Sirtis and Frakes On Generations, Nemesis and New Movie

This weekend TNG stars Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis beamed into the Sacramento Creation Sci-Fi Convention to the delight of Northern California Trek fans. The pair spoke with a great deal of enthusiasm and frankness about their time with the franchise.


more detail and pix below 

Sirtis On Nemesis Troubles
During the Saturday Night dinner, Sirtis sat at our table and lamented about the filming of Star Trek Nemsis.  Apparently the trouble started from the first day of filming when she and director Stuart Baird got into an argument. Baird asked the actress to take off her shoes in a scene between Troi and Shinzon (to make Shinzon look taller and more menacing). Later in the day Baird decided to have a wooden box for her to stand on. She asked Baird "Why don’t I just put my shoes back on?" to which Baird threw his hat down and stormed off the set, claiming she was being difficult.

Sirtis also told us that Baird and LeVar Burton almost came to blows because Baird kept calling him "Laverne," plus he infuriated other actors by referring to them only by their character names (e.g. "We need Troi and Crusher on the set"). Lastly she told us that Baird didn’t really know anything about Star Trek, and didn’t seem to even like Star Trek.   

Sirtis on Generations (where she got to helm the ill fated Enterprise D)
On Stage Marina Sirtis recalled getting the script for Star Trek: Generations.

I called my best friend Dornie (Michael Dorn) and said ‘I get to drive!’ He asked me if I had read the whole thing, and I told him not yet. He told me to finish it before I got too excited. So I read the rest of it and I couldn’t believe it! They let the blind guy drive and he did fine, but when I drive I kill everyone. I’m telling you, that planet came out of nowhere!

Frakes and Sirtis banter…including next film
Frakes came out into the audience with a microphone and peppered Sirtis with good natured interruptions and wisecracks. The two obviously haven’t lost any of their on-air chemistry over the years. Frakes spoke of his current projects, including a new The Librarian film, and answered questions from the appreciative audience. He also did a dead-on impersonation of an indignant Patrick Stewart. Later when Frakes talked optimistically about J.J. Abrams and his new Star Trek film, Sirtis chimed in “Are you kidding me?…Star Trek is about going forward, not backward!”


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Yep, She rammed that ship into the ground dam hard…

and that preempted the dam “first” crap.
Sirtis doesn’t look bad…. Frakes hair certainly looks better than the last time I saw him.

I like that they are being good natured about their positions in Trek’s history and likely not it’s future. Any mentions by them of being in a “next” film certainly have to be said with tongue in cheek.

This is interesting bit of info on the shooting of Nemesis. I knew, from the various articles and DVD, that there was some difficulty between director and actors, but I didn’t realize it was this bad.

Next gen TV reunion film anyone?An eventuality?

#4 Jon,
As much as I’d like it… not likely. Production costs and cast salary would kill it.

Frakes wouldn’t pose with me and Marina for a photo in Seattle last year even though they were sitting together. But Marina graciously did. The Filth of Frakes was thus launched.

Amen Sirtis. At least some of the cast that once knew Roddenberry got it. Anyone outside that circle calling themselves a fan and doesn’t understand that Trek moves forward isn’t really a fan.

Baird sounds like a real arsehole.

What I’m wondering is who’s the genius that hired Baird to direct Nemesis?

(Would his initials happen to be RB, by any chance?)

I’d love hear Frakes’ impersonation of an indignant Patrick Stewart.

Anybody have any links to such a thing, perchance?

Frakes looks like he did in that episode Future Imperfect.

#4 Sadly I think that a reunion film is out of the question at this point. And looking at Frakes it’s probably unwise. I can’t see them in those roles at this point!

But a reunion special with the cast looking back would be great.

I didn’t know they were so uptight about being called by their character names. Damn. Coming to blows?

Re #9 – The studios chiefs usually choose the directors not people like Rick Berman, prior to Trek, Berman had no knowledge of directing. He would not have had much say in the matter. He would have had some input with Paramount but not to the degree that you might think.

Troi has crashed the ship both times she “drove”. The Scimitar counts!

^10. Close! The “future” in that episode, aired in November 1990, was 16 years forward. Frakes is scheduled to catch up to his Admiral Riker look (from “All Good Things…”) in 2019.

Whoever decided Frakes shouldn’t direct after Insurrection made a bad call.

I was under the impression that Frake’s couldn’t direct because he had other obligations and didn’t have the time to dedicate to directing… or was that just something they said publicly.

I’ve noticed that since Nemesis, Baird seems to have gone back from whence he came– namely film editing “Casino Royale”– either he or the studios decided that directing wasn’t his strong point.
As for Sirtis’ comment about Star Trek going forward and not backward, I suspect what she ISN’T saying is that Star Trek can only go forward if SHE is part of it. Sorry, dear, won’t happen!


The person(s) with the most power on the film are the producers. They are the ones who do the hiring and firing. They do appeal to the studio heads with their choices and explain why they want such and such to direct the movie. In this case that job would have fallen squarely on Berman. Producers choose a director and then work with him in casting the picture and hiring key personnel like DPs, costumers and such. Now as to how Baird got the job since he had cut his teeth in the editing room and apparently ambivalent to Star Trek, God only knows. A lot of jobs in the film industry are won through connections, so I’m sure Baird or his agent knew a higher up connected to the film or at Paramount. With what I’ve heard of this tool bag I am pretty sure he wasn’t politicking for the job. I could be wrong, though.


*I called my best friend Dornie (Michael Dorn) and said ‘I get to drive!’ He asked me if I had read the whole thing, and I told him not yet. He told me to finish it before I got too excited. So I read the rest of it and I couldn’t believe it! They let the blind guy drive and he did fine, but when I drive I kill everyone. I’m telling you, that planet came out of nowhere!*

I had the pleasure to know in person to Marina Sirits in STARFEST Monterrey, Mexico is a very attractive and pleasant person and I count this same Anecdote.

I remember on the commentary for Superman The Movie Richard Donner talked a little about his relationship with Baird (as editor). He kept firing and re-hiring him for various projects because dispite the fact that the two had regular arguments he was a good editor. So I guess professional conflict is not something new to him. Given Baird’s comments in the Nemesis commentary, it sounds like he’d be much happier editing anyway. It’s obviously his strength.

Sometimes people will rise above their station in life before being slapped down to the bleachers! Thank God this happened with Baird! Pity he was afforded the opportunity to direct a movie in the first place! So many talented people kicking around, he should never have been noticed by anyone of any importance. Good riddance!!

As an editor and occassional director (of commercials not features) I can tell you that editor turned director can be a difficult thing for everyone involved. Why?

As editors, we are used to being in total control of our environment, we control everything in calm quiet place. But when you direct, things can quickly spin out of control as you have to commuincate with DP, talent, gaffers, sound etc… – it can be quite a shock and leads to short tempers and lots of frustration.

Also, editors like to shoot alot of film because they know the importance of having coverage in the cutting room – this leads to many takes and long shooting days.

It;s also important to note that the director of Star Trek The Motion Picture was none other than Bob Wise – an editor before he turned director.

Yes, but isn’t it interesting that even someone like Wise, who did The Day The Earth Stood Still, one of my all time favorites, could direct a turd like Star Trek: The Motion Picture??

It just goes to show that even the best can’t bat it out of the park every time!

Re: Baird – in a franchise like Trek, which at the time was solely owned by Paramount, I have always believed the Studio picks the director, with in put from the producers. I have heard that RB wanted Frakes but he was over committed at the time, not sure if it is true. Where are Star Wars, owned by Lucas, can do what ever he wants. And from what I have read and heard Baird does come across as a bit of a (sorry Anthony) dick, who seems to think that he knows everything about everything.

I must say I would like to see Star Trek: Titan, set in the aftermath of the colapse of the romulan empire, but if wishes were horses.

People love to blame Baird for the suckage that was Nemesis, but it really doesn’t matter how good or bad the directing was because the script was crap to begin with. You could have put Jonathan Frakes in there as director, and while the shots might have looked a little different, it still would have been the same sucky movie. I’d go so far as to say that there is nothing they could have done to save Nemesis because it was simply bad from the very concept. It was the worst way to end the TNG cast, which in itself is bad because the TNG cast did not need to end. They could have easily had a couple more movies in them.

Right now I’m just happy TNG gets to continue in the novels.

If JJ offered her a part she’d snap it up!

“Going forward to pick up my paycheck.”

Oop saggy baggies!


Harry I’m gonna let the salt vampire loose on you. TMP wasn’t that bad… oh wait, yes it was. But not for me! As cheesy and snorey as it might have been, I think it’s special just for being the first one. However comparatively it does take on undeniable turd-like qualities, if they can be thought of as qualities. Wow, thank God for Nicholas Meyer, eh? Salt Vampire said he once had Meyer in a hypnotic trance and was about to start leeching when he realized who it was, and let him go – JUST for saving Star Trek. What a guy!

come on the first movie is a good movie and it stand up better than the 2nd

I was at the premier of Insurrection in Las Vegas. A young kid called out excitedly to Levar Burton as he walked past on the red carpet ‘Hi Geordi’. He replied ‘It’s Levar actually ‘ and walked on. I went off Laverne after that.

Nemesis really felt like they had run out of ideas, too bad Abrams wasn’t around then.

Sometimes, you have to go backward to go forward…

Nemesis had the same bad mistakes that ST5 had. A long vertical shaft in the ship! Deck numbers that don’t exist!
And the shield diagram shows an early design of the Enterprise (the one that was used for the Playmates toy of ST8) which is simply wrong.

Baird is a masterful editor (Superman, Casino Royale, Lethal Weapon etc) and has done good directing work in the past with Exec Decision

Sounds like he rubbed some of them up the wrong way and unfortuantly wasnt riding the best of scripts so there wasnt a good movie at the end of it to fall back on…hence all the backbiting..He did a decent enough job at directing it though – the same happened with Insurrection – well directed – poor script. = crappy movie…but look at First Contact – well directed – good script – therefore good movie praised by all.

The script is the thing – very rarely does a bad story make a good film…if ever.

Oh and Tom Hardy as Shinzon didnt help matters – that part should have really been played by Stewart…I’m suprised he didnt actually as i would have thought he’d have jumped at the chance to have shown a ‘dark’ Picard – showing off his acting etc….maybe it was never suggested – OR maybe Stewart didnt want to (i heard he had salary disputes that almost made him drop out of Nemesis – maybe that was to do with him having been the star of X Men and X2 since Insurrection and was therefore more ‘bankable’ and should be given a bigger salary)

Frakes was awesome at the FedCon in Germany in June. He was absolutely hilarious on stage or sitting in the bar with fans. Paul McGillion was at the same con and he and Frakes got on like a house on fire right from the start. Paul kept hi-jacking the microphone at the press conference to liven things up a bit, including a priceless moment with Frakes, joking about the outlandish plans for the evenings partying exploits blaming Frakes as the ringleader! Garrett Wang & Anthony Montgomery also got in on the fun partying on down or horsing around on stage.,0,263/Bild0007.html,0,263/Bild0016.html,0,263/Bild0013.html

I would LOVELOVELOVE to see a sort of reunion style mini-series for TNG. Nemesis kinda left a bad taste in my mouth. Or how about Peter David’s ‘Imzadi’??? But who would play really young Riker & Troi huh????

Oh yeah and the Nemesis poster should have had the tagline. “Who let Troi drive?” haha ;)

Frakes has been in my wardrobe, shirt thief!!!

Sirtis: “Are you kidding me?…Star Trek is about going forward, not backward!”

Heh! Continue dreaming, Sirtis. Berman’s collective era burned its cultural bridges with one dreary/New Agey series after another, and even the attempt to go “backward” (Enterprise) was more TNG/Bermanville than anything resembling the past.

TOS remains the most culturally significant/popular version of Trek for innumerable reasons, and it speaks volumes that the reboot is going to the best as the platform/source, instead of a reboot in the Next Generation-forward era.

“Are you kidding me?…Star Trek is about going forward, not backward!”

Funny I thought it was set in the future?

So it’s okay for them to do a film that films in gaps in the Trek history we’ve never seen before (First Contact anyone); but not JJ?

“Are you kidding me?…Star Trek is about going forward, not backward!”

No, Star Trek is about showing us ourselves and the lessons we have to learn about life (war, love, etc.), but told in another time to show that consequences can sometimes not happen for hundreds of years, or that people will come across the same issues years later and find a way to deal with them.

There never was a timeframe, nor was there ever a set in stone law that every subsequent Star Trek had to move forward. The story was what mattered.

On another note, Marina Sirtis is still hot!

Let’s get these two back into the gym and back on television in a Titan series. It’s the only Trek concept that will work on television.

Anyone agree???

You know, if Nemesis had been a hit and TNG would have continued in film, Sirtis, Frakes and the rest would all have nothing but positive things to say about it and it’s director.

But, as things are now, they are free to vent, and vent they shall.

And will probably never know what the cast members really think of each other….

sorry will should be we’ll….

Nemesis was simply a pile of steaming crap story-wise. Yeah, Baird was a terrible choice, and it doesn’t sound like he even wanted to direct that dog, but the script is to blame. It was simply worthless.

I don’t care if Star Trek goes backwards, forwards, or upside down, as long as the story if meaningful and engaging. Nemesis was neither.

First of all, I want to thank Anthony for including my report on the website. It was a great weekend.

A couple of quick thoughts: the thing with LeVar and Baird seemed pervasive, the way Marina told it. It wasn’t that Baird called him “LaVerne” once, but repeatedly. Like he couldn’t be bothered learning the cast’s real names.

The thing I enjoyed the most was the sense that these two really care about Star Trek and the fans. Both have continued to work regularly (Marina was in the Oscar winning Crash), so it’s not like they’re starving. They really believed in what they were doing, loved doing it, and didn’t want to stop. Marina said both she and Frakes would do a Titan Series/movie in a heartbeat.

I appreciated their honesty, regardless of whether what they were saying was “factual” (hell, I wasn’t there). They were great guests.

“A couple of quick thoughts: the thing with LeVar and Baird seemed pervasive, the way Marina told it. It wasn’t that Baird called him “LaVerne” once, but repeatedly. Like he couldn’t be bothered learning the cast’s real names.”
-1001001 – October 2, 2007

I think when Brando made The Score, he kept referring to director Frank Oz as Ms. Piggy and Kermit, (since Oz had been a puppeteer).
Sometimes it’s in good fun, and sometime it’s just being an ***hole.

If Baird really did keep calling for Crusher and Troi to come to the set, then he was the later…
That’s just arrogant and disrespectful on the most basic level…

#27 Heywood ST:TMP “I think it’s special just for being the first one”

Heywood, my boy, based on that logic, you probably look back fondly on your first sexual encounter, even if she was LOUSY in the sack! Oh, wait, too personal?


RE: #42 “Nemesis was simply a pile of steaming crap story-wise.”

Sometimes, I can’t really understand the vehement anger people have toward Nemesis. Yes, the story had its flaws, but on the whole, it was actually a very good Star Trek adventure.

Without getting into a pissing match about Nemesis’ faults, what would have been an appropriate send-off for the TNG crew? A story about Q to put a nice book-end on the first episode of the series? Been there, done that (“All Good Things”).

My personal wish was to see Romulans in action (check). I just wish there had been more about Romulans, not the Remans. I also would have liked to have seen more “where no one has gone before”-type adventure (“we’re sailing into the unknown…”)

Your thoughts?

all reasonable suggestions! I like your comment about getting back to the “where no one has gone before” aspect of things…

Yes, Nemesis really sucked, but the story didnt blow, but rather seemed incomplete…for instance a great angle they couldve gone with was portraying Shinzon not just as an evil mirror for Picard but also as something akin to a Star Trek equivalent to the Biblical Antichrist…even going so far as having Shinzon coming back to life after he was killed on the Scimitar through being possessed by a Pah-Wraith, only to have Data be unable to destroy the thalaron weapon only to have it fail to deploy, thus causing Shinzon to set a course for Earth, repairing the weapon en route…the Starfleet fleet arrives and tows Enterprise to Earth at warp, and the film gets another 40 minutes to it.

Other things that wouldve helped would be to have Enterprise have had Voyagers futuristic hull armor and transphasic torpedoes and have even them prove insufficient to hurt Scimitar and what about Janeways tactic of beaming torpedoes into a ships power core then detonating them…and since when would a warship like the Enterprise-E run out of torpedoes after firing only 50 at most?

Other creative ideas wouldve been to find out that the Yesterdays Enterprise Tasha Yar had given the Romulans Picards DNA and have Denise Crosby show up as Sela only for us to find out that Sela wasnt really Tashas daughter but really a genetically-altered Tasha herself who really had been under Romulan mind control to make her believe she was Sela…another creative idea wouldve been to learn that Donatra was really a Romulan/Vulcan/Human hybrid and Spock and Saavik’s daughter

I agree…Baird as a Star Trek director fitted as much as Bush as President…my idea: they shouldve gotten Harve Bennett to do Nemesis..also: they made Nemesis “too Trek” as if Baird deliberately made a crappy movie to destroy Trek forever…plus they were forced to make what theyd intended 2 be a massively epic movie on like a $70 million dollar budget

As for new movie ideas…any1 remember that DS9 novel trilogy “Millennium” about a Star Trek End Times? They should make them in2 a film trilogy with Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay and J.J. Abrams and Mel Gibson codirecting/producing them…

Lastly: one way to improve any future Trek film/tv show is to give it the style of “Farscape” and ditch using a film score and instead use real MTV-type songs as soundtrack and turning Trek over to the MTV people

Sirtis: “Star Trek is about going forward, not backward!”

and yet, she was in Enterprise… where she and Frakes went backward via the holodeck to a time even before TOS. I’ll echo what was said earlier… she’d go backward in a heartbeat if JJ offered her the chance.

But then, I’ve never thought of her as a representative or a spokesperson of true Trek anyway.

Hmmm… let me see… who’s opinions and views of the new Trek movie should I give more credence to? Sirtis or Nimoy?

Oh, and by the way Marina, Leonard’s understanding of Gene’s vision for Trek eclipses any that you think you may have.

Things were really looking good for Nemesis before it came out – it had a script by oscar nominated John Logan hot of Gladiator…plus an fresh outside director who had made a couple of decent action films.. (last time an outside director had come aboard we got Khan)

The tone was said to be more First Contact than Insurrection and Berman had said that the dailies looked ‘more like a Ridley Scott or John Woo movie than a star trek film’

And the trailer looked pretty awesome and yes very Ridley in parts (the Blade Runner eye at the start that wasnt in the movie)

Heres the statement Berman made prior to nemesis coming out:
“”I think we are in extraordinary shape,” Berman said in an interview with TV GUIDE. “ENTERPRISE is right on target and a strong success for UPN, and there is great electricity about the movie. The footage – the dailies – look more like a Ridley Scott film or a John Woo film than a classic TREK movie. I think – contrary to rumors – that this is very, very likely not going to be the last movie. If this one does well as I believe it will, it will be a mere matter of weeks – make that days – before Paramount comes to me and says ‘So, when are we going to get to work on number 11?’” ”