It’s huge news in the world of Star Trek that members of the Next Generation cast and more legacy Trek actors will be appearing in the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard. This has other actors from past Star Trek shows talking about maybe returning to their live-action roles, including Kate Mulgrew. The latest to discuss the subject is Armin Shimerman, who also had more to say about his time on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine playing the Ferengi bartender Quark.
Ready for more Quark, but wants the same deal as Michael Dorn
Earlier this month, Armin Shimerman appeared at the Fanboy Expo in Knoxville, TN. During his panel, a fan mentioned Picard season 3 and Mulgrew’s latest statements, asking the actor if he was interested in returning to Star Trek. Shimerman has talked about this in the past, citing wearing the heavy prosthetic makeup as a major factor in any decision. In Knoxville (via video from Fandom Spotlite), he told the convention crowd he would “absolutely” do it, but he had a few caveats:
The answer is yes. I would happily do it. I would not do a series regular again. I would not undergo that makeup for another seven years. I can’t live that long. But for a guest star or to do what they’re going to do on Picard with some of the characters coming back… Yeah, I would do that. But! They’d have to pay me like they paid Michael Dorn.
Before offering his caveat on returning to the role, Shimerman talked about the last time he wore the Quark makeup and how it took him back two decades:
At a convention right before COVID, someone paid me a ton of money to get dressed up as Quark one more time. And I would only do it if it was with my makeup artist [Karen Weserfield] who was with me the whole seven years… and they paid for Karen to come out to England… And when I put it on, Ira [Steven Behr], the executive producer, was there and we were all amazed because it was a good 20 years after I finished the show, and when I got into the makeup it was like a time machine. It looked like Quark 20 years ago.
Shimerman thinks fans may be surprised by Worf’s new look
Speaking of Michael Dorn, Shimerman was asked what it was like working with him after Worf was brought into Deep Space Nine in season 4. Shimerman had high praise and said the two remain close to this day, but he did reveal one quibble with his old friend:
All of them are friends, but Michael is one of my closest friends. I see Michael on a regular basis. What Michael has done with Worf is truly phenomenal. And it’s a great credit to him and to others that wrote Worf for what they’ve done. I love Michael, however, Michael, God bless him, has a problem memorizing lines. So what usually happens in TV is they’re moving as quickly as they can, which is slow but for TV, it’s fast. And usually you’ll do little setups of different camera angles, whether it’s a three-shot or two-shot or close-up. Those all take a different setup, different lighting, everything has to be done differently for each of those framing jobs. So usually, you do it first time. And then if they don’t like it, they ask you to do a second time. And then when they say just to be to cover themselves for insurance, they may do it a third time and then they move on. But that means that you have to get the lines right. Michael didn’t always get the lines right. [laughs] So sometimes by the time we got to the 25th take, Michael had the lines right but I was done with that scene.
Shimerman also talked about how fans may be surprised at how Dorn looks when the see him in Picard:
But I love Michael. Michael is truly one of my closest friends. He is the kindest, most sympathetic, funny man that I know. Really a charmer. You would be surprised. If you haven’t seen him lately, he doesn’t look like Worf anymore. I suppose you will see him on Picard, but Michael’s lost a lot of weight, but he said to me one of his friends said to him, “Michael, I think I can take you now.” He is still a wonderful man, and a wonderful actor, and a dear, dear friend.
Begged writers to decide if Quark is smart or not
During the panel, Shimerman also spoke glowingly about his time on Deep Space Nine, offering praise to his fellow actors, as well as the writers and producers. However, he did note a certain frustration he had with his character, explaining:
We could not change lines. We could make suggestions, which were rarely followed. I know that three times a year I would take the writers out to lunch and make some suggestions. I remember begging them many times, “Just tell me what his IQ is. Just tell me because sometimes he’s smart and sometimes he’s not. Just tell me what his IQ is.”
Of course, Shimerman’s history with the Ferengi goes back before DS9, as he portrayed one of the first Ferengi when the race was introduced in the first season of The Next Generation. Producers had hoped that episode (“The Last Outpost“) would establish the Ferengi as a new main adversary; however, the episode wasn’t well received. At the Knoxville convention, Shimerman talked about how important it was for him to make the Ferengi into a more realized Star Trek race on Deep Space Nine:
The change from the TNG Ferengi that I created, because I’m the actor for the main Ferengi in that first episode, to Quark and all the Ferengi that followed me—I so hated my performance in Next Generation. [mocks hunched walk] That’s what I did. This is how I played Letek, which is Richard III. But it was wrong. It was horrible. I’ve said this for years now, my whole agenda as Quark was to try to wipe out that performance from the Next Generation. I was so one-dimensional. It was a horrible performance. The only thing good about it was the check didn’t bounce. But for Quark my agenda was to try to make that one dimensional creature into a three dimensional person. You may not agree with me… but the Ferengi were the most human of creatures on Star Trek. You might not like the Ferengi, but a lot of the characteristics that the Ferengi had are very much human characters. And so I was very was happy to do that.
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