Terry Farrell, Deep Space Nine‘s Dax, was nervous when she got the news that she was to play Jadzia Dax, and sad when the time came for her to leave the show and character behind.
Being offered a strong female character role made it easy to say yes to playing the Trill.
“Everything about how (the creators) described Dax – she lived many lifetimes, she was a science officer, she was a strong female character – all of those things were incredibly appealing about her, especially being in the Star Trek universe,” said Farrell. “It’s as close to a solid job you can get in Hollywood as an actor. All of that was incredibly appealing and very nerve-wracking and exciting. I lost ten pounds between the week I read the first time and the last time out of excitement and nerves. I hardly slept at all. When I got it, I burst into tears, I was so excited.”
At first, Farrell was intimidated by Avery Brooks, but an appeal for help changed that. “During my first scene, I was so incredibly intimated by him,” she said. “I couldn’t top him because he’s so intense. I went up to him on a lighting break and pulled him aside. I had to appeal to his gentler side. I explained to him that I was twenty-eight; I wouldn’t be able to top him; and if he could help me out a little bit so it wouldn’t be so much more glaringly obvious that he was more powerful than I was. He softened and opened up. It was the beginning of a really, nice straight-forward relationship. I really liked working with him very much.”
The Worf/Dax relationship represented an interracial marriage to Farrell, who thought it was very well-written. “It was handled gracefully and crossed barriers,” she said. “(Michael Dorn and I) were friends. Before we did a scene, we were like, ‘Let’s see if we can make something happen here.’ I don’t know if (the creators) let us think we had something to do with it, but we felt like we did. I really, really liked working with Michael.”
Her favorite story though, was that of Lenara and Dax in Rejoined. “For my character, it made most sense since it was already explained I’ve been a man and woman several times,” said Farrell. “Gender wasn’t the issue. For the worm/symbiont, it was a matter of the being it was embodied in. When they approached me about it, it felt quite natural and a giant opportunity to support and be there for people who need people to stand up for them.”
“Today, I still get a lot of people thanking me for that, that it gave them strength, and that it made them feel like they weren’t alone, it inspired them to be themselves – all the things I was hoping it would do,” said Farrell. “Not only me, but all the people involved with the show.”
Farrell left Deep Space Nine when her six-year contract was up, but it was not because she wanted more money. She wanted less screen time because she was burning out after six years. But Rick Berman had no interest in working with her on cutting back her appearances; for him it was all or nothing. “I did suggest in the wake of that I could be recurring…not be in every episode,” she explained. “Rick wouldn’t have any of that. It was basically, ‘Here’s the offer. If you want it, sign it. If you don’t, it’s really been nice working with you.’ I went with ‘It’s really been nice working with you’ – I added that because it really sounds nicer. I don’t think Rick was thinking that at all. That was unfortunate.”
Now retired from acting, Farrell is a full-time parent to her son. She still makes convention appearances though, and fondly remembers her Deep Space Nine days. “I’m just so honored that I got to be a part of a group that told a story that made people feel like they were a part of something positive.”