Jonathan Frakes admitted this week that it took a few years before he really got to enjoy his role as Commander Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
“I looked very, very stiff in those early seasons because I was so intent on living up to the vision that [Gene Roddenberry] had, and it was not real fun,” the actor told the Los Angeles Times. Roddenberry had written Riker as a dedicated first officer, for whom duty came above everything.
“I’m a little more silly than that,” Frakes said. Fortunately, he was able to incorporate the lighter sides from his own life into his character after he mentioned to one of the writers his love of jazz. “All of a sudden, Riker was playing the trombone, and they let a little bit of the playfulness in. And it all changed for the better.”