Julia Morizawa is a Los Angeles based actor with extensive experience in film, television, theatre and web series. In the Star Trek Universe she is known as S´Tal in "Star Trek: Hidden Frontier" and as Lt. Maya Stadi in "Star Trek: Odyssey."
Thank you Julia for your spontaneous commitment. Can you introduce yourself please?
Thank you for inviting me to participate in this interview. I'm Julia Morizawa, and I'm an actor/writer/producer in Los Angeles, California.
How did you get your first role in Star Trek as S´Tal?
I believe I responded to a breakdown (a posting for an acting job) in an issue of Backstage West. Although the online service called Backstage still exists today, back then it was a printed newspaper that came out weekly and I would have to submit myself for auditions via mailing a cover letter and hardcopy of my headshot and resume to the address provided in the ad. These days, everything is done online. But for “Hidden Frontier,” I submitted, got called in for an audition, and was offered the job. And that was it.
Julia, did you watch the show prior to your casting to Star Trek?
Prior to joining the cast, I actually was not familiar with “Hidden Frontier.” I believe I joined in season 4. But I did grow up watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation” with my dad and as part of the audition process, creator Rob Caves specifically suggested I watch the movie “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and refer to Kirstie Alley's performance.
Before you joined Star Trek you had some other roles, like in "ER - Emergency Room" and "Buffy", how was it the first time in front of the camera for you?
I honestly cannot remember my first time in front of a camera as an actor. However, I very much learned as I went. When I first came to Los Angeles, I did a lot of background work on TV shows, which served as the stepping-stone for how I got those small featured roles on “ER” and “Buffy.” So I learned a lot about how things were ran on a big-budget set from that. But then I also did a lot of no-budget projects and student films. And those provided more in-depth learning opportunities for working in front of and behind the camera. I would help PA (work as a production assistant just doing random tasks on set) to learn as well. Every gig is different and I am constantly learning.
2007 you starred as Lt. Maya Stadi in "Star Trek Odyssey", what is the difference between the Series and your characters?
The series were very similar in the sense that they were created by the same group of people (mostly) and in the same way (Rob Caves' home studio against a green screen), so transitioning from “Hidden Frontier” to “Odyssey” was pretty seamless for me. Also, they both take place in the same world with the same characters. I got to be in every episode of “Odyssey” because I was a lead character instead of a supporting one. And then in terms of characters, S'Tal was a Vulcan and Stadi was a Betazoid. So I got to go from being quite stoic and suppressing my usual human emotions, to having more emotional versatility. Also, Stadi was much sassier than S'Tal, if I remember correctly.
What was the best thing or the funniest moment about working on set? Is there something special you can share with us?
I think the best thing was really just the camaraderie. Every time I walked onto set (Rob's house) I felt like I was just walking into a second home in a lot of ways. Unfortunately, I can't remember a specific funniest moment off the top of my head, but there are a number of blooper reels available online. I'm sure there were many moments such as line flubs and getting the uncontrollable giggles. I think I remember doing a scene with Tim Foutch where we entered frame at the top of the scene, and exited at the end. And for whatever reason - confusion, miscommunication - Tim and I kept exiting in opposite directions, which didn't make sense for the scene. And it took us a few takes before we were on the same page, which was hilarious at the time.
2017 you booked a job on "Blade of Honor." What can you tell us about?
"Blade of Honor" is a sci-fi series in the vein of "Battlestar Galactica" and "Star Trek." The show follows fighter pilot, Arina Kartades (the role that I play) as she and her team battle the alien race, the Calinar, and discover that the reasons behind the raging war may be a lie. We filmed the first episode at the end of 2016, which was directed by Mark Edward Lewis. The project also stars Richard Hatch ("Battlestar Galactica") in his final performance before he sadly passed away, as well as other notable sci-fi actors including Tim Russ ("Star Trek: Voyager"), Aron Eisenberg ("Star Trek: Deep Space Nine") and James Kyson ("Heroes"). Episode one has been in post-production for most of 2017 and is expected to be released before the end of the year.
Are you currently working on any interesting movies or series that you can reveal?
I am currently in development for a sci-fi digital series titled "Pure," which I am producing with my friend Briggon Snow and Sensorium Pictures. I will also be playing the lead role of Red. It is set in a distant future version of Earth where genetic modification has both advanced and divided humanity. The story follows a warrior and her unlikely ally as they journey to the utopian community, the Annex, escape the violent forces of the Dissension, and face sacrifice for the survival of their people. We expect to film the first season in 2018.
In addition, I am performing regularly in the audio drama podcast "The Bright Sessions" as the lead role of Dr. Bright. It's about therapy for people with supernatural abilities, created by Lauren Shippen, and is currently being adapted for television by Dark Horse Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions.
I am also writing a limited series inspired by my grandparents' experiences during World War II (both in Japan and the internment camps in the U.S.) and my parents' experiences growing up in two very different post-war societies and what brought them together. And I am co-writing a comedy-horror podcast with my producing partner Shaina Vorspan. But it's a tad too soon to speak more about those.
Which role you would love to play in the future?
My dream role is the title character in David Mack's graphic novel series "Kabuki." If you're not familiar, go read it now. It's about a woman who was raised to be an elite assassin and goes rogue to avenge her mother's violent death. My understanding is that it's been in development for film and/or TV a number of different times over the years. Although, at this point, I'm probably too old for the part anyway. But I would take any role in that project when the time comes.
Is there anything else you would like to let Star Trek Fans and your fans know?
I would just say, if you want to continue to see well-made, independently produced projects - whether they are in the sci-fi genre or not - try to support the creators of those projects in the best way you can. Don't pirate films and shows that are not offered free of charge. And if the project is offered for free on YouTube, don't download it and re-upload it onto your own account, taking away views and advertising from the original creators. Follow creators on social media and share their projects with your friends. If ever possible, contribute to Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and Seed & Spark campaigns for projects you would truly love to see made. And don't be afraid to start your own projects. Also, be nice on the internet. I mean, be nice in your non-internet life too. But the internet does not protect the feelings of the person on the other side of the comments, and there are plenty of ways to offer criticism without being a jerk. Just, you know, try to love more.