Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fans have fond memories of episodes that included the hologram lounge singer Vic Fontaine, but actor/singer James Darren wasn’t impressed at first by the chance to play the popular character.
Like many actors, Darren wanted to do something that wasn’t too similar to what he was or what he did in real life. “They said I was going to be playing a singer and I said, “No, that’s too much on the nose. I want to pass.’ That’s what I told my agent,” said Darren.
Fortunately, Darren’s agent was persistent. “Then, my agent called me again and I passed again,” said Darren. “I passed three times. Finally, my agent said, ‘Why don’t you at least read the script? If you read the script you may love it.’ Of course, I did read the script and, of course, I did love it. It was just a great role.”
Darren loved his character and didn’t regret accepting the role. “Vic Fontaine was like – what can I say? – it was a dream come true for me,” he said. “It was one of the most enjoyable roles for me to have played.”
Several of his appearances stand out as favorites for Darren. “I loved my first one, His Way,” he said. “Four or five of them, I think, were really very good. The alternate universe episode (The Emperor’s New Cloak) was just a lot of fun. But I’d say that His Way and It’s Only a Paper Moon are my two favorites, for sure. Actually, let me add in the finale (What You Leave Behind) as a favorite, too. That was great, man.”
Playing Fontaine meant more than singing to Darren. “If [Fontaine had] been just a singer, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it one-tenth as much as I did,” said Darren. “Getting involved with the love affair between Kira and Odo was great. Interacting with Nana [Visitor] and Rene [Auberjonois] was wonderful. And it was so funny to see Vic, this holographic civilian, with all these creatures.”
Darren is currently touring in the U.S.