Transcript of interview with Scott Bakula on TV-AM
Recorded and transmitted live on Tuesday 30 June 1992 on ITV TV-AM, Hawley Crescent, LONDON NW1 8EF (Tel: 071-267 4300) Interviewer: Lorraine Kelly
Extract from QL shown: Introduction and the leap in to "8 1/2 months" (which ends with Sam Beckett saying "Oh, boy").
LK: Oh my, indeed. Scott Bakula, it's really, really good to see you. It's a brilliant programme, really, really enjoy it, showing on BBC2, 9 o'clock tonight. It's the last one. Sometimes it's a wee bit too late for me. I just have to stay up; I have to be up early in the morning.Now, what a role for an actor! When would an actor be able to play all these different characters? It just wouldn't happen, would it?
SB: I can't imagine ever getting a role like this again. Actually it's been, I hope it's *not*, the role of a lifetime. I hope there's other things after it, but it's such a great thing to go to work every day, and have something different to do every eight days, which is how long it takes to shoot the show. And I'm constantly being challenged and learn new things all the time, and work never gets boring which of course is the down side of doing a long TV show sometimes.
LK: Sure, but because this is so different you're playing all these different characters. How hard was it for a man to play a pregnant woman? That must have been really extraordinary. I'm looking forward to seeing it tonight, to see how it goes.
SB: It was a great thing to do because it's not something, when you're studying to become an actor, okay now, someday you're going to be a pregnant woman; you never think about things like that. So I spent a lot of time talking with my wife reviewing her pregnancy and I had a lot of friends going through it coincidentally at the same time. So, I was on the 'phone saying, "So what does a contraction really feel like?" and then you just hope that you're not... I had a lot of fear about doing this role because I know so many people, so many women, have a very definite feeling about their pregnancy and it's very strong and those images are very strong. So, if I do it wrong people are going to be calling and writing. The point of this episode was to really convince people that Sam was somehow pregnant.
LK: What a brilliant idea for a series. It's an extraordinary idea. Was it an immediate success in America or did it take a while to build?
SB: It took a long time to build. It was a very hard idea to sell. It's amazing to me now, as I've been working so much I haven't really been travelling and this is my first time in three years. It's amazing to be here in England, for instance and someone saying, "Oh we love the show, we love the show. This week you're pregnant." They don't even think about it. In the beginning, the first time I played a woman, it was a big deal; how will it work, and now people accept almost anything that we do and that's really amazing. It shows the power of the show. People have gotten past their hang-ups; what is he and who is he and they just accept it. So we can do anything.
LK: You can. There are no limits at all as to what you can do. It's extraordinary. What sort of category is the show put in America? Is it under the heading of sci-fi or what would you say?
SB: Well it's technically called 'hour drama' television. It's sci-fi, it's fantasy. Part of that has, I think, scared some people away because really it's a very gentle show about human relationships and there's always a good heart story involved, and some people feel like, "Oh, it's another sci-fi Star Trek" or there was a show in America, I don't know if it ever ran here, "Time Tunnel", in the 60s, remember that?
LK: Oh yes, yes it's running again on Channel 4.
SB: A great series, but not like ours at all. People thought, "Oh that's what it is." It was hard to get people to turn it on, but once they turned it on, they kept it on.
LK: Yeah. You, yourself, where did you start acting? Where did you actually start? What made you start acting?
SB: I started acting, actually I had a rock band early in my life, like in the 4th grade.
LK: What sort of things did you play?
SB: At the time we were doing a lot of Beatles things, in the 60s and everything, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, just wild stuff. I think back it must have been pretty terrible, but we had a good time.
LK: As long as you enjoyed it.
SB: Yeah, my parents loved it too. Nice and loud. So I started performing that way. I did a lot of theatre as a kid mostly musical things. There's a show called "Amal and the Night Visitors". I don't know if you know that.
LK: I don't think we've had that here.
SB: It's a Christmas opera. Menotti wrote it. I did that when I was thirteen and I kindof got the bug there. I started in St Louis, I went to New York, I spent ten years in the theatre and then I moved to Los Angeles about six years ago.
LK: So you're living in LA now, that's where you're based?
LK: Are you living with all the superstars in Beverly Hills?
SB: No they won't let me in there. :-)
LK: Have you got to be vetted before you're allowed in?
SB: That's right!
LK: They look at you to see whether you're allowed in Los Angeles. We hear so much about it and there were the riots recently. Is it really a safe place to be especially, you've got a young child? Have you got to be there, like, for your work?
SB: I have to be there for my work. And I can't tell you that I'd honestly seek out Los Angeles to live in, but it's where my business is and the business has been wonderful to me there. So it's hard for me to say too many bad things about LA. The air is terrible, there are places that are unsafe, like there are in any big city. I lived in New York and there are bad places in New York. But the city offers many things, certainly for the entertainment industry it's a great place to be.
LK: As long as you don't get sucked in by all the hype. You seem very much that you've got your feet on the ground. You are a family man as well, which probably helps.
(SB looks down at his feet) ;-)
SB: It does help, children help a lot.
LK: It gets it all in perspective.
SB: You have to get up early in the mornings, so it changes your life.
LK: Absolutely. Know about that. We do anyway, that's for sure. So what are you going to do next, what would you like to do next? Obviously is Quantum Leap going to continue, will we see some more?
SB: It's going on another year. We do one year at a time, so that's all I know. We've shot 77 shows and we'll have a hundred at the end of next year. I don't know if it will go on beyond that, but I'd like to. I've been able to do a couple of movies in the last two years. I'd really like to get back to the theatre which is really kindof my first love.
LK: Bakula is your second name. Where does that come from?
LK: Bohemia, yeah. Is that like going a long way back in your family?
SB: Yeah, pretty long. People wanted me to change it when I first started.
LK: No, it's good, it's good. You don't want to be Troy Tempest or something. Scott Bakula has a ring about it.
SB: That was my first name and I changed it. :-)
(LK turns to MM beside her)
MM: Your Father's not Count Bakula is he?
SB: No, not that I know of. He doesn't sleep much during the night. :-)
LK: It's been really, really good to see you.
SB: Well, thank you.
LK: There have been loads of calls this morning about you coming on; the show is obviously very popular. We shall be glued to our screens 9 o'clock tonight to see you as a pregnant lady.
SB: Yeah, well thanks for having me on. It's been great.
LK: OK. Good stuff. Thank you.
MM: Good to meet you, Scott.
(MM = Mike Morris, co-presenter, TV-AM)