'Star Trek: Discovery': Mary Chieffo on What It Takes to Become Klingon

T’Kuvma introduced the motto “remain Klingon” for the Klingons featured in Star Trek: [...]

T'Kuvma introduced the motto "remain Klingon" for the Klingons featured in Star Trek: Discovery, but it's actress Mary Chieffo, who plays L'Rell, who has to become Klingon on a daily basis.

As part of Star Trek: Discovery's push for Emmy consideration, Chieffo spoke with IndieWire about what it takes to transform into a Klingon for a day of work on Star Trek: Discovery. Chieffo was quick to credit prosthetics supervisor James Mackinnon for being so helpful to the actors undergoing long sessions in the makeup trailer.

"What's a tribute to James is that he's so respectful of the actor's process," Chieffo said. "So on days where I was like, 'You know what, I just need quiet,' or, 'I just need to run my lines,' he would let Rea Nolan, our dialect coach come in, even just for her to say the lines to me — because a lot of times when I'm getting the makeup applied, I can't use my mouth. He was just very respectful of what I needed on a day-to-day basis."

Speaking for herself, Chieffo says her high tolerance for discomfort helps make the process a team effort.

"I have a pretty high tolerance for — I hate to say pain, because I was never in pain, but they knew that about me and so if I did ask for something, they were always really respectful of it," Chieffo said. "I always felt in such good hands. It such a team effort. It's all about the listening and communication. I feel so grateful that my first experience with prosthetics was with such an amazing team, that across the board, I feel like could talk to any of them, both on the creative side and the technical side."

Chieffo was also lucky to have Doug Jones as a co-star. Jones plays Saru on Star Trek: Discovery and is legendary for his performances requiring heavy makeup and prosthetics in films such as Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth, and The Shape of Water. Chieffo says Jones graciously took her under his wing.

"It was my first time meeting Doug, and of course, I knew of his incredible legacy," she said. "He was just like, 'Oh precious,' and did his classic Doug putting-his-hand-on-my-cheek-with-love move."

What do you think of Star Trek: Discovery's Klingons? Let us know in the comments!

The first season of Star Trek: Discovery is available to stream in its entirety on CBS All Access in the United States, through CraveTV in Canada, and through Netflix in other international markets. Star Trek: Discovery Season Two is now filming in Toronto.