Kim Cattrall on playing Valeris

When Kim Cattrall was offered a role on Star Trek VI, she almost said no.

I just said, ‘No, I don’t think so. I’m beyond doing those kinds of roles.’ I just felt that the way women were portrayed in those movies were either leg furniture, real bitches, or basically extras and you never really felt for them. 

‘I think Saavik is a sympathetic character…but she doesn’t really do much, except in Star Trek III when she helps the young Spock go through his transition of becoming a man and his seven-year sexual [cycle]. So, I didn’t really have a clear idea of what women would be like in a Star Trek mode besides Uhura, and she’s basically a telephone operator – gorgeous, but I wanted more than that, and I thought, ‘I’m not going to do SF movies unless they give my character more meat.

But once she took the job:

“They said, ‘No, no, no, we want your input, and we would like you to name your character.’…And the look – there had never really been a Vulcan woman, except on the TV series. In all the episodes that I saw, the look was very nebulous; it wasn’t as specific enough as I thought Spock was. So, I came up with a hairstyle that I thought was similar and militaristic enough to work with. We designed a headband, shaved part of my hair, to make my ears stick out, and dyed my hair and eyebrows black. I wanted to look very, very retro and different, and I think we achieved it.”

[…]

“I just thought I looked so cool. I didn’t want to take the ears off at the end of the day and I would actually leave them on. I wanted to go out in them. I didn’t want to take them off…The first couple of nights I slept in them. Making a telephone call was a new experience for me because, if you’re not careful, you can leave half your ear on the receiver.”

On the difference between Saavik and Valeris:

“She’s much more dimensional than just a beautiful woman with backswept hair who wears funny ears and a sexy top. She’s much more defined. She has more succinct desires and wants, and she’s ambitious. With the other Saaviks, it was very difficult to tell what they wanted: they were very ambivalent. There’s really nothing ambivalent about Lieutenant Valeris. She has a role in her life, and she wants to do well and fit in, sometimes a little too much. But she’s very defined, whereas I felt both Saaviks weren’t. They were just sort of carbon copies of Spock.”

On not being “the villain”:

“I tried not to put ‘villain’ on Valeris. I didn’t want her to be the baddie. I wanted her to do it for reasons that she feels are just. Come on. ‘Klingons cannot be trusted.’…We’ve known that from day one. So, Valeris did what she felt she had to do. That’s the way I played it.”

From the March 1992 issue of Starlog.

1 Comment

Add Yours →

She’s wrong about some aspects of Saavik, but she’s dead-on about Valeris. Her motivation is clear as a bell, and you can see her perspective. More, you may even argue she’s right.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.