June 28, 2019

Third Pod Live: Anthony Rapp

Posted by Shane Hanlon

Anthony Rapp delivers the keynote lecture at the 2019 Astrobiology Science Conference in Bellevue, WA. Credit: Liza Lester/AGU

At Third Pod, we often talk with researchers about how they grew up to become scientists. But how does an actor become a scientist on screen?

In this special episode of Third Pod from the Sun, we talk with actor Anthony Rapp about inhabiting the character of Lt. Commander Paul Stamets on “Star Trek: Discovery.” Rapp, best known for playing Marc Cohen in the original Broadway cast of the Tony Award-winning musical “Rent,” has been on stage since childhood. On “Discovery,” he plays the prickly lead scientist on the eponymous experimental ship. The USS Discovery, on a mission to test a mysterious “spore drive” that operates on an intangible, fungus-like mycelial network strung throughout the universe, has been conscripted into a space war on the Federation’s frontier. Rapp and castmate Wilson Cruz also took Star Trek to new frontiers portraying the first gay couple depicted in Starfleet.

We caught up with Rapp at the2019 Astrobiology Science Conference, co-hosted by AGU and NASA in Bellevue, Washington, where he spoke at the opening plenary on June 23. Rapp talked about his geek cred, what it’s like to play a scientist on TV and how he researches the real scientific elements of the show to create his character.

To hear more from Anthony Rapp about the science of Star Trek, check out planetary scientist Mike Wong’s interview with Rapp for his podcast Strange New Worlds.

This episode was produced and mixed by Lauren Lipuma.