Sirtis Talks Last 'Voyages'By Michelle
September 22, 2005 - 7:22 PM
Last May, in advance of her appearance in Star Trek: Enterprise finale "These Are the Voyages...", Marina Sirtis noted that she felt the episode was "more of a Next Generation episode than an Enterprise episode and found it strange that she and Jonathan Frakes were in the final shots of Star Trek filmed at Paramount.
On the Sci-Fi Overdrive talk show, Sirtis spoke about her experiences from the time she auditioned through the end of production on Star Trek after 18 successive years. With her dog barking in the background, she admitted that she knew she was going to be on Enterprise several months in advance because executive producer Rick Berman had told her to keep the date free, but she was not told that Frakes would appear to play Riker opposite her Troi.
"I think they feel that talking to me is like talking to the Herald Tribune, and I would call everyone and tell them," she laughed, admitting that she had put the information on her web page and then was ordered to take it down. "I announced when Brent [Spiner] was going to be on the show, and that was supposed to be a big secret, too, so they don't tell me anything any more." Yet the logic escaped her, for, as she asked, "If it's a secret, then no one's going to watch, right?"
Though she originally auditioned for the role of Tasha Yar, who was supposed to be Russian while Troi was supposed to be a blond ice queen, Sirtis and Denise Crosby were asked to switch roles during the audition process. At her first convention, she recalled, fans told the cast, "'Bug off, we don't want another Star Trek.'" She expected original series fans to watch only to be critical, saying, "We didn't feel that we were being welcomed at all." Thus she considered it "quite incredible" to have found herself in the finale of a fourth spinoff 18 years later.
"I never thought I was going to put that spacesuit back on after Nemesis," she noted, reflecting that she and Frakes played up the chemistry between Riker and Troi until the producers finally gave in and allowed the characters to marry. In the Enterprise finale, "I'm doing what I usually do, and that's giving him advice. He's actually interacting with the characters from Enterprise."
In a weird way, Sirtis added, "it's more of a Next Generation episode than an Enterprise episode, because we're the real characters and they're holograms." She and Frakes were "the last people working. We closed down Enterprise," she recalled. "It was so surreal. I was actually the last shot of the whole episode and Jonathan was the second to last." Aware of the controversy surrounding the show's cancellation, she drove into the studio lot past picketing fans and called out, "Where were you when we were cancelled?"
A recent émigré to the United States when she was cast on The Next Generation, Sirtis credits the show and its producers for transforming her life. "Gene and Majel [Roddenberry] kind of adopted me," she said. "Maybe because Majel played my mom on the show...they really were my surrogate parents here." Because the actress had no family in Los Angeles, she found herself invited to the Roddenberry home for holidays, and her husband as well after she met him. Of their son Rod, now a filmmaker, Sirtis added, "I'm really proud of him…he turned into a wonderful human being." She believes the Trek Nation producer felt "overpowered by legend of his father" but has come to appreciate the contribution Gene Roddenberry made, not only to television, but to culture overall.
Having recently finished shooting her role in Crash, Sirtis worried that fans might be shocked by her appearance as an Iranian woman in the film. "I don't want to get any letters or postings on my web site about how bad I look in this movie," she said, explaining that she wears traditional Iranian garb with no makeup.