Colm Meaney (TNG and DS9’s Miles O’Brien) continues to enjoy success in his post-Trek acting career with regular film roles including a new movie coming out this week (Three and Out) and a new series coming up on ABC (Life on Mars). In a new interview with Rotten Tomatoes the actor talks about life on and after Star Trek, and how he doesn’t regret never doing a DS9 film.
Colm Meaney on if he was disappointed not getting a DS9 movie
No, absolutely not! When we were doing the show and people asked would I like to do a movie my position was always, if I do a feature I’d rather not do it a space suit! I spent seven years in a space suit and that was fine. I did the TV show, but it’s funny, a lot of people who watch Star Trek know I do that, but they don’t know I do movies too, and similarly people who go to the movies don’t know I did Star Trek. It’s like I’m these two different actors in two different careers, and that’s great – I love that. I think if you start stepping into the feature world in Star Trek you become known to a wider audience as that and it becomes limiting.
We had a great time doing the show; don’t get me wrong, we had a great crew and a great cast. And the writing on that show was very good. We did twenty-six episodes a year for seven years and there were maybe three or four duds in a year which wasn’t bad. We got on very well. So it was a lot of fun and we all enjoyed it, but after seven years it was a perfect time to quit, walk away and do other things.
On if he was a fan of Star Trek
No, and you know, science fiction would not have been my favourite genre; I never really developed an interest in it. But doing the series was interesting because I realised that science fiction can be used to really comment on today in a very direct way. We were doing shows about genetic engineering, you know, and there was even a great two-part episode about homelessness, I remember, which was set in about 2040. It was really a social commentary where in the not-too-distant future we could develop a permanent under-class who are segregated from society. In contemporary television you couldn’t do that, so I realised the value of science fiction as a genre by doing the show.
Meaney is about to go back to regular series television as one of the stars of the American version of Life on Mars being produced by David E. Kelley for ABC. This is Meaney’s first time in a series since DS9 ended and he reflected on the return, noting that it was Rick Berman who made it so easy for him with his time on Trek:
Well I was very lucky to have a great exec producer in Rick Berman. In fact one of my worries when they offered me Deep Space Nine was that I’d be going to a fulltime role after having just recurred in The Next Generation. I could just f–k off and do what I wanted, but I was a series regular on DS9. Rick sat me down one day and said, “I promise you, I’ll always let you out to do a feature you really want to do.” And over the course of the seven years he did. There were a couple of things he said no to, but they were things I wasn’t particularly desperate to do anyway. The important ones I did get to do. They’d write me out of two or three episodes, or have me shoot the last day of one episode and the first day of the next episode. I could do a couple of days in LA and get back to wherever I was shooting movies.
I don’t know if it’ll be the same on Life on Mars, but if it does go I’ve also got four months hiatus every year, so if you can squeeze a movie in there, then great. Also, I feel I’m at a point where I want to do other stuff, I like to mix it up, but I’m just as happy doing good TV. Importantly it’s changed a lot in the last twenty years, where features were the place you wanted to be. The better writing now is very often found on television. Cable, obviously, has had a big influence on that with shows like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under and stuff like that, but it’s affected the networks now. The networks are looking for the same kind of shows now and the change in the last ten years in extraordinary. There’s no reason not to be in television now. You get to live at home and you’re not on the road all the time, they pay you decent money, and the writing’s good. You’re not compromising for it, you know
Read the rest of the Meaney interview at Rotten Tomatoes.
On Monday, Meaney attended a charity premiere for Three and Out in London, here are a couple of photos from the event.
Colm Meaney attends the "Three and Out" World Charity Premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square on April 21, 2008 in London, England (Wire Image)
Colm Meaney goofs around with his "Three and Out" co-stars, Gemma Arterton, Imelda Staunton and Mackenzie Crook (Wire Image)
Three and Out co-starring Colm Meaney opens wide in the UK on Friday April 25, check out the trailer…
What a nice normal guy!
ALWAYS REMEMBER HIS PERFORMANCE IN “THE SNAPPER”…
It’s been about 15 years since I last saw it, but I always remember there was a scene where his son, who’s hungover, vomits into the kitchen sink. Meaney proceeds to lecture the kid up and down and caps it off with, “And clean that up!!!”
Don’t know why (if I’m even remembering the scene correctly), but that line/delivery had me hysterics for the rest of the movie. Nice to see he was never really typecast after TREK…
I will always remember him singing The Minstrel Boy with Captain Maxwell…
Colm Meaney is a real down-to-Earth guy. He’s my favorite character from DS9. He’s an absolute hoot in the film ‘The Van.’ An exec at my employer is Irish, and he said Meaney is highly regarded on the Emerald Isle.
A very memorable character, is Miles O’Brien. (And a good reporter for CNN, too. ;-) )
He was great in a 2 part episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. After watching him mainly play a good guy. It was shock to see him play this really nasty disgusting judge. It was one of his best performances.
Decloaking . . .
On of my all time fav characters.
From prior thread: It was in search of info on TOS-R that led me to TrekMovie.com. Can’t wait for “The Cage” or Colm Meaney in HD!
#5 Hat Rick — Agreed. I always thought it was particularly appropriate that Miles O’Brien was a *science and technology* reporter as well.
Colm Meaney is always a bright spot, whether a project is fair or foul. He’s even made some SciFi channel sludge watchable (until the mutant Boa/Spider/Raptor/Snakehead Fish eats his character.)
Would love to know his thoughts on the ep where he’s sitting opposite a lephrachuan.
colm’s a real bloke, i like seeing him portraying other characters, i always thought he lent some ‘street cred’ to trek in that he was a true motion picture actor, and not only a trek actor…
i hope that came out right…
the last 2 or 3 seasons of DS9 were the best star trek movies they never made
Surprising to hear someone say something positive about Rick Berman!
“and how he doesn’t regret never doing a DS9 film.” Ouch. ‘doesn’t regret never’.
He hasn’t aged a day.
Hey, he’s in a movie with the glass-eyed pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean!
Remember him as Jimmys Dad in the Commitments..brilliant casting…
“It’s funny, a lot of people who watch Star Trek know I do that, but they don’t know I do movies too, and similarly people who go to the movies don’t know I did Star Trek.”
Don’t worry, Colm, I know you did Star Trek AND I know you are in movies. In fact, I *own* most of your movies: Con Air, Layer Cake, Intermission, Under Siege, The Commitments, The Snapper, The Van, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain… heck, the only reason I even had interest in most of those was because you were in it. So, yeah, there are those who are aware of all of your work. :)
And Colm will probably never read this comment, so I’m left to wonder… why bother? Oh, well, at least I got to show off my Colm Meaney fandom. :-D
off topic, but to #12:
‘doesn’t regret never doing’ is totally fine. It’s not a double negative.
DS9 could not do a film justice, the format was perfect for TV but one or three of the characters could just not carry a film. The TNG films kinda proved that. Even if they did a DS9 film people would complain about it. Colm is right about this……..
Darth “Meaney” BAllz
@9 From memory-alpha
Rumpelstiltskin was originally written as a leprechaun, but was changed when Colm Meaney objected, claiming that this was an offensive stereotype against Irish people. According to Meaney, “Using caricatures or clichés of any nation is not something Star Trek is or should be into.”
4 duds a season??? Not a fan of Star Trek??? I say he bites the hand that feeds him. I see no humility in that. I bet he thinks the friggin’ song is about HIM.
Biting the hand that feeds him? Go away out of that. He was doing a job. He’s entitled not to be a fan of Star Trek. I find his honesty refreshing.
I’m a huge fan of Colin Meaney (he’s actually from not too far from where I live). And I think he had sufficient input so as not to make his character a victim of “Paddy-whackery”, which is nice too. One of my favourite moments was when he got to say “bollocks” when some piece of alien technology exploded in an episode of DS9 when Molly went missing and came back as an adult.
In terms of his film work, the Barrytown trilogy (The Commitments, The Snapper & The Van) would probably be his most famous work here, along with Intermission. Anyone reading this who isn’t familiar with his film work is highly recommended to check out the above. I saw The Commitments recently for the first time in many years and I really enjoyed it. It’s dated a little now, but it’s a refreshing and accurate (and hilarious) commentary on what life is REALLY like in Dublin (it was filmed in an area I used to live in which was pretty far from pleasant – as was life in Dublin for a working-class family in the late 80s/early 90s).
And, indeed, Star Trek fans might enjoy some of Roddy Doyle’s other work, too. Do a search for him on Amazon and buy something. I’m sure no-one will regret it!
Can’t wait to hear more from Colm. Life On Mars was a very well received series on the BBC, and I’d no idea he was doing the American version, so I hope it does well. If he’s playing the character I think he’s playing, and if the writing’s any good, then a lot of people will warm to him in a loveable yet roguish kind of way!
Not every actor who does Star Trek has to love the show, or the fans. It is a job. Any actor that show up to do Star Trek well and doesn’t act like the job was beneith them is due some respect. Mr. Meaney was honest and respectful about his time on DS9. Questioning his character is not called for. As a side note, his four duds a season quote was generous. DS9 is my favorite series, but the first four years had six to eight duds per season. At twenty-six episodes a year, at the time it was made, those are very good ratios.
Always liked him and his movie roles. His role in Con Air was good, I think that’s the one he had an old Corvette and it was destroyed. Was glad to see him in Stargate: Atlantis as a not so nice guy too.
He was always great about getting the tab.
15: Add Die Hard 2 to your list and your cred is secure.
Like Patrick Stewart, he seems to think a jumpsuit is a spacesuit. I guess it is what they called them on the show
I think 4 sounds a bit right myself, as far as outright duds go. There were always a few extra that were just “average”, but those ones were at least worth watching for the fun character moments.
It’s certainly a better batting average than TNG had.
I meant no disrespect to Miles O’Brien. But I tell you. My money is on Nick C is for Cookie when we’re talking Irish Trek actors. He and I had a back and forth once about his fanmade and he taught me much about the cultures and the accents and whatnot.
The dude is a fan, making a dud episode is completely unacceptable.
That’s just a little bit more of what I wanted to hear Miles O’Brien tell me is all. Plus I put in a little Tao of Beatty™ refrenz for those who pay attention to such things.
It’s nice to hear from another Roddy Doyle fan. I too really enjoy The Commitments, (though I’m not sure I disagree about it being dated). I still laugh my arse off all of the way through. Favorite scene is the kid waiting to take the horse on the lift. Jimmy: “You’re not taking that on the lift”… Kid: “I have to. The stairs’ll kill ’em.”
Colm Meaney was possibly the most normal “everyman” to ever appear in Star Trek. His blue collar approach to Chief O’Brien was a nice dose of reality in the Trek universe. He was (for a long while) the only married family man regular in the franchise (and about time; I started to think love and family were obsolete in the 24th century!). And I liked the relationship of O’Brien and Bashir. Best love/hate stuff since McCoy and Spock. It was nice how they (later on) just admitted they were friends; and dropped the pretense of disliking each other (as they did in seasons 1,2). They act like real friends; with all the ups and downs. Also loved Meaney’s Elvis stuff in “Snapper.” And his terrific turn in “Layer Cake.” He’s a damn fine actor and added a lot to what was already my favorite of the new Treks (DS9). Usually, I don’t go for “Americanized” British TV remakes, but he might make “Life on Mars” worth it!
22. Doug Abramson: Agree totally. Indeed, the fact that any of the cast might not be fans it perfectly likely and logical as you pointed out. No what surprises me is any follower of science and technology isn’t a science fiction fan. I know they exist but it never made any sense to me. It has always seemed a natural instinct to humans but the prime factor of a scientist to say “what if?” :)
That all said, Colm is one of the best actors to ever don the “spacesuit’ for Star Trek. His very successful career indicates that.
26. Al: Well, they’re suits…and they’re in space. :)
16. Jake – “‘doesn’t regret never doing’ is totally fine. It’s not a double negative.”
Ha! I know, I kid! It’s been a rough day and I didn’t feel like thinking my way through the grammer!
#25 AJ — I have DH2 and Dick Tracy, too… oh, and Last of the Mohicans (albeit, only on VHS). But he didn’t have big roles in any of those, really.
#25 AJ — Oh, and although I don’t own them, I have also seen Owd Bob, October 22, Road to Wellville (“I was messaging my colon!”), Far and Away, and Monument Avenue. :D
#21 Colm will be playing Gene Hunt in “Life on Mars.” I wish him well, but for anyone who watched the BBC version, it will be hard to see someone new in that role – particularly since i’m sure it will be watered down for US television.
Colm Meaney is about the only person out there I could imagine taking on the role of Gene Hunt other than a certain Mr Glenister!
The idea of Gene Hunt in the US in the era of the likes of Dirty Harry abd Streets of San Francisco is an intriguing one!
mojonaut–this Yank just LOVES Doyle’s Barrytown trilogy–the three novellas as well as the movies based on them–and definitely consider them to be amongst Meaney’s best work. I hear that life in Dublin is pretty far removed now from what was depicted in those stories–true?
Oh yeah, he can play a freakin leprechaun but he won’t reprise the O’brien character – that makes sense.
8, very much so — and CNN’s version is just as jaunty, if not more so. It was too bad he left the anchor desk in the mornings. He always had a sunny attitude even during dreary days. He really knows his space shuttle, too. Trek’s version would be proud of him.
30, I agree. In the naturalistic way that Colm Meaney protrayed the character, O’Brien was very much an everyday person whose competence was, nevertheless, often dazzling.
#37 Michael Hall, It’s been 10 years since I lived in Dublin but I confirm that at that time The Barrytwon trilogy was a pretty accurate dipction of sections of Northside Dublin. I haven’t been back since I left though so I’m not sure about now.
His comments on what he learned about the value of SF reminds me of what I like to say to folks who talk about the degree to which Star Trek is Science Fiction at all: “Yes, it is, and its sciences are primarily psychology, sociology, and anthropology … the ones that, without shows like Star Trek, TV would scarcely go near. The ones we need most from it.”
Physics, feh. When it feels like it, it has physics. When it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Warp speed, Mister Sulu! Slingshot us around the sun so we can time travel and restore someone’s immortal katra soul or something. :) But along the way, let’s look at ourselves and the way we treat one another, and maybe say something very much worth saying about who we are and what we can aspire to be. That’s the Science Fiction in Star Trek, and it sounds like Colm Meany gets it – and appreciates it – where it counts.
O’Brien is in a movie with Gareth from The Office! That’s awesome.
I really enjoyed Mr. Meany’s performances in Stargate Atlantis.
Yeh, nice bloke by all accounts, my wife met him when she worked in Dublin at the Shelbourne Hotel about 12 years ago and said he was a lovely down to earth fella, but that’s the Irish for you!!
Mystery, Alaska… Colm is the mayor of an American tundra wilderness town, kind of outspoken – definately all gung-ho about the locales… and he’s still got tha’ irish lilt ta’ his speakin’…
It’s funny when ya’ see him in other films how ya’ forget he was Miles O’Brien… unlike some other actors associated with their parts… I means ta’ say, why is Cap’n Kirk practicing law? How come Spock went after the Loch Ness Monster?
Character actors in films really allow ya’ ta’ suspend disbelief and enjoy tha’ perofrmance wit’out relating them to their celebrity… like when Tommy Lee Jones hands him the phones…
I’m rantin’… arrrrr…
Great, great lad Colm. A girlfriend of mine worked on a film he was staring in some years ago. Shot in a small town, Colm showed up at cast party in the towns only bar and the whole town was there. Colm bought the town drinks. The town! Now THAT’S a great guy! :D
I just find it amazing that someone spoke well of Rick Berman in an interview and no one is arguing the point. I’ve come to believe you can’t have a Trek forum without the Berman bashing.
Its a bit of a refreshing change for once, actually. All right then, carry on. ;)
Interesting bit about how he had two careers, one in Star trek and one in movies. Of course DS9 was never as big a hit as TNG, I might be mistaken, but I feel it had more of a cult sci-fi audience, whereas TNG was really quite popular in the mainstream.
colm was the only highlight of die-hard 2 :)
Michael Hall & William: I’m a life-long northsider, and can certainly say Barrytown is very much removed from what Dublin is like now. I work (unwillingly) in banking, and I get to see every day how much things have changed, both in the physical nature of Dublin, how old buildings are either given a new lease of life, or gotten rid of completely to make way for new, shiny ones, and also in the personality of the people. Ireland has made a leap from being a third world country straight to the forefront of the first world. We’ve developed this wealth that has brought a certain arrogance to the people, which frustrates me. People refer to Ireland as “the land of a thousand welcomes”, but since we’ve developed prosperity, we’ve been experiencing a lot of immigrants coming to the country, and Irish people, rather than realise that this was the position we were in many years ago and relate to these people, instead begrudge them the opportunity to do something with their lives like we did when we flooded the United States, the UK and Australia.
Even ten years ago life was much removed from Barrytown. In fact, we were riding the crest of our economic wave at that point. I think it won’t be long until these things come crashing down and Irish people realise what the really valuable things in life are. I don’t begrudge our success, I just think it came too quickly for us not to lose the run of ourselves.
And now I’m ranting.