“It Was Baptism By Fire” Terry Farrell Talks Star Trek, BeckerMarch 29, 2015
One of the many things that the Star Trek franchise has given us over the years is how so many of the actors are very humbled and appreciative of their fans. This is definitely the case with Terry Farrell, who spent three days at Toronto Comic Con smiling and greeting each fan like they were long lost friends. I sat down with Terry who talked about her days on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Becker, the circumstances surrounding her exiting both of those shows and how much she is enjoying motherhood.
So what was your first day like on the set of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine?
Oh my god, it was so nerve-wracking. The very first day I was in ops and it was like an opera set, it was so enormous, it was easily as big as this room and so it was like a theater and everybody else had been filmed so the camera was just on me and so I was really, really nervous. I had done guest stars and stuff but being on a series, I hadn’t been on one for a long time, I had taken a relationship hiatus from my career which was stupid but I did and you just deal with that, so it was really hard in the beginning getting used to being in front of the camera and everything again. It’s a little bit different when you are the guest star because the attention is not on you the same way, you’re not carrying the weight of having to carry the structure of the show. Also, because I was the last person hired I didn’t get a chance to know or build trust with anyone so I was just sort of thrown in. There’s this enormous crew, huge cast… it was really baptism by fire but I learnt so much on it. It’s where I grew up and was completely ungraceful in many ways emotionally but Dax taught me so much about taking care of myself, I think playing that character was very important to developing my character as a person.
Would you say then when you moved on to star in Becker you were more confident as an actor, even though it was a totally different kind of TV show?
For the most part yeah, I would say I had gotten more confidence, gotten my acting legs so to speak. Definitely in the beginning of Deep Space Nine, not all the good stuff came right away, it was more like slowly doing the groundwork, which in a sense was the same thing with Becker, doing the groundwork, although it didn’t take as long even though it was completely different than Deep Space Nine, I guess I must like jumping into things and then saturating myself in them, of course right when I was getting comfortable on Becker they let me go just as I was thinking yes, I can’t wait for season five.
Speaking of that, how hard was it to leave from these two series because these were not simply one or two seasons and out, this was six season with Deep Space Nine and four seasons with Becker.
Well, on Deep Space Nine my contract ended and through negotiating we couldn’t come to an agreement. That was really unfortunate because Rick Berman was telling [the executive producer of the show] that I was going to sign, “oh she’s going to sign, she’s going to sign”, but what Ira (Steven Behr) didn’t know was no, you have to talk to me, it doesn’t have to look like money but can I come in less? I’m tired, I’m really tired, I feel like I’m on a merry go round. I feel like my life’s on hold because if you need me I’m there, and I get that, it’s part of it but I’m telling you I’m tired, you know basically I’m a sinking ship here so help me! So maybe getting a job right away was not the perfect thing to do, but really I just stood my ground. They helped me become Dax, I can’t be the same wallflower that met you six years ago, I have my spine now.
Then on Becker, no one said this, but in the fourth season we had a walk out day where we all walked out and stuck together and tried to make a re-negotiation, not Ted (Danson), but for us and unfortunately for me, I was the leader of the pack. I was Norma Rae in that situation, and so I think that’s exactly why they let me go and kept Nancy (Travis), you know, part and parcel, and then there were certain relationships on the show that…I don’t know, I missed having a life, I wanted to go to work and then have a life outside of work, a lot of times they want to get together after work and during the summer and to me that doesn’t feel like friends, it feels like a full time job and then what am I going to do in the summer… I didn’t have time to see my actual friends. I mean not that you’re not my friends but I really want time to see family and people that nourish me all the time, so there was that kind of uncomfortable dynamic.
What kind of effect did Michael Dorn (Worf) have on your character when he joined Deep Space Nine?
Well, I think he had a great impact personally on me, I didn’t like that he would stop after we’d lit and then when we’re in the middle of shooting it he would say, “I have a problem with this,” it would drive me insane. I would get so tired I just wanted to go, but honestly he’d be right some of the time with issues he had on how something was being shot or portrayed or how the story was being told, and being a really good friend. We could have a disagreement and deal with it and be okay with it, it made our friendship even better. So that was amazing for me personally. As for my character I think it helped Ira Behr and the writers something to write about, we were so natural together, we liked each other so we had fun working together and that comes across. I really love him, he’s a great guy.
So what has been more challenging, the grueling hours working on Deep Space Nine or motherhood?
[Laughs] Motherhood is awesome, although there are days where it’s a little scary now because my son is eleven, so once in awhile it’s, “you’ve got to keep your distance, mommy.” He’s so trapped the game world right now but on the flip side he likes to do interviews; he does his own podcasts, yeah, so technology can be such a double edged sword. He has suddenly fallen in love with Vine, and by suddenly I mean hours before I got on the plane to come here! But these things are his passion and it helps him be creative so it’s a lot of fun to watch. As a parent, I’d rather that then having to get up at four o’clock in the morning to try and force him to go to hockey practice. He loves conventions. Last summer I took him to London Comic Con so he was like, “I love that you were an actress, mom.” Max just started working out and couldn’t find a passion that he liked to do, so I found this gym where I can actually take him with me and it’s called Power Train, and there is one trainer for three people so he’s actually working with someone who is paying attention to him, so finding that was so great because my New Year’s resolution was to find something for us to do together and this was perfect and not like, “oh great I’m doing Yoga with mom!”