Anson Mount returns to Calgary to celebrate Star Trek: Discovery role at expo

Anson Mount might be a lifelong Trekkie who made it onto the show, but it turns out the sci-fi and fantasy star also has a fascination — and family connection — with Calgary.

That would be his wife.

Mount, who played Captain Christopher Pike for a season on Star Trek: Discovery, will be in Calgary this weekend for the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, which kicks off Thursday at the BMO Centre.

The popular event is bringing in a roster of celebrities this year that includes Lord of the Rings' Sean Astin, Baywatch legend Pamela Anderson, Shazam! star Zachary Levi, original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, the cast of Back to the Future and many others.

There's also a Parade of Wonders Friday featuring celebs and fans in costume, a series of special ticketed events over the weekend, and various panels and autograph signing sessions throughout the weekend at the BMO Centre on the Stampede grounds.

Mount spoke with Doug Dirks on The Homestretch about how he met his wife in Calgary, his Star Trek: Discovery status, and what it was about southern Alberta that he fell in love with while shooting Hell on Wheels in various locales around the province between 2011 and 2016.

Calgary Comic Expo

Star Trek

Mount was introduced to the original Star Trek by his mom.

"The original went into syndication on our local UHF channel when I was about eight I guess," he said. "And my mother is the one who turned me onto it.

"She explained what it was — and I didn't get it," he added.

"And then, slowly but surely, Sunday nights at 6 o'clock, I was in front of the television watching Star Trek."

Roughly four decades later, Mount found himself starring in a Star Trek series.

Mount said one of the best things about being in Star Trek: Discovery was actually getting to see how a universe comes to life through post-production.

"When you're shooting it, you're just looking at a bunch of green screens and you're having to imagine four or five different things going on around you that aren't actually happening in the studio," he said.

"So to finally see all those elements come together and gel was was really wonderful."

And what was it about the character of Captain Pike that appealed to Mount, who said his favourite character growing up was Data, from Star Trek: The Next Generation?

"I like him as a man. He probably had good parents and he definitely had good mentors and he treats the crew the way he would want to be treated — with respect and best idea wins. That's how he runs his ship. And I like it."

Rachel Maclean/CBC

Hell on Wheels

Between 2011 and 2016, Mount played Cullen Bohannon on the AMC series Hell on Wheels, a western that fully exploited the southern Alberta landscape.

It turned out that all that weather very much appealed to Mount's sensibility

"I always said that the landscape was a character in the show," he said.

"And that's because we shot pretty much all days exterior," he added. "We had to learn — especially being that close to the mountains and a mile high, you know the weather changes really quick.

"We had to learn to dance with the elements. And I'm a big fan of of chaos as a part of the artistic process. I hate soundstages.

"They're made to eliminate chaos and I don't believe in it."

Mount also spent a season, between the end of Hell on Wheels and his season on Star Trek: Discovery, playing Black Bolt on Inhumans, a Netflix  show featuring Marvel characters that only lasted a single season.

"It is a bit like working for the CIA," he said of the experience, "But I collected comic books growing up and so obviously  if you give me a choice of characters to play in the Marvel universe, Black Bolt would have been probably number two, so that was just incredible."

Calgary Expo

National on Tenth

Mount met his wife at National on Tenth, where they got in a conversation about their dogs, then went on a first date to the Calgary Folk Festival.

Now, he says the two of them come back to Calgary as often as they can to visit — and Mount just learned that he's about to be honoured in true Calgary Comic Expo fashion.

"I get to be in the parade," he said.

It gets better.

"I just got wind of a white hat ceremony," he added. "That's something that I've just dreamt about for a long, long time. 

"I feel like I'm a part of Calgary," he said, "and to to be adopted officially is going to be quite an honor."

With files from The Homestretch