If Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax) could do things all over again, she would know for what to ask and she would be more relaxed playing Dax.
When it was time to start filming Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Farrell was “a nervous wreck,” and was “really excited” about taking on the role.
“After everything I had to do to get the role, I was then stunned when I got there and saw how big the set was,” said Farrell. “If I remember right, I was thinking, ‘This is enormous. This is the biggest set I’ve ever been on.’ I’m talking about the Ops set, and it was so intimidating and overwhelming, and I was already so overtired from all of the makeup tests and all of the excitement. I was so skinny then. I wasn’t eating as healthy as I should have. I know I was smoking then, so that wasn’t good. But I felt like I was under an enormous amount of pressure.”
Playing the character of Dax helped Farrell deal with her own life. “I think what interested me most was trying to find her strength,” said Farrell. “She wasn’t defensive at all; she was always calm and relaxed and confident. She had a peaceful, mature way about her. I think that’s what I held on to. I don’t think I really attained that for myself, without being Dax, until I had a child. But I think that playing her was actually my anchor to feeling safe in the world at that time. Playing Dax made me feel like I was secure and I was safe.”
Farrell left the series after the sixth season not because she was unhappy, but because she had signed on for six years and no one asked her for more. “My contract had ended, so I didn’t feel like I left the show,” she said. “I felt like my contract had ended and there wasn’t a negotiation (for another year). So I didn’t feel like there was anything for me to do, if there was nothing for us to talk about, other than let my contract expire. Yes, I thought it was the right thing to do.”
But she wishes that she could have returned every now and then in that final season. “I did not want to die,” she said. “I would have been so happy if they just would have let me be a recurring (character) the final season, so I didn’t have to be in every episode. I was just really tired. I was tired of waking up at four in the morning. I was tired of all the minutiae.”
Had she known better, Farrell feels that perhaps something could have been worked out. “I loved Dax,” she said. “I didn’t not love playing the character. I didn’t not love the show. I didn’t not love the people. Just the routine of it all, I needed a break. I personally just needed a mental break and, unfortunately, I wasn’t mature enough to maybe present it in the way of saying, ‘Could I please be a recurring character?’ I’m sure at that point, too, for Rick Berman and those people, it was all or nothing. They were angry because I wasn’t doing what they wanted me to do or expected me to do. So it was an unfortunate situation all the way around.”
Farrell, retired from acting, is raising her son with husband Brian Baker.