Bert and Ernie. Miss Piggy and Kermit. Frank Oz and Jim Henson. Together, these two men helped build the foundation upon which a Muppet empire was built. In addition to voicing and controlling myriad Muppets over the years, the pair co-directed the stunning, classic fantasy tale “The Dark Crystal.” Separately, they directed films in that same space, with Henson taking on “Labyrinth” and Oz handling “The Muppets Take Manhattan.”
The reason we bring up those two specific films, is because they both have someone very important in common — Gates McFadden. While McFadden is primarily known by most science fiction fans for playing Dr. Beverly Crusher on the TV series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and its related films, she’s had a much longer and more robust career than just “Trek.”
Prior to her time on the seminal sci-fi series, Gates McFadden worked with both Frank Oz and Jim Henson. For Oz, McFadden played the role of Mr. Price’s Secretary in “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” and for Henson, she took on the behind-the-scenes role as Director of Choreography and Puppet Movement for “Labyrinth.”
So what is the difference between working with Jim Henson and Frank Oz? Looper sat down with McFadden to find out the answer.
“I think Frank [Oz] is very clear about what he wants for a moment,” said McFadden, while talking about her experience on “Muppets Take Manhattan” working with director Frank Oz. “He really is a director in the way that I’ve encountered most directors.”
Jim Henson, on the other hand, is another experience entirely. “I think Jim is somebody who has great … He was somebody who had great imagination and would find people who he thought he believed in, and he sort of thought were going to come up with something,” she said. “And then he would be able to say, ‘No, I don’t like that’ or, ‘Yes, I like that.’”
McFadden provided the dream sequence from “Labyrinth” as an encapsulating example of what it’s like to work with Henson. In this scene, Jennifer Connelly’s character Sarah dances at the ball with David Bowie’s Goblin King Jareth. “I was given the soundstage,” she explained. “I got to cast my dancers, and there was a whole soundstage that was going to be for the ballroom, so I rehearsed in that. I mean, the masks and costumes for the whole thing were just extraordinary. When [David Bowie] would disappear, we worked it out choreographically, so he literally would disappear. He would hide. There’d be other dancers, and you didn’t know where he had gone. He was willing to make it be magical, because he was into theater as well as film.”
McFadden is currently speaking with many of the people she’s worked with over the years about their unique stories and experiences on her new podcast series “Gates McFadden InvestiGates.”
After starring as Doctor Beverly Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation and four subsequent feature films, prolific actor, director and theater choreographer Gates McFadden is launching a podcast series called InvestiGates: Who Do You Think You Are? Joined by her old Star Trek friends and castmates, McFadden explores surprising details about their personal and professional backgrounds through a series of stimulating conversations.
In an exclusive interview with CBR, McFadden shares why she was open to helming a podcast, finding new conversational avenues with friends she has known for decades and if she is open to the possibility of reprising her fan-favorite role as Beverly Crusher in the future.
You’ve been helming your own podcast series InvestiGates — I love that name, by the way — with The Nacelle Company. How did this opportunity first come about?
Gates McFadden: I was familiar with The Nacelle Company — I had done a narration for them — and the CEO Brian Volk-Weiss called me up and just was amazing and went, “I would really love for you to do a podcast that I would produce and you could talk about Star Trek with your friends!” And I was like, “Whoa, stop right there: That ain’t going to happen. My friends and I, we are all tired of talking about Star Trek. There’s no way, I’d have to pay them a million bucks each to get them to talk about an episode!” [Laughs.]
So I said no thanks and I wasn’t interested and then he calls back about a week later going, “I really would like you to do this, I think it would be really great and you could talk about anything you want and have anybody you want on. I just really want you to do one!” And I was like “Wait, I could talk to an astronaut or anybody I want? I wish I had a vision…nothing’s coming up right now but thanks again!”
And he came back again and he was so smart because he had planted the seed in my head and I just love trying things I haven’t tried before. And I started thinking if I did one what would it be? And that’s how I was hooked. And then I thought that they obviously wanted me to talk to some of my Star Trek friends and what we would talk about. By the last time he contacted me, I said yes and went and saw some friends of my mine, they dog-dared me to do it, and that’s how it happened. [Laughs.]
Read the full article/interview in our press library.
Gates McFadden’s career goes well beyond the ins and outs of the Enterprise sickbay. While she might be best known to sci-fi fans as Star Trek: The Next Generation’s iconic Dr. Beverly Crusher, McFadden’s taught, acted on stage and screen, worked on Jim Henson hits like Labyrinth, and more. Now, she’s picking up a new skill: interviewer of other Star Trek icons.
The first podcast from the Nacelle Company—the production team behind documentary series like The Toys That Made Us, Down to Earth With Zac Efron, and Disney+’s Behind the Attraction—dropped today and sees McFadden reminisce with notable Star Trek creatives from across the franchise’s history. The 10-episode series includes guests like LeVar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, and many more from TNG, but also Voyager and Deep Space Nine favorites, including Robert Picardo and Nana Visitor.
To celebrate the launch of the series, io9 spoke to McFadden to learn about picking up podcasting as her latest hobby in a long career, what Star Trek’s resurgence means to her and to the franchise, and why she wanted her Trek-heavy guest list to still feel fresh and unique to listeners who aren’t fans of the long-running sci-fi franchise.
James Whitbrook, io9: Why was now the time you wanted to do a series like this?
Gates McFadden: Because I was asked! And I actually turned it down twice! Because I couldn’t figure out, “why now?” Brian Volk-Weiss, who is the CEO of Nacelle, is the one who called me out of the blue. I didn’t know him—and he was so charming that he just charmed me into doing this. And I am loving it, I am so glad he did. It seems like the perfect time that it happened during the pandemic because you can record remotely. Sometimes we’d—he’d built a studio, so sometimes we were in, recording some of the beginning ones in the studio… but I think I’m finding my way. I have such wonderful friends, that it’s just fabulous to share our friendship with people, and also try to highlight them. It’s pretty amazing, the group of actors who’ve been involved with the Star Trek franchise. We’re all very close, actually, it’s unusual. I think every conversation, I’ve learned something more about my friends that I didn’t know and I hope the people who listen to the podcast feel the same way.
Read the full article/interview in our press library.
Before she was Dr. Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gates McFadden worked with Muppets. She trained as a movement instructor under French pioneer Jacques Lecoq, choreographed Shakespeare at the Brooklyn Academy, and taught acting techniques at Harvard, Brandeis and several other top universities. She would have no doubt led a full and exciting life without boldly going where no man—or woman—had gone before. But there’s also no denying that accepting the role of the Enterprise’s chief medical officer completely changed the trajectory of that life. Six seasons. Four movies. Countless conventions. And now a podcast, in which she interviews all the dear friends she made along the way, InvestiGates: Who Do You Think You Are?.
And it almost didn’t happen. She initially turned the role down. Her agent was a big fan of the original Star Trek series, but she hadn’t seen an episode. Television still had a stigma for stage and film actors. Still she went into Paramount to audition, where a secretary handed her three parts.
“She said, ‘These are the women parts,’” McFadden tells me over Zoom in front of a wall of books and theater mementos. “And I said, ‘Well, which one?’ She said, ‘Well, I don’t know, pick whatever one you want.’ No one else was there. … So I went in and I picked the funniest scene because I love comedy. And that was Dr. Crusher’s only comedy scene in about seven years. I had like two or three comic scenes in the entire time—she was such a serious character. And I thought she was going to be the comic character. Right. So I picked that scene. It’s a silly episode, but it was a very fun part to do where [Captain Jean-Picard] and I both have this virus that kind of makes you free and we’re coming on to each other, you know? And I unzipped my space suit. I got into so much trouble for that when we finally shot it. But that’s how it happened. So it was just this fluke, you know?”
Read the full interview/article in our press library.
Another podcast and I’m all in for it.
You know her best as Dr. Beverly Crusher from Star Trek TNG, and she’s now the host of a brand new podcast from the Nacelle Company. Get ready to hear from Gates McFadden, and learn the secrets about her upcoming show, where she will be chatting with many of her former Trek cast members, including Jonathan Frakes, Wil Wheaton, and Michael Dorn, to name a few, who tell personal stories that you’ve never heard before.
After a look at the news—new John de Lancie updates via Cameo, Discovery’s costume awards win, the new Fleet Command ads featuring Sonequa Martin-Green and Karl Urban, and the latest business news from Paramount+ and ViacomCBS—Tony and Laurie eagerly welcome guest Gates McFadden to chat about her new podcast InvestiGates: Who Do You Think You Are? and her work on the upcoming History Channel documentary The Center Seat: 55 Years Of Star Trek. She also talks about TNG’s “Sub Rosa” (!), directing the episode “Genesis,” and Beverly Crusher’s past as well as her future.
Listen to the podcast episode at the source link.
Hey there, coming today with a new update of another tv project of Gates McFadden. I’ve to say she wears the role of a judge pretty well, I like it a lot. Check out the photogallery and video vault for over 400 Screencaptures and 2 videos from The Practice, in which Gates played Judge Emily Harrison.
Ellenor defends a ‘slow’ teenager accused of killing a younger boy. A witness comes forward claiming to have information exonerating her client, but Ellenor suspects he’s lying. Helen calls in a police officer when his son is under suspicion in a homicide. Representing the accused, Bobby argues the officer was acting as an agent of the court, not a father.