The latest issue of the official Star Trek Magazine (#15), has a focus on the Mirror Universe. The series that spent the most time in the MU is Star Trek Deep Space Nine so the issue (on newsstands now) has two DS9 interviews to dive into the other side of the Mirror. STM has provided TrekMovie with excerpts from their interviews with show star Nana Visitor (Kira) and writer/producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe, see below.
Nana Visitor Interview – Intendant Expectations
excerpt from Star Trek Magazine #15
Nana Visitor wouldn’t change a thing. Even if she could re-imagine her life and career in an alternate universe, she wouldn’t pull the trigger on making it a reality. And, more specifically, even if she could, she’d not dare change a thing about her experiences on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
“I wouldn’t,” says Visitor who spent seven seasons on the show as Major Kira Nerys, the formidable Bajoran first officer aboard the wormhole-protecting space station DS9. “That show, that character really was one of the things that defined the rest of my life. Not just because I was part of this television show that people still follow, but because of Siddig, us having a child, and the people that I met 15 years ago that I still keep up with, that I still hear from all the time. It’s kind of like what college is for a lot of people. You form friendships that last the rest of your lives. Star Trek is the only acting experience I have had where this many friendships have formed and this many have stayed.
“I can tell you, having continued to work since Star Trek, that the years make me think even more fondly of the experience on the show,” Visitor continues. “As an actor, I always equate it to being a racehorse. I’m capable of really running and I want to run full out. DS9 was running full out in every way. And a lot of the jobs I do now, frankly, are like being at a farmer’s market and giving two-year-olds rides around the parking lot. It’s work. It’s what it is. It’s the job at hand. But it certainly doesn’t make me race the way that DS9 made me race.
“It’s interesting: when my boys find the show on TV they stop and watch it. They find it really funny and very bizarre to see Siddig and me in these situations and doing this stuff. I tend not to watch the episodes because I miss it too much. I can look at a show and look at a moment and know exactly what was said, when we filmed it, what I was feeling. The sense memory is still so strong. I think I was so present in those years, every moment I was on set, like maybe I haven’t been for a lot of my life. But it required that of me. Doing that show, playing Kira, required everything I had.”
Visitor truly considers Kira the role of a lifetime. “I can’t imagine a better character,” she enthuses. “I just cannot imagine one, and luckily I knew it at the time. Frankly, I could have gone a few more years with the character. I loved her. I loved her faults and I loved her history. The writers from DS9 occasionally hire me to do other projects, but, other than that, I just haven’t come across that kind of writing again or character development, or even the understanding that someone can have a set of morals that will guide how they are with other people. Behavior, the mythology of a character, doesn’t seem to make a difference to a lot of people now producing shows.”
Visitor actually portrayed two characters on DS9. In addition to the Kira that fans came to respect, Visitor portrayed a version known as the Intendant of Terok Nor in a number of Mirror Universe episodes. The shows transcended mere gimmickry; rather, they shed a dark light on the regular DS9 characters and provided exciting acting challenges for the lead actors and several members of the show’s extensive supporting cast. Visitor recalls that the DS9 producers blindsided her – albeit happily so – with the decision to showcase the Intendant as a volatile, sexy, hedonistic, conniving, narcissistic and possibly bisexual force with whom to be reckoned.
“We got very little advance notice of what they were going to do next,” Visitor says. “I think I just read the script and learned what I was and how it happened. It fascinated me to think of the essence of the person being the same, having the same passion, the same DNA – yet how does it flip? It’s like having a clone. Does the clone become just like that person? Well, maybe not. So, OK, there’s a real sense of purpose. Kira’s sense of purpose was one for her people and the Intendant had a huge sense of purpose as well, but it was all for herself. So those things were really interesting, and it was fascinating to make that into something so dark.
“And it was also fun to have a whole different set of rules in terms of what they wrote for me, having slaves and all the outrageousness. To me, the Intendant was close to what a drag queen would do. She was over the top, and there was a line that I loved to walk. I tried very hard not to go over that line, and I know sometimes I did go over it, but when you’re doing a TV show like that, you’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some. Mostly, you only know what you’ve done once you’ve seen the show put together. But I liked taking that chance because the risk was usually really worth it.
Read the full interview in issue #15 of Star Trek Magazine.
Nana Visitor as Major Kira and Intendant Kira
Interview with Robert Hewitt Wolfe – Sex, Death and Consequences
excerpt from Star Trek Magazine #15
Former Star Trek: Deep Space Nine writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe on the reasoning behind the return to the Mirror Universe in the first three DS9 stories set through the looking glass.
The return to the Mirror Universe came about as an idea tossed out at a story meeting among the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine writing staff, writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe reveals. “I remember discussing the idea of what would have happened after Kirk set Spock up to take down the Empire (in the original series story “Mirror, Mirror”). Big, nasty empires are usually big and nasty for a reason, or they create a lot of enemies and then they justify themselves continuing to be big and nasty because they have so many enemies. The idea that you could just magically stop an empire from being nasty and then nothing bad would happen was a little naïve. That was one of the themes of Deep Space Nine: you can’t just fly to a planet and give everybody a speech, then fly away and expect it all to be okay. If there was a naïvete about the original series, and sometimes TNG, that was it. One of the things that DS9 was really committed to was showing consequences. You can’t just decide that you’re going to change the government of some place and then everything will be wonderful. We wanted to show that was true even in the Mirror Universe…
“But also it was just a fun excuse to go to a really different place and show our actors being different people,” he concedes.
Nana Visitor certainly stole the show as the Mirror Kira – the Indendant of Terok Nor. Although Wolfe doesn’t recall any specific discussions of what her outfit would look like in the meetings while the story was being broken, the script said she was wearing ‘kind of a slinky catsuit.’
“I’m sure that rubber was not Nana’s first choice,” Wolfe admits, “because I don’t think that was the most practical outfit to wear. And it drove the sound guys crazy because it sounded like garbage bags rustling together all the time. Like a lot of things, I think that a rubber catsuit is less practical in real life than one might think it would be.”
Scenes involving Kira and her Mirror double weren’t the problem one might expect. “It’s something people know how to do,” Wolfe explains. “It was much less troublesome than say, some of Odo’s morphs, which at the time were very cutting edge. Everything that Odo did was very complicated technically. Doing a twin – they knew how to do that 20 years earlier in Bewitched.”
The DS9 writers didn’t worry about the studio’s response to their decision to make the Mirror version of Kira’s character blatantly bisexual. “Maybe I was sheltered from it and this was something that Rick [Berman] dealt with exclusively, but I don’t remember a studio note in the entire five years I was on Deep Space Nine,” Wolfe says. “There were some vague, occasional things, but by and large they left us alone and let us do what we wanted.
“Nana had a great time – she just vamped the hell out of it and went nuts, but in the same kind of fun way that George Takei did in the original Mirror Universe show: he was the main evil universe guy, so he played it to the hilt. Takei was just having a ball. Nana really got to do that, and Avery got to do that, too, in the first one.”
Seeing Avery Brooks play the piratical Mirror Sisko was a revelation for the writers. “In season two, Avery was holding back still a little bit when he was playing regular Sisko,” Wolfe explains. “In later seasons, as he got more comfortable in the role, and as we got more comfortable, he was able to let it fly a little bit more. Mirror Sisko was certainly a much looser performance and he was having more fun. Seeing him do that might have even helped us be more comfortable with the idea of Avery being a little looser when playing Sisko.”
Read the full interview in issue #15 of Star Trek Magazine.
More in STM # 15 out now
The new issue of Star Trek Magazine has much more from Visitor and Wolfe and is on newsstands now. Included in the MU coverage is a full timeline of the Mirror Universe (see below). More info at Titan magazines site.
The history of the MU in STM #15
STM #15 can also be ordered directly from tfaw.com (but currently on back order).
Star Trek Magazine Movie Issues coming
Star Trek Magazine is planning on three special movie focused issues in the coming months. These issues will have exclusive new information and images from Star Trek. There will be two movie-focused issues before Star Trek is released (# 17 on sale March 24th & #18 on sale May 5th), plus an additional movie-focused issue (#19) on sale June 9th. CLICK HERE to subscribe to get all those issues and more.
Also, Star Trek Magazine #17 can be pre-ordered at tfaw.com (note the covers shown are ‘dummy covers’) and the final covers will likely have some new imagery on them .