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Behind the Scenes of Star Trek: Insurrection

Note to readers: I attended the press junket  for the ninth Star Trek film but the company I was writing for at the time wasn't interested in a traditional article based on the interviews that took place that day. Instead, they wanted a tidbit column. This is it.

By Beth Hannan Rimmels

n Brent Spiner sees himself as "skating on thin ice" in regard to growing too old to play Data. He feels he has maybe one more Trek film in him even though they could come up with an excuse for the change in Data’s appearance. He feels that certain elements of Data require a youthful presence and "child-like naiveté" that aren’t attractive on a guy in his mid-fifties.

n They tried to repeat a Deep Space Nine cameo a la Robert Picardo’s cameo in First Contact as the holographic doctor by having Armin Shimerman make an appearance as Quark at the end of the film. But unlike the Picardo appearance, Quark’s was more of a standalone tag at the end of the film that it really didn’t fit in and was cut. Max (Rom) Grodenchik’s cameo as a Trill in the library scene remains if you look closely. Originally Grodenchik threw a spitball at Riker in the scene, but that was cut out also.

n Star Trek: Insurrection is composer Jerry Goldsmith’s fourth score for a Star Trek film, in addition to scores for both Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

n Goldsmith likes the fact that director Jonathan Frakes is a trombone player because it means he understands music and it makes it easier for them to discuss music for the films.

n Because the cast wants to put a little more space between films, to maintain the interest of the fans in the meantime, Spiner suggests that the regular Next Gen get together and do a non-Trek film with each actor playing very different roles. Since it would not be science fiction, the budget would be much smaller and it could attract a larger audience. This alternate film could come out in about two years and then be followed by a Trek film in another two years. Frakes thinks it’s a wonderful idea he plans to take to Paramount. He would also like to direct it.

n The opticals for the final explosion in STI were dropped as recently as November 30.

n Spiner doesn’t like heights, but he enjoys swimming so he loved the scene of Data walking in the lake. He wasn’t as fond of having to take a helicopter to the mountains for some scenes, though it did give him an excuse to hold Donna Murphy’s hand.

n An executive at Viacom sold Frakes on the title Star Trek: Insurrection rather than Star Trek: Prime Directive by pointing out that it was Cecil B. DeMille-like. They were also concerned that than Star Trek: Prime Directive would be "too inside" because "Prime Directive to non-Trekkers means ‘important memo,’" said Frakes.

n Jerry Goldsmith was approached to write a Star Trek opera. Goldsmith was interested but turned it down to other commitments. Frakes thinks it’s a fabulous idea and hopes someone else does it.

n To hedge the odd-numbered sequel curse, Frakes referred to Insurrection as "nine of ten," a joking reference Voyager’s beautiful Borg.

n Patrick Stewart is a big fan of the old TV show Thunderbirds and one of his ambitions was to appear in an episode of Doctor Who.

n Spiner originally had mixed emotions about the his action figures but then figured, "if it’s good enough for Alec Guinness [Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars]…" then it was good enough for him.

n When discussing ideas for the next film, Frakes wondered what it will take for Picard and Riker to get promoted because characters on every other incarnation of Star Trek have been promoted except the two of them.

n While Star Trek: Insurrection has some elements of a Western, Spiner feels that the films are more like Tarzan movies with Picard as Tarzan and himself as Cheetah.