Brent Spiner, Star Trek The Next Generations’ Data, took the stage Saturday at Creation’s Sci-Fi Grand Slam and entertained the large crowd with jokes and stories from his career in and out of Trek. He talked a lot about his new CD Dreamland, and also covered typecasting and gave his assessment of the TNG era films. See below for pics, quotes and also an exclusive video interview.
Brent started off by discussing his Dreamland CD, which he described as ‘an audio film.’ He touted the talents of his collaborators (Mark Hamill and Maude Maggart) and that the New York Times dubbed it ‘ingenious’ (see our video interview below for more on Dreamland).
He then took questions which ranged from: did he take anything from the set of TNG (his visor from "All Good Things" and a uniform from First Contact…which he ‘wore home’), if he was planning on doing any theater in LA (no), if he wanted to do theater in New York again (definitely yes), why he didn’t direct any TNG episodes (he loves sleeping too much), if had plans on doing a another TV series (yes, and is currently in the running for a Curb Your Enthusiasm-style improv comedy show), and more.
During the entire appearance Spiner was very jovial and at one time even used a mock humility gag on getting crowd to applaud him, with lots of "no please, no please, no you don’t have to…oh go ahead, no really don’t…no really do". He then admitted he stole the bit from Eddie Izzard, who he revealed was one of his ‘friends’ on his MySpace page. He boasted about some of his other ‘friends,’ including Sid Ceasar and ”Weird Al” Yankovic, but there was one he can’t seem to get, saying "I was refused by Shatner."
One interesting part was when a fan said he loved Spiner in his role as the frazzled Area 51 scientist in Independence Day, which led the actor to talk about typecasting.
It was a good role and I was really lucky to get that role. People have asked me if I was typecast for playing Data on Star Trek, for like 150 years. And truly I was not, because what other roles are there like that. But I was typecast as the scientist from Independence Day. I am in a movie right now, a really terrible movie, called Superhero: The Movie…The director called me, actually a really brilliant guy, and he called me and told me he had a part…of a scientist. ‘How funny you should think of me as a scientist’…I just did a voice-over role in a cartoon film the other day, what is the role? A scientist. Can I tell you, I know nothing about science.
Nemesis: Not the worst TNG movie
At one point a fan came up and said his favorite movie was Star Trek Nemesis (which had a story co-written by Spiner). This kicked off a discussion by Spiner of the TNG film series.
I think Nemesis got a bad deal. It’s not great, let’s face it…I think it is actually better than Insurrection, myself, and I think it is touch and go between Generations and Nemesis. Clearly First Contact is the best movie we made…I think it has it’s good moments and its not so good moments. The moment everybody seems to love is when Data gets blown up. To me, that was a no brainer. This was the last time we were going to do a movie together and so we have to do something big at the end. So, for Data to finish his journey by sacrificing himself — doesn’t that seem like the right thing to do. And here is the other part: If you had come to see the movie, Data would have been back again. But nooooo…nobody came! Something weird happened with that movie and we tried to analyze what went wrong and whether it was the movie that was bad. And we kind of went ‘Really, the movie didn’t open.’ We opened worse than any other movie we had done by a long shot. And so we thought ‘I guess it is gone now.’ So there you have it. But there is a new Star Trek movie coming and I can’t wait to see it, well I can wait. But, I am glad it’s coming. I hope it is a huge success. I know it will be. I am sure you will show up for that. one. No I really do. I hope it is a grand success, and I am sure it will be.
Brent also gave TrekMovie.com a quick video interview, mostly about his new CD, "Dreamland." Spiner also had some word’s for TrekMovie’s John Tenuto (about his ‘Trek Stars Sing‘ article)
As noted in the video above, you can keep in touch with Brent Spiner and get info (and purchase) his new CD "Dreamland" at TheRealBrentSpiner.com