Rene appeared at The Continuum Convention in Glasgow, Scotland,
Saturday and Sunday, 20th/21st June 1998.

Rene received a very warm reception both days (no surprise), and was a very interesting and entertaining speaker. He drops into different accents and (showing his mime training) illustrates stories with his whole body. He also gave us a song in the style of the French Chef from The Little Mermaid.

Rene and Judith had been holidaying over here, they spent some time in Wales, and the week prior to the Con visited Rene's Dad, who is a writer and lives in Ireland. Armin joined them for a few days.
I had a ticket for the autograph signing on Saturday. Rene had produced some of his cartoons, and some absolutely stunning photographs that left me reeling (one was the marvellous one in his den that Lori told us about after Cleveland; the other is the one of Odo on the ladder looking upwards, but in a large, glossy size, it is even more sensational than ever!). Actually, I did not find them until the next day, because on Saturday I had to rush to get into the queue (line), the organisers having scheduled His Way so that it finished after the time I was told to get in the queue! (And don't forget we had not seen it over here, I had only gasped over the references to it on RAFL list!)
I had brought along a copy of his audiobook The Last Day, which is marvellous. I asked Rene how long it took to record it, and he said a day. He said, "I just read it, I don't make many mistakes". One day for six amazing hours of tape! (Anyone who has not heard it, go out and get it right now! Rene plays dozens of different characters, uses a host of accents, and the story is really interesting and well written.)
When he saw my RAIL/RAFL button, Rene said, "Oh, do say hello to them all for me". He said he did not have his laptop with him, so could not do so himself, so I was delighted to be able to pass on that message!

Mostly, Rene was answering questions from the audience; here are some of the questions and his answers. If people would like me to produce a transcript, let me know. I am assuming you just want some, rather than everything, here. As Lori mentioned in her Cleveland report, Rene is a wonderful, rambling, talker! Just reading a lot of what he said would not give any impression of "how" he said it!
By the way, Rene mentioned that he has just made an "Outer Limits". Also, I have heard that Rene says he cannot "do" Odo's voice unless he is in makeup. Ask him to tell you the story of how he got the part, and just for one moment, you will have both Rene and Odo with you!

About Terry Farrell leaving DS9:
She is already working on a new television show - a half-hour sit-com, with Ted Danson. She said she's never been happier in her life, she feels like this was what she was meant to do all her life, sit-com, in front of an audience, so I'm really happy for her, but sorry to lose her because she of all the principal characters in our show grew the most as a human being and as an actor during the course of the show.
The way they are planning to carry on with the story - and this is only rough, so details may change - they have to have an emergency operation, into this very, very, young, unitiated, woman, and she has to deal with all these terrifying emotions.

About Odo becoming a solid:
Rene said that because Odo grew and changed during the series, this kept him fresh, whereas that did not happen when he played "a neurotic twit" in Benson. Although he enjoyed it, and had a lot of fun doing the show, he did get quite bored with it as the years went on.

About O/K:
Ira wants to create the most mature and solid relationship of any Star Trek relationship that has happened.

When you visited the Klingon homeworld, did you enjoy being a Klingon?
Rene enjoyed that episode because the makeup, compared to Odo's, was easy to wear. He said he and Armin and Avery did an impression of The Supremes in their Klingon costumes.

About playing with Avery Brooks:
I love playing with Avery Brooks - he is very intimidating, I used to think he was like Darth Vader, he's so intense and at first I was just scared of him, but I am older than him so I pretended I wasn't. But over the years, found out, at heart he's a pussycat.

Do you always watch every show?
I very rarely watch the show. I don't like to watch myself. It makes me very uncomfortable to watch myself. I prefer to watch shows that I have very little to do in. I don't really watch, much television.

What made Star Trek successful?
One of the reasons is that like Shakespeare, and I am not comparing the show to Shakespeare, that would be presumptuous, is that you can take any story and just by adapting it tell that story. The producers of Star Trek have always been drawn to classically trained actors - its a different way of working.

About Far Beyond the Stars:
When we started doing that, Ira was very, very nervous. He came back to my house for dinner and started telling me about the show, how he enviseged it. Then it became clear to me that the character he had in mind for me to play was going to be the bad guy, the unsympathetic character, negative, the racist. After reading the script, Rene called him, and said Ira this is a wonderful script, and you are worried about how I would react about playhing this character, but I have to tell you, I am a character actor, that's what I have wanted to do all my life. I know it seems ironic that I'm sitting up here talking away, but you may not realise it, but I am actually a shy person, if we met on the street or something I'd be quite shy with you, and so the exhibitionism that I am free to do as an actor I do in a mask, I create actors that are not me.

Do you prefer straight or comedy roles?
When I was six I knew I wanted to be an actor. When I was 16 we moved to England, and I was very influenced by the British theatre and the fact that - I am talking about the 50s - that actors in Britain were able to be on stage, in television and in film .. I did King Lear when I was 25 years old, ..Charley's Aunt, Man and Superman, Moliere's The Miser, Shakespeare, everything. Comedy to me is the quintessential form, the most difficult form. You can't lie in comedy, and you can't lie to yourself. It becomes a tennis match between you and the audience, and if you put that ball back there and it doesn't come back with a laugh then you are out of sync and you start to loose your rhythm, and the whole thing falls down stairs. I can't stay away from the stage for too long, it's like a sport, you get out of shape if you stay away from it too long. I want to do something that requires a mental, verbal and physical agility, and that's what stage work requires.

Rene had a mask with him on Sunday, it had been given to him in exchange for signing autographs. The masks were being sold for 2 each, but he said he would not have bought one, because he so disliked the experience of wearing a mask on set. He put it on, and asked if it looked like Odo. It did not look a bit like Odo, although you could see that was who it was meant to be.

About THAT kiss:
I'm a character actor, I haven't had that many opportunities to kiss beautiful women. Filming is, it's really hard work, it's like a construction site or something...it's not very sexy. In the case of Kira and the big passionate kiss, you've got to remember I was covered in latex, the very definition of safe sex. And also Nana and I have known each other for six years, and we're good buddies but we're not "that way" with each other, and in an odd way it makes it more difficult than with a stranger, it's almost like kissing your sister or something, it's a little strange. And we rehearsed it once at speed, and because it was the first time we hadn't really worked it out together, and we really sort of smashed our faces together hard, then we came away, and my makeup in real life is very orange, because of the lighting, it's not pale like it looks on the television, and I looked at her, and her whole face was orange, and she looked at me, and my make up artist said "Oh god!". I had broken my whole face!

What gives you the most thrill, acting or directing?
Oh, definitely, acting... for me, directing is a huge challenge. Just as, if someone said I could only choose between acting on the stage and acting in front of a camera, I'd probably choose acting on the stage. .. though acting in front of a camera is in many ways easier and less stressful.

About performing on stage:
The audience knows they are seeing something that has never happened before and will never happen again.

About fan fiction:
I went out to dinner last night with Bob Picardo.. and I asked him, do you ever read any of the fan fiction, and he said, "Oooh, no".. I've just got a computer, actually, a few months ago, I've been a computer illiterate for years, So I looked at the Internet, and I punched in Star Trek, and up came a list "this big" (stretching out his arms), then I punched in Deep Space 9, and up came a list this big (smaller stretch), then I pushed in Odo, and (smaller stretch)... and I'd always heard about it but I'd never read any of it, and in looking down the list there was hundreds and hundreds of stories, and they were all rated like movies, with PG and R and triple X, so, of course, I went right to the triple X... I sort of wish I was capable of doing some of the things they wrote... I didn't read all of it, I just went into it to see what it was all about. Actually some of it is very well written, and I am not talking now about the sexy stuff, but there was one that was interesting to me because it was about Odo and Kira having a baby together, and how that would be possible, he being a shapeshifter and she being a Bajoran. And I thought this writer had a very interesting solution to that particular problem, which was that in the period of time when Odo lost his shapeshifting powers and was humanised, that Bashir when he was studying him took samples of his DNA at that time, and that was how it was possible for them to conceive a child.
(Rene went straight on to talking about ASI)
It does interest me. I remember one show, (ASI), there was a scene where they were in bed together after making love, and in the original script it was going to be very beautiful. You wouldn't even see Odo, she was going to be this glowing, golden mass, then he separates from her. They cut that. .. No-one could guarantee that it would actually work, and they wouldn't want it to spend all that money on it and then have it look stupid, be ugly and not something magical. But I hope if they continue the relationship with Odo and Kira they do try and show you how these two characters could actually make love, other than kissing and holding each other - a more linking kind of thing, more mystical..

The other main guest was Robert Picardo, who was also very good fun. They were supposed to change the order on Sunday (Rene was scheduled to be first on Saturday, second on Sunday), but Bob had gone over to Edinburgh and was delayed getting back (a train was cancelled). So Bob was waiting at the back of the hall while Rene was still speaking. When Rene saw him, he called out, "We're gonna get you into a kilt!" I did not really expect this to happen, but, sure enough, when Bob did come on stage, he was wearing a kilt (looked like Royal Stuart tartan, but I am not a Scot, and could not be sure about that). He had a lot of fun posing, crossing his legs, and claiming to "prove once and for all who has the best legs on Voyager!"


Credit The middle two pictures of Rene and the picture of Bob Picardo are shown here courtesy of Denise Grundy.
Back to Rene index page