In the fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Alexander Siddig, after having had his own mental idea of who his character was, had to readjust his thinking about Dr. Julian Bashir.
Siddig was not pleased when he saw the script for Dr. Bashir, I Presume and made that displeasure known as best he could after the first shock wore off.
“…on Thursday the script arrived,” explained Siddig. “We started shooting on Friday. I was so shocked. You know you get the impression that maybe the producers sit down and talk about strategies and character arcs with actors but this thing came out of the blue and pissed me off so royally. It was a reaction to the fact that the character was genuinely unpopular in the early days. Because he was not fancy; I mean this is a time where 90210 was at the top of the charts in American TV and this guy was so not the hunk, he was the anti-hunk.
“He was a man of science; he was like half good looking, rubbish at pulling girls. I mean it was all the wrong kind of archetypes. And so they kept trying to do things to make it happen. Eventually they did the Bond thing (Our Man Bashir) – they did the Bond thing before that actually. And that kicked it off. I have to say that I’m still pretty angry. Well, not angry…”
Siddig turned his anger to action. “I did it the only way that an actor can,” he said. “I completely destroyed the lines that they gave me regarding the situation. Every time something came up that was to do with being kind of Data-esque – I mean, I couldn’t get away from the fact – I thought I was being a Data, which is what they wanted to do, they wanted to switch the characters from all the shows, which they ended up doing with Voyager.
“Well, it was a bit cynical at the end of the day. But I just fluffed the lines; well I didn’t fluff them completely I literally pinned the lines on the back of someone’s shoulder once, reading them. I wasn’t bothered even to learn them. I just pinned them around the office as if they were lines needed for daily modification. And they got the message and dropped it kind of.”
Life after Star Trek: Deep Space Nine meant distancing himself from Star Trek and sci-fi for a while for Siddig. “You know, I got over the whole cool stage of trying to pretend I hadn’t anything to do with it and acting like ‘sci-fi sucks,’ which I immediately went to when I finished the show. Because I was blasé, I needed to distance myself from it to get a career going. But I grew up there; literally from my mid-twenties to my early thirties and it’s home.”
Siddig is still in touch with some of his Deep Space Nine co-stars. “I love hanging out with Nicky deBoer,” he said. “She is just hilarious; great, great girl. And um if I see Colm Meaney we’ll have a drink and bitch at each other. That’s all we do. I realize looking back at my history with him, I went out with him twice a week every week for seven years – drinking. Boy, he can pack em away.