'Farpoint' Actor Guessed 'Next Gen' Would SucceedBy Michelle
April 24, 2006 - 8:47 PM
Michael Bell, who says he is most often recognized for his voice - he has played Drew Pickles in many Rugrats features, and spoken for characters in literally hundreds of TV shows and video games - always wanted to be on the original Star Trek and had a dream come true when he played roles on The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.
"When I did the pilot for Star Trek: The Next Generation, nobody knew if the show would fly or not," Bell recalled in the Next Gen commemorative issue of Star Trek Magazine (via Sci Fi Pulse). "It was the first time out for everybody. But as we filmed the pilot, I got the feeling it would. I just thought, 'This is great!'"
Bell recalled Brent Spiner worrying because his yellow makeup was coming off and making a mess. He claimed, "As soon as he said that, I said to Brent, 'Will you please stop complaining, for crying out loud? You’re gonna be a big superstar from this!'"
After playing the leader of the Bandi, Groppler Zorn, in "Encounter At Farpoint", Bell later appeared in Deep Space Nine's "The Maquis: Part 2" and "The Homecoming." He had worked for Gene Roddenberry before, on Then Came Bronson, but did not remember Roddenberry's involvement until the producer reminded him. As Zorn, he said, "I brought my voice way down, to give him a strange sound and try something really different...I really try to utilise my voice." The director of "Encounter at Farpoint", Corey Allen, had also directed Then Came Bronson.
Bell wanted to appear on Enterprise, but the series was cancelled before he had the chance. He did, however, once appear in a pilot with Scott Bakula, also directed by Allen. Recently he completed Gamers, a film "where I do the voice of a documentary filmmaker making a film about some nerds who play a Dungeons and Dragons – type game."
The full interview is in the special commemorative Star Trek: The Next Generation issue (#126) of Star Trek Magazine. These excerpts are from Sci Fi Pulse.