Montalban On Khan's VillainyBy Caillan
July 8, 2001 - 11:56 AM
He played one of the most infamous villains in Trek history, but Ricardo Montalban maintains that there was more to Khan than evil.
"A villain doesn't know he's a villain, anymore than a saint knows he's a saint," he told Star Trek Monthly (via CyFy Pulse). "[Khan] was so passionately in love with his wife - she suffered terribly before she died - and now he passionately wants to revenge her death. I read that script and Mr Rourke [Montalban's Fantasy Island character] had disappeared. I had found the core of Khan."
Although he had been involved in Fantasy Island, by the time 'Star Trek II' came around, Montalban was eager to try something new. "After six years on Fantasy Island, being the perfect host, never showing emotion, it was great to go from that to the emotion of Khan," he said.
However, the actor revealed that he wasn't initially very enthusiastic. "At first I thought it was a small part," he said, "but then I realized, [even] when I'm not on, they're talking about me."
When performing the pivotal scenes with Khan confronting Kirk over the viewscreen, Montalban had nothing to react to. "I talked to the wall," he recounted. "I saw Bill [Shatner] later. He said, 'I'm so glad I saw the rushes [of Montalban's work], because now I know how to act opposite you.' I'm so glad he complemented me, because that gave me confidence."
Montalban's first performance as Khan in the episode 'Space Seed' did have something over his big screen experience, though. "I did like doing the scenes with Bill - that was great, instead of acting to a wall," he said.
The full transcript can be found here.