Five Question Friday with Jason Matthew Smith Part 2July 8, 2016
Jason Matthew Smith, or Cupcake as he’s better known to Star Trek fans, will be appearing next in Star Trek Beyond, in theatres across North America on July 22nd.
Last week we spoke with Jason about his new film Star Trek Beyond and some of the challenges faced by Cupcake in the previous Star Trek films. You can read Part One here.
Here is the continuation of our conversation with actor Jason Matthew Smith:
Gary: Can you tell me a little about your role in Star Trek Beyond? How do we meet your character this time around?
Jason Matthew Smith: Well I’m playing the same character that I played in the last two, which is kind of fun because my name has changed from film to film. I think I was credited in the first film as Burly Cadet, in the second one I was Cupcake, which I got a big kick out of because nobody actually calls me cupcake in the second one.
I think that was just JJ’s little humour. And in this one, I gotta wait to see the credits –
Gary: Well according to IMDB you’re credited as Herndorrf, Hendoff.
Hendorff. Yeah, so I am Lieutenant Hendorff aka Cupcake aka Burly Cadet.
Gary: The reason I asked the question in that way was because [on IMDB] you were credited in three different ways [in Star Trek, Into Darkness, and Beyond], I mean I assumed you were playing the same character, but I couched it in such a way that I would let you fill me in.
Jason Matthew Smith: [Laughs] Yeah. It is the same character, I’ve been a member of the Enterprise and I think I may have set a Guinness World’s Record or something as being the only red shirt to last through three films.
It’s gotta be somewhere in there that it’s one of the biggest records of all time.
[Laughs] I don’t think there’s ever been a red shirt that’s lasted longer than me. I’m not sure. I mean I know Scotty wears the red shirt, but he’s one of the top guys. I was one of only two other actors outside of the big cast, you know, Kirk, Spock, to do all three, which is a blessing and fun.
My role, obviously, is a red shirt. I’ve been a member of the Enterprise and I’m part of the security detail.
[img via Flickering Myth]
Gary: I don’t think I would be doing our conversation justice if I didn’t ask about a difficult topic. Obviously the sudden death of your cast mate Anton Yelchin was shocking. Are you able to share an anecdote about your time on set with him?
Jason Matthew Smith: Sure. I first met Anton on the first film. I believe it was the first day of filming.
We all got ushered out of our trailers in these like, Druid robes, because we were all wearing these costumes that they were afraid of anybody seeing and then we got put into popemobiles.
I met him while we were driving in these golf carts. He just seemed so young, like a kid, I was like “who’re you playing.” And he’s like “I’m playing Chekov.” And I was just astounded that they found somebody so young to do this.
And as soon as we started shooting , I knew right away why they had; he was just an amazing actor. An amazing person to be around. He always had a quick wit and a bright smile.
He really brought a lot of energy and life to the set. I heard about his passing while I was overseas in Corsica visiting my wife’s family.
I couldn’t believe it. To me, it still doesn’t make sense. I’m still in pretty much denial and a state of shock about the whole thing. He was such an integral part of Trek and I really don’t know how they’re going to be able to move past that with his character. I think we all got robbed when he had his accident because he had an amazing career ahead of him.
He was definitely on an upward trajectory and, I for one, am saddened by his loss.
I hope they do something really special for him during this film just to honour his memory.
[img via MrScratch0753.tumblr.com]
Gary: How often do fans you meet ask you to call them cupcake? Or vice versa?
Jason Matthew Smith: I get called cupcake quite a bit. Most of the time, in my personal life, I don’t get recognized a lot, unless they’re hardcore Trek fans. And it takes them a second ’cause they need to look at me really closely. In the films, I normally have hair, in real life I shave my head so, it’s just my preference. So fans don’t always recognize me, but if they do they’re coming up and saying “what’s going on, cupcake?” Something like that.
I think my character has become a meme of some kind to hardcore fans. They really love the character. In fact, I’m not sure if you know this, but there was an entire comic that was devoted to my character, I believe it was on the Stat Trek website. And the entire issue is about my character writing home to his parents letting them know what it’s like being a red shirt on the enterprise. (Author’s note, it’s Star Trek: Ongoing #13, informally known as The Red Shirt’s Tale)
It’s cool. I mentioned it to Simon Pegg and he flipped out. He’s like “they should do that with my character!” I said “I’m pretty sure they probably already have.”
Gary: I’m pretty sure [Scotty gets enough screen time] in the trilogy for everyone to know what he’s thinking, he doesn’t need a comic.
Jason Matthew Smith: Which is funny, Simon, the first time that I met him, I had no idea who he was ’cause, I think I’d only seen him in Hot Fuzz at the time. I had no idea he was as big of an actor as he was.
We eventually got to know each other really well on that first film, we had a lot of scenes together, and I said to him at one point in time “Hey would you like to take a look at something I just shot?” And he’s like “Sure man.” And I showed him a five minute clip of a short film that I’d just shot.
He said “that’s really cool man, wanna take a look at something I just shot?” So I said “sure.”
And he showed it to me and it was some movie with him and Jeff Bridges where he was playing the lead and I was like “Oh man, I guess you’re kind’ve a big deal then, huh?”
And he’s like “Nah, I’m not a big deal, I just get work sometimes with really good actors.” He’s really humble and very cool.
[img via TheM0vieblog.com]
Gary: Star Trek Beyond is premiering at San Diego Comic Con on July 20th (we hope to have coverage of this and many more SDCC events as GCE is heading to SDCC officially this year), in theatres across North America on July 22nd.
Can you share a little bit about the types of projects you’ll be working on next?
Jason Matthew Smith: I’ve got some projects I’m working on right now. Some independent features that I’m in pre-production on two of them right now. One is gonna be shot here in LA, and one will be shot in Morocco next summer.
So we’re working full steam, the one we’re shooting in LA is going to be a romantic comedy that I’m working on with my wife. I don’t get to do much comedy, normally for me it’s a lot of drama and heavier stuff, so I’m really looking forward to this one. And, the one that’s going to be shot in Morocco is gonna be shot in the local language, I’ll probably be a producer and writer on that project, I won’t be acting in it.
Can you share a little bit about what the [film set in Morocco is about?]
The one in Morocco is about a boy that has a love affair with sci-fi. He kinda gets tangled up in a crazy life experience that leads him to follow his dream of meeting his sci-fi idol in Los Angeles.
It’s kinda got an element of danger to it as well. It reminds me a little bit of some of those Spielberg 80s films. Yeah like, Goonies. That type of feel to it. It’s got that type of irreverence to it.
It’s a comedy sci-fi action adventure. It’s going to be a remarkable experience and I’m really looking forward to that.
[img via richestcelebrities.org]
Gary: Have you been to San Diego Comic Con before?
Jason Matthew Smith: This will be my first convention of any type. I’ve never done conventions before. I don’t know, I was always a little bit scared of them ’cause I didn’t really understand them.
But I knew that there was autograph signing and picture taking and I was always a little worried about it. But, this being the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, if there was any time to jump into the waters its now. So I just decided to enlist a convention agent and he was able to get me in there and I feel very grateful to be doing it.
And I really am looking forward to the experience because everyone that tells me about Comic Con says that it’s mind blowingly awesome. So I’m going to be there signing and taking pictures, but I’m going to be as much of a fan as everyone else. of the entire universe.
I’m really looking forward to meeting as many people as I can.
I’ve met a lot of people recently at some of the different film festivals who were telling me that they’re going, and I have a bunch of friends that are gonna be there. It just sounds so amazing and I can’t wait to get going on it.
Somebody speed up the calendar to July 23rd so we can make this thing happen!
I know nothing about it, other than there are films going in there. [Star Trek Beyond is releasing at Comic Con on July 20th], Ghostbusters I think is being released like the week before, so they’ll have something going on there [too], I think.
I just wanna check out everything; I’m a huge sci-fi fan myself. I just want to absorb everything. I’m really interested in seeing the people. More than the films, more than the projects, I want to see the people dressed up in the outfits and the electric atmosphere of the whole thing.
At San Diego Comic Con, Jason is signing exclusively in the Sails Pavilion on July 21st and 22nd from 2:30pm- 7:00pm and July 23rd from 10:00am – 2:30pm.
Star Trek Beyond is in theatres across North America on July 22nd.
We thank Jason for his candid answers to all of our questions and we hope to see him at Comic Con!
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Visit his website jasonmatthewsmith.com