On paper Star Trek: Strange New Worlds feels like a studio note-pushed nightmare. It is a spin-off to a prequel, providing a mixture of recent characters plus actors like Ethan Peck and Celia Rose Gooding doing the impossible: recreating the long-lasting roles of Spock and Lt. Uhura.
But the Paramount+ collection, now over midway via its first season, is cruising at warp issue nine. (That’s good; if it went plenty faster, there could be catastrophic consequences.) Everything approximately this new display works: the stories, the sets, and, particularly the performances. Led via way of means of Anson Mount as Captain Pike, and surrounded via way of means of Peck, Gooding, Rebecca Romijn, Babs Olusanmokun, Christina Chong, Melissa Navia, Gia Sandhu, Bruce Horak, Dan Jeannotte, and Adrian Holmes, the pre–Captain Kirk model of the USS Enterprise is an upbeat, active area loaded with lively and invigorating adventure.
But ought to one get hurt (or want a shot of tri-ox compound previous to an away mission), there’s a person expecting you with a grin in ill bay. That’s Australian actor Jess Bush as Nurse Christine Chapel.
Bush’s function is one of the trickier ones in Strange New Worlds. Chapel is a man or woman from deep in the lore of Star Trek; she changed into initially performed via way of means of Majel Barrett, later Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, spouse of collection author Gene Roddenberry. She not often were given greater than a line or in keeping with episode, however in case you watched closely, you noticed there has been exquisite capability withinside the man or woman. And now that capability has been realized.
The Trek gig honestly represents a large destroy for the 30-yr-antique Bush, whose first tv appearances have been on Australia’s Next Top Model. Speaking to V.F. thru Zoom from Toronto, wherein Strange New Worlds is capturing its 2d season, the self-taught visible artist (greater on her challenge regarding useless honeybees in a moment) instructed us approximately her favored concert (Prodigy), her consolation movie (Ferngully), and made a few observations approximately Canadian residing that, perhaps, best a person from Sydney could make.
Vanity Fair: A Star Trek gig is a existence-changing event. What changed into the audition system like?
Jess Bush: All at the internet, all digital. It began out very mysteriously. The man or woman call changed into false. I best ought to study the audition pages for twenty-four hours; I couldn’t screenshot them or print them. If I did something, I could self-detonate.
So no “chemistry tests” with the opposite actors?
No. I met Ethan Peck on the airport. He changed into residing in L.A., I changed into in Sydney, and I met him all through the layover [to Toronto].
Was that intentional?
No, I diagnosed him withinside the airport living room. We had a forged Zoom the morning earlier than I left. He had a vivid inexperienced masks on, and he walked into the living room with the identical vivid inexperienced masks. I changed into feeling shy so I didn’t say hello, however he got here as much as me.
Strange New Worlds is a neat trick, due to the fact a number of the characters are logo new, and others are thoroughly recognized. Some, like yours, are down the middle, with characters that have been at the periphery, recognized basically to hardcore enthusiasts. Did you do a crash direction to observe in advance stuff?
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I did a chunk of research, indeed.
I regarded up The Original Series, then noticed what number of episodes there are, however then noticed Nurse Chapel is best in there sporadically. I watched “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” She’s pretty found in that—and it changed into exquisite!
The one with the robo-girl, and that outfit!
The robo-girl’s outfit—absolutely impractical, I don’t understand what it changed into conserving onto!
But I attempted to distill [Chapel]’s essence, despite the fact that she by no means were given loads of display time.
We usually noticed that Nurse Chapel had a few sass in her, however it’s simply withinside the leading edge now.
I’ve been not anything however advocated via way of means of the writers and creators of the display. They’ve stated, Here are the bones of the man or woman, and that they’ve depended on me to discover it.
Historically, Nurse Chapel has worn mild blue, however you’re in crisp white.
The white jumpsuit changed into a collaborative effort. At first they requested if I desired to put on a tunic or if changed into I interested by a jumpsuit—and I stated without a doubt jumpsuit. This generation of Nurse Chapel is all approximately agility. She’s energetic and receives stuff completed.
There changed into a blue one too, and we attempted each. At first I desired blue; then we did the digital digicam check and white changed into manner better.
Plus it’s were given little embroidered crosses on there.
Yep. It’s humorous due to the fact while the primary snap shots got here out, I changed into best visible right all the way down to my waist, and reputedly a few enthusiasts began out making costumes and simply assumed it changed into a tunic. They didn’t see I had legs.
Have you usually been a sci-fi fan?
I actually have now no longer been, historically, however this has delivered me into an entire new world. I love how sci-fi can take summary factors of humanity and dissect them in a fantastical mild. Star Trek does this so well.
But I am getting greater interested by space. I’m analyzing the ee-e book Extraterrestrial, approximately this item that surpassed via our sun gadget that has no different clarification apart from it got here from every other area—it offers me tingles simply considering it.
You suppose there’s existence on different planets to be able to go to us a few day?
Whether they make touch with us is every other question, however it might be the maximum insane concept ever to suppose we’re the best existence withinside the universe.
You cited the enthusiasts recreating costumes. Part of being on a Star Trek display and its 55-yr legacy is the “conference circuit.” Are you organized for all that?
I can’t wait, and I experience like this revel in will now no longer be entire till I revel in conventions. This display exists due to the fan base. We’ve been constructing it for the duration of the pandemic, and I need to fulfill the humans that helped create it.
Some of your colleagues have already dipped their toe in—Ethan and Anson have been each on a Star Trek Cruise already. Have you gotten comments of that scene?
I suppose it’s some thing that you could put together for however…it’s gonna be distinctive in person.
Ethan Peck is a good-looking man.
In episode five, you purchased to whap him throughout the head.
That changed into simply fun. That changed into one of the first instances Spock and Chapel were given to talk and play. The first smack I changed into worried—“is that this too tough?” I didn’t need to get carried away.
You also are with Dr. M’Benga, Babs Olusanmokun, a lot. I noticed him on the most fulfilling in New York City—he got here into the celebration with sun sunglasses on.
He changed into, palms down, first-rate dressed at that most fulfilling. Don’t inform all of us else I stated that.
I changed into poking around, and I see which you have completed loads of paintings in visible artwork, mainly rings and site-particular installations regarding honeybees. What’s the address Jess Bush and bees?
Well, I don’t best consciousness on bees, however that collection you’re referring to, The Bee Totems, I’ve been running on for numerous years.
I acquire honeybees from beekeepers once they have died, and keep every one in a sphere of crystal resin. Then I droop them in loads or heaps in distinctive formations. Sometimes a mild artist designs a projection, different instances it interacts with herbal mild. Sometimes a legitimate artist designs a soundscape, so it’s an immersive revel in. I am amazing invested in it. I’ve been doing it forever, and likely will do it forever.
But why bees?
It began out via way of means of strolling aleven though a park and locating a useless bee withinside the grass. I changed into simply taken via way of means of it. They make it viable for us to exist, and that they fall into the background. The die via way of means of the thousand, they stay via way of means of the thousand, and are hardworking animals. If you study a bee, they’re special—they experience like they arrive from every other area. At least that’s how I revel in them.
If you assert there are loads in those spheres, how lengthy does that take?
It’s tough paintings, and tough to get it right. A lengthy system, however I love that, due to the fact whilst you get one flawlessly focused and not using a bubbles, you could’t prevent searching at it. And my pals and own circle of relatives understand. They are used to my mad-scientist ways.
Are you capable of hold up with this even as running on Star Trek?
I don’t do visible artwork even as I am acting, however I do have my substances with me.
Wait, you delivered a big sack of useless bees to Toronto?
No, no, I did now no longer smuggle useless animals into the country, however I actually have all my tools.
What’s the most important distinction among Sydney and Toronto?
The weather, and the appreciation of the weather. When an afternoon warms up you could experience it withinside the street. People are triumph over with joy. There are festivals, there are cherry blossoms, it’s infectious.
And the meals scene is exquisite here. And the tulips. And the squirrels! Squirrels are so exquisite. Raccoons are so cute. We don’t have something like that; so cute. The natural world won’t kill you. Well, that’s now no longer true. The coyotes may kill you, however it’s not anything like at home.