Anson Mount beams back to Calgary as part of the Star Trek universe for this year’s Calgary Expo

For five years, American actor Anson Mount made Calgary his second home.

As the lead in AMC’s locally shot western Hell on Wheels, he spent his time here, met his wife here and has nothing but fond memories about the city and surrounding area.

Now he’ll return as part of this year’s Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, which runs April 25 to 28 on the Stampede Grounds.

That’s something for he and local HOW fans to celebrate.

But since that series wrapped up, Mount has found an entirely different fanbase, entered an entirely different stratosphere. Or universe. The actor just completed a one-year run on the series Star Trek: Discovery as Captain Christopher Pike, the second captain of the USS Enterprise. 

During that time, he struck a chord with Trekkies — so much so that there’s now a petition urging the show to bring him back or even give him his own spinoff or film.

So, should you want to meet him this weekend, know that there will be a larger lineup to shake his hand or have a photo op.

Before he hopped on a plane back to Cowtown, Mount spoke with theYYSCENE. Here are some excerpts from that interview.

Q: You are coming back to a city that you know well.

A: I am, I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Q: I know you would say that anyway, but I’m assuming you actually are?

A: Oh, yeah. I mean, I met my wife there, we have family there. So, yeah, I’m literally coming home.

Q: So it was a pretty special time filming here.

A: It really was. I often said that the landscape was another character in Hell on Wheels and I’ve never shot in a more beautiful place. Despite the crazy weather — actually not despite the crazy weather but possibly because of the crazy weather because I really hate soundstages because they’re designed to remove the element of chaos from filmmaking and I don’t understand the concept of trying make art without chaos, it doesn’t make any sense. And so we learned, shooting all day in the exterior, we really learned how to dance with the elements and it added to the show.

Q: One of the main reasons you are coming here is, of course, a role you’re saying goodbye to. Or are you?

A: Well, I was in a one-year contract, so, yeah, that’s all she wrote. But it’s been headspinning becoming part of the Star Trek universe and the Star Trek family, which is a very different fanbase. They really are. They care a lot. And not only that, but it’s such a more laid-back experience interacting with these fans because they’ve grown so used to the idea that we will come to meet them that there’s not this sort of weird shifting status that sometimes you’re given as a celebrity. I went to the (Star Trek) Creation Con in Las Vegas last year and the refrain was, “Welcome to the family,” and they mean it.

Q: Every interview I’ve read with you, you have such a respect for the canon and for the universe, you are obviously a fan.

A: Yeah, I grew up watching the original series … My mom turned me onto it and I didn’t quite understand the concept or why a show about people running around space in a giant spaceship would be in any way interesting but I was quickly hooked … since I was eight I guess.

Q: So does that make it harder or easier, because you know you can’t mess with this universe because you’re going to get called out on it? Does that make you a little more careful or you know what you’re getting into?

Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannon in the AMC’s Calgary-shot series Hell on Wheels.

A: There’s two sides to it. There’s one being a fanboy and walking onto the bridge and sitting in the captain’s chair and just dealing with that, the surrealism of that … and then allowing that excitement to fuel me to work every single day I walked on the set — I would look around and some part of me would say to myself, “Really, this is really happening?” But eventually as an actor you start to learn what’s going to help you do your job and what’s not going to help you do your job. And nerves and second-guessing and worrying about people’s opinions aren’t really going to help other than the people in my immediate vicinity and my collaborators, their opinions count particularly in a situation like this one where I’m coming into a second season of a show. And obviously the fans’ opinions count after the process of making it. I’m always doing my research and this area I was especially careful, but the source material is so little that I really felt the freedom to still play and create my own Pike.

Q: Fans have really gravitated to your portrayal, obviously you’ve really struck a chord and they don’t want to say goodbye to you, judging by the petition, do you take great pride in that?

A: I’ve really never received such gratitude from fans for anything I’ve ever done, it’s kind of mind-blowing. This whole social media age is interesting on a lot of levels, I mean it’s really forced networks and CBS to listen to the fans … But there’s also this thing where we, as celebrities, we’re, in a way, using social media to hawk ourselves and keep our face out there and keep quote, unquote relevant, I guess, sometimes. And this is really the first time that I felt like there was something going on that I really had nothing to do with, that there’s something out there happening, a dialogue, that I don’t really have a hand in, and that’s OK. These people who’ve been living with this canon for longer than I’ve been involved, and if they like what I’m doing I’m just humbled by it.

Q: Is this goodbye for good or is this a character you might return to in some form?

A: You’re asking the wrong guy. Are you asking me if I’d like to play Pike again? Sure but that’s a question that exists in a vacuum, there are a lot of other creative conversations that would accompany that. And, yeah, people keep trying to catch me, catch me up on a trick. It’s like being approached by several matadors trying to get me to charge through a cape and I’m not a bull. I’m not an executive at CBS, I’m just an actor trying to make a living.

Q: But it is a conversation you’d be open to? Not trying to trick you …

A: Yes. Of course. I mean I had an amazing time, I’m a fan, I love the character — of course.

Q: Then what is next for you?

A: I just finished shooting a movie called The Virtuoso with Anthony Hopkins and that one is very early in the post process, we just finished shooting that in the first week of April.

Q: How was that experience?

A: Anthony Hopkins, he is such a cool guy. He’s who I want to be when I’m 81. He’s a deeply curious mind, a real philosopher, an absolute gentleman to work with — he told everybody to call him Tony the first day. Just really brilliant and full of life and vigour and a lovely wife named Stella — we just had a great, great time working together.

Q: And your next project?

A: There are a couple of things that I can’t really talk about right now in the works phase, but then on top of that we’re also moving from Brooklyn to Connecticut so that’s sort of my focus right now, just planning everything we want to do with the house and the property and all of that family stuff.

Q: Here’s where I ask: Why not Calgary?

A: (Laughs) Right. Um, well, we still wanted to be driving distance from New York and we found this gorgeous property and a house in Connecticut so we decided to make the move there.

Q: What are you looking forward to most about your return to town?

A: Oh, man, mostly I’m looking forward to seeing friends and family. And it will be really cool to be in the parade I think.

Anson Mount appears Friday and Saturday at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. For tickets and more information please go to