In a new podcast interview with the CBC from Ottawa Comic Con, Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Gates McFadden said she felt producers on the show were not receptive to her ideas for her character, Dr. Beverly Crusher. She offered up a specific example involving creator Gene Roddenberry:
Sometime really early on I brought the book Awakenings to Gene [Roddenberry] and I said this would be an amazing episode … I had always loved Dr. Oliver Sacks’ writing and I found it fascinating and I really wanted my character to be a neurologist, with working with the brain and all of that. And I had to talked to him about it and gave him the book and then nothing happened and a couple of years later the movie came out. Maybe he had done something about it, but we never had a discussion about it.
McFadden went on to say that the fact that she’s a woman was likely a big part of the reason TNG producers weren’t receptive to her:
I didn’t feel particularly that they were receptive to a female walking in and telling them about a great script idea. That was number one. Maybe I am wrong. A woman can’t just walk into the producer’s office and throw her feet up on the couch and say “hey let’s just hang a minute” and “how about this?” Maybe you can now, but you sure couldn’t then. It would have seemed like a come-on or something. I was trying to navigate stuff and I was always was somebody filled with ideas.
During the same podcast, McFadden was candid when asked if her outspokenness in the press during the first season of the show led to her being fired before season two:
I think that totally contributed to my being let go the second season … I was from a background where you were encouraged to speak up with your ideas. It was about being passionate about what you were doing, it wasn’t about criticizing what you were doing … I think I lacked an awareness of how it could come off in a different way. It could be threatening to somebody.
You can listen to the full podcast below, where she talks about trying to inject some humor into Beverly Crusher, how she felt left out of the onscreen mentoring of Wesley Crusher, and the rumors that Picard was possibly Wesley’s real father, among other topics.
More from McFadden as she defends Wesley: “I love my space son!”
Yesterday McFadden held a Q&A at Ottawa Comic Con with Star Trek: Enterprise‘s John Billingsley. During the event she was asked a question about acting as a mother and she used the opportunity to give a strong rebuke to critics of Wesley Crusher, noting, “I raised that boy!” (Video courtesy of Matthew Jason Dever.)
McFadden will be at Ottawa Comic Con all weekend, where she’ll be available for photos and autographs. More details at ottawacomiccon.com.