Armin Shimerman is best-known to Trek fans for his portrayal of Quark, and that is the Ferengi he wants you to remember him for, not for the Ferengi he played in The Next Generation‘s The Last Outpost.
“Well, what we were told about the Ferengi and what we ended up with were like night and day,” said Shimerman. “The Ferengi were going to be the new Klingons. They were never meant to be a comical race; they were meant to be ferocious and menacing. And unfortunately, they hired me to play one of the lead Ferengi, and I failed miserably.
“My final performance was not at all what Gene Roddenberry wanted. By that point, he was rather sick, and he was not on set. But I met him briefly–maybe no more than thirty seconds–when he looked at my makeup and looked at my costume.
“The Last Outpost was a disaster. And no one bears the brunt of that mistake more than I do.”
Shimerman’s disappointment with his performance carried over to Deep Space Nine, where he tried to atone for The Last Outpost. “I didn’t put it behind me for years,” he said. “It was like sword of Damocles hanging over my head. All of my work on Deep Space Nine, for the first four seasons, was me trying to eradicate that original performance from everyone’s mind. It was my personal agenda to rectify the mistake I made, to take a one-dimensional character and make him a three-dimensional character.”
In the first season’s Move Along Home episode, Shimerman did what he could to make his character better. “They wrote on the page that I was a sniveling, cowardly sort of creature, much like the Ferengi in The Next Generation,” he said. “So I played against that in Move Along Home. I tried to make him as troubled and conflicted about the dilemma in front of him as anyone would be. And that, for me, was the first time I had an influence on the writers, where they saw the quality that Armin Shimerman was bringing to the Ferengi.
Shimerman would also pick the writers’ brains so that he knew what was going on with his character. “At times, I would take the writers out to lunch and ask them questions so I would be more informed about what was going on in my character’s head,” he said.
Shimerman will be reprising his role of Quark in Star Trek Online’s Victory is Life expansion which launches in June.