Timothy Darrell “Tim” Russ (born June 22, 1956) is an American actor, film director, screenwriter and musician. He is known for his roles as Lieutenant Commander Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager, as Frank on Samantha Who?, and as Principal Franklin, a recurring character on the Nickelodeon live-action teen sitcom iCarly. This year, Tim’s short movie Cavity is appearing at The Toscars, a parody of the Oscars wherein ten teams each have three weeks to produce a five-minute short parody of a nominated film up for best feature. these will be screened at the world famous Egyptian theatre in Hollywood. A celebrity judging panel will decide upon who will win in each category, including Best Whactor, Whactress, Best Director, Cinematographer, music and a few more. This has fast become one of the go to events during awards season. It’s a nod and a wink to hollywood’s most famous night and a cheeky fun time is had by all.
FTN: Tim thanks for taking the time to chat to us. First off, how does it feel to have your film, Cavity, entered into this year’s TOSCARS Awards?
TR: I think it’s very cool. Given how much work people put into this little short, I am glad to see it will be viewed and appreciated.
FTN: With the various awards ceremonies about to take place, what personally attracts you the TOSCARS?
TR: I really enjoy satire and parodies in general, so when I learned about what the Toscars were, I was very excited about the opportunity to direct one.
FTN: The TOSCARS are now in their seventh year and the audiences really enjoy their unique entries and style. Is this style and type of awards ceremony something that attracts Directors due to its laid back approach?
TR: Well, my experience shooting this short was anything but laid back. It was a lot of work done in a very short period of time. And there are a lot of rules and limitations we had to adhere to which influenced the look and feel of our story. As to the actual ceremony, this will be the first time I’ve attended one. I’m sure that will be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it.
FTN: You have directed the film Cavity; can you tell us a little bit about it and what attracted you to the project?
TR: I was actually asked very last minute to participate as a director because this particular group had very few resources and very little time. One of the members – my daughter’s mother – who was one of the members of this particular group, gave up her spot in the group so that I could come on board to direct. But I agreed to work on the short with them because I thought the parody concept was very funny, and I was familiar with the film it was based on.
FTN: You are primarily known for your superb acting skills, however in recent years you have directed a number of things, including the television series Bloomers. What was it like to direct this successful series and do you prefer directing to acting?
TR: Although it can be exhausting, I enjoy directing because of the creative challenge. I enjoy the process of taking the words from a page and turning it into a visual experience. As an actor you are only a part of the canvas, as a director, you are responsible for the entire canvas. Bloomers was quite a challenge as we again had very little budget and had to shoot a lot of material in very short periods of time. But the actors and producers I worked with on that show were absolutely amazing and really made it easy to work on.
FTN: As a Nerd, I am a massive fan of Star Trek, and your portrayal of Tuvok, who is not only one of the most recognisable characters, but most loved in Star Trek lore. How does it feel to know that fans around the world appreciate your skills for the input and portrayal of this Star Trek Character?
TR: I have been profoundly aware of the fan support for Trek and my character in particular. I have been involved in this franchise for almost 17 years now. And I am still attending conventions around the world – this year included. I am always amazed at how popular this franchise is.
“I enjoy the process of taking the words from a page and turning it into a visual experience. As an actor you are only a part of the canvas, as a director, you are responsible for the entire canvas”
FTN: Voyager lasted for seven wonderful seasons, but sadly they did not have a big screen adventure. Was there ever any discussion with the cast about a possible big screen adaption, and would you be interested in reprising the role of Tuvok, or have you firmly left that part of your acting past behind you?
TR: If Paramount/CBS decided to make a Voyager feature I would of course consider reprising the role of Tuvok for it. But that most likely will not happen. They are already working on the prequel features. I don’t even think they will create a new TV series for the franchise any time soon… although there would be a better chance of that happening than a Voyager feature.
FTN: Aside from your entry of Cavity into the TOSCARS, are there any projects that you are currently working on?
TR: I am in the editing phase of a feature I directed this past October called Star Trek: Renegades, and I just finished working on a feature called, Unbelievable with a few of my Trek colleagues. It’s a sci-fi campy comedy, featuring a very funny marionette character. I am also set to work on another crazy comedy feature film called, They Want Dick Dixx, playing a Sammy Davis Jr type of character.
“I don’t even think they will create a new TV series for the [Star Trek] franchise any time soon… although there would be a better chance of that happening than a Voyager feature.”
FTN: Finally, the big question… Star Wars or Lord of the rings? Or should we guess Star Trek?
TR: I prefer Star Trek. It’s all about the stories. Trek has always been about unique, unusual, philosophical concepts and stories, that examine the human condition.
For more information on Star Trek: Renegades visit the official site here