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Brent Spiner in Blackpool, May 1977  Saturday Part 2

Hallo.

Hallo, Brent. In interviews, you often talk about American comedians and comedy shows that you enjoy. Are there any British ones that you like?

Well, my 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.

And whilst weíre on the subject of comedy, a friend of mine tells me that you do a really good impersonation of Patrick Stewart. (Audience cheers encouragement.)

(Patrick 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?

Hallo, Mr Spiner. I would like to ask you to read something out for me. Can you do that?

I can try.

Can I come up, please?

Yeah, yeah. 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.

Have you got any plans to record another album and I hope the answer runs along the lines of Ďyes, soon!Ď

Oh, dream 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.

What about here?

You must all come!

Come on, do it here!

Whatís that?

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.

How do 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.

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?

If what?

If its 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.

Hi, Brent, do you still remember Ode to Spot?

What, Ode 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. Yuh?

Hallo, Brent, my son Wesley wants to ask you a question, but he won't.

But he won't?

He won't ask it himself.

He won't? Why?

He's shy.

That's OK, I'm shy, I won't answer!

He wants 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!

Is there 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.

She also claimed that you wanted to do a football boot with it.

A what?

She said 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!

Hi, Brent.

Hi.

In the 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.

That 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!

Hi Brent, my name is Brin.

What is it?

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.

Well 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 really.

OK.

First, is there someone that you were very surprised to discover that they were a Trek fan and kept carrying on like this?

Yeah.

And, my second question, you know the way that Richard Attenborough, the British director, spent 20 years trying to get "Ghandi" onto the screen.

Uh hum.

Is there anything that you feel that you would really like to do if all the resources were kind of unlimited? Something you really feel passionate about.

Er, I'd 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?

Somebody that you didn't know was a trekkie.

Someone 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.

Hi, Brent.

Hi.

I've heard you tap dance. Would you do it for me now?

(Brent "taps" 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.

Thank you.

Pleasure. Hallo.

Hi, Brent.

Hi!

You are 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?!

Who's my 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!

Anybody 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.

Which character do you rather prefer, Lore or Data?

Which one 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?

(We canít 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?

Do you 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?

I liked you in First Contact.

What? Liked me in First Contact? You have excellent taste, by the way! Thank you so much.

Oh, weíre 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?

(We canít 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.

Folks, I 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.