Twelve years ago, Star Trek: Insurrection debuted and fans were introduced to the Ba’ku Anij, played by Donna Murphy.
Murphy jumped at the chance to have a role in a Star Trek movie, playing the Ba’ku woman who looked to be only in her thirties, but in reality was over three hundred years old. “It was a no-brainer,” she said. “I thought that the opportunity to step into that world, if you will, was too good to pass up. I loved the part. I thought it was an interesting script.”
Two more things that were appealing about the role were not having to hide her face under a mask, and acting alongside Sir Patrick Stewart. “I wasn’t going to be buried underneath some of those amazing makeup designs; it was appealing to me that I’d have a human face,” said Murphy. “And most of my work was with Patrick Stewart, who I think is a fabulous actor. That was something where I went in, had a meeting, auditioned, and was thrilled when they came back and said they wanted to me to do the film.”
Murphy found the character Anij to have interesting qualities. “I loved the centered sense of self she had, which is something I always aspire to,” said Murphy. “Anij walked in a state of meditation. That was very attractive to me and I loved that ability she had to slow time down, to really get inside a moment. People talk about that kind of thing, but they found a way to make that active in the movie. And I admired that Anij was a woman who tried to be an advocate for her race of people who were being threatened. So all those things were attractive to me as an actress and as a woman.”
Even though the movie wasn’t a huge success, Murphy thought it told the story that it intended to tell. “I’m remembering that I was quite pleased with it,” she said. “I hadn’t seen every Star Trek movie. I’d watched several before auditioning and then before filming because I really wanted to understand more about the stories they’d told and the way they told them, and about the characters and the characters’ history. I’d also watched some additional episodes from the series. I think Insurrection did what it set out what it was trying to do. There was action, but this one had more, as you said, of a Zen-like quality to it. But that was in keeping with a big piece of the story, so I felt that it served what they set out to do. Now, that it was a turnoff to some portion of their fan base was unfortunate, but I give them credit for trying something different.”