Grodénchik Talks TNG, DS9, 'Insurrection' & 'Enterprise'By Christian
March 29, 2005 - 1:21 PM
Max Grodénchik (DS9) revealed last week that his favorite Star Trek wasn't his own show, but rather The Next Generation.
"While I love Deep Space Nine, it's not my favorite Star Trek, it's my second favorite," Grodénchik told Chase Masterson (Leeta) during her weekly online radio show at TheFandom.com. "My first favorite is Next Generation. I thought those guys really had it together. [...] But I think that we did something really special on our show, in that each character, even each actor, was so unique. There's nobody like Avery Brooks (Benjamin Sisko), there's nobody like Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys), there's nobody like Colm Meaney (Miles O'Brien), they're so unique. And I think that carried over into the recurring characters. [The writers] made it a priority to have recurring characters who came back a lot. The development was all there - they saw what I was doing, and pointed the character in the direction that I could take it. So I give total credit to [showrunner] Ira Behr and the writers."
Before appearing on DS9, Grodénchik actually had two guest-starring roles on TNG, playing Ferengi in both "Captain's Holiday" and "The Perfect Mate." The actor said that when he first heard about the role of the Ferengi Sovak, he had no idea what a Ferengi even was, so he ended up asking his roommate, Daryl. "He went, 'Pthrrrrt!,'" Grodénchik recalled. "He did his impression of the early Ferengi. I didn't believe him, I didn't think Ferengi could be so outlandish. So then I called my brother, becuase I knew he was a science-fiction fan, and I said, 'this is what my friend Daryl says a Ferengi is, is that true?' And he said, 'yes, they're extremely exaggerated. They represent pure profit motive in the 24th Century.'"
With no knowledge of the Ferengi beyond two counts of "'Pthrrrrt," Grodénchik went in to audition for Rick Berman and Michael Piller. "I didn't want them to think that I was a bad actor, because I thought that if I did my impression of a Ferengi, it would look like a bad a bad actor," Grodénchik said. "So I said, 'I have no idea what a Ferengi is, but this is what my roommate and my brother have told me. And I read the lines. And when it was done, [director Chip Chalmers said, 'tell those two guys we might have jobs for them.' He liked the direction they gave me. So then I got the job. And then two seasons later they called me in for another Ferengi."
Even later, Grodénchik was asked to audition for the role of Quark. Although the producers ended up choosing Armin Shimerman for that role, they liked Grodénchik's performance so much they offered him the role of Rom, who over DS9's seven seasons ended up being one of the most frequently recurring characters. And Grodénchik revealed that if it hadn't been for his work on the indie horror film Rumpelstiltskin, his role could have been even bigger. "It was shot in 1994, and that was the year that we had this huge earthquake. They had the molds for my make-up started, and what happened is that the molds [...] got thrown to the floor and shattered. It cost us two weeks, and [in that time], Ira Behr came to me and said, 'You have those two weeks, can you fit in an episode?'" Grodénchik wasn't able to, and as a result, the DS9 episode "The Jem'Hadar" was changed so that Sisko and Jake no longer took Rom and Nog along to the Gamma Quadrant, but rather Quark and Nog.
"The Jem'Hadar" wasn't the only Star Trek outing that Grodénchik regrets missing. He told Chase Masterson that he originally also had a role in Star Trek: Insurrection, playing a Trill ensign. "It was easy to breathe, there was no big thing on my head," he said, when asked about his character, who would have appeared in a sequence as the Enterprise was falling under the influence of the Baku environment. "Our sequence was one of the first where you see them getting more kid-like. And I'm in the library, and I hit Riker with a spitball, and that's all I do. And he spits back at me, or someone else spits at me, and I spit back at them. But there was sort of a spitball fight going on in the library. And they were misbehaving, they were behaving like teenagers, because they're under the Baku influence."
Finally, Grodénchik was asked what he thought of Enterprise's cancellation, and the efforts to save the show. "I like Enterprise, and I've liked it even more this last year," he said. "Something happened, when [Manny Coto] took over, something really different happened to the show. Saving Enterprise, I believe in it 100%. I'll do anything to keep Jolene Blalock on the air. How's that?" Masterson, who played Rom's love interest on DS9, chided Grodénchik for saying this, and he quickly added, "Well, that's Max talking, not Rom. Although Jolene would make an excellent Dabo Girl. They should do an episode about that. Maybe I'll draft one."
Much more from Grodénchik, including his feelings on Rom becoming Grand Nagus at the end of Deep Space Nine, as well as several of the songs he has been performing on the convention circuit, can be found in the full MP3 audio archive of Chase Masterson's radio show. Also soon available on the site will be an interview Masterson conducted with three of the stars from William Shatner's Invasion Iowa reality series, while the Kirk actor himself will be interviewed at TheFandom.com on the 6th of April, by his daughter Liz Shatner.