Sirtis: I Should Have Spoken Up More


If Marina Sirtis could go back in time and do Star Trek: The Next Generation again, there is something that she would change about her own behavior.

One of Sirtis’ regrets is that she didn’t think more about Troi’s own story, but at the time she did The Next Generation, Sirtis was content with what was happening. “Hindsight is 20-20, isn’t it,” she said ruefully. “I have to be honest with you and say that, at the time, I was perfectly happy.”

But Sirtis realizes now that Troi’s history was pretty much unknown and Sirtis missed an opportunity to rectify that. “Looking back now, we didn’t know all that much about her,” said Sirtis. “We knew she had a mom. We knew she was from Betazed. But we didn’t really know much of her back story. Apart from working out, we didn’t know what she did in her off time. We didn’t know her likes and dislikes, her hobbies, anything like that.”

Other actors in the series made sure to provide input on their characters whenever possible. “The characters that we did know about, the actors were very smart,” said Sirtis. “They went to the writers and made suggestions. Brent (Spiner) sang, and so he went in and said, ‘You know, I’d like to sing in some episodes.’ And so Data became musical on occasion.”

But Sirtis didn’t do that with Troi, even though her advice was solicited. “What happened with Deanna was my fault, actually,” she said. “The writers always used to say to me, ‘What do you want to do?’ And I’d have the attitude, ‘Well, you’re the writer. Come up with something.'”

In future roles, Sirtis won’t make that same mistake. “I realize now that when you’re writing an episode a week and doing rewrites every ten minutes, input from other people isn’t a bad thing,” she said. “There’s a wheel of episodic television. It’s like a wheel in a gerbil’s cage, and it’s just going ’round and ’round and ’round. They don’t have time. They really don’t. They’re just so busy. So it’s really helpful for the writers to get some input from the actors. So now, when I do another series, I’ll take that lesson with me to that next series. And if I find that I have some ideas about the character, I will take them to the writers. I mean, Star Trek was my first series. I didn’t know how it worked. I’ve learned. So I would definitely act differently in an upcoming job.”

Sirtis is currently appearing in A Snow White Christmas, which is playing at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood through December 18.


What do you think? Chat with other fans in the Star Trek: The Next Generation forum at The Trek BBS.




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  • Anonymous

    Sirtis played the role well and her character brought more meaning to the other roles like Worf and like most of the other actors she seemed to shake off the stiffness of their characters by season 3. She really shined in the episode where the diplomat channeled his bad emotions to her.

  • The character wasn’t cluttered, but the portrayal was great and had a lot of depth. I think she’s being hard on herself there.

  • Auniqueone2b

    I think she should have no regrets. Let’s face it, and by no means is this intended as disrespect, Sirtis was a sex symbol. She is obviously beautiful and has personality. Some times, background story just muddles the water. In real life, we don’t know everyone’s background, we just accept them as who they are today — isn’t that a principle of Trek, acceptance? Back story or history of a character starts to alter your opinion. Sirtis did just fine…she likes romance, chocolate, exercise, has an appreciation of others, fascinated by new things (e.g. command), and just an all around good person. Some times, simple and sweet is all a character really is. Good job, Sirtis.

  • Joe

    I love Marina Sirtis and I love her portrayl of Deanna Troi. I’ll never forget how kind she was to me when I was just a young boy. I was about 11 years old and attended my first star trek convention with my uncle. It was billed “the women of trek” and Marina was sharing the stage with Nichelle Nichols. I remember I waited hours in line to meet her and get her autograph- but her handlers said she had to catch a flight, and they rushed her backstage and the convention ended without me getting to meet her. About a half hour later, leaving the convention center, We saw Marina and her entourage escorting her to a limo. I called out to her and even though all her people kept rushing her and told her several times that she didnt have time to meet anymore fans, she graciously came up to me, shook my hand, signed my poster and chatted with me for just a few minutes. I was star struck. As an 11 year old boy, I got to meet Deanna Troi. It was the first famous person I had ever met. I’m 32 now, and I’ve never forgot that moment, or her defiant kindness and generosity. Thanks Marina!

  • Kang the Unbalanced

    Well; Marina can play depth, I’ve seen her do it in Trek and otherwise. this is impressive to me because while she is a very nice, very friendly, and very thoughtful lady, she is, I’m sorry to say, a fairly unimaginative person. She can play anything you hand her, and play it well, but coming up with new ideas is just not in her nature.

  • Matt

    I had a similar experience with Marina Sirtis — maybe even at the same convention (because Nichelle Nichols was also there). It was in Chicago. I was about 13. We were told she would only sign one photo, and she was my little sister’s favorite character, so I asked her to make it out to my sister. Sirtis insisted on signing something for me, too. She’s just an inherently kind person. If only more celebrities (whether A-list or D-list) could follow that example.