Spiner in Blackpool, May 1977 Saturday Part
We had been
told we could take flashes only at the beginning, so for the first
few minutes, Brent is posing for cameras - some wonderful movements,
turning round and round, showing his mime training - and the applause
going on the whole time, of course. He is answering individual
requests for poses, and shaking hands. I may have missed a word
or two during this time, because although I was near the front,
the audience applause was very loud.) Thank you, thank you, thank
you, thank you very much for that (he means the applause.)
Thank you, you wanna take a photo? Go ahead. OK, letís do some
casual shots, like Iím in action, you know? Iím sorry? Closer?
Closer to what? What díyou want, I donít understand? I think Iíve
got it, just a second, let me give you my very sincere smile!
Happy! What? Remember the Alamo? Just crouch down low. Lower?
Can't get much lower than this. Hallo. All right. Anyone else
want to take a photo while Iím here? OK. There we go. Hallo. Wait,
wait. I'll be seeing these on sale in America, I really will.
Thank you. Hallo, thank you. I hoped youíd do that, simply go
right through the stage! Oh, hallo, everybody. Hallo. You know,
this is really a distracting thing happening over here, ( the
large screen at the side of the stage for the benefit of those
further back in the audience, he sees it each time he turns in
that direction) I can't stop looking at myself.! Ohh! Sorry.
Oh, my gosh, is his hair long or what! Hi! wanna a photo? Well,
hallo ladies. Hallo? Hi. Goodness, I, er, I'm really disappointed
- I was told there were a lot of people coming! One more? There.
are motioning people back to their seats.)
So, what can I tell you that you don't already know about?
About Marina's dog!
that? Everything.? Oh, what a nice dog! Whose dog is that? (A
woman is sitting in the front row with her beautiful guide dog.)
Beautiful. beautiful. And, is this a male or a female? Male or
female? Yeah, the dog! Female? I have two dogs exactly like that,
both females. What's your dog's name? Irma? That's my dog's name!
Both of them! Hi, Irma, (whistles to the dog), oh, beautiful,
beautiful, beautiful girl. Um, so Ok, here's the deal, everybody
knows I have absolutely nothing to say, so , but we have microphones,
I see one over there with Di, and Manny, where's Manny? oh, Manny's
over there, and so anybody who wants to ask me a question, I'm
counting on you, please ask me a question! Ask me more than one
question, ask me two questions! Um, I'd be happy to answer everything,
er, if you've seen any conventions in the States, I always say
the same thing, which is that I'd be more than happy to answer
anything you wanna ask me, I'd just like to stay away from two
areas, if you don't mind (alerted by the audience hoots, he
looks at the screen and sees the message the technicians have
added asking if he is fully functional) - who is responsible
Steve's fault! Steven! Steve Reilly.
Oh, there you are Steve. Hi Steve, I just want you to know I work
alone! Thank you. "Are you fully functional?" Do you have other
questions, Steve, or would you like me to answer that one? There
are children in the audience, aren't there? Yes, there are. Ah,
um, let me just say in answer to that question, "As far as I know".
Oh, good, I see some queues happening. We call them "lines". "Queues".
Alright, let's start over here. Yes, Ma'am?
been asked to ask you about when you worked in the ER room at
the hospital and about the story with the thermometer.
Do you all know that story?
Well, let me just say, let me just finish what I was going to
say before Steve so brutally interrupted. I'm perfectly happy
to answer anything you might ask, there are just two areas I'd
like to stay away from if you don't mind, and that's Star Trek
and my personal life. Anything else will be fine. The hospital
story I think falls into the category of my personal life, so,
no, no, no, I'll tell you the story. It's a long story but I'll
make it as short as I can. When I was 16 years old, I worked as
an orderly at St. Luke's Hospital, in Houston, Texas, and my uncle
was a doctor. He got me the job, assuming I wanted to be a doctor.
Er, I had absolutely no interest in being a doctor but he insisted
that I take this job, and I wound up working in the Recovery Room,
er which is a brutal place for a 16 year old to spend a summer.
And um, I was working, er there was a famous doctor there, Dr
Michael Dubaky, who was a very famous heart surgeon, and I was
working basically in his Recovery Room. (Hi, Jackie.) And, um,
so one day a man came into the hospital, into the Recovery Room.
He'd just been in the Operating Room, they'd just operated on
him, he had a very serious operation. I believe he'd had a stroke.
Anyway, they brought him into the Operating Room, I mean the Recovery
Room, and um, all of the doctors were around the bed, and they
were monitoring all of his vital signs and so on, and my job was
to take his blood pressure so I - this was in the old days, by
the way, when we wrapped a thing around the arm and had a pump
- and um so I was taking the man's blood pressure, and suddenly
he opened his eyes and he looked at me and he said, "Am I dead
yet?" and I said "Not yet", and I felt the doctors grab me by
the back of the shirt and they hauled me away, and they screamed
at me, and said "Don't you every say that to a patient, that's
the worst thing you can say." Alright, alright, so finally they
were comfortable with his signs and they left and he was unconscious
again, and the nurse said to me "Take this man's temperature".
And I said, "Well, but, he's unconscious". She said "Roll him
over on his side and insert the thermometer", and uh, I was 16,
and I said to her, "Iím not gonna do that, I'm 16, I don't do
those things", and er she said "Look, don't be a baby, you wanna
be a doctor, put the thermometer in". So, I said, "OK, alright".
So I roll the man on his side, I insert the thermometer, Iím looking
at my watch and I'm going, Come on, two minutes, let's go, let's
go, let's go, two minutes. Finally two minutes was up and I went
to take the thermometer out but he'd rolled back onto his back,
so I rolled him on his side again, and there on the bed are all
these little broken pieces of glass and beads of mercury lying
on the bed. So I put together the pieces of glass, and it made
about half a thermometer, and er, they had to call the doctors
to come back up, to take him back into the Operating Room, and
remove the other half of the thermometer before he woke up and
sued the hospital, and er, that was not only my last day as an
orderly, it was the end of my medical career. So, there you have
that story. Manny, Do you have anyone there?
In Generations, what did you think about Data having an emotion
what did I think about Data having an emotion chip? (Brent is
copying the guy's accent, which gets some cheers. The guy comes
back with "At least I'm fully functional!")
- we'll be the judge of that! Uh, (back to his own voice) what
did I think about Data having emotions? I thought it was great.
I, er, when they initially suggested to me that Data was going
to have emotions in Generations I didn't think it was a good idea,
because - not that I didn't think it was a good idea that Data
had emotions, but er I felt that it was too soon, I thought that
we needed to do one movie first where it was the normal Data that
you'd come to know in the television series, and then maybe in
the second film er give him emotions. But because I'm so powerful,
er, they said "No, you're going to do it now", and I understand
a lot of people didn't care for it initially, I think maybe it's
OK now when you saw where it went in First Contact, but as far
as I was concerned as an actor, I loved it, because er, I loved
the idea of having played the character for seven years and then
completely changing the character, it seemed a great idea to me.
Er, as an actor it made it more interesting for me to play, so
er, I had no problem with it but I do understand why people have
a problem with it, um, I kinda think it's equatable to er having
a child who is so adorable when they're a child you just wanna
keep them that way, you don't want 'em to grow up, but er, I think
evolution's a good thing, and growth is a good thing, and certainly
for me it was good, so!
A lot of us ladies would like to know how d'you feel about being
a sex symbol!
Is that what I am, a sex symbol? I love that, thank you, thank
you so much. Everyone should be one at least once in their lives!
the bathroom on The Enterprise?
really sure, er, I have one in my trailer, so, you know, that's
a very good question, and it's been asked many times, I think
there are diagrams of The Enterprise that illustrate where the
bathrooms are. They must have them, all that Earl Grey's gotta
go somewhere, you know! Hi!
film did you enjoy making the most, Generations or First Contact?
Oh, I preferred
First Contact. I, er think it's a better film. Um, I can't tell
you how difficult it is to make a good movie, um, it's even difficult
to make a bad movie, er, just making a movie is difficult, and
it's an accident if it turns out right, and obviously you have
to start with a good script or you don't have a chance in the
world, but I really felt First Contact was an interesting script.
I think Jonathan Frakes did a great job directing it, and ah,
um, we had some great guest stars on it, and er, it was just a
deeper and darker and more interesting piece. The problem with
Star Trek movies in general, however, is that er they're rushed,
it's a real rush to do them. You know, we'll see a script in January,
in March we start shooting, it's finished first of July and it's
in the theatres by November. Nothing shoots that fast, and they're
really - Paramount Pictures understands that there's a real market
for these films and so they don't really - there's noone here
from Paramount is there? they don't really care if they're good
or bad, they just want Ďem out there, and we're complaining all
the time and saying, No, it has to be good, it has to be good,
we don't want to do it unless its good, but they're really rushed.
And so, we got very lucky on the last one, I thought First Contact
was really a quality movie. I wasn't that crazy about um Generations
until I saw Twister, and then I thought Oh, Generations was good!
have to use (the person is interupted by another on-screen message
- "Is the Borg Queen snoggable?")
Is the Bord
Queen snoggable - (Brent is enjoying practising his accents again)
What d'you mean, "snoggable"? Is that a word? (Audience members
yell out "Kissable") That's a word, that you say it often over
here? Snoggable? It's, where am I? What is this place called?
(audience: Blackpool.) Blackpool. Is it er only used in Blackpool,
snoggable? (audience: No) What does snoggable mean? (audience:
Kissable) Kissable, huh? Does it mean kissable? (audience: Yes)
Does it mean anything else? (Half the audience yells Yes, and
the other half yells No!) Let me just say, I'll go on record now,
yes, Steve, she was snoggable, OK? She was more than snoggable
actually! What's more than snoggable? Donít say it, there are
kids! Thanks! Where am I? Am I over here, Manny?
What's the wierdest thing you've ever signed?
thing I've ever signed? Well, let me just say this, I can't tell
you what it was but it was not snoggable! I'm trying to think
if I've ever signed anything particularly wierd, um, you know,
signing a photo of myself is pretty darned wierd, let me tell
you that, something I never in my life bargained for, and I have
only done it two, three times now, I do, I have about the most
worthless signature on the planet because the fewer there are
the more valuable they are - I've signed 16-17 million, something
like that. Paul Newman, you know, does not sign autographs. He
- at all - but he's very nice about it. I've actually seen this
happen. A friend of mine went up to him and asked for an autograph,
and he said, "I don't sign autographs, but I'll buy you a beer",
and he took her and brought her a beer. She was snoggable,
have to use your Star Trek acting when you had to die in Independence
Day? (That from another youngster.)
have to use - whadda you mean by Star Trek acting? Its, acting
is acting, you know? You have certain objectives, you try to accomplish
them and do them with some level of believability, that's all
I did. But I have to tell you I was something of an expert on
the Independence Day set. Um, Bill Pullman who played the president
was constantly coming up to me and saying "Now, how do I do this?
and "there's nothing there, what am I supposed to be doing?" and
I said "Ah, you need to know how to do Spining, I can teach you
how to do Spining, but uh, there was something similar about it,
ah, believe me in that scene when we got there er it was a laboratory,
or an operating room as those of you who saw it - 800 million
dollars Independence Day has made so far, and I'm happy to say
I had 50 per cent of it - that's why I'm here in Blackpool, eh?
uh, but um, I was thinking, this is really wonderful, I'm getting
to play a human being and its a different character, and he's
sort of fun and crazy, and I was really enjoying it and I was
thinking No, this is not like Star Trek at all this is great,
- not that I ever knock Star Trek, but it was new for me and it
was different, and uh, we're in the laboratory and suddenly they
started to fill the room with smoke and I think it was just like
being on Star Trek again, it really was. Actually the guy who,
you did say, that killed me, didn't you? What makes you think
that Dr Okun is dead? Ah,
breathing? That may be true but the camera was only on him for
two or three seconds, you know. Actually, I just ran into Dean
Devlin, who wrote Independence Day, and he said that there is
going to be a sequal to Independence Day, not for a couple of
years, but they are going to do another one, and he said to me,
"Got great news for you, I finally figured out how to bring Dr
Okun back", and he wouldn't tell me what it was, or I'd tell you,
of course! but apparently, well, I don't know if Dr Okun was dead,
he just fell on the floor, and had his eyes open. Er, there was
a line originally, and it was actually filmed, it was the guy
who came over and knelt down by me said, "He's dead", and they
cut that because if there was a sequal they wanted to bring me
back again, which I'm very happy about, so we'll see, I don't
know, I don't know what the deal is, I could be his evil twin
brother, y'know. Lore Okun. Oh, Manny?
I wanted to know, in your non-Data roles in Star Trek, did you
prefer to play Dr Soong or Lore?
I prefer Dr Soong or Lore? Gee, that's tough, er, I enjoyed playing
both of them. I particularly enjoyed Lore because he was, he was
like me, and it was an opportunity for me to play myself, y'know,
so. Not really! Yes, Ma'am?
you want to say no, but can I give you something?
give me something?
I don't see why not. It's OK (to the security people). Watch me
tackle her! (to the audience) Well, thank you so much. (to the
security people, "Get her!") It's so nice of you, you're Angela,
right? (reading the girl's T-shirt) "Do not touch, property of
Brent Spiner", it says, (warmly) ummm, yes, quite snoggable,
you are, Angela! Thank you so much, Angela, oh, I'm always
loosing, thank you, her address is in it, she says! I waved to
you in London? Of course, Hi, I haven't seen you since the premiere
in London. Angela!
goes back to her seat. Brent stops to get some water.) This is
me drinking. This is me choking! Manny, who do we have behind
door number three?
you know when you did Independence Day and Phenonomon,
think you want to retire from Star Trek and do those for the rest
of your life?
from Star Trek and do the cameo roles for the rest of your life.
You know what, they don't pay near as well, but (another message
flashes on the screen, I don't remember what that one was)
that Steve, what a sense of humour, huh? You know, I really enjoyed
doing both of those films. Its been great, I've been doing Star
Trek for 10 years and its been fantastic, and obviously it was
the best thing that ever happened to me careerwise, so I'm perfectly
happy to continue doing it as long as the scripts are good, but,
um, but I was sort of looking forward to a time when I wasn't
doing it every week. When we were doing the series we worked five
days a week for 16-17 hours a day, for 10 months so that there
was no time really to do anything else, and um, so I was really
looking forward to seeing what would happen after Star Trek and
ah I've been really lucky and I've gotten some really fun parts
to play. I did a movie that's coming out in America on the 4th
July so it should be here around 2010, right? It's er called "Out
to Sea". It's Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau and it was so much
fun. I actually, forgive me, but I play a British cruise director.
But what was great about that was not just Jack and Walter, who
were fantastic to be around, but it was also Donald O'Connor and
Elaine Stritch, and Hal Linden and Rue McClanaghan and Gloria
de Haven and on and on, a really good cast, so yuh, I'm enjoying
it. Hallo, Donna.
like to know if you had to instigate variations in character that
you had during the filming of the series or whether the scriptwriting
team came up with (we canít hear this very well.)
sorry, could somebody tell me, I couldn't hear you.
(Someone gets her to talk into the microphone.) Hallo.
the filming of The Next Gen series,
have to ask the scriptwriting team for variations on Data, or
do they come up with (We still canít hear her) by themselves.?
I know what you're saying. Thank you. Actually, it was sort of
fifty-fifty. I mean, I really enjoy playing other things aside
from Data on the series, and I enjoyed playing Data in different
sort of modes of behaviour, and we all sort of discovered that
at the same time in the first season. My biggest fear when I took
the part was it was going to be a very limiting role, and I actually
had a director on the third episode say to me, ĎYouíre gonna get
so sick of this because there's nothing you can do with this,
its just going to be flatí, and fortunately, luckily, the writers
rose to the occasion and gave me all kinds of fun things to play,
and the more they did that the more I encouraged them to keep
I don't know if Iím going to dump you in it here, but Eric Menyuk
did say, when you were chatting before your last audition for
the part that you weren't a Star Trek fan.
That I was
not a Star Trek fan? Eric Menyuk told you that? Why on earth would
you be talking to Eric Menyuk? He did two episodes and we didn't
even speak to him! No, I'm kidding. Ah, no, there's a certain
amount of truth to that, I actually wasn't that familiar with
it. I mean, I'd seen a few episodes when I was three or four!
- er, I enjoyed them, but I wasn't the kind of fan Eric Menyuk
was a huge Star Trek fan, and loved it, and really wanted the
part; you do know that Eric Menyuk was the Traveller, and he was
also second choice for the role of Data. Actually, Colm Meaney
auditioned for the role of Data too. Ah, and Tom Cruise, but,
I thought I was going to be Jerry Maguire, so, but, um, no, it's
true. I called Cory Allen, is that his name, Cory Allen? Didn't
he direct the pilot, yuh, oh, he called me, and he said, "We really
love what you're doing with the part, and I really think that
you'd be great in this role", he went on and on, and he was very
nice, and I said "You know, Cory, I don't really know if I want
to do this",and he said, "Well, nobody's offering it to you",and
er but Eric really wanted to do it because he was a huge Star
Trek fan, and I actually, in all honesty, when the part was offered
to me, I called my agent and said "I don't think I wanna do this,
and I'm gonna pass",and he said, "Oh, don't pass, just do the
pilot, see if you enjoy it, if you don't I can get you out of
the series",and I had such a good time doing the pilot and working
with those people, I thought, you know, "I could do this for a
long time",and as it turned out I did.
you continue to play Data if they make any more films?
I know Paramount Pictures thinks I'm going to. But I'm fortunate,
neither Patrick Stewart or myself have contracts to do any more
than one film at a time. and, um, I'm certain the same goes for
Patrick as it does for me, as long as the script is a reasonable
story and something that might be interesting to people we'll
do it. If it seems like its something that they're just trying
to perpetrate on this audience, then I have no interest in doing
it. I'll do it as long as it's interesting, and as long as I'm
believable agewise, because er, I do think I'm kind of skating
on thin ice right now in terms of believability where Data's concerned.
And it's not just about whether one looks young or old, there's
a real essence to Data that has to do with a childlike quality
that the older I get the less of it I have, and I don't wanna
compromise something that I spent ten years doing and felt really
good about, so the next film - I have no idea by the way what
that's about, we don't have a story yet, er, we do know its number
nine, so it sort of doesn't matter what the story is, it's an
odd numbered movie, and my suggestion to Paramount - I called
them, and they won't listen to me, was let's skip nine, and go
right to ten, but . Yes Ma'am?
Independence Day, what was it like to be supposedly killed by
an alien, and did those short trousers give you a draft?
the part before the trousers?
was it like to be killed by an alien?
To be killed
by an alien? Well, I wasn't really killed I was just brutalised,
I had his being and his essence inside of me and I spoke for him,
it was heaven! Actually, an interesting, or maybe not, thing to
know, is that er the guy who was inside the alien in Independence
Day, um, assisted Michael Westmore on my makeup on First Contact
and was nominated for an oscar. Little titbits you didn't know,
or maybe you did? Manny?
advice do you have to young budding actresses like myself who
want to get in where you are now, preferably not go to a good
theatre school, that's what everybody tells me, so any other advice
you can send my way would be great.
suggest going to a good theatre school! No, I mean obviously you
should go to a regular theatre school, but er, I'm not really
sure that I could advise anybody to become an actor, er it's a
really difficult road as I'm sure you know, and people told me
the same thing. I think it's really a matter of if you have to
do it you will do it, and it doesn't matter what anybody says
but I think the most, from my experience, the most important ingredients
are luck, is number one, I'm sure you've heard that, it's absolutely
true, and tenacity, I think, is number two, just not being discouraged,
because when I look around at all the people I know who are actors,
that is the one thing they have in common, is they couldn't be
discouraged. Talent is way down on the list. Um, clearly, I'm
here to prove it, but, oh, that's called self-deprecation, it
endears you to people, that's why I do it! No, er but truly it's
such a cruel business, and, I have a theory that everybody in
the world wants to be in show business, or has wanted to at one
time in their life, or at least toyed with the idea, to get to
be actor, maybe I could get to be a singer, I'd really like to
do that, it looks like fun, and it's simply the people who couldn't
be discouraged who are still doing it, because you get so much
rejection, um even when you get successful you still get rejection.
I still have to audition for films and you know I'll work for
somebody, like when I did Independence Day I did that film for
Twentieth Century Fox, the movie made more money than any film,
except for Jurassic Park I think, worldwide in film history, and
they were very pleased with what I did at Fox, and Out to Sea
came up next, and it was a Twentieth Century Fox film, and I thought
they were just going to give it to me, and I had to audition twice
and still they didn't want to give it to me because they thought,
"No, he's the crazy guy from Independence Day",and fortunately
the director came in and said, "This is the guy I want",and they
went with her, but it never stops, it really doesn't, unless you're
Jack Nicholson it never ends, the difficulties, so I hope you'll
change your mind, go into medicine, work as an orderly! Good luck.
a man of many, many talents, many parts, most of which are functional
if we understand them, but as an actor you've had an awful lot
of experience of different parts, but if somebody said they'll
give you a blank cheque, sit you in front of a laptop and write
a script for yourself, anything you like, take as much time as
you want, what would you do, what kind of part would you write
for you, based on what you've done so far?
as much time as I want?
taking his time!)
Er, I don't
know, I think if I could write one part for myself it would be
a guy with multiple personalities, um, someone incredibly schizophrenic,
because it does get dull playing the same thing over and over.
I've been lucky I haven't had to, but.
the good side or the bad side?
all hang out?
go that far, no, but I am fully functional, its, er you know,
I don't know, people have asked me, I don't really fantasise about
what I would like to play anymore. I used to do that when I was
a kid, and I used to think well that role could be right for me,
or that role would be right for me, but, I've found over time
that careers seem to have a life of their own, and you wind up
doing things you never dreamed you would do or that you even dreamed
you were right for, believe me it never occured to me I would
be playing a super strong, super intelligent android, you know,
action hero kind of guy, that just didn't seem possible, and there
it was, and that just keeps happening over and over until finally
I've just given in and let my career go where it may, and just
see if I can do it.
keep doing what you're doing.