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‘Later Daters’: A Short Film Full of Fan Favorites

What do you get when you cross John Carpenter’s The Thing, the Alien Nation franchise, and several iconic episodes of the Star Trek series? You get a comedy short film about senior dating called Later Daters. Later Daters, besides being heartfelt and hilarious, just so happens to star some of the biggest names in Sci-Fi playing wonderfully against type.

Later Daters follows a widower looking to get back into the dating world only to discover he’s in way over his head.

The short opens with Joel, played with a hopeful curiosity by Joel Polis, quickly stripping off his tie as he feels overdressed. As he scopes out the singles party Joel is quickly descended upon by Eric, played by the marvelously funny Eric Pierpoint. Pierpoint, perhaps best known for playing the alien detective George Francisco on TVs Alien Nation, is an overly macho bad boy. Eric immediately informs Joel the women here “love to…” ahem- party. Pierpoint’s rugged good looks and deadly serious delivery is all together charming and more than a little intimidating.

Eric Pierpoint has a long and storied association with the Star Trek universe. In addition to originally auditioning for Commander William T. Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Pierpoint has played the roles of Voval in Star Trek: The Next Generation “Liaisons” (1993); Captain Sanders in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “For the Uniform” (1997); Kortar in Star Trek: Voyager “Barge of the Dead” (1999); Shiraht in Star Trek: Enterprise “Rogue Planet (2002); and the recurring character of covert operative Harris in Star Trek: Enterprise “Affliction” (2005), Star Trek: Enterprise “Divergence(2005), Star Trek: Enterprise “Demons” (2005), and Star Trek: Enterprise “Terra Prime” (2005).

Joel next encounters Jeff, played by recent Emmy Winner and horror stalwart Jeff Kober.

Kober, perhaps best known for his satanic serial killer Patrick Channing in The First Power and his sadistic turn as the gang leader Joe the tennis ball guy from The Walking Dead, here plays an aging rockstar. Jeff schools Joel with the sage “Girls who like a guy like you hate a guy like me…makes it all work out for everybody.” Kober shines in Later Daters and it makes you wonder why he doesn’t do more comedy.

Jeff and Eric play a sort of one-two punch for newbies at Later Dater’s parties. They come off as unofficial bouncers who separate the wheat from the chaff. Interesting side note – the last time Kober played a rock star was in the Oscar-winning short film Session Man with James Remar.

Kober’s Star Trek turns, both as villains, came as Iko on Star Trek: Voyager “Repentance” (2001) and as Traeg on Star Trek: Enterprise “Shadows of P’Jem” (2002). He also played Joshua Strader in the film version of Alien Nation (1988) starring opposite Mandy Patinkin and the late James Caan.

Joel next discovers the far more cerebral David, played by Emmy Winner David Clennon.

Fans of John Carpenter’s The Thing will love the fact this is the first time Polis and Clennon have appeared together onscreen since playing Fuchs and Palmer in the John Carpenter classic forty years earlier. Thing fans will always remember Palmer’s iconic line, “You’ve got to be fuc$ing kidding me.” Here Clennon as David, a self-described “proper English gentlemen” is the antithesis to the “American machismo” of Eric and the “Rockstar grandeur” of Jeff. David attempts to dissuade Joel from his current “meekness routine” as the ladies are seeking someone “more self-assured,” namely him. Clennon’s “game,” while less in-your-face than Eric and Jeff, is in many ways worse than his predecessors.

Clennon’s Star Trek turn came playing the infamous Cardassian Dr. Crell Moset accused of war crimes on Star Trek: Voyager “Nothing Human” (1998).

Joel next finds Daniel, played by the always brilliant Daniel Zacapa. Zacapa, a veteran of both beloved comedies like The Sandlot and dark dramas like Se7en, here plays perhaps the shadiest scoundrel of them all. His “game” is so good it would be criminal to spoil it here but suffice to say he has no shame.

Zacapa’s Star Trek turn came playing Henry Garcia on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “Past Tense Part II” (1995), and as Astronomer on Star Trek: Voyager “Blink of an Eye” (2000).

After Daniel, Joel calls it quits.

He rips off his name tag and heads for the door.

That’s when Joel runs into, quite literally, Emmy Winner Carolyn Hennesy.

Sci-Fi fans will know Hennesy from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines. Hennesy is brilliant in Later Daters. It’s easy to see why Joel would fall for her because as an audience we all do the same.

After Carolyn and Joel hit it off, we are all left with the question of what next?

Forces of Geek’s very own Fred Shahadi, wrote and directed the short and hopes the answer to that question lies with a streaming series for Later Daters.

“The classic themes of boy meets girl have no age limit,” Shahadi says. “Getting back out there is hard at any age, but falling in love is even harder, especially when you’re not expecting it.”

When asked about he felt about working with his incredibly talented and iconic cast, Shahadi responded with one word, “Lucky.”

Later Daters will be screened at the Burbank International Film Festival on September 8th in Burbank, California.

Joel Polis, who also produced Later Daters, couldn’t be happier about the screening. “It’s opening night of the festival and that carries a certain responsibility, but we are up for the challenge…we hope people come and check us out.”

When asked what it’s like to play a romantic lead at this point in his career Polis cheekily replied, “Ed Harris seems to have gotten all the roles I wanted to play! But the truth is I’m extremely proud of this film and very happy to be a part of it.”

And working with David Clennon again? “We’ve remained friends over the years and it was great to work with him again. We almost got Tommy to do it too but he was shooting his own movie in New York.” The “Tommy” he was referring to was Thomas G. Waites who played the character Windows in The Thing. “Maybe we can get him for the sequel.”

For Polis, his turn in the Star Trek universe was playing Ny Tesla on Star Trek: Voyager “Time and Again” (1995). He was also one of the only actors to play both a human and an alien on TV’s Alien Nation: Contact (1989) and Fountain of Youth (1989).

Hennesy’s Star Trek turn actually came as the voice of Lieutenant T’Nar on the video game Star Trek: Bridge Crew; however, she is primarily known for that other juggernaut franchise, Star Wars. Hennesy is the voice of none other than General Leia Organa in both TV’s animated Star Wars: Resistance and Lego Star Wars: All-Stars. In addition to her impressive voice work, Hennesy plays Demine Lithe in the aforementioned film Star Wars: Episode IX- The Rise of Skywalker.

Later Daters has one more fun crossover from the Parks and Recreation universe. In a cameo, Later Daters boasts Yvans Jourdain playing the party host, Ivan.

Parks and Rec fans will remember Jourdain as Councilmen Howser the City Council President of Pawnee and frequent deadpan straight man to Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope. Eric Pierpoint also played the recurring role of Police Chief Trumple on Parks but never shared a scene with Jourdain.

While I encourage you to check out all these cool performances individually, I highly encourage you to catch them all together in this gem of a short film, Later Daters.

All episodes of Star Trek are currently streaming on Paramount Plus.

Later Daters will be playing in Theater 7, on September 8th at the AMC Burbank in Burbank California as part of the Burbank International Film Festival. Check local listing for tickets.

 

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