As the twentieth anniversary of the debut of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine approaches, Nana Visitor shares her memories of the show, beginning with her unusual approach to her audition for the role of Kira Nerys.
From the beginning, Kira Nerys was meant to be a strong woman. “What was described to me was that this Bajoran woman was highly aggressive and very spiritual,” said Visitor. “I came in with the situation that was written in the pilot [Emissary and that’s what they liked. They wanted the aggression that I brought. From there, she evolved in seven years.”
That aggression showed up in the audition for the role, and the producers might have wondered what they were getting into with the actress. “I walked in … very often actors walk in and there’s a ‘Hello, How are you?’ you know, niceties. I just didn’t do that with Kira – I came in as Kira and I said ‘Let’s just go’, which isn’t usual – to take over. Usually it’s the producers who run things and say ‘OK, shall we do this?’ So, I think that they thought I’d be a problem!”
But the producers wanted Visitor to come back for another audition. “…They called me back and they said ‘Do that again’, and there were more people in the room, and I did it again,” she said. “But you know – I went out and bought a pair of army boots, and I put them on for the audition – I bought them for the audition – I put them on and I was Kira, and that was that. And I knew it – and there’s a sense in the room when you’re waiting with other actors, sometimes you’ll go ‘Oh, that one’s got it already; she’s already got the part’, even though you all haven’t read that. And I sensed that there was a consensus that I was already Kira.”
Visitor is sorry that a movie or miniseries was not considered for the series. “…I really don’t know why that decision [not to make a movie] was made,” she said. “But I know that it would be – I think it would be a great film, I really do – a great movie. I think Avery is so interesting on film, and René, Armin, Colm, Siddig … everybody. It would be a strong cast, and I think it could be a strong storyline.”
But Deep Space Nine was not as popular as earlier Star Treks, or Voyager. “I know that it wasn’t what the Star Trek fandom as a whole wanted to see,” said Visitor. “It was dark, and I think that was our problem. More than being the middle child, I think it was just a very different take on Star Trek.”
“[Deep Space Nine] has staying power. Armin and I used to say on the set – when people would say ‘You know, I don’t know if I really like this.’ – we’d go ‘You know what, in ten years people will get it.’ And I think even ten years from now, people will get the show.”