To fans of Millennium, Trevor White needs no introduction. He first graced our screens in Season Two’s, “Midnight of the Century”, but to supporters of the franchise he will always remain as ‘Doug Scaife’. Doug entertained us during Season Three as a technician who worked in the FBI Forensic Sound Lab, Doug assisted Frank (“Mr. B.”) on several occasions. Trevor kindly took time away from his busy schedule to speak exclusively to BackToFrankBlack.com
BACKTOFRANKBLACK: Firstly, on behalf of all at BackToFrankBlack.com our thanks in agreeing to speak to us. To open the interview I would very much like to know if your experience of Millennium differed between your appearance in season two’s Midnight of the Century and season three’s reoccurring role?
TREVOR WHITE: Definitely. We had a lot of fun filming the scenes for “Midnight of the Century” (one of my fellow “elves” was a friend of mine, Donny Lucas), but of course the parts were quite small and very rapid-fire, so not nearly as well-rounded as the character of Doug Scaife, which I performed in Season Three. As soon as I read the audition script for Doug Scaife I knew I wanted to do it, the confidence and cheekiness of the character really appealed to me, and two auditions later, Chris Carter thankfully agreed and I got the part.
BTFB: Your second character, Doug Scaife, was introduced to viewers during the show’s Third Season. Were the cast and crew aware, at the time you joined, that show had been canceled and, if so, does this create a different atmosphere than that which is experienced when joining a continuing franchise?
TW: I can’t speak for the others of course, but I wasn’t aware that the show was in danger of being canceled until the end of filming season three, and even then, I suppose it still depended on viewing figures for those final few episodes. My fellow cast and the crew were always top notch and a real joy to work with and it’s just a shame I had such a good part just before they canceled the whole series!!
BTFB: As your character’s role was to provide tech-support to Frank Black you must have worked more closely with Lance Henriksen than anyone else. How did you find the experience and what was your take on both the actor and the character?
TW: Lance was always terrific to work with, right from the beginning back in “Midnight of the Century”. He has such a presence, and that incredible voice, but was incredibly relaxed and welcoming at the same time. We had an instant chemistry filming that first Doug Scaife scene, which I think is part of what made the writers bring Doug back again and again – it brought a kind of lighter (if still slightly grumpy!) side to Frank Black which I think the viewers enjoyed.
BTFB: In addition to stage and screen roles I am aware you have performed for BBC Radio 4. As a fan of audio books generally, I have heard a number of interviews in which actors, who have worked in both media, had found audio work to be not only unique in its challenges but more rewarding for the performer. How would you compare your experiences of the two?
TW:I love doing voice work, and audiobooks and radio drama are particularly fun because often it’s just you in a studio for a few days, telling stories to your imagined audience out there in the ether. It can be a real challenge playing all sorts of different characters, and I’ve always enjoyed doing accents and dialects, anywhere from the subtle to the ridiculous. The Unabridged Catch-22 was easily the most demanding book I’ve ever done – not only the dense, feverish and break-neck ramble of the writing, but also having to create the illusion of about 100 different characters, most of whom were American males between the ages of 20-50. It took 6 days and I was exhausted.
BTFB: Whilst we are busy comparing things, I watched you in ‘Bonekickers’ recently and I have to ask, how do you compare the experience of working for a British production as apposed to a US or Canadian production. I have heard it said that the work ethic is very different, do you agree?
TW: Well, I can sum that one up quite easily, with regards to a funny conversation I had with one of the stars of Bonekickers, Hugh Bonneville. I was talking to Hugh about how relaxed the sets were in Britain compared to North America, where the hierarchy between stars of the show and day-players can be pronounced, and where cast and crew often don’t get on. He wryly and humorously observed that it hadn’t nothing to do with the Brits actually being any nicer than their American counterparts, he simply remarked that they weren’t paid enough to earn the right to be snobby! I liked that because although a joke, there’s more than a grain of truth in it.
BTFB: I am also an admirer of Da Vinci’s Inquest which starred other notable Millennium actors such as Sarah-Jane Redmond and Stephen E. Miller. Is it fair to say that you develop a camaraderie with other actors you have worked with before and does this make performing alongside them easier?
TW: Absolutely. I’ve been pretty damn lucky with the people I’ve worked with in television and film over the years, but it’s even more important in theatre, where you spend months together on and off the stage and away from home. I was with the Royal Shakespeare Company for 5 months last year performing and rehearsing Coriolanus, in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Washington DC, Newcastle and Madrid (as ecclectic a collection of cities as you will ever find!) and that had to be one of the highlights of my career, not only because playing the baddie, Tullus Aufidius, was a dream come true, but also because the cast and crew (over 30 people in all) were such a joy. That’s what makes it all worthwhile – sharing the experience.
BTFB: What should we keep our eyes and eyes open for in relation to the continuing career of Trevor White?
TW:Well, I’ll be on British and American televisions next year in Moonshot, the story of the space race, playing Astronaut Alan Shepard, which I think is going to be great. I’m also still waiting to see whether The Gift, a film I did last year with Martin Sheen, will get a general release sometime soon. House of Saddam, where I play Newman, a CIA agent operating in the Middle East, has been shown on the BBC already in the UK and I think is due on American television very soon. Other than that, I’ve just auditioned for some other stuff here in London, but in keeping with my tradition, can’t say any more that that for fear of jinxing it!
BTFB: Finally, in the campaign’s goal to bring back Frank Black and the Millennium universe, what are your feelings on the potential of a post-Millennial return? Would you be happy to see Doug return?
TW:I would love that. Doug Scaife is such a fun, rascal of a character, and Millenium was such a landmark show on network television, that to reunite them in a film, and with Lance leading the charge as Frank Black, would be just phenomenal. Keep writing letters and blogs and let’s get this film made! And of course do let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help the cause.
Once again, Trevor, our thanks for the kind donation of your time and our very best wishes for the future!