Forest has had an impressive Hollywood resume including the role of Pilot Jack in the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt.
Also on his resume: Alias, Cold Case, Scooby-Doo, Power Rangers, Who’s the Boss?, As the World Turns, The Young and the Restless, Get Smart, Gilligan’s Island, Bonanza, Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, Mission: Impossible, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Outer Limits, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, King Kong Lives and much more.
From Hollywood to Broadway, from Shakespeare to radio, from dubbing in Europe to filming programs for the CBC, Forest has had a diverse and interesting acting career.
However Michael Forest’s most famous role was on Star Trek.
“Let me tell you something about Star Trek. When Star Trek first came out it wasn’t that popular. It was suppose to be a five year show, and it only made it for three seasons. It was well done, but it wasn’t very popular in the United States, not at first”, explains Forest.
Forest’s first impression of Star Trek came from Leonard Nimoy. The two were working on another film when Nimoy got the casting call for Star Trek.
“I knew Leonard Nimoy before Star Trek. We were working on a low budget film called Death Watch (1966) with Paul Mazursky and director Vic Morrow. One day, when we stopped shooting, Leonard said he had an audition for a science fiction show. When he came back I asked him how the audition went. He said it was terrible, that they made him wear these funny rubber ears. He said it’ll never go anywhere. The rest is history. He would become a multi-millionaire actor and the show eventually became a huge success”, Forest reminisces.
A few years later Michael Forest played Apollo in the iconic Star Trek episode “Who Mourns for Adonais?”
“I enjoyed working on Star Trek. I went from playing a bad guy in a Western to playing a Greek God in Star Trek. There is irony for an actor to do this role. I looked at the script and said to myself this is good stuff, it is well written. I kind of like it. I auditioned three times for the role. They asked me take my shirt off the first time to see my build. It must have been alright, because I got called into another audition. They asked if I could speak in a British accent. I asked if I could try a Mid-Atlantic accent instead. They said oh. I did it, and they cast me me, I got the role. I worked along side the lovely Leslie Parrish, a beautiful girl, and wonderful person to work with. The episode was shot in five days. The Six-Day War in Israel was on going during the filming. Everyone had portable radios listening to the crisis in the Middle East. I couldn’t, I was memorizing my line. It was surreal working on a film while a war was going on. It was a pleasure to work on Star Trek. It was a great deal of fun”, says Forest.
Micheal Forest has participated in a lot of conventions and enjoys meeting the fans.
“I’ve done a lot of these conventions. Star Trek has definitely given me my 15 minutes of fame. I’ve also participated in Western Conventions, Sci-Fi Conventions, I enjoy all of them. I try to interact with all the people who spend their money to attend and give them my time. Sometimes you meet wonderful people, children, sometimes handicapped ones, who know who I am. It’s heart warming”.
In addition to Michael Forest, BarBara Luna, Sally Kellerman, Louise Sorel, and Sean Kenney, another Star Trek alumni will be in attendance at the Cornwall & Area Pop Event. Star Trek and Buffy the Vampire actress Noelle Hannibal will also be beaming up to the Benson Centre.
Other celebrity guest include Brian O’Halloran, Marilyn Ghigliotti, and Scott Schiaffo, who each appeared in the Kevin Smith movie Clerks.
Walking Dead, Furious 7, and Hunger Games actor Steve Coulter is a featured guest too, along with Walking Dead zombies Jeremy Ambler, Chris Harrelson, and Coleman Youmanswill.
Award winning comic book artist Dan Parent, best known for his work in Archie Comics, will be in attendance. So will artist Geof Isherwood who has done work for Marvel Comics including such titles as Silver Surfer, Conan the Barbarian, Daredevil, and Doctor Strange.
For more information on the event, including more guests and ticket information visit: http://www.cornwallpopevent.com/