Auberjonois Nearly Retired After DS9

By Christian
June 28, 2006 - 4:55 PM

René Auberjonois (Odo) nearly retired from acting following the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but immediately jumped back into the Hollywood game when his Boston Legal role of Paul Lewiston came along.

Speaking to the British Star Trek Magazine, Auberjonois said that at 60, he didn't think he would be able to obtain any more meaty roles. This conviction went so far that the actor even stopped going to auditions, right until he was asked to join the William Shatner (James T. Kirk) show Boston Legal. "The think I love about my character is that he represents the serious side of the show which can be quite silly and preposterous at times," Auberjonois said. "David Kelley himself has said that Paul Lewiston is the one character in the show that could make the audience believe the series is based around an actual law firm."

Between Deep Space Nine and Boston Legal, Auberjonois did make a few other appearances on television shows. One of those took him to Star Trek: Enterprise. "Working on Enterprise was a very nice experience," the actor said. "It wasn’t a particularly memorable role – it was just one of the many guest shots I’ve done over the years – but I had a great time doing it. It was a very happy set to be on, very easy going thanks to Scott Bakula (Captain Archer). It was different to the Deep Space Nine set; the very nature of the show and the stories we were telling, coupled with the intensity of Avery Brooks (Benjamin Sisko) as an actor and as a personality, had a major effect on the show and the atmosphere on set. Enterprise was also still in its first season when I did it, so that wonderful kind of giddy joy was still very much in play."

Most of the interview with Auberjonois dealt with his most important Trek role -- that of Odo on DS9. The actor discussed the way in which his make-up affected his performance. "I think acting in the mask was probably easier than a lot of people might think. A lot of people have told me they couldn’t understand how Odo could be so expressive in terms of emotions when the mask I was in was even more limiting than the most grotesque Ferengi or Klingon make – up, because it was so neutral and inexpressive in repose. But while we tend to think all our emotions are expressed in our faces by things like smiling or frowning, in my years of study I have learned the mask does not hide emotions. Instead, it tends to amplify emotions because emotion is expressed more through the body and voice and eyes than it is through facial expressions; facial expressions are often used to hide what we’re really feeling rather than express it."

For more from Auberjonois, buy the new edition of the Star Trek Magazine. Alternatively, some more excerpts are available at the Sci-Fi Pulse.

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