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TrekToday - Sirtis Would Don Troi's Uniform 'In a Nanosecond'

Sirtis Would Don Troi's Uniform 'In a Nanosecond'

By Michelle
June 6, 2005 - 10:19 PM

"I'm a horrible person," laughed Marina Sirtis to Chase Masterson, explaining that her mother wanted her to be a lawyer rather than an actress because she was "lippy" and recounting her fear that the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation would be fired the first week of shooting for being too rowdy and laughing too much.

"It was so amazing," she told Masterson at TheFandom.com, telling the story of how the first day of filming, "Jonathan [Frakes] comes bounding in to the makeup trailer, a whirlwind, and the tone was set. We immediately hit it off. On the first day of shooting we were laughing so much I thought we were all going to get fired...19 years later we're still best friends."

Sirtis believes that Deanna Troi became more and more like herself over the years, adding that fans had always told her that she was more interesting than Deanna, whom Sirtis felt "didn't have a lot of pizzazz compared to Denise Crosby who was feisty and energetic." The two had initially auditioned for one another's roles, but they were asked to switch, because Sirtis' terror at auditioning for Gene Roddenberry gave the producers the impression that she was quiet and cerebral. Asked whether she is empathetic like Troi, Sirtis conceded that she was, because "my whole life, people have always told me their problems." But she doesn't understand why, because "I'm the biggest gossip in Hollywood! And people know this, and they still tell me stuff!"

One example of this was right after she received the phone call from Rick Berman telling her that he wanted to keep several dates free, which she presumed was to film something, and "I didn't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that it was probably going to be an episode of Enterprise." Once she learned that it would be the series finale, she posted the information on her web site, and promptly ended up in trouble with Paramount for having done so. In "These Are the Voyages..." she said she particularly thought that Troi resembled herself, being more "perky" than usual.

Sirtis described Roddenberry as a genius but added that after a while, "you forgot that he was Gene Roddenberry; he was just this really cool guy you liked to hang out with." He and Majel Barrett, who played Troi's mother Lwaxana, treated her as a daughter when "I was really fresh off the boat in this country. Come holiday times, Thanksgiving and Christmas...I was at loose ends and they always invited me to their house. They were kind of like my surrogate parents."

Though Sirtis said that she did think Star Trek needed a break, she added, "I would put my spacesuit on to act with my TNG actors in a nanosecond." Claiming that Star Trek will never be over, she said that everyone from her cast would like to do another film together. "We all miss being with each other all the time. When we did the movies, it wasn't like we didn't see each other in between, but it was so much fun to spend 16 hours a day together again and just laugh." Patrick Stewart's British reserve melted until he was one of the silliest; Sirtis said that she could not describe some of his antics or "he'd kill me", but she did describe a pretend feud between Stewart and Michael Dorn, who would hide in corners and jump out at each other. "Can you imagine Patrick Stewart leaping ontoa Klingon? It was hysterical." One of the first-season directors had refused to keep working with the cast because they were so rowdy, she admitted, saying that "we were reamed by Rick Berman because that had never happened in the history of Hollywood."

Sirtis can currently be seen on DVD in Spectres, a ghost story that also stars Enterprise's Linda Park (Sato). "It's a mother-daughter story but it has paranormal overtones," explained Sirtis, who is also an associate producer of the film, the first feature from Shadowland Films, a company with which she plans to work again. She noted that she would like to produce material in which she could act, laughing, "I'm not intersted in producing for other people, though - I'm totally selfish." She also joked that she should get a stipend from the DGA for being the only actor in Hollywood who doesn't want to be a director.

Masterson asked Sirtis about playing what's been called online "a bit of a heavy...the b-i-t-c-h word is even used." Sirtis said that since she plays the mother of a girl who has attempted suicide, she believes a certain amount of defensiveness is realistic, as most mothers would probably take that personally.

"She's defensive, I think, more than bitchy, but she really does want to try and make things work with her daughter. It's a very complex relatonshop but it works itself out in the end," explained Sirtis, who was told by Masterson that the film had been sold to Lifetime and would air on that network sometime in June. Sirtis said that it was news to her, and as an associate producer she should have known, but added, "I never go on the internet so I'm not the person to talk to."

Sirtis also appears in the new film Crash, written and directed by Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis. It's a role she said she got out of the blue. "Because it's about racism and race relations in Los Angeles, he wanted to cast the real ethnicities in the parts," she explained. "I play an Iranian; they couldn't find an Iranian they liked, I suppose, and they called me." She was cast off a video audition, which she thought had never happened to her before.

Sirtis' parents famously did not want their daughter to be an actress; because she thought she was "lippy", her mother wanted her to be a lawyer and wanted her brother to become an architecht. Instead he became a professional soccer player, "so both her children failed in her eyes." On the other hand, people started recognizing the family name after Sirtis became known as a Star Trek performer, so her mother grew to like the idea, despite the fact that her daughter left England for what was supposed to be a few months, was cast in the franchise and is still in Los Angeles.

The full interview is at TheFandom.com.

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