In the first of a two-part interview, Mark Allen Shepherd shares what it was like to play one of more amusing characters on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
A Star Trek fan, Shepherd was always happy when there was another episode in which Morn was to appear. “I grew up watching the original Star Trek series,” he said. “Kirk and Spock were my heroes. So whenever I got a call to come in I was excited to be there.”
Shepherd didn’t know at first if the role was a one-time job, or if he would return, but being willing and able to work in full makeup as Morn helped to make the role a recurring one. “I think that they always had in the back of their minds that if I worked out that they would continue to use the character,” he said. “Working in a full makeup like that for twelve hours is challenging for anyone, but finding someone to work for seven years in that kind of outfit with makeup is difficult. Most actors don’t want to do it.”
Some actors make up a backstory for their characters in their head, but this wasn’t the case with Shepherd. “I didn’t have any preconceived notions about Morn,” he said. “Whenever the writers talked to me I was always interested in what they would tell me next. I think mostly I just tried to keep an open mind and have a good sense of humor about the role.”
Once, Shepherd stepped out of the role of Morn, and instead played a Bajoran sitting in Morn’s seat (Who Mourns for Morn?). “You know it’s funny, to this day I don’t know whose idea that was,” he said. “…being a fan of the original show since I was old enough to pick up a phaser, I must say that every time I had a chance to act or just watch and learn, it was a tremendous opportunity for me, which fascinated me to no end. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the actors and the level of concentration and organization that the production company must on a daily basis achieve to reach such outstanding production values. I would not hesitate for a moment to do something like that again.”