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Jolene Blalock Relied On Her Eyes To Portray The Stoicism Of Star Trek: Enterprise's T'Pol

Most "Star Trek" series have one character who doesn't have emotions (or at least doesn't show them), which makes for a very unique acting challenge. The original series had the famous Vulcan character Spock (Leonard Nimoy), "Star Trek: The Next Generation" had Data (Brent Spiner), and "Star Trek: Voyager" had Tuvok (Tim Russ). In a 1978 interview with The Orlando Sentinel (via MeTV), Nimoy made a point of mentioning that Vulcans aren't devoid of emotion, but rather they are in control of their emotions, and that there was a certain subtle acting involved in making those emotions just visible under the surface.

Jolene Blalock played the resident stoic character of "Star Trek: Enterprise," taking on the role of Sub-Commander T'Pol. Blalock was already a big fan of the "Star Trek" franchise before she got cast in "Enterprise." In an interview that was included on the DVD release of the show, the actor explained that she watched the original series growing up and it often reminds her of her father and brothers because she would watch it with them. In the same interview she explained that she originally didn't want to do a "Star Trek" series, but after hearing that it was a prequel, she was drawn to the project. Despite an audition that she called "foul" and "rank," she managed to land the part and became one of the most iconic Vulcan characters in the history of the franchise.

Blalock said it was difficult for her to play a Vulcan at first, since her face is naturally very expressive. In the end, as she explained, it all came down to the eyes.

Jolene Blalock had trouble playing a Vulcan at first

In an interview with Star Trek Monthly (via Trek Today) conducted back in 2001, the year that "Star Trek: Enterprise" debuted, Jolene Blalock explained that it was particularly difficult to play a Vulcan because they have to hide their emotions and she has such an expressive face. She explained that she found the best way to express herself in character was through subtle looks with her eyes. "You can say everything that you need to say in the eyes, because language itself is so limiting," the San Diego native explained. "There's so much to say in words, but how much can words really express? If you can just be present, say what you want with your presence, with your eyes, with your intention, the message gets across more potently."

Blalock was a very outspoken critic of the writing on "Enterprise." In a 2004 interview with SFX Magazine (via Trek Today), she criticized the writers for taking the Vulcan characteristics out of her character, thus defeating the purpose of having a Vulcan on the show in the first place. "You might as well clip the ears," the actor exclaimed. One example she gave was that, even though it had been established that Vulcans don't eat with their hands, Blalock was instructed to eat popcorn using her fingers in one scene, despite her protests. She put a lot of effort into learning the art of acting with her eyes to express the emotions bubbling under T'Pol's skin, but she didn't have to use it quite as much once the writers started giving her character more human characteristics.