Spiner in Blackpool, May 1977 Saturday Part
Brent. In interviews, you often talk about American comedians
and comedy shows that you enjoy. Are there any British ones that
hero of heroes, my number one idol, was Peter Sellers, er, who,
I just read a recent book that was written about him, and not
only an incredible genious but an absolutely horrible human being
on top of it - what more can one want, you know? But, no, Peter
Sellers, John Cleese, er, Alistaire Sim - huge Alistaire Sim fan
- er, I was really disappointed I missed a documentary that was
on the other night. I arrived a day too late to see it and I saw
it in the paper. I saw Alistaire Sim in 1974 do a Pinero play
called Dandy Dick, and he was absolutely hilarious.
weíre on the subject of comedy, a friend of mine tells me that
you do a really good impersonation of Patrick Stewart. (Audience
being very deprecating) No, not really, not really, oh, hallo
Jackie, anybody call me? (In his own voice) Oh, itís not that
good, really, but you know somehow over a mic it doesnít translate,
but when I call on the phone, donít you think itís him? (To Jackie
Edwards) Did you? I called Wendy the other day, Patrickís girlfriend,
'Darling, oh Iím so tired', and she said 'Whatís the matter, Patrick?'
'Oh, you know, I was driving around in my Jaguar', (posh, drawling
pronounciation) 'had the top down and the air got in my throat
and', the voice of god, Patrick Stewart, actually, heís a very,
very good person, by the way. Yes, Maíam?
Mr Spiner. I would like to ask you to read something out for me.
Can you do that?
I can try.
come up, please?
Can I ad lib? (The woman comes up to the stage.) What does that
say? What does your shirt say? (reading her T shirt), 'Nothing
could be finer than to be with Brent Spiner', Wow! Ah, that Gus
Kahn could write lyrics, couldnít he? Whatís this? 'Darling, you
remain as aesthetically pleasing as the first day we met. I believe
I am the most fortunate sentient in this sector of the galaxy,
if you know what I mean'. Thatís Data to Gemma in (audience shouts,
Theory) Theory, exactly. A great day for all of us, eh? 'Darling',
(heís doing it again) 'you remain as aesthetically pleasing' -
thatís Patrick playing Data! Hi, there.
you got any plans to record another album and I hope the answer
runs along the lines of Ďyes, soon!Ď
on! No, I er, you know I used to say that I was going to do another
album as soon as I got ready to lose a whole lot more money, but
um I actually broke even on the album, so thereís a possibility.
I am going to be singing, however, er, live and in person, in
New York city.
on, do it here!
Do it here?
Nah! No, I tell you what, Iíve just gotten over a really terrible
cold, Iíve had this cold for nine months, and er no, seriously,
can you tell? My voice is lower, isnít it? I'snít it, Jackie?
Jackie? Itís about my throat, Iím talking about my throat. This
doesnít even sound like me, does it? (She says it sounds like
Patrick.) Exactly! ĎThe hills are aliveĎ - and you know what,
I would love to, I would love to be able to sing, letís bring
out the band! No, itís just I feel like, I like to be prepared
and I like to be in good voice and I like to be able to do it
right and if I canít then Iíd rather not do it, but if youíll
come to New York - as I know you will - I am going to be singing
in a musical on Broadway, you may know this musical, itís called
1776, its a great show, it really is, itís one of the best musicals
ever written and its about er Americaís independence from this
awful country that er - hey, wait a minute! Ooh, no, you know
what its about, King George and all of that. But I play John Adams,
who sort of railroaded the whole Declaration of Independence and
all of that, its really a sensational show, and it opens in August
and Iím doing it till November, and Iíll be singing live, scarey
as it may be. (Someone in the audience calls, Send it over here.)
You know what, I just might. She said, send it over here, and
Iíll come with it, Iím not going to send it! Iíll come, of course
Iíll come with it. You know, Iíll be in New York for six months,
and I was thinking ĎOh, I donít know if I want to be in New York
for six monthsĎ, I lived in New York for ten years, and Iím so
much older now, and it was really fun when I was young, but Iím
just really nervous about living on the streets of New York again.
New Yorkís a really exciting town. I was walking around London
the other night and I was thinking, ĎNo, this is where I want
to be for six months!Ď so you never know, it could happen.
you get Data, Lore and Noonian Soong on the same bit of Star Trek
if you play them all? (this from a youngster).
It was hard,
it really was. You know, sometimes you just have to split yourself
in the middle to do these things, but. No, it was, Iíll tell you
the truth, it was trick photography. It was what they call split
screen, and you do one part on one side of the screen and one
part on the other, and it was a very difficult proposition, and
the only thing that got me through it was that it gave me the
opportunity to work with my favourite actor! Thanks. Hallo.
I was just going to ask about Out to Sea, and what it was like
working with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon? And Iíve read that
you sing, and if thatís true, what do you sing, and also my friend
wanted me to ask if its true that you wear shorts?
true that you wear shorts in the film?
I do wear
shorts in the film, actually. Um, just one scene, but working
with Jack and Walter was a dream, it was truly a dream come true.
To work with people of that calibre- I mean, Jack Lemmon and Walter
Matthau, two of the great comedy actors of all time. Walter is
76 years old, Jack is 72, and they are still staring in movies,
one after another. Thatís never happened before. Can you think
of anybody else, aside from George Burns, who was 80 when he started,
really, as a star, I mean he was of course, George and Gracie
when he was younger, but they werenít filmstars. I canít think
of anybody else who starred in motion pictures in their seventies.
Is there anybody else? Katherine Hepburn, yeah. Who? Alec Guinness.
No, no, Kirk Douglas is 69 today. Alec Guinness? did he star in
movies in his seventies? I donít think so. He was (sorry, had
to change the tape here) and weíve actually become really good
friends, and just never dreamed I would know them much less work
with them, but incredible. Hallo.
do you still remember Ode to Spot?
to Spot? Um, Felus cattus is your taxonomic - wait - nomenclature,
an endothermic quadruped, carniverous by nature. Go ahead (to
the audience). You know what, I knew it by heart once. Um, it
was a great poem actually. I think er I think Brannon Braga wrote
that poem. Brannon's a wonderful writer really, and he's such
a perverse human being and the stuff that he comes up with is
always interesting. I really, really like working with Brannon.
He wrote Ode to Spot which is, I think, Pulitzer Prize stuff.
Brent, my son Wesley wants to ask you a question, but he won't.
But he won't?
ask it himself.
I'm shy, I won't answer!
to know what it was like having all that makeup on and having
to wear those contacts for so long.
It was horrible.
It really was, that was the worst part about the job. And there
were very few bad parts about the job. I would say, there were
only two bad things about the job. The length of time we ware
there during the day because we did the show for seven years,
and I certainly spent more of my life as Data in those seven years
than I did as myself. The other part was putting on the makeup
which was really tedious, er, I had to be the first one there
every morning. My makeup took longer than Michael Dorn's makeup.
Michael Dorn complains he was there for 15 minutes, y'know, he
had a rubber head and a nose and that was it, and um but I was
there getting painted every morning. I was lucky that the painter
was Michael Westmore who was a genious and a really wonderful
guy to be around first thing in the morning, but I resented all
the other actors er because I was sitting in the chair for an
hour before they ever showed up, and of course Mr Stewart himself
er only showed up about two or three minutes before we started
rehearsal. He'd slip into the makeup chair and they'd run a dry
mop over his head, you know, he's on the set, but for me the contacts
really bad, too, they were soft prescription contacts I have to
say; er they weren't my prescription, but they were prescription
contacts. And another bad part was that at the end of the day,
at the end of the evening, or whenever we would finish, everyone
else was out the door, they were gone, and I was trying to get
that stuff on my face, so it was the downside of a job that had
many, many, many upsides. Aren't you glad you asked me? Nar! Hi!
any truth to the rumour that you put Marina Sirtis' dog in a microwave?
I have heard
that question so many times, and it is simply not true. Marina
- I don't know if you've met Marina, but Marina doesn't tell the
truth. She embellishes things, you know. She said that Michael
- this was me and Michael Dorn, right? Yeah, that Michael Dorn
and I put her little dog Skiloggi in the microwave. Not so. It
was a trash compactor, actually. It was a joke! yíknow. But don't
believe Marina, ever.
claimed that you wanted to do a football boot with it.
you wanted to throw it in the air.
Oh, we did
that, Michael did that. I can only remember. She's really attached
to that. Y'know, it happened so long ago, and it was such a brief
moment. We were outside: Michael picked up the little dog, he
said, ĎBrent, go longĎ (stretching out arm in a throwing movement),
and I did catch the dog, too! Hallo!
future, do you think there is any possibility that there will
be a good love story for Data, or do you think it's a bad idea?
In the future..
What will happen? I'm sorry.
there is a love story for Data.
Oh, a love
story for Data. You know what, I think that's feasible, I mean
if Brannan were writing the next movie, which he's not, er he
would say I think that Data needs a proper love story, um I really
enjoyed er the love story for Data in the last film, um because
I thought it was really interesting, and right and peculiar and
disturbing, and that seemed right to me. Um, I don't know, I think
what we need to do, if Data's gonna have a love interest, it has
to sort of be thematically like, Bride of Frankenstein, you know,
where Data creates this, this woman for himself, and um, no? why?
(we could not hear the questioner here) Too nice? What are you
saying? What are you saying about your own fair sex? Um, no, I
think, er I think you know that, er, he will create a nice wife
for himself. Michelle Pheiffer is what I mean! She'd be good together,
I really do, I always thought that about her. But, we'll see,
I don't know, it could happen one day. Hi!
my name is Brin.
and I'm a Baptist minister, and to some extent I feel as though
I've been a kind of a closet Trekkie, because many of my Baptist
colleagues think it's very strange that someone like me carries
on the way I do. Two questions -
So do we,
by the way! It's not restricted to your colleagues, you know.
I thought it would be nice to come to this convention and it would
be nice to come out with someone like you so I can get official
recognition that I saw Brent Spiner at the convention. Two questions
is there someone that you were very surprised to discover that
they were a Trek fan and kept carrying on like this?
my second question, you know the way that Richard Attenborough,
the British director, spent 20 years trying to get "Ghandi" onto
anything that you feel that you would really like to do if all
the resources were kind of unlimited? Something you really feel
like to do a remake of "Ghandi" actually. I'm willing to put 20
years into it. You know what, I really didn't like "Ghandi", did
you? My friends and I whenever we refer to Ghandi, we always say
"That thing called Ghandi". I don't know why. I am not a big Richard
Attenborough fan as a director, I loved him as an actor, but I
am not a big Attenborough fan. I though he really blew "Chaplin"
totally. I felt that all he needed to make a great film of the
life of Chaplin was to have a great actor portraying Chaplin,
and he had it, he had Robert Downey giving one of the great performances
of all time, and still it was a bad movie. Um, sorry, what was
the first part?
that you didn't know was a trekkie.
I didn't know was a trekkie, that I didn't think maybe was as
unusual as yourself, being a Baptist minister. Um, yeah, the Reverend
Billie Graham is a trekkie. No, um, I'll tell you who, you never
know, um, no, I'll tell you, Mel Brooks was the biggest surprise
to me, Mel Brooks is a huge Star Trek fan. Cheers.
heard you tap dance. Would you do it for me now?
in his trainers.) You know, I tap danced on Star Trek if you recall.
(Audience yells "Yes! Data's Day".) Data's Day, exactly, and er,
people often (he first says it the British way, I think unintentionally,
then corrects his pronounciation) often ask me, was that me doing
all of that dancing. Yes, yes, it was. Sometimes I lie, too, you
know, it, er, it wasn't me, I did a lot of it. Whenever the shot
was overhead they used a guy who could do spot turns because I
can't do spot turns, I fall down. And, er, it was great to have
Gates McFadden, however, and it was at all times Gates McFadden
was actually dancing.
regarded as a prolific actor in the sci fi genre, so I would like
to ask you a serious question: who's your favourite Spice Girl?!
favourite Spice Girl, that's what he said, right? Yeah, the Spice
Girls and I, by the way, are so close, I've known them all their
lives, I used to babysit for them actually. Um, who's my favourite
Spice Girl? Ouch! What a difficult question, they are all so incredible.
You know that when we were here in December, we were in London
in December for the premiere of First Contact, we did the Lottery
Show, did anyone see that? (Audience yells "Yes!") It's a popular
show, isnít it? and who did we do the Lottery Show with? The Spice
Girls, exactly. Ah, and you know, they're children, so, so I didnít
really - well they are, arn't they? theyíre little girls. I didn't
er have anything to say to them particularly, we were backstage
with them, we were in the same dressing room, and er they kept
knocking on my door, but I wouldn't let 'em out! But, you know,
Michael Dorn is really the sort of Lothario of Star Trek. I mean,
he's the ladies' man, he's the guy they all love and he loves
all of them, and he couldn't have been happier that the Spice
Girls were there at the same time as us, and so he went up to
one of them and he said in his fashion, "Hi! How're you doing?"
(in Michael's deep voice), and one of them turned to him and said
"Get lorst, creep!" (that was Brent's cockney accent.) Y'know,
Michael kind of turned his head and said, "Guess she doesn't know
who I am." That actually happened. Thank you. Yeah, I didn't really
answer your question but I'm not going to, either!
else? No more questions? (There are no more people queueing up
at the microphones, and he is taking questions from people who
just call out.) Yes? (The person changed their mind.) No? You
raised your hand! You need somebody to point at you, and I did.
I'm sorry, could you say that again? How do I retain my youthful
looks? You know, I had to repeat that, she could have been on
a microphone for that one! How do I retain my youthful looks.
I'm very, very young! No, actually Iím not. I don't know, I'm
lucky, my grandmother looks like she's about 16, er so I look
older than my grandmother. No, it's a genetic thing, I do nothing
to retain my youthful looks and Iím sure one day I won't. Hang
on one moment, Madam (two people trying to talk to him at once.)
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Donna? All right, hang on yourself,
be right with you.
character do you rather prefer, Lore or Data?
do I prefer, Lore or Data? Er, I don't know, I like both of them
really. Um, I don't get as much opportunity to play Lore, er and
I'm not sure if I'll ever have the opportunity again to play Lore,
because Rick Berman our producer doesn't care for Lore and has
said so to me. He said "I really don't like Lore, and weíre never
gonna see him again". I think thatís a mistake, I like Lore, and
he said, "Well, he's gone, anyway" , and I said, "What do you
mean? He's in pieces in the hold of the ship, weíve got himĒ,
and I have always wanted to see the scene where you see an arm
sliding across the floor attaching to a torso, you know, and then
a head rolling. I don't know, I hope we get to see Lore again
someday. Yes, ma'am?
hear the womanís question.) A nickname for who? oh, you know,
no, Zippy the android - that's my standin for the first five years,
Tim Zippy, I think his name was, er decided that that was my nickname
even though he was the only one who ever used it. So, itís just
not really so. Yes?
ever think (we can't make this out)
Do I what?
(we still can't hear what she is saying.)
Do you understand
(to the audience)? Oh, I'm sorry. You know what, the speakers
are pointed that way so sometimes I can't hear, it's not you,
it's me. Did I ever think that one character could make that much
difference in my life? Never did. I really didn't. When I got
cast as Data Robert Justman, who was one of the producers on the
series in the first season then, had been a producer on the original
show, said to me 'Your life is going to change dramatically',
and I said, 'No, it's not, what are you talking about, it's just
another part?' And here I am in Blackpool, yíknow! Was there something?
you in First Contact.
me in First Contact? You have excellent taste, by the way! Thank
you so much.
out of time, is that what youíre saying? (The staff are telling
him to close.) Okay. Iíll have to finish now, but Iím gonna take
one more question. How about you?
hear this.) You know what?. She said she wanted to take me on
the big one! (Blackpool is a big pleasure centre with lots
of big dippers etc. if you donít call them that, big wheels that
take you up in the air, and hair-raising rides). The big one,
eh! She actually said, you played your brother, you played your
father, are you disappointed you didnít get to play your mother.
You know what, I asked if I could, I really did. I said, when
they wrote that episode, I said to Rick Berman, 'Please, Rick,
its perfect, you know, I played my father, I played my brother,
we should all look alike', and er, he wouldn't let me do it.
am going to be back tomorrow, I hope you are too. Think of some
good questions for me, and, um, and thank you so much for coming
and indulging me, and it's been great seeing you. See you tomorrow.