Scott Bakula has accomplished a lot in his decades-long Hollywood career. He has been on several well-known TV series and has been in many solid feature films and the man can even sing. So what’s he been up to recently?
BEGINNINGS ON BROADWAY
Scott Bakula got his start on Broadway. He moved to New York City in 1976 and his debut was soon after, starring as New York Yankees baseball legend Joe DiMaggio in the musical Marilyn: An American Fable. Later that year, he was also part of an Off-Broadway production of Three Guys Naked from the Waist Down. The next show he had lined up was the musical Nightclub Confidential, which moved to Los Angeles, so Bakula packed his bags and headed to Hollywood.
Scott Bakula had already dealt with the pressures of Broadway, so making the jump from stage-to-screen was a fairly painless transition for the actor. He started by grabbing a role on an episode of The Magical World of Disney, then came My Sister Sam, and what would eventually be a recurring role on the series Designing Women.
It was also at this time that Scott Bakula led his own TV series, Gung Ho. The series was based on the movie of the same name, which starred Michael Keaton in the lead role and Gedde Watanabe (Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles), who crossed over to star in the TV series. Unfortunately, the series was short-lived, lasting only one season.
Scott Bakula moved on to other projects. He’d star in the TV movie The Last Fling, then appeared on the CBS Summer Playhouse and Matlock. His second shot at a TV series was with Eisenhower & Lutz. Again, this one lasted only a short while, as the 1988 writer’s strike stopped all production in Hollywood. With no work to be had, Bakula made his way back to Broadway.
SCOTT BAKULA ON QUANTUM LEAP
For Scott Bakula, his first huge break came after the writer’s strike ended. With Eisenhower & Lutz not being renewed, Bakula was free to find other projects. The first one right out of the gate was Quantum Leap. Bakula was supremely confident in how he was going to approach the part and said as much during his auditions and discussions with the producers.
“I had confidence in my own abilities and my own choices that I had been making in the last four years prior to that with new material. Basically I said, ‘This is how I’m going to play the role and this is how I believe the role is going to work. And if you don’t want me to play it this way then you need to find somebody else, because I believe this is how the role should be. And if you wanted Bill Murray you should’ve hired Bill Murray.’ And it’s worked,” he said in an interview with SciFi.
This confidence in his abilities as an actor worked. In Quantum Leap, Scott Bakula’s Sam Beckett creates a time machine that allowed him to travel back in time to different places in his own timeline to help correct certain wrongs. What he finds, instead, is that his theory of traveling through time is correct but the wrings he needs to right are those of other people. He jumps into the bodies of people he doesn’t know to help them correct their mistakes.
The series had a rough start as it was given more than one time slot, but once it steadied, it found an audience. The series ran for five seasons.
During his time on Quantum Leap, Scott Bakula ventured over into the feature film territory. He would pull down two fun movies, one in the underrated comedy Sibling Rivalry playing opposite Kirstie Alley and the other in the football comedy Necessary Roughness.
Scott Bakula had already carved out a decent career as Leap came to an end. His work was well appreciated so finding more after Leap was not an issue for the actor. He appeared on the series Dream On, had a recurring role on Murphy Brown, and then starred in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, a TV series that was the inspiration for the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie 2005 feature of the same name. But Bakula also starred in a string of TV movies and features which included Major League: Back to the Minors, American Beauty, Above Suspicion, Color of Night, and the supernatural horror flick Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions. Then he landed another iconic role.
It took a while for Scott Bakula to say yes. Not because he didn’t want the part as Jonathan Archer in the Star Trek: Enterprise series but because he wanted to make sure his deal was secure and that all involved would work well together. “Mostly, it was just the sad realities of this business,” Bakula told Starlog Magazine, “which are that you can’t make a deal anymore and just walk away from it. Deals take time. I wanted to do Enterprise, but I wanted to feel that I was making a good deal and that everybody was going to work together to make this a good experience. That takes time, and it’s somewhat out of the norm in this business. Business affairs people want to do their own thing. But we worked it out. It just took longer than I would have liked it to take.”
The wait was worth it. Scott Bakula was pretty much the last one to board the Enterprise, a story that was taking place a century before James T. Kirk would helm the bridge. The Star Trek series also starred John Billingsley, Jolene Blalock, Dominic Keating, and Linda Park. Bakula’s Archer enjoyed a four season run before the show was cancelled.
SCOTT BAKULA NOW
Since Enterprise, Scott Bakula pretty much has kept to the small screen. He has tried his hand at many TV series, some as a guest star and some in series he has tried to get off the ground. At first none of them stuck like Star Trek or Quantum Leap did.
He has been seen in State of the Union, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Chuck, Desperate Housewives, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Two and a Half Men. He was also part of Men of a Certain Age that enjoyed a brief two-season run. It took some time, but eventually Bakula would find something permanent.
NCIS: New Orleans came knocking on Scott Bakula’s door in 2014. It would be the third series set in the NCIS franchise, one that would cause a bit of difficult for series star Bakula. Not because of the acting, or the fact that the series would shoot on location (prompting him to travel home every weekend to spend time with his family) but because of that little thing called an accent.
“They wrote this character who is born and bred in New Orleans, but they didn’t want the full-on accent,” Scott Bakula told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re still working on how I’ll sound.” That interview took place six-years ago and he took some heat from fans.
Despite the quality of the show, fans have continued to bag on Scott Bakula for his accent. Thankfully, the network doesn’t seem to mind since the series just started their seventh season.
Scott Bakula is truly one of the good guys in Hollywood. If the worst thing that can be said about you in Hollywood circles is how poor an accent you can muster up, then you must be doing something right.