appeared at The Continuum Convention, Glasgow,
Saturday and Sunday, 20th/21st June 1998.
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
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!
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
(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..
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!"
middle two pictures of Rene and the picture of Bob Picardo are shown here
courtesy of Denise Grundy.
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