On Monday Might 13th, the documentary What We Left Behind about Star Trek: Deep Space 9 will hit US and Canadian theaters in a one-night event. TrekMovie has spoken to members of the forged and producers about what we will anticipate from the documentary and about their time on DS9.
As we speak we present our interview with Jeffrey Combs, who appeared in 31 episodes of Deep Space 9 enjoying numerous characters, including the recurring charaters Brunt (a Ferengi) and the Weyoun, a Vorta who was the primary consultant of the Dominion, the primary antagonist of the collection. Combs went on to seem in Voyager in addition to the fan-favorite Shran the Andorian, a recurring character on Star Trek: Enterprise. He is certainly one of a small handful of actors who’ve appeared as eight or more characters in the franchise.
One of the themes of What We Left Behind is how DS9 was a unique sort of present. You had the chance to work on Voyager and especially Enterprise. How would you say your experience was totally different on Deep Space Nine?
Good question. To answer, I’ll use a metaphor. Let’s say I work on the road at Ford making automobiles and a brand new mannequin comes along. Nicely, the meeting line is modified and there are totally different individuals, however the identical primary assembly concepts and equipment and infrastructure are in place, even philosophy. So, although they have been fairly totally different in tone and in personnel, it was also very snug to me. I knew that every present had more similarities than differences, when it comes to the every day schedule, what to expect, and the extent of quality of each department, together with most of the similar individuals. Like for example, for all the exhibits, Robert Blackman was the costume designer. So, that may be a consistency that was comforting. So, the essential operating philosophy was the identical, it wasn’t an Earth-shattering distinction for me at all. And that is good because more often than not actors like myself that recur it’s a bit like going to a new faculty. You stroll and things are humming along and also you just don’t know the ins and outs of all the things. So, any type of reassurance you will have around yourself that issues are familiar, that basically helps you. Actors cope with plenty of nervousness and trepidation once they walk onto a set they aren’t accustomed to.
As a recurring actor, you appeared on DS9 over 30 occasions, enjoying a variety of totally different characters. Why do you assume they stored calling you back so many occasions, particularly for various roles?
That may be a actually good one. All of it happened in a very unorthodox approach. It began out pretty benign. I had auditioned for a couple of episodes of Deep Space Nine and not gotten the gig. So once I went in for “Meridian”—which was my very first—it was an alien who only showed up once. It was a “oner.” I auditioned and was in the batter’s field once more and I obtained that job, and I never imaged it might be any more than a visitor star for one episode of Star Trek, a present that as a child I absolutely adored. I really like the unique collection, so just getting on a Star Trek collection was a little bit of a milestone for me. And Jonathan Frakes was the director of that episode, so he obtained me on the dance flooring and I recognize that.
As I used to be on set, I reconnected with my pricey pal Rene Auberjonois. I had achieved theater with Rene, and it simply so happened that Rene was prepping to direct a Ferengi episode [“Family Business”] and he prompt me for Brunt. There was slightly little bit of pure resistance for that as a result of “wait, he is on an episode, why would we double dip like that?” But Rene went to bat for me and stated: “who is going to know? He is a Ferengi.” They usually stated yes, and that become a recurring position. So, I assumed that was it. The stunning thing was I didn’t should audition for Brunt, in reality, I didn’t should audition for Star Trek ever again after that. I am endlessly grateful for that as I’m a dreadful auditioner.
So, I began doing Brunt and [showrunner] Ira Steven Behr walked up to me on set one second and stated: “We really like your work and we want to bring you back in something people will recognize your face in.” And little did I know that Weyoun would blossom into surpassing Brunt in recurring and grow to be increasingly integral to the storyline of Deep Space 9. I nonetheless pinch myself each single day at my nice luck. And naturally, Enterprise referred to as and requested if I might play Shran, which I used to be very grateful for because I beloved that character and loved each second with that and Scott [Bakula] and the crew.
Have been there ever episodes that you simply needed to flip down? Might there have been much more of you in Deep Space Nine?
That’s a very good query as a result of I had other issues happening in addition to Star Trek. I’ve a kind of foot in the horror world – Re-Animator, Frighteners, From Beyond – the listing goes on and on. You’d assume there can be some type of collision sooner or later. I do keep in mind Frighteners interfering with Deep Space 9, nevertheless it all labored out. Deep Space Nine was very accommodating with dates. They might be considerably versatile, should you couldn’t make it this time you may make it one other. Remarkably, there was never a collision like that in all those years I did Star Trek. I in all probability turned some things down that weren’t fairly as fascinating to me as Deep Space 9.
By way of the process of being interviewed for the documentary – or perhaps by watching it – did you study anything new about Deep Space Nine, or about you or your characters?
The thing is when you’re capturing this stuff, they don’t really inform actors very much, no less than recurring roles. You’re all the time sort of on the bubble. You by no means know how many episodes you will do because the writers don’t know. I even knew on the time that they could have a common concept of an arc for a season or a gaggle of episodes or kernels of ideas to discover, however a whole lot of the time the writers have been very similar to you see in the documentary fleshing out an imaginary first episode of an eight season. They’re winging it. They’re riffing in a stunning means. And that is likely one of the the reason why I was fortunate sufficient do as many episodes is that what they might do is watch dailies and watch performances and this is able to spark some inspiration or a story that they hadn’t considered earlier than and off to the races. That was type of an eye-opener. It isn’t a bible with: now we do this and now we do this. They are literally – to an enormous diploma – simply dealing with what is true in front of them.
One of many themes I really like concerning the documentary is everyone’s memory of the identical occasion could be very – as I feel Armin [Shimerman] stated – could be very Rashomon-ic. Everybody has a special reminiscence of things, and that is very human. I really like the specificity and the anomaly that the documentary brings to everyone.
For Weyoun, how did the character evolve for you, and did you strategy the totally different Weyouns in a different way? It began additionally as one other oner but turned this major character, which is a little bit of a bizarre course of.
It was a bizarre course of. Like I stated before with them discovering inspiration with what they are taking a look at, okay. They by no means dreamed of Weyoun being a recurring position, and I didn’t. All I knew is that they came via with how they needed to see my face in a new character and the character dies at the end of the episode. When a personality dies, that’s it. It’s a oner, to not return. It is simply serendipitous.
It is a bit of a collaboration, but not necessarily in the best way you’d assume the place we’re all sitting round riffing about it. They put one thing down on paper. I stroll in at four:00 a.m. not understanding how I’m going to look. I might have an concept of what I am going to be sporting as a result of I had a wardrobe fitting, but I don’t know what I am going to appear to be when they are carried out with my make-up. And I have about fifteen to twenty minutes once I’m in my getup to look within the mirror and make some very fast and definitive, a gut, instinctual determination about who this guy is predicated on the words on the page but in addition on what I am sporting and the way I look. And once I was achieved and the episode was finished and I was killed, it was the writers who have been taking a look at dailies and saying, “Why did we kill this very interesting character?” They usually had the pliability to say they don’t need to kill him, he may be cloned. And I’m ceaselessly grateful to whoever got here up with that suggestion, as I so relish enjoying Weyoun.
In answer to the second query, I didn’t try to play each Weyoun any in a different way. I seen it as a clone that comes again utterly intact, not a beat missed. Now, perhaps the state of affairs is totally different and the strain is rising or one thing. However I never tried to play the character in a different way with each iteration. What I could also be dealing with is totally different and subsequently my reactions can be totally different. But I never thought, “How do I make this guy different?” Aside from the one which was supposedly defective.
Have you been watching the brand new show Star Trek: Discovery?
I wish I might say I have seen extra of it, but I’m not a CBS All Entry subscriber. I did watch the exhibits that that they had gratis at the very beginning and I actually enjoyed it. Within the spirit of Star Trek, I like that they’re selecting to go where nobody has gone earlier than and go another means and never attempt to imitate another collection.
I don’t suppose there have been any characters you spotted and thought to yourself that was a task you can do? As an actor are you able to resist watching something without that?
Each film I see, I’m going: “why didn’t I go up on that?” I feel: “I could have done that.” Are you kidding? Not just Star Trek. But, Discovery is shot in Canada, and that may be a reality affects selections. So, it’s just the character of the beast.
What We Left Behind in theaters Monday
As previously announced, What We Left Behind makes its one-day-only theatrical debut on Might 13 within the US and Canada. Tickets are nonetheless out there by means of Fathom Occasions.
Keep up with all of the updates and news on the DS9 documentary in our What We Left Behind category right here at TrekMovie.com.