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
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
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!
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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,
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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