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"The Trill of it All"

By Ian Spelling

"I'm a joined species," says Terry Farrell, who breaks into laughter at her own comment. " Actually I play a joined species. That sounds better. Jadzia Dax is a Trill who's the science officer on the space station. She is to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine what Spock and Data are to the other Treks.

"The Trill were introduced on an episode of The Next Generation, 'The Host.' They gave me a tape which I must have watched five or six times. It was very helpful. I got an idea of what the Trill were, how they behaved, though Dax is more mischievous than the guy ( Odan) in the episode."

As a science officer, Dax spends much of her time at her Operations Control Center ( OPS) post, where she works along side the space station's Bajoran First officer, Major Kira Nerys ( Nana Visitor ) and Chief Operations Miles O'Brien ( Cold Meaney ). Commander Sisko ( Avery Brooks ). for whom Dax once served as a mentor while in a different host body, runs DS9 from his office situated just behind Dax's science console. Dax will also have a great deal of contact with the show's other regulars, including Dr. Bashir ( Siddig El Fadil ), Security Officer Odo ( Rene Auberjonois ), Ferengi bartender Quark ( Armin Shimmerman ) and Sisko's young son, Jake Sisko ( Cirroc Lofton ).

"She has a Zen Master quality to her and is very protective of everyone," says the actress. " Dax is thoughtful and cares about people. I think she likes to play a little bit with everyone. Also, absolutely everyone on the space station is younger than she, has been through less than she has, so they're all her children. She'll have some sort of interesting relationship with all the people there."

Though it's too early to discuss in detail the relationships between Dax and the other Deep Space Nine crew members, Farrell is at no loss for words when it come to chatting about her co-stars. " Avery is great. He's really intense and is always right there for you in a scene. He's our fearless leader. He sort of embodies that," praises Farrell, " because he's such a powerful presance. He's also very giving. You can feel Avery's support without him saying anything. That makes me feel better at times when I'm not sure of what I'm doing. Our characters should have an interesting relationship, because Dax has known Sisko before and we'll be developing sort of an unspoken language where we can communicate with knowing looks.

"I've worked a lot with Colm already because Dax and O'Brien are together on OPS. He's great, hysterically funny on the set, our comic relief. Siddig is great, too. He has never lived in America before, so, in a way, he's like his character, because everything is new and exciting for him. he's very fresh and open. We have this relationship on the show that's fun to play. Bashir finds me attractive, but I think he's too young and won't have anything to do with him. So, there's a playfulness there, and Siddig and I have a good time with that.

"Nana and I have had only a few scenes together so far, but I really like her a lot because we're complete opposites. She's more extroverted than I am. Kira is a terrorist, so in that respect, the characters are opposites," Farrell continues. " Dax is very Zen-like and Kira's more physical. In person, I dress conservatively, maybe khakis and a navy blazer. Nana is more wild. She'll wear two different color shoes. We're both playing very strong women, and hopefully we can build a relationship between them."

Only the pilot and four hour-long episode into the show at this point, Farrell hasn't yet shared many scenes with Shimmerman or Auberjonois, both of whom she describes as, "very nice men. What I can tell you is that everybody was really supportive when I had to to all of this technobabble during my first week. I came onto the show late. I didn't know anybody and I just came in and started working. The technobbable really threw me and they were all very supportive or me, which helped me get through it.

" All of the technical stuff is very hard. I don't know how Brent Spiner does it. He has whole monologues of that. Just saying the words is difficult, period. Then, trying to put it into phrases...wow! It's the most challenging part of the show for me so far, but I think I'm getting batter at it and I'm really having a good time."

Past Models

Terry Farrell was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and began modeling at age 17. During her three-year stint as a model, she also found time to study acting. The lessons paid off, as Farrell was cast on the series Paper Dolls. " Do you really want to hear the whole story?" she jokes. "Remember, you asked. I took a train from Iowa to New York, carrying my grandmother's suitcase. I starved for a couple of months and then did well with the modeling for a couple of years. I came out here to LA in 1984 and landed Laurie Caswell on Paper Dolls, which Jonanthan Frakes was also in, and then I got come other productions too.

"I was in the Rodney Dangerfield film Back to School and Beverly Hills Madam with Faye Dunaway. I also did Deliberate Stranger with Mark Harmon and an episode of The New Twilight Zone. That was fun. I played a mannequin that's released for a month into the real world, on 'AfterHours' ( a remake of the classic Anne Francis segment). I also did an episode of Quantum Leap called 'Leap for Lisa.' I played a nurse who was the love of Dean Stockwell's life while he was in the Navy.

" Scott (Bakula) jumps into Dean's body and when I get killed, Dean gets blamed for her death. I loved working with dean and Scott. Everybody was great. It was the nicest show I ever Guest-starred on. I felt like I was visiting someone's house. They were really that nice."

Farrell who also starred as ambitious reporter Joey Summerskill in the Anthony Hickox thriller, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth ( which she discussed in FANGORIA HORROR SPECTACULAR #8). Though the film, in which Farrell battled Doug Bradley's enigmatic Pinhead, earned positive reviews during its late summer 1992 release, it only made a small dent in the box office.

"All I can say is thank God for that experience. It helped me be prepared for all the FX on Deep Space Nine. I learned so much," explains Farrell. " I'm ready when they say , 'Visualize this or that.' I know what to do when we're supposed to be looking at a tractor beam or when some being is scanning us. It was great practice.

"As a film, I'm happy with Hellraiser III. When I saw it, I was with a bunch of friends. Everybody who worked on it in North Carolina who could be in LA for the premier was there, too. They had been through the rain, the cold, the explosions, the long night shoots. and it was worth it! The film was actually funnier than I thought it would be. I loved Doug Bradley. Doug was really good as Pinhead. He was really playing two roles. Doug was also great to work with, a very nice and funny man.

"When the screening ended, I went up to Tony Hickox and thanked him. There were time when we were making it that were very, very difficult for me. Looking back on it now I'm glad that it all happened, because I don't think I could've gotten Dax if I hadn't gone through everything I did on Hellraiser III. Everybody's asking me if I would do it again. if they plan another sequel, let them send me the script. I would read it."

Present Tense

Just as Hellraiser III headed into theaters, Farrell's agent called to tell her Deep Space Nine co-creator and executive producer Rick Berman wanted her to audition for Dax. "It was a Friday at 11:00 am and I already had two other auditions to do that day. I also remember saying, 'What's the deal? They've been casting for months.' My agent told me they just had to see me," recalls Farrell. "So I went in and read the role cold for Rick and the other producers."

Berman asked Farrell to read a second scene, but she was due at another audition at Universal Studios in a half-hour. Berman suggested she go and come back, but his co- executive producer, Michael Piller, expressed concern about time running short. Finally, Farrell hastily raced clear across town twice, from Paramount to Universal and back to perform yet another scene cold.

"David Carson, who directed to pilot, talked to me for about 20 minutes about the character and how I was an old man. All I thought was, ' Oh man, I'm an old man. I'm reading this cold and it's Star Trek.' I'm thinking, 'Shit, I don't know how to approach this.' I just did it," Farrell says. "That was on a Friday night. They negotiated contracts on Saturday and Sunday, and I tested again on Monday. They still didn't know for sure. The were going to test some more women and then bring me back again.

"So, I took the time to work on it, because doing it cold was so overwhelming. I got to test the second time eight days later, and because I had so much practice, I think I was much better than I was the first time. Then, I got it, which was a really weird day. I was going to say hello to Marina Sirits after I go t done testing, and there was a girl there from New York who they were testing against me. We did our testing on Next Generation because Deep Space Nine was too busy, so I got know many of the Next Generation people. As I got to Stage 16, the security guard said, 'Terry, you have to go to Rick Berman's office now.'

"I went running back and thought, ' Great, I have to read again because of this girl from New York.' I walk into his office and he says, 'Congratulations!' I said, 'Oh, my God! I think I'm going to cry.' And Rick asked me to go sit at his desk because he wanted to watch me cry. I was freaking out! I said,' I used to watch Star Trek when I was a little girl.' My grandma made me a Tribble once. It was just too weird."

It got weirder.

Farrell came onto the project so late that shooting the already begun, with David Carson filming the two-hour pilot around the Dax character. In the meantime, Berman, Piller and make-up guru Michael Westmore tinkered not just with Dax's prosthetics, but also with her hair and makeup.

"Every day we thought I would be filming in two days," laughs Farrell. "They just kept changing everything. We ended up shooting all my stuff in one week, the last week, and that was tough. There were 16-hour days, I was a total wreck."

Two days were spent with Farrell sporting a prosthetic forehead before Paramount nixed the concept as too alien. "Now," she says," I have spots along my face on either side. I look sort of like a leopard. It takes about three hours to get it all on, but it's pretty cool because now I'll get to see Michael Westmore every day."

If, as expected, Deep Space Nine blasts off in the ratings, it's quite possible that Farrell could see Westmore every day for six or more years. Committing to a long-term contract was no easy decision. "It was pretty hard," she admits. " Rick Berman sat down with mw after I got the part and said, in a low whisper, 'You have no idea how this is going to change you life.' I was like, ' Don't tell me that now!' marina, Jonathan Frakes, and Levar Burton told me about everything they've been through. I know there will be conventions, posters, lunchboxes, books, and stuff like that, but I 'm really excited about it. That's all going to be new to us.

"Ever time you do a pilot or get picked up for a certain number of episodes, everyone is excited and thinks it will happen for them. I have a good feeling about this show. Star Trek is part of a legend. People are expecting a lot from the show, but it's really hard to conceptualize what it's all about, what will happen to us. we're in a protected environment right now. Rick and Michael are really the only people judging us now, guiding us."

Though Marina Sirits has voiced her concern that 20th century men are not particularly adept at writing for 24th century women, Farrell sounds not the least bit worried. " I think it would be difficult to write for the 24th century , period. How do we know what the problems are going to be? What I like, quite honestly, is that they've made Dax and Kira very strong female characters. Kira is a major," she notes. " Dax is a second lieutenant. We're in powerful positions. I've already been left in control of Ops Several times. Maybe it's different for Marina because she plays a counselor. She's an empath, so it's a whole other ball of wax, but I can understand what Marina's talking about.

"Our writers are going to have to balance that kind of thing, so the show can be one everyone can relate to. In the 24th century, we're still going to be human beings and we're still going to have some of the same problems we have today. There will still be good guys and bad guys. I don't imagine that will change too much. To think that we'll be used to seeing aliens in the 24th century is amazing, but what are we going to go through when we see aliens for the first time?

"Look at the riots in LA. Human beings can't even get along now. It's hard to imagine being on a space station with all these different life-forms getting along OK. That's what's so great about Deep Space Nine," continues Terry Farrell. " Just because somebody is a little different doesn't mean we're not made of the same stuff. I'm just hoping people will watch our show and relate to it, that they'll realize, in reality, we're all human beings. I'm excited about that. I want to be here. I want to be a part of that."

---Starlog; March 1993 #188

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