Over the course of StarTrek.com’s weekly interviews with actors-turned-directors, we’ve been talking to line regulars who settled into the director’s chair: Roxann Dawson, Jonathan Frakes, Rene Auberjonois, Tim Russ, Robert Duncan McNeill, etc. Today, we chitchat with Andrew Robinson, who parlayed his returning persona as Garak on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine into the opportunity to steer the DS9 hour, “Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Plaza, ” and a pair of Voyager episodes, “Blood Fever” and “Unforgettable.” We sat down with Robinson over breakfast during the recent Star Trek Las Vegas event, and here’s what he had to say…
You’d guided theater before you were on DS9. When did it pop into your foreman that you wanted to direct DS9, and how did you approach Rick Berman?
Well, it’s a funny story. I wasn’t a regular on DS9, but they paid me well enough so that I could pay monies, which gave me the opportunity to start directing theater, which I did with my busines. Right off the bat, I triumphed two L.A. Drama Commentator Awards for Beckett’s Endgame and Harold Pinter’s Homecoming. I was the first double champion in one year for two continues, and I knew that the L.A. Times was just going do a big feature on me, so, the morning the Times article came out, I announced Rick. I said, “Check the L.A. Times, Rick. And too, can I guide an chapter? “
To which he replied?
“Come in. Let’s talk.” And he agreed to let me direct.
The actors-turned-directors went through the unofficial directors’ program. Make us through your remembrances of doing that.
It was like going to school. Superintendents like Les Landau, they just let me come in. I went through the entire process, from the initial confronts through the editing process. It was great. I’d done some of that before, because I had been flirting with this. I had a friend who was a director, and I sat in with him. But this was exhaustive. Les adoration learning. He’d sit down and say, “OK, this and this and this and this.” Very versed. He got a lot of ordeal. It was invaluable, working with him.
What was your reaction when you got the dialogue for “Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places”?
It was a great script. I believe it was Ron Moore’s. It scared the hell out of me, because abruptly, it was real. This was going to happen. I did all my due diligence. I broke the script down and got my shot directories. That all went well. It was the first day of filming which was one of the worst eras of my life.
There was this set they had, this huge Klingon hall. I don’t know what the hell it was. But it was a huge rectify that expensed them a great deal of money, and they had to use it, I suspect to get their money’s usefulnes, or something. It was this cavernous goddam home. I judged, “OK, I’m going to do this long shot, in which we dolly in.” Jonathan West says, “OK.” They expended the part morning igniting it. This was my ignorance, of course, but to light-headed a huge opening takes an enormous amount of period, especially in one shot, if you want to start broad and then come into a sword fight. It was terrifying. On the first day, I was half a day behind. Then, I panicked. Literally, I panicked and froze. I also lost my sense of angles, because it was a fight. I lost more day with that.
It came out fine. So, how did you heal?
It did come out penalty. It did come out fine. I wanted to quit, though. I was so traumatized by that day, but I had everyone’s substantiate and we got through it. Then, the other thing that happened that was traumatic is that there was this love story between Worf and Jadzia. They have this grouchy relationship. Ira( Behr) “ve told me”, “Let’s get them to kiss, because cherish panoramas, parties caress at the end.” I said, “Oh, absolutely.” Well, they wouldn’t kiss. The performers would not kiss. I’d do take after take. I’d say, “OK, please , now, will you goddam caress? ” They wouldn’t kiss.
They didn’t be considered that their arc warranted it just yet?
I guess because I was a newbie, they contemplated, “Yeah, well, let’s try something new. Let’s not caress, and let’s…” Ira was so pissed at me. “Why? Why didn’t you get them to kiss? Goddam it. They’re supposed to kiss.” I said, “I know, Ira. But … What am I supposed to do, maintain a grease-gun to them? Kiss! ” But it directed that they didn’t kiss. It did. It did. Division of my education was, at the end, when the bout was done, went through the editing process, Ira and Rick fetched me up to the role, sat me down. Because I had a contract to do a duet more episodes, Voyager, actually, with( creator) Jeri( Taylor ), “theyre saying”, “OK. “Its what you” did wrong…” I’m sitting there, and I’m feeling like five years old, going through this, “Oh, Jesus.” If I didn’t have that ordeal, learning what I did inaccurate and right, going through their own problems, and- maybe- if I didn’t have a contract, it would’ve is an element and done for Robinson.
Before we move on to your Voyager episodes, “Looking for par’Mach” had some other interesting elements…
It did. It did. It had the Miles-Kira storyline, and Colm and Nana were great to work with. Then, we had the slapstick and the Cyrano de Bergerac thread. There was a lot going on, but I had a great cast, our regulars plus Joe Ruskin, Phil Morris and Mary Kay Adams. Wonderful actors.
After your frightful occasion on the first day, how pleased were you with the accomplished bout?
I like the occurrence. When I considered it, I recollected, “Oh, you are familiar? This comprises together.” It’s an quirky legend. There’s spooky trash that happens, but that’s OK. It’s fitting in this macrocosm. I liked it until I went in the chamber with Ira and Rick. Then, I’m thinking, “Oh, oh, oh.” Then afterwards, I went away and I felt, “OK, maybe there was material I missed, pickups or tilts or happens I’d have done if I had been more experienced.” But still, it was a storey told pretty well, and I liked it.
Your firstly Voyager was “Blood Fever.” What do you withdraw of that suffer?
“Blood Fever, ” of the chapters I led, was the best one. There was an underpinning to that entire happen about sensuality and this whole happen about obsession. I guess it was called upon to my prurience.
How touchy was it to depict pon farr without vanishing, reprieve the pun, extremely far?
Well, we extended as far as we are capable of, and then I was told, “OK , no more.” It’s quashed feeling come through here. It’s the thing that happens to us when we’re in sensuality. All rationality got to go out the window, and you’ll do anything to satisfy it.
How impressed were you with the performances? You had Alexander Enberg as your primary guest, and then Dawson and McNeill…
I desired the DS9 chaps. I’ll go to war with them. And the Voyager cast, they’d lie in front of a truck for you. They showed me a great deal of respect. They were younger, and they were just incredibly supportive solving problems. I’m not surprised that Roxann and Robbie and Tim( Russ) afterward become heads. I love those performers who, you’re working with them, and they say, “You know, I’ve got an idea for this.” They’re smart, so it’s a good theory. It induces their own lives easier, and it realise you appear a little better. Tim were of the view that enormous shot with the profile, to get the ears.
Then there was “Unforgettable”…
Virginia Madsen. I hope she’s well and prospering. I haven’t realized her in a long time. She was so sweet, prone and open. Robert( Beltran) absolutely appreciated that. He was so lucky to have her as a partner in the chapter. He’s a good performer. I don’t know why they didn’t use him more. He worked hard on this. He had an opportunity to do something now and he did it. That’s what I remember most about that one, Virginia and Robert. I was pretty joyful with the episode.
You went on to become a faculty administrator on Judging Amy, but didn’t seek guiding afterwards. Why not?
I detested convening at monitors and having the authors and creators whispering in my ear, “You’re going to … Are “you know youre going” …? Are you going to let her toy just the way it is? Wait , no. That route. That string should be funnier.” The better depicts are not done by committee. They’re done by one person’s vision, person or persons concluding directorial choices. If “youre starting” hesitate, and you start coming inside the process … As much as the money was splendid, I said, “Screw that.” I vanished, “If I’m going to direct, I’ll precisely direct theater now.” I addrest and I educate at USC for 14 times. I just retired from that and now I’m acting again. I actually only did a short cinema and a dally.
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