Star Trek: Feature: 50 for 50 (Part 7)

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


In the week 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 seventh instalment of this ten-part feature…


data-1Name:  Brent Spiner

Key Star Trek credentials:  ‘Data’ (TNG, Movies GenerationsNemesis, ENT) ‘Noonien Soong’ (TNG) ‘Lore’ (TNG) ‘Arik Soong’ (ENT) 

Original interview: September 2006, Dorchester Hotel, London

Quote… Unquote: “I don’t tire of talking about Data… I mean, what would be the point? There’s nothing I can do about it. This character is going to be with me for the rest of my life, one way or another. I don’t feel pigeonholed by the role, and a lot of other things have happened as a result of playing the role.”

“You know, I’m still finding gold make-up even now in places that I really shouldn’t!”

Ouch!:  “I do find it interesting that the people who don’t watch Star Trek are always interested in telling you that they don’t! They say ‘I hear you’ve been on Star Trek. I have to say that I never watched it’. And I say to them ‘Why are you telling me this? I don’t care what you do or don’t watch, but why do you feel the need to tell me?’”

data-2Hindsight is 20/20: “With Nemesis we said, ‘Let’s make a movie for the fans, because that’s the people who actually go to see the films.’ And what happened? They didn’t go! Usually the films opened big, but Nemesis didn’t even do that. This was a message from the fans that they were done with us.”

“Neither the cancellation of Enterprise nor the announcement of the new film were a surprise to me. I think they are right to start a new movie franchise that will hopefully spawn a new series that in turn will spawn new movies.”

Anniversaries: “Is it really 40 years? It feels like ninety. Maybe I’m younger than I think! I recall it premiering like any other new show on NBC, so September 8th 1966 in itself was no big deal for me. It’s a good thing that the anniversary is high profile. It’s a way of showing the fans that you respect their choice to watch and support the programmes. We’re recognising that their choices are valid and that it’s OK to embrace this whole phenomenon.”



kira-1Name:  Nana Visitor

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘Kira Nerys’ (DS9)

Original interview: June 2003, by phone from LA

Quote… Unquote: “There was a lot more grey on our show. Look at it… I was a terrorist, and I was a regular character. Wow! That’s why I never got bored of it for seven series.”

“People had the idea stuck in their heads that Star Trek meant a ship travelling between worlds. I really think that it disturbed them to see DS9.”

“I definitely think that I should have been the one to kill Dukat. If I had any frustration about the end of the show, then that was it. There should have been a really satisfying ending, but they just went for the very typical ‘Sisko is hero, Dukat is the bad guy’ approach, with the hero killing off the bad guy. It should have been more subversive than that.”

kira-2“I left behind a character who I really felt knelt down to let other women on TV and Star Trek jump up on her shoulders. I really feel like she was a very different kind of heroine. She was an anti-hero. There wasn’t much about her that was morally correct, but her ethics were quite true.”

LOL: On the Intendant of Terok Nor: “I wanted to walk a dangerous line with her and make her a little bit like an over-the-top drag queen, and then all of a sudden really scary. When I went in for the costume fitting it was a sure sign that something was different – they fitted me in rubber!!

Star Trek Fatigue: “The franchise itself needs a boost of some kind and it’s going to take an infusion from another source, rather than what has gone before. I don’t know from what direction, but I really do think they need to reinvent it as it keeps going.”



alaimo-1Name:  Marc Alaimo

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘Commander Tebok’/ ‘Gul Macet’/ ‘Frederick LaRoque’ (TNG), ‘Gul Dukat’ (DS9)

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

Quote… Unquote: “There’s nothing else like Star Trek… it has a real following of devotees who love meeting the actors, and that had never happened for me before in all my career. I’ll be long gone and people will still be talking about Dukat – isn’t that great!”

“I’ve played a lot of ‘heavies’ in my careers, but Dukat was not a villain. He was an opportunist and a warrior, but never without conscience. He was just a guy out there trying to make the best of life.”

“It was fun being a Cardassian, particularly Dukat. He could be mean one minute and then be looking for his lost daughter the next. I was very excited by that.”

dukat-2“I was disappointed that they never fully developed a relationship between Dukat and Kira, with Kira having a love for him in spite of herself. That could have been really exciting but they never went that way. I don’t think [Nana Visitor] wanted to.”

LOL: “We knew that he adored women – a lot of the fans found Dukat very sexy.”

Ouch!: On his make-up: “At the beginning, it used to take them 3 and a half hours to do me, but after a while they got it down to two. It wasn’t a problem unless it got very hot outside, and shooting 118 degrees in the desert is murder!”




nog-1Name:  Aron Eisenberg

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘Nog’ (DS9), ‘Kar’ (VOY)

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

Quote… Unquote: “You hear [fellow cast members] saying ‘I’m done with that and want to move on now,’ but I love the show and had a great time. When I’m older I will always smile when I think of those times and might only get sad because I haven’t played him in 20 years.”

“It was a sense of happiness. Not that it was over, but that I’d played the character from the first episode to the very last. There was a sense of peace, and how could I possibly complain after working for seven years?”

“Sometimes, being on Star Trek works against you. They say, ‘Oh, you’re a sci-fi actor’. They tend to be narrow-minded in this industry and think that you will only work as a fantasy actor.”

nog-2On then upcoming new show Enterprise: “There weren’t any Ferengi around at that time – they hadn’t met them yet. I was hoping that when the new series came out my character could be brought back. But… that didn’t happen. C’est la vie.”

On his favourite scenes: “The first time is where he decides to leave the holosuite in It’s Only a Paper Moon after coming to terms with losing his leg and the other is in Heart of Stone where he asks Sisko to help him into Starfleet Academy. They were the moments that really changed his life.”

LOL: On not having a musical episode: “I think it’s a blessing that we didn’t do a show like that! That would just be the final nail in the coffin to the criticism that we’re just comic relief!”




roxann-1Name:  Roxann Dawson

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘B’Elanna Torres’ (VOY), Director (VOY, ENT)

Original interview: November 2003, by phone from LA

Quote… Unquote: “The longer we have with the script, the smoother the shoot goes and the better the end product will be. Otherwise, you’re just waiting around and then have to work like crazy.”

“It’s difficult to produce the equivalent of a mini-feature every week with the quality of storytelling and production values that happen here. We only shoot for seven days, which is pretty tight.”

LOL: On what B’Elanna Torres would make of her equivalent character on Enterprise, Head of Engineering Trip Tucker: “I’m sure that she’d judge him rather harshly at first and then after a period of time get to like him. That’s the route most of her relationships take!”

roxann-2“Scott Bakula keeps daring me to turn up in Torres make-up at some point, but I don’t think I could go through that torture again, even to appease him!”

Star Trek Fatigue: “One of the things that made The Next Generation so successful was that Star Trek hadn’t been on TV for over 15 years and there was a build-up of anticipation. I’m not saying we should take a two-decade break now; Enterprise is trying to find its legs in a new way. If it can redefine the franchise then it will find new blood.”


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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