Star Trek: Feature: 50 for 50 (Part 6)

Star Trek 50Five decades of Star Trek through the eyes of 50 actors

 

On the day of the 50th anniversary of the first screening of Star Trek’s first episode, Nick Joy takes a personal look back at 50 of his Star Trek interviews in the sixth instalment of this ten-part feature…

 

sulu-1Name:  George Takei

Key Star Trek credentials: Hikaru Sulu (TOS, VOY, Movies I-VI)

Original interview: February 2003, Carlton Hotel, Bournemouth

Quote… Unquote: “Weren’t we heart-breakingly young then? I see those children running around the starship and wonder where the years have gone.”“I did start work on a mystery whodunit set in a Star Trek convention, but I had difficulties with it and set it aside.” “I thought it was so exciting when it was announced that Voyager was going off air, and the Captain Sulu campaign began for the replacement show. All the other revivals have been in the hands of the fans, so I thought they might just do it. However, there were… backstage complications and that’s why it didn’t happen this time.”LOL: On baring his chest in The Naked Time: “I had a good body. But it’s in the past tense. I dare not take off my shirt any more to re-enact my fencing.” And if someone in the audience tomorrow asks him to do just that. “That’s easy!” he booms. “I just turn it right round and say ‘Sure, but first you take your shirt off.”

sulu-2Ouch!: “Sulu belongs to Gene Roddenberry and Paramount, so why would I write about him? I have no control over what happens to him, so writing about him would be the ultimate in frustration. It would be masochistic and suicidal, so what’s the point?”

“Sulu was supposed to be the best helmsman in Starfleet, and yet he’s still doing the same thing ten years later, using the same words and pushing the same buttons! It didn’t make sense.”

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Name:  Colm Meaney

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘Miles O’Brien’ (TNG/DS9)

Original interview: September 1998, The Dominion, Manchester

Quote… Unquote: “I can’t recall any character moments, but from a personal point of view the things that I will cherish the most are my times with Avery [Brooks]. He’s a great guy and an extraordinary man, and working with him has been very important for me. Of course, all the relationships that we’ve forged have been very important. The ensemble that has come together is a very special one.”

“If it hadn’t been the last year, I might have done things differently. There was a period when I was really reluctant to come back, regardless of what the deal was. I think the fact that it wasn’t an open-ended thing, and that this was the last season, really was the clincher for me. I thought to myself, I’ve done six, I’m sure I can do one more… it’s just that seven years is a long time in your life, and enough is enough really.”

meaney-2Hindsight is 20/20: “If an IMAX movie is made, then it will be my character that takes the lead role. It’s a bit early to say whether I’m particularly excited yet, because I haven’t even seen the script. There’s an option on both sides as to whether we go ahead with the movie, but in practical terms I don’t know when we are going to find the time to make it. There are no immediate plans to get it done, and the producers only have until next summer to do it. After next summer, that’s it, I’ll have moved on to something else. I hope that it does happen because the whole IMAX process is so fantastic, and really lends itself to Star Trek.”

Star Trek fatigue: “Back in 1987 The Next Generation had an open field with no other serious competition. I don’t know if they have now reached the point of dilution of the idea and saturation of the market, but to have three spin-offs from an original idea is fairly amazing, so perhaps they should quit whilst they are ahead. DS9 has done really well, but not as well as The Next Generation. Voyager is doing OK, but hasn’t quite matched DS9. It may be that the audience has had enough for a while, and needs a rest.”

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combs-1Name:  Jeffrey Coombs

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘Weyoun’/ ‘Brunt’/ ‘Tiron’ (DS9) ‘Penk’ (VOY), ‘Shran’/ ‘Krem’ (ENT)

Original interview: July 2003, An Evening with the Villains of Deep Space Nine, Bournemouth

Quote… Unquote: “Star Trek gave me a way out of just being thought of as a horror actor [Re-Animator, From Beyond, etc.], which was a label that I’d always shunned. Ever so slowly, through Brunt, Weyoun, and now Shran, I’m widening the spectrum. Thank you Ira Behr!”

“I kind of approached Weyoun as the court intriguer. He was the pleasant man who would put you at ease before stabbing you in the back.”

“Don’t forget that in my first episode [To the Death] I got killed by the Jem‘Hadar, and it was only afterwards that the producers realised I was an combs-2intriguing character, and they had to bring me back. So, the invention of Weyoun being a clone actually came out of necessity. Of course, I got killed another four times after that.”

LOL: On returning as Shran the Andorian: “They don’t tell me a damn thing! I just go on with my life, and if they call, so be it. However, I’d love to go back. Shran is a totally different colour – no pun intended – to Weyoun and Brunt. And, let’s not forget that I did 35 episodes of DS9 and never had an action figure. After two episodes as Shran the Andorian, I have an action figure. That pleases me.”

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max-1Name:  Max Grodénchik

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘Par Lenor’/ ‘Sovak’ (TNG) ‘Rom’ (DS9)

Original interview: July 2001, Sector 14’s Odyssey convention, London

Quote… Unquote:  “I can’t think of anything more thrilling, more surprising, or more of an honour than being named the Grand Nagus. The show had to end at some point, and that was as good an ending as I can imagine.”

DS9 was no ordinary TV show. It was something quite special. I consider myself very, very lucky to have enjoyed seven seasons on that show. I would think it almost impossible to find seven seasons somewhere else that could match the DS9 experience.”

“I can’t see myself ever getting tired of being associated with DS9. And I’m blessed by being invited to conventions, which keeps me connected with the Star Trek universe. But I’m also trying to get the next job. It seems to me that it’s possible to have it both ways, and I think there are a number of actors that do this.”

max-2On his defining moment in Facets: “Quark has sabotaged Nog’s Academy entrance exam, and Rom finds out. Rom then finds Quark and throws him up against the wall. I believe he says, ‘If you ever do anything to hurt my son again, I’ll burn the bar to the ground.’ In this situation he’s standing up for his son. But it isn’t long before that blossoms into his standing up for himself.”

LOL: “There was a Star Trek fan who worked in my agent’s office and I told her that I was now the head of the Ferengi Empire. She said to me, ‘So why don’t we ask for a raise?’ I said, ‘Sue, we’re too late — the show’s over’.”

 

 

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chase-1Name: Chase Masterson

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘Leeta’ (DS9)

Original interview: August 2005, Creation’s London Event

Quote… Unquote: “The writers wrote us such beautiful roles to inhabit, and that sort of thing happens very rarely for an actor. I miss the show, and I miss the characters. It’s funny, but although I see Max [Grodenchik] often enough, I miss seeing Rom!”

“It didn’t matter that she was a Bajoran girl and [Rom] was kinda scary looking – it was the love that mattered. Those messages were so important, strong and universal, and indicative of the messages of Star Trek. And that’s why, regardless of what shows might or might not be in production, it will never die.”

chase-2“You know, the show was such an important part of our lives, and I want the fans to know that as much as they loved the show, we loved it that much too, or even more. It was never just a job for us; it was very special for a lot of reasons. For a lot of us it kicked off our careers and created long-term relationships.”

Hindsight is 20/20:  On no new Star Trek being in production: “I can really sympathise with the fans. It’s sad to say that in the final analysis it is all about money, but I do believe that if the fans stay long enough and loud enough there will be something, Paramount is certainly not finished with Star Trek. Why shouldn’t they bring back such a huge, successful franchise as Star Trek? The bottom line is to hang in there and pursue your dreams.”

 

 

Part 1: Leonard Nimoy, LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden Alexander Siddig, Robert O’Reilly

Part 2: Robert Beltran, Robert Duncan O’Neill, Mark Allen Shepherd, Peter Weller, Connor Trineer

Part 3: Patrick Stewart, John de Lancie, Carolyn Seymour, Casey Biggs, Brian Thompson

Part 4: Kate Mulgrew, Armin Shimerman, John Billingsley, J Paul Boehmer, John Fleck

Part 5: Jonathan Frakes, Robert Picardo, Dominic Keating, Vaughn Armstrong, Nicole deBoer

Part 6: George Takei, Colm Meaney, Jeffrey Coombs, Max Grodenchik, Chase Masterson

Part 7: Brent Spiner, Nana Visitor, Marc Alaimo, Aron Eisenberg, Roxann Dawson

Part 8: Michael Dorn, Tim Russ, Linda Park, Harry Groener, Denise Crosby

Part 9: Nichelle Nichols, Marina Sirtis, Andrew Robinson, Tony Todd, Louise Fletcher

 Part 10: Garrett Wang, Ethan Phillips, Anthony Montgomery, Eric Pierpoint, Tom Hardy

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