INTERVIEW: Actor William Jay of Farragut Forward!

Actor and cosplayer William Jay plays Koroth in Farragut Forward, one of the biggest Star Trek fan productions ever made! We did a deep-dive interview with William to get his perspective on Farragut Forward and much more, but before we get started, here is your reminder that this project is still funding on Indiegogo! Please become a part of this epic fan film, and every dollar helps!

William Jay as Koroth in Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

Welcome William! Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a max-level Star Trek fan and cosplayer in the Washington, DC area. I’ve been cosplaying for about a decade and I’ve dabbled in many franchises over the years, but I always keep coming back to Star Trek. At last count I believe I was up to about 23 Star Trek costumes, with 19 being Starfleet uniforms!

It’s actually thanks to cosplay and going to conventions that I found myself able to be a part of this amazing experience. I believe it was 2012 at the Shore Leave convention in Maryland where I met director Johnny K. (and ironically enough, I met Farragut actors John Broughton and Michael Bednar there as well). Johnny and I became friends quickly, thanks to a bunch of mutual interests, including the TOS movie era of Star Trek.

Director Johnny K. and William Jay as Koroth filming Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

It’s through Johnny that the idea to cosplay as a Klingon first came up, and that’s how I ended up with a re-creation of a Klingon uniform from Star Trek III. Johnny and I continued attending Shore Leave, even to this day, and we always crossed paths with John Broughton. 

Through the insane timing of Johnny pursuing his passion for filmmaking, and me buying a Michael Keaton Bat-suit out of pandemic boredom, in 2021, we created the award-winning indie film The Oath: A Batman Fan Film (a project I’m incredibly proud of).

Director Johnny K. and William Jay/Guillermo Mejia filming The Oath: A Batman Fan Film.

Because of his mutual love of filmmaking, John Broughton was also a co-producer and crewmember on The Oath. Broughton contacted me in 2021 as Farragut Forward began re-rooting itself in his mind, and he asked if I would play the role of a Klingon Interrogator opposite him in what became the three-minute Prologue to Farragut Forward. While I’ve never actively pursued becoming an actor, I’m not blind to the planet-sized level of luck I’ve had which led me to be part of such awesome projects. 

William Jay as Koroth in the Prologue to Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

You play Koroth, a new Klingon character first seen in the Prologue. What helped you to create the character?

Who Koroth turned out to be was an organic process for me rather than any one deliberate choice. As someone who was used to letting costume and makeup do most of the work, before this, I’d never had to go further than a few Klingon words and whatever drink was in my mug to help me get Klingon-rowdy!

When I was asked to appear in the Prologue, the character was called “Klingon Interrogator” and there was really nothing in the script as to who he was. I started with the stereotypical Klingon elements of that era… they hate humans, they’re the bad guys, and they look tough and scary. The short script also called for me to wield a knife, so I tried incorporating that into the delivery to give it something extra.

Once the script for the full Farragut Forward episode began to finalize, the interrogator’s role in the story helped inform more about who he should be. His story didn’t really lend itself to be a copy of other famous Klingons like Kruge or Gowron, or to be a simple mustache-twirling bad guy.

William Jay as Koroth in Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

During a discussion with Johnny K., he suggested that I think about the character Klag, who was played by Brian Thompson in the Season 2 TNG episode, “A Matter of Honor.” Klag was a proud Klingon who had none of the over-the-top character traits of other Klingons. He later returned in the IKS Gorkon book series written by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

Once I had that influence, everything pretty much fell into place. The icing on the cake was giving my character a name, which I did in homage to two of my favorite Klingon characters of the 23rd century, Kor and Koloth.

Behind the scenes of Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production. Photo credit: Certain Gravity Photography

How did you prepare for the role?

I watched a lot of Klingon-centric Star Trek episodes! “A Matter of Honor”, the Klingon civil war arc, and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, just to name a few. On the weekend we filmed all the interior Klingon sets, I had a one-hour drive to set that morning and I listened to Klingon music the whole way!

Aside from looking at a bunch of Klingon performances, I made sure I knew my lines when the time to film came. While on set, I like to spend a lot of time watching everything being filmed. That’s something that helps me get in the proper mindset for the day.

Behind the scenes of Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

At the end of the day I also have to give credit to the costume and makeup. Once it is all on, you feel some of that Klingon energy seeping into you.

Unlike other Farragut cast-members, you are not a trained actor. Did you ever feel at a disadvantage when doing scenes with them?

Yes, but only for a very short time. Everyone with whom I shared a scene was gracious and welcoming. In particular, I shared most of my scenes with Wes Johnson, who plays Valal. I first met Wes at his Klingon makeup test in March 2022. I was sleep-deprived and had only gotten back from the Star Trek Cruise 12 hours earlier. We got along really well in that first meeting, and as we got deeper into filming, he and I had great conversations about how Koroth and Valal would feel about the scene, what I should and should not do to convey emotion, and much more. Although filming has wrapped, I still enjoy talking with Wes about movies and the craft of acting.  

Actors Wes Johnson and William Jay on the set of Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

You previously played Batman in The Oath, A Batman Fan Film with many of the same cast and crew working on Farragut Forward. How were the processes similar, and how were they different?

Having director Johnny K. and 1st A.D. Romel Punsal working both productions gave a feeling of consistency in how they do things. For example, I already knew how each scene would be shot before getting there (wides, then mediums, and finally closeups). There was also a nice sense of familiarity and short-hand on set to move things along. Other than that, they felt like vastly different projects.

William Jay/Guillermo Mejia, Director Johnny K., and 1st A.D. Romel Punsal shooting The Oath: A Batman Fan Film

The Oath was a self-contained story that required only one thing from me: to portray a very specific version of Batman. We also only had one weekend to shoot all those night/exteriors, so it felt very much like a sprint. Farragut Forward has been a marathon. It’s larger in scope in every way, more ambitious, and I’ve personally ended up wearing a lot more hats: acting as Koroth, and serving as part of the crew as a Klingon makeup artist, and stuntman, just to name a few. Both projects strived to faithfully recreate the style of prior work and reference material we all love, but those styles were as different as night and day.

William Jay and Brian Gulizia, behind the scenes of Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

That’s a great segue to our next question. In Farragut Forward, you played a major character, handled makeup and prosthetic appliances for other Klingon actors, played multiple background roles, and also did some stunt work. Which job was the most challenging, and which do you want to do more of?

I felt the most pressure when I was in charge of the Klingon makeup for all the background actors in our climactic showdown scenes in March 2024. You can only do so much to prepare prior to filming, having foreheads pre-painted, eyebrows glued, wigs acquired, and all that. But on the day, to sit down and get it all done, my mind kept drifting back to the constraints we had.

William Jay applies Klingon makeup to Dave Moretti; behind the scenes of Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production. Photo credit: Certain Gravity Photography

We had all these background actors for one night only to shoot our exterior scenes, and they needed to be ready to go as soon as the sun went down, and looking good! I went in with the mantra to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and having seen some still photos from the shoot, I’m pleased with the results. Ironically, all that stunt work I did earlier in the production was a walk in the Promenade, so to speak. 

William Jay removes Klingon makeup from actor Wes Johnson; behind the scenes of Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

After playing Koroth and Batman, who both wore heavy and restrictive outfits, I wouldn’t mind taking a step back and playing someone in regular pants and a jacket. Haha! I think about the 80s action movie henchmen… guys who were the main villain’s number two. They chewed the scenery a little, maybe did some action, like dual-wielding uzis and never hitting a darn thing, but they never overstayed their welcome. Bob the Goon in Batman (1989), played by Tracey Walter, is a good example. He’s all over that movie, but he’s never in your face, and he does enough fun stuff to make him memorable. That’s not to say that I’m going to hang up the cape or the Klingon forehead ridges if those opportunities come back around!

Behind the scenes of Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

Describe your experience during the long, 18-month production process of Farragut Forward.

That’s a long topic that I’ll try to condense for the sake of the readers! I’ve been a part of the whole process since the very start when the idea was formed to create the three-minute Prologue as a proof of concept. It was sort of, “if we made a fan film in the movie era, this is what it could look like.” Once the decision to produce the full story was made, I was very excited to see what my unnamed “Klingon Interrogator” would become.  And that excitement has not dipped once in this whole time.

Director Johnny K. and William Jay – behind the scenes of Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

Our director, Johnny, really hits the nail on the head when he says there’s a lot of “hurry up and wait” in these productions. For me personally, that applied to our filming weekends, as well as the downtime in between. In the days leading up to those shoots, and during the shoots themselves, there never seemed to be enough hours in the day… prepping Klingon foreheads, maintaining costumes, learning lines, taking inventory of supplies, rehearsing and delivering the performance, etc. But once those filming weekends immediately passed, there was a lull on my part for sure.

Whenever I could, I volunteered to help with set construction and whatever odd jobs I might be able to help out with, but when it comes to the 18-month production timeframe, I really want to give praise to the people involved in costuming, prop-building, and especially set construction. Those guys are the absolute MVPs of this production. Between building our amazing sets, creating our costumes and organizing the logistics of what shots and camera angles are needed; AND doing all this around our volunteers’ 9-5 jobs and other life commitments, I look at those 18 months and think, “of course it’s been 18 months!” Quality takes time.

William Jay – behind the scenes of Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

What was your greatest challenge during this production?

My greatest challenge was keeping up my energy levels high during those long shoots while wearing the full Klingon gear. After hour five, that Klingon armor starts feeling stiffer than you might expect. I’ve done it enough now that I know what’s coming, but it still doesn’t make it easy. When you’re in that Klingon makeup you also don’t want to mess it up and have to redo it, or risk holding up production, so once you are in costume, you’re stuck like that for the usually 8-10 hours of filming per day. That’s when I start looking at the other cast in those comfortable Starfleet uniforms, and it becomes much easier for my character to hate Starfleet!

Director Johnny K, Wes Johnson, and William Jay – behind the scenes of Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

What can fans expect from Farragut Forward?

Fans are in for something they’ve never seen before. I’m big into Star Trek fan films. I enjoy keeping up with as many of them as I can find, so I feel confident when I say that this is new and exciting. There have been some fantastic fan films set to the tone and feel of The Original Series (in no small part thanks to Starship Farragut); we’ve had great productions set in the TNG and First Contact eras; and we’ve even had a few set in the Enterprise era. But there has never been a fan film that worked so hard to recreate the look and feel of the TOS movie era (Star Trek II-VI).

Heck, I would go ahead and say that what we’ve done rivals the few times the official franchise attempted to re-create the magic of that era, like for the Voyager episode “Flashback” for example. I may be biased because I adore this era of Trek, but I think seeing new adventures with new characters with these beloved but lesser-seen movie-era costumes and sets is worth it!

Behind the scenes of Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

Principal photography on Farragut Forward finally wrapped in March 2024. What’s next for you?

Case Aiken, one of our producers, and I have been talking these entire 18-months about recording an episode of his podcast, Another Pass, about Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. People who know Star Trek know there’s a lot to talk about there. Case and I are hoping to record and put out the episode later this year. I’m hoping we can look at the movie through the lens of the second golden era of Star Trek and maybe find something new that’s not been said before.

I’ve had chances to talk to the folks behind Kaotica Studios and Farragut Films about future projects, and I’d be excited to work with them again, should some of the ideas I’ve heard come to pass!

Other than that, people can hit me up on Instagram (@william_jay87) if they want to follow me, or if they’d like to hear an entire lecture on why Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is the best Star Trek movie!

Behind the scenes of Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

Any closing thoughts?

As we wind down Farragut Forward, I remember all the experiences that came out of this process. If I had to name my favorite experience out of the 18-month journey, I’d say it was early on in the filming, when I first walked onto those Starfleet corridor sets. That was the moment that it hit me and I thought to myself: Wow, this is not a weekend with some buddies and a camera. This is going to be legit!

That day, we filmed a lot of running and controlled chaos during a battle scene. It was surreal, and for a few moments, I swear I felt like I was no different than the background actors running up and down the corridors of the Enterprise-A as it was attacked by Chang’s Bird of Prey. That day was also my first brush with stunt work. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that considering I’d never done that before, I’m still blown away when I see the result on camera!

Behind the scenes of Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

Finally, I think that Star Trek fans are living in an awesome time. Technology has become so accessible that more and more fans are able to express their passion through fan film projects like Farragut Forward. Sure, the logistics of wrangling a whole team of people are still an effort that can’t be underestimated, but the tech gap is shrinking more and more every day.

I’m still fascinated that, as a fan, I now get to be a part of this. When I was in college in the early 2000s, I rediscovered Star Trek when I found the world of fan films in the early days of YouTube. That was back when media players took 10 minutes to load a three-minute clip.

Behind the scenes of Farragut Forward: A Star Trek Fan Production

Seeing those early high-quality fan films like Starship Exeter, Phase II/New Voyages, and Starship Farragut opened my eyes to the concept that in addition to enjoying watching Star Trek, I could BE a part of Star Trek. I’m sure other people feel now like I did then, so I hope they see Farragut Forward and become inspired by it.

Actor and cosplayer William Jay


Farragut Forward stars John Broughton, Paul Sieber, Michael Bednar, Holly Bednar, Wes Johnson, and William Jay, and warps onto YouTube in Summer 2024.

The project is still funding on Indiegogo!

For updates and more information, follow Kaotica Studios, and Farragut Films on all social media!


Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.