I had a chance to see so many great panels and Q&As at STLV 2014 and I made sure to take notes! Here are some of my favourite quotes and stories from the women of Star Trek.
First, pictured above, one of my favourite exchanges was in response to a question about being a role model for girls:
Marina Sirtis: Actually I’m pretty sure that most mothers would like Deanna Troi to be a role model for their daughters, but then they meet me and say, ‘Don’t turn out like Marina Sirtis.’
Terry Farrell: Actually, Marina is a great role model because she stands up and has her own voice. Sure, maybe she should look a little bit before she leaps, but at least she gets up and says something.
“I didn’t want to do that part and the reason I didn’t want to do it was…I didn’t want to do something I didn’t think I’d do well.
It wasn’t so much that she didn’t show emotion that was hard for me. It was the idea of playing her that was hard.
My first day on the show, the first scene was the scene where she breaks down to Counselor Troi, and I thought, ‘If I can get through that I’ll be okay.’ And I had Brent Spiner to watch and that was everything.”Hallie Todd (Lal) on a panel of memorable guest stars
You’ll see in that photo Hallie Todd is sitting next to Gwynyth Walsh (B’Etor Duras as well as Nimira on Voyager). Walsh told two stories about sexual harassment on set.
The first was about her first time filming on TNG. President Ronald Reagan was touring the set so Gene Roddenberry had come down. Barbara March, who played Lursa, was on the soundstage when Roddenberry came down in his wheelchair.
“Gene went up to Barbara and went, ‘Are those real?’” she said, miming that he poked Barbara March in the boobs. “Yes they are. Both of them,” Walsh reported.
Richard Arnold, who was a research consultant on TNG and worked closely with Roddenberry, said, “You honestly think he didn’t know?” He reported he and Roddenberry had been watching the dailies in his office, and “the second he saw the Duras sisters on the screen with those pushed-up fronts he turned to me and said, ‘Let’s go to the set’.”
So ew. Walsh also had a bad experience on Deep Space Nine:
An actor said, ‘You know, your plastic surgeon did a really bad job; those don’t look real at all’. And I said, ‘Well, they are.’ And he didn’t believe me, so sometimes it isn’t nice on Star Trek sets…I forgot his name, which is surprising because I found it very upsetting.
On the same panel, Suzie Plakson was asked about her favourite character to play. Her reply:
Q, for sure…I really thought it was sort of like Oscar Wilde meets Bewitched and I loved that I got to play that kind of arch, aristocratic, bored immortal.
Another panel of fabulous women guest stars featured TOS actors Tania Lemani, Celeste Yarnall, BarBara Luna and Sally Kellerman. Celeste Yarnall (Martha Landon in “The Apple”) talked about visiting Johnson Space Centre:
I got to say to two astronauts on either side of me, ‘I was in space before you.’ And they said, ‘We are in space because of you.’
I think there’s a special place in heaven for all of you. I think it’s just called ‘Star Trek Heaven’.BarBara Luna, STLV 14
Luna also talked about when she was offered the role of Marlena Moreau, after having always been asked to play “ethnic” roles where she was expected to put on an accent and act a stereotype:
“When I was offered the role of Marlena Moreau, I was like, ‘Why are they offering me this role, just this gal? Like, can I talk without an accent?’…I discovered the magic of sci fi is that people were just people.”
Of course one of the people I was most excited to see was Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway). Here’s what she had to say about the switch from Kes to Seven of Nine half-way through Voyager:
I think Jeri Ryan did a marvellous job in a very difficult role…and it was very clear to anyone with eyes in their head that Jeri’s beauty and sexuality was an important calling card for Star Trek in the numbers, and it worked.
…I thought maybe UPN would forego it with a woman captain, but it was clear: the audience wanted more sex and they got it, in the form of this lovely, talented actress.
Can’t wait for next year!