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High-Def Digest Attends 2012 Comic and Toy Expo Q&A with 'Star Trek's Michael Dorn
Tags: Tom Landy, Fun Stuff, Star Trek (all tags)
By Tom Landy
Can you believe 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' is already celebrating its 25th anniversary this year? Man, time sure flies at warp speed. The entire bridge crew will be joining the festivities over the next few months and the first to beam aboard is a certain temperamental Klingon!
Michael Dorn is best known for playing Lt. Commander Worf on all seven seasons of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' -- a role which he would later reprise on 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.' Dorn has also lent his voice talents for numerous animated projects including 'Gargoyles,' 'Cow and Chicken,' 'I Am Weasel,' and 'Family Guy,' and has guest starred on several TV shows such as 'Heroes' and 'Castle.' Most recently, Dorn has a romantic comedy in the works called 'Through the Fire' that he wrote and will star a handful of 'Star Trek' alums.
Last weekend, Dorn stopped by to sign autographs and chat with fans at the annual Comic and Toy Expo here in Winnipeg, Canada. He's a great guy and I had a lot of fun meeting him. I also attended his hour-long Q&A session on Sunday afternoon so I've included a transcript below.
Michael Dorn: Is anyone going to introduce me?
Expo Rep: (shrugs)
Michael Dorn: Oh thank you very much that's very nice. Oh Michael (talking to himself) would you like to sit here? Oh thank you very much that's very kind of you. Michael is here in Winnipeg enjoying our lovely weather and we're happy to have him here. Michael how do you like the weather here? Well, it's just great. There's snow and there's ... snow.
Michael Dorn: Very eloquent. Hello! How is everybody doing today?
Michael Dorn: Please... I know if I had only been here a week ago I would've had really good weather so from now on nobody say that to me. Okay?
Michael Dorn: That's all I've heard so far. This is the guy that's supposed to introduce me...
(And this is where some apparently stoned out of his mind teenager approaches the side of the stage area and holds up his fist up at Michael Dorn ranting something about his "million dollar bracelet" and being a "self-made man" before being hauled off by security. Totally bizarre.)
Michael Dorn: Oookaaay...
Michael Dorn: If I had only been here like 5 minutes later...
Michael Dorn: So anyway I want to thank you for coming out, for, I guess this is nothing for you guys. This is like, this guy has a little shirt on and I'm freezing to death. I want to thank you for coming out and I also want to thank you for supporting the show all these years. As we all know, I don't know if you know this but this year is the 25th anniversary of the beginning of 'The Next Generation' of the first year. '87.
Michael Dorn: And we are celebrating, I think there's maybe going to be three or four conventions this year with all of us. The whole cast. And Canada, which is one of our favorite places with some the biggest fans we've seen over the years, they're going to have a big one in Calgary where all of us are going to be on stage at a couple of panels. And it's really nice. I mean, if the studios and the producers don't realize this, they put the tickets on sale in Calgary for the panel and they were sold out within 24 hours. I think there was 3000 or something like that, I forgot how many people so it really is turning into a great thing. But you know, 25 years is just amazing when you think about it. I mean, I had an interesting little thing that happened, talk about years gone by, I had a commercial agent in Los Angeles, Commercials Unlimited, that I had for probably a little less than ten years and they were very good. We did very well, I got some great commercials, but when I started doing 'Star Trek' we had to stop because I could never work for a commercial because I was working all the time. Which is great. So I decided this year I'm going back to commercials so I went back to my agent and we were happy to see each other and they said okay Michael we want you to go out on an audition today. I'm like, wow! That's amazing! Great! So I go out there, you know, and I'm all dressed looking around and the lady comes out and says, "okay Michael, you'll be playing a GRANDFATHER."
Michael Dorn: Huh? They said yes, a grandfather. I said, wait, you don't understand. I'm... oh my god.
Michael Dorn: I'm playing a grandfather. You know, it was pretty intense. In fact, I saw two guys there who were like contemporaries when I first started the business back before 'Star Trek' and everything and we all were like these young guys playing the boyfriends and all that kind of stuff and now we're all grandfathers. And we're looking at each other going "Mike, how you've been?! Look at us! Can you believe this? What happened??" It's just years gone by. You just don't think about it. You just don't realize until something like that happens that time has gone by. But it doesn't seem like that long and of course 'Star Trek' has been great. Someone just asked me today about the difference and I said, you know, 'The Next Generation' was over in '94 and 'Deep Space' was over in '99, and it's been a long time. But the only connection that we really have these days to 'Star Trek' and the whole universe is coming out and seeing the fans and doing conventions which has been amazing. I mean all of us look around and say can you believe we're still doing conventions after all this time? So it has been great. The tough part is the people that watched our show, now their children are coming up to me and saying, "Oh my dad used to watch you."
Michael Dorn: And it was the same thing that the people when we started were talking about the original people so now we're the original characters. So if anybody has any questions... please ask. Yes, sir?
Q: I noticed that while you were doing 'The Next Generation' you also had a cameo in the last original movie: 'Star Trek VI.' Um.. I'm wondering how that came about. Like who's idea was that?
Michael Dorn: That was Nicholas Meyer who wrote and directed the movie. He just came up with this thing, that wanted to have this, not a little segue, but a little tie-in to 'The Next Generation' and they had this idea, Gene loved it, and that's how it happened. I mean, I was working on 'Next Generation' and Herrman Zimmerman who was the set decorator came by with Nicholas and said, "Hey Michael, this is Nicholas he's directing the next movie." Wow that's great. "Oh yeah, and we wrote a part for you." And that's kind of how it turned out. But it was wonderful. I mean, I love working with Nick and the original people. It was great. Also with Christopher Plummer who played the prosecutor, he was fantastic. So that was how it kind of turned out.
Volunteer: Anybody else?
Q: How was the entire makeup that you had to wear for the thing? Like, it must have taken quite a while to put on each day and to wear throughout the day while shooting?
Michael Dorn: It was horrifying. The makeup was not fun at all. I mean, that was probably the one dark spot in the whole thing was that makeup. It was pretty tough. It started out to be 3 hours, 3 1/2 hours, because it was something that they were doing that was brand new. They haven't had time to really perfect it because I was the last one cast and within about two days from being cast I was in makeup and I was shooting so they were kind of doing this on the fly. And for about three or four years it was 3:00 in the morning until right 10:00 at night. In fact, the really funny thing is between the time that I got 'Star Trek' I was living in an apartment and then I bought a house and I think it was maybe a year or two years after I bought the house and during the hiatus when I wasn't working all of a sudden I'd wake up in the morning and I'd go "oh my god it's so bright! What is that?"
Michael Dorn: Oh my god, it's the sun! It's you know, because I didn't know that I needed drapes in my bedroom, because I'd be up by 3 in the morning and I'd come home at 10 and I never saw the sun. Except at work and stuff like that. So it was an odd thing. So that was, those days it was like doing anything. I mean, it was a great job so you kind of like sucked it up. Yes?
Q: First of all, we're huge fans. My wife is a huge fan. I was wondering if you could say hi to Coreen?
Michael Dorn: Say hi to who?
Guy in audience: Coreen.
Michael Dorn: Oh hi Coreen.
Q: I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about 'I Am Weasel.'
Michael Dorn: There's not much to say about 'I Am Weasel.' I had a lot of fun. The fun part of that was these guys always kind of pushed the envelope with the things that they wrote. It was kind of like a game between them and the censors about the things they wrote. And sometimes they would write stuff and I would go "oh my god, are you sure you can say this??" And they'd say yeah, there was certain things you could say and certain things you couldn't. And if they said it in a funny way or twisted -- like for instance, I don't know if you guys know what a Tezla coil is?
Michael Dorn: Okay, I'm sure you do. So this was a show that had something to do with Tezla coils. And of course Weasel knows it and knows how to say it and everything like that. But Baboon, as we know, always mangles the words. And so he says, "oh weasel, you messed with my testacoils."
Michael Dorn: And I was like, REALLY? Can you say that? And the censors, they didn't get it.
Michael Dorn: Okay so that's what I remember about it. They were pretty wild. And one of the guys, Charlie Adler, who was just out of control, he did all of the, almost all of the voices to Weasel--I mean he did them to Cow and Chicken and Baboon. He was just a hoot. Yes?
Q: Did you audition specifically for the character Worf and what was your favorite playing him? Obviously the makeup was the downside, but what was the upside?
Michael Dorn: Well yeah I did, it was specifically for Worf. The way it turned out, the way it happened was that I heard they were doing 'Next Generation' and I said god I'd love to do the show and called my agent and manager but they called and said ah, too late. They've already had everybody cast and if anything happens in the future we'll let you know. And to me that's a big brush off and you go okay thanks goodbye, later. And then two weeks later I get a call and my manager says hey Michael they want to see you for the role of a Klingon. And I knew, I was a fan of the original so I knew what they wanted and that's how it happened. And I walked into, I was in this acting class at the time and had a wonderful teacher who taught me to walk in the building, you walk in the set, you walk wherever you going to go to audition as the character. And so I walked in and very stern and not very talkative to people and people were like, "Hey Michael, how you doing?!" And I was like (silent)...
Michael Dorn: So I went up to the secretary and said is there a place where I can go and be by myself? And she said yeah right over there. Thank you. I went over there and sat by myself and then I went into the audition. I knew, I've seen Gene Roddenberry, and all of these people they're sitting there and I want to go "Hey Gene! Hi!" You know, but I was very stern and didn't crack a smile and just did it and said "thank you very much" and just left. And that's how it happened. I guess they probably just went 'he's nuts.'
Michael Dorn: We like him. Just keep him off the street away from our children.
Michael Dorn: But interestingly enough, I had two auditions. The first one was with about 20-30 guys. The second one there was only three of us so they narrowed it down the next day. And that day, before I left they said oh Michael could you wait we want to talk to you. And they had the other guys leave and the director came out and said okay you're hired. You know? And that day I went to makeup and did all my makeup tests, and within about two days after that I was on set. So nobody knew who I was. I mean, I walked on the set and all of the other actors had been working together for a couple of weeks and I was just standing there and people were going "Excuse me, who are you sir?" and I'm just standing here. And that's how it happened. But I think the best part about doing the show was that we laughed so much. I mean, it's hard to believe that we actually got any work done because we were just out of control most of the time. Patrick, too. Don't listen to Patrick saying, "oh no I was the serious one." He was out of control too, and that was the best part. And then when I went to 'Deep Space' the best part was kissing Terry Farrell and Nicole DeBoer.
Michael Dorn: That was fun.
Q: Did you have to do a lot of retakes with those?
Michael Dorn: A lot of retakes? The kissing part? Um... yes.
Michael Dorn: I don't know why, but I just kept saying I need another one I think I wasn't looking... right. And finally they'd say Michael, just shut up. Just get out of here. But yeah, it was a blast.
Michael Dorn: Terry was great. I think that the Worf and Dax thing was a great storyline and even when Nicole came on she was wonderful, too. Although I still think she should have ended up with Worf. At the very end when he's leaving she goes to Julian, "I'm sorry Julian I can't do this. I belong with Worf." And goes off with him. But that didn't happen. But otherwise that was the best part.
Q: I was just wondering if you found yourself having any similarities with your character Worf?
Michael Dorn: Did I have similarities with my character? Um, you know, at first when I got the job and started working I didn't think so, but then all of a sudden I realized I'm kind of the same. I'm a little gruff and surly at times, I didn't think I was but I am. The other thing is I actually learned a lot, or admired a lot about Worf because he was really a strong character and all that, but he was also learning and trying to understand Klingons, aliens, and things like that. He was struggling with it, but he was learning. And also Worf wasn't exactly the brightest bulb in the world. I mean, it wasn't that he was stupid, but he was just sort of like, he didn't understand people in general. You want me to do that? Really?? You know, and I'm kind of like that, too. One of my dear friends in Los Angeles calls me Captain Naïve.
Michael Dorn: She goes, oh Michael, that guy he was talking about you. And I go, REALLY? She goes you are so naive. You know? So it's kind of the same. So I think there's a lot of Worf in me.
Q: Do you go swimming yourself, or is it too much like "bathing?"
Michael Dorn: Too much like... "bathing."
Michael Dorn: Actually I like to bathe. He was a great character I really enjoyed him. Somebody asked me if I could choose a character that I wanted, that's the one I would want. It was a dream character. Yes?
Q: How did you end up doing the voice on 'Gargoyles?'
Michael Dorn: The voice on 'Gargoyles.' That was, the producers of that show were big fans of the show. Big fans of 'Star Trek.' So they just kind of started hiring all of us. And you know, we needed the work at the time, so...
Michael Dorn: We said yes. Anybody else? Yes?
Q: You've done a lot of voice acting, I love it, do you prefer the voice acting to the actual acting?
Michael Dorn: I've got that question today and voice acting and regular acting is apples and oranges. You just cannot compare them. It's just two different things, two different animals. The thing is, when you're doing Worf there's a lot of makeup, but when you're just doing regular acting or regular sort of like shows, there's not a lot of makeup. So you just can't compare them. Voice acting is fast and your kind of out of there after a short time, you don't have to get dressed up and come in jeans and a T-shirt and that's it. So it's really different. I couldn't choose one or the other.
Q: Mr. Dorn if you had one piece of technology from the show now, what would it be? There's the ultimate geek question for you.
Michael Dorn: My favorite piece of technology was on 'Deep Space Nine' which was the Defiant.
Michael Dorn: That's a very cool ride.
Michael Dorn: I mean, can you imagine? I'm going to take off and do a little cruising. I always thought that was a cool ship.
Guy in audience: Tough little ship.
Michael Dorn: Tough "little" ship.
Q: What was your favorite line from 'Star Trek' overall?
Michael Dorn: Gosh. That's a tough one. I know some people's favorite line is "I am not a merry man."
Michael Dorn: That's always fun. But I'm not sure, let me think about that and get back to you. There's been a few lines i've liked but I'll have to think about it.
Q: When 'The Next Generation' ended, did you know you were going to 'Deep Space Nine' or did that come about later?
Michael Dorn: When 'The Next Generation' ended I had no idea about 'Deep Space Nine.' I mean, our last two years was their first two years so they were right across the alley from us on a different stage. And when we were done, I was like that's it. In fact, I was so happy to be done with makeup. And I was like NEVER! I'm NEVER going to do this makeup ever again! Maybe in the movies, yeah, but that's it! I'm done! No more! You know? So when the producer called the next year and said hey Michael how would you like to reprise your role on 'Deep Space Nine?' I went FORGET IT! Not a chance! Forget you, you think I want to do that makeup again? How much?
Michael Dorn: That's okay, yeah. I got to tell you, when he said that, there was a lot of things going through my head. It was a very good idea because I could open up the character. That's what I really wanted to do. Have him be more than just a guy who had his ideas shot down all the time. Have you guys seen that You Tube video? When you get a chance, you got to go on there and see this video somebody put together of Worf getting shot down every time he says something. It's pretty funny. "Captain I think we should..." "No Mr. Worf, shut up. Stupid Klingon."
Michael Dorn: "But Captain..." "No Mr. Worf." You know? It's a very funny video you've got to see it. Yes?
Q: I'd like to know were there any guest stars from either show that were really memorable and made an impression on you?
Michael Dorn: There was a bunch but my absolute favorite, well there was two. There was a one named John Anderson and he was the older couple that were down on the planet...
Michael Dorn: Survivors. I'm a big fan of his for many years because he was in everything you could imagine. And I talked to him and said you know, I'm a big fan of yours and all the work you've done, and he says "Michael, I've killed some of Hollywood's biggest actors."
Michael Dorn: Because that's all he did was kill people. But my absolute favorite was John Colicos who played Kor.
Michael Dorn: Canadian! And he was, the last episode which was "Once More Unto the Breach" that he did was as epic as you could imagine. I mean, it was just a beautiful episode. Martok hated him and he just wanted to die a warrior's death at the end and it was just, it was just amazing. He was the best, I mean out of everybody, and everybody was fantastic so believe me that's a hard question because everybody that came on were just fantastic actors.
(Inaudible crowd comment)
Michael Dorn: I'm sorry? I'm not done yet.
Michael Dorn: I still have about 10 minutes to go on John Colicos. But yeah, he passed soon after that which was too bad. But I was fortunate that I did two episodes with him. "The Sword of Kahless" and that one and he was as brilliant as any actor that's been on the show. Yes?
Q: I was just wondering if you could say for us, "Photon Torpedoes?"
Michael Dorn: Photon... Torpedoes. SIR!
Michael Dorn: Stupid captain.
Q: Can you say "today is a good day to die?"
Michael Dorn: Well, if you're going to say that, you have to say it like this... Today IS a good day to die!
Q: Did you really smash an egg on Patrick Stewart's head?
Michael Dorn: Did I really smash an egg on Patrick's head?
Q: That's what Jonathan Frakes said.
Michael Dorn: I wanted to... so bad.
Michael Dorn: So bad. And I think he was waiting for it too. But I just couldn't do it. But you know, because I'm behind him all the time and you look down and see that bald head and you just want to do something.
Michael Dorn: But Patrick would always do something. Whenever he and Jonathan would be standing at the screen and I'm back there trying to be all serious, when they walked back to their seats they'd make faces at me.
Michael Dorn: But I've got to be serious! And you'd see in a couple episodes I'm like this, I go (looks down and starts pressing buttons) like I'm doing something on the console.
Michael Dorn: But one of the things I did do was sometimes the camera would be there and Patrick would be sitting there and they know I was going to do this so the camera would be filming and it's I'm sure it's somewhere in the archives, but Patrick's head would be down there and I'm go... (pretends he's smoking, reaches down and unscrews the top of Patrick's head, puts in the ashes, and then screws it back on.)
Michael Dorn: That's what I would do. My favorite thing. "Oh what are you doing up there?!" Nothing Patrick... I love you.
Michael Dorn: Talking about Patrick, he would always walk back to his chair and he would always get this look in his eye and I could tell he was going to do something, he would look at me like there were times when he says "you know Michael, I was in the Golden Gloves when I was in England and one time he actually ran back, jumped on his chair, and jumped over the horseshoe to get at me!
Michael Dorn: I don't know why, but he jumped up and I caught him.
Michael Dorn: I'm holding him like this and he looks at me and says "Oh I love you Mr. Worf."
Michael Dorn: He's a silly captain. Anybody else?
Q: What's the latest project you are working on now?
Michael Dorn: The latest what?
Michael Dorn: Actually that's a good question. I just wrote, actually I didn't just write I wrote it a couple of years ago, but it's a romantic comedy that I wrote and we're trying to get it funded now and it's interesting story because Marina plays my best friend in the movie, Nana Visitor is in there, Armin and Kitty (sp?) his wife -- Armin Shimmerman who plays Quark, they are in it. So it's kind of like a 'Star Trek' you know, cast, without the makeup, the science fiction, guns and stuff like that. And people were interested they loved the script, but they said they weren't convinced that the 'Star Trek' fans would support the actors outside of 'Star Trek.' And it's a valid question. It's not something, because if you're not a member of this community that's, well, will they do that? And I said, well, I know Paramount in the beginning when they were doing the original movies with the original cast they had a formula. And the formula was if they did a movie for $10 or $15 or $20 million, they knew that they were going to get $25 million from the 'Star Trek' fans. They knew that that was their base. And if the movie was good and by word of mouth, they'd make more. But they knew that they were going to get that. So I said, well look, you know even if we get half that, then that would make it a popular movie. That would make it profitable. So we decided to kind of, oh what's the word for it, I'm losing my mind these days, APPEAL to the fans whenever we go to these conventions to come out and support us when we get this movie done. What we're doing right now is going on Kickstarter, I don't know if you, well Kickstarter.com -- you go on there if you have this pitch, or this idea, or a product or whatever the case, and people donate. Just like donating for a candidate for office or something like that. And so that's what we're going to do, we're going to go on the pitch and hopefully you guys will see But the big thing for me, is just to kind of prove them wrong about us. When the movie comes out, I'd love for everybody to come out and support it because I think then they'd realize how wrong they are about the whole 'Star Trek' world. You know, we love science fiction, but we also love good movies. So that's our next project. Thank you!
Michael Dorn: And if you don't come out to support us... I'll find you.
Michael Dorn: What's the word? Resistance is futile, sir.
Michael Dorn: Anybody else? Oh hi yes?
Q: Hi I know you guys had a lot of fun on your shows. Did the directors appreciate how much fun you guys had?
Michael Dorn: That was sort of, well, we're not very proud of those days. It was one of those things where we were having so much fun that the director had to kind of understand that. He didn't have to join in, he just had to understand that all he had to say was action and we'd do what he said. But in between time, we were just not that serious. There was one director, Joseph (inaudible), who vowed never to work with us again.
Michael Dorn: And he didn't. I mean, it was pretty bad. It wasn't bad, we weren't serious in between takes. I mean, we could be singing and yelling and laughing and talking about people, and they say action and we're like "sir, yes Mr. Worf." and then they'd say cut we're like laughing again and you know, singing songs and stuff. But when Patrick directed, we were the same and he never forgave us for that.
Michael Dorn: Because Brent and I, there was this scene and somehow Brent and I as we usually do, we just got CRAZY. We just thought that it was the funniest thing and we started doing voices, doing impressions, and Patrick is trying to get a shot and we're walking into a bar going, (British accent) "Eh! We're looking for a woman..." over and over again. And to this day, he still says "Michael, I've never forgiven you for that." And I said I know Patrick, we were bad. But for the most part I think there were some directors that weren't able to deal with us and some that were just great. Had a great time and they worked a lot, but I think you just have to be, you just have to have a little confidence especially with a crowd like us. You just let us do what we're going to do and call action. And hopefully, because we're going to hit our marks. In fact, we were known for being able to hit our marks precisely. And if you noticed on 'Star Trek' we never talked until the doors closed. Because we know if you talked while the doors (swished) you'd have to do it again and again and again. So we were good about that. But some directors, we ran a couple of guys out.
Michael Dorn: I'm not proud of that, but that's the business. Yes?
Q: Brent Spiner, I got the idea that his first movie was a Woody Allen movie. Are there any stories about that or who is the best Hollywood director that you've ever worked with?
Michael Dorn: The best director that I worked with, well Jonathan in 'First Contact' was brilliant. There was another director, Gabrielle Beaumont, a little English woman, but she was tough. She's done a lot before she did 'Star Trek' and she was excellent. But I also worked with Richard Marquardt (sp?) who directed one of the 'Superman' movies and worked on a show, on a movie called 'Jagged Edge.' And he was a wonderful too. But we've worked with a slew of great directors, Rob Bowman, who directed the first Klingon episode was an excellent guy. In fact, he's an executive producer on 'Castle' right now and he was wonderful. The ones that I liked were the ones who were very confident and knew what they're doing and allowed you to grow, and do your own thing, and experiment. So that was great. Yes?
Q: For the 'Family Guy' reunion that you guys did, were you guys all together or did you do your lines at separate times or?
Michael Dorn: We did all our lines at separate times. I thought it was funny too. Thought it was a funny episode. Did you have your hand up?
Q: You were talking earlier about the You Tube video shooting Worf down and Braga and Ronald Moore actually commented about this in the 'First Contact' DVD commentaries, but there seems like there was this running gag of humiliating Worf. Like how do you show and alien is big and strong on the show? You have him kick Worf's ass. Did you notice a running gag humiliating Worf?
Michael Dorn: Well, the first year was a lot of that. The first year, two years, and I talked to Gene Roddenberry about that. And yeah, there was a bit of that because everybody else was so smart and good and friends and stuff like that, and he wasn't so they needed to have some sort of foil I guess. But in the end, that's great and perfectly fine, but in the end Worf turned out to be this great character that almost overshadowed a lot of the other characters. In terms of, well not in terms of he was better or more popular, not about that, but his storylines were pretty epic. The stuff about being discommendated, the Klingon Empire, his son, his mate, and all that stuff. Although he didn't have a lot of that, when he did it was pretty amazing. Like I said, that's the thing I've always learned is that things will always work themselves out. I never went up there and yelled and screamed at them. The only thing that I told Gene, I said Gene, I've got a problem. Every alien that comes on this ship... beats up Worf.
Michael Dorn: You know, Patrick is standing there when we beam in and says "hi I'm Patrick Stewart the captain of the Enterprise this is counselor Troi and this is Mr. Worf -- would you like to beat him up?" And it was constantly and he says well you know Michael, we have to show that these aliens are very powerful and if they can beat up Worf they can beat up anybody. And I go, well Data is the most powerful thing in the galaxy, why don't they try and beat him up? And he went, "Get out of my office, Michael."
Michael Dorn: Yes, that's an answer. Thank you Gene.
Michael Dorn: But luckily, once again they were very good about, I said why don't you change him into something that's not so out of control. Something that's more like a warrior, a Japanese samurai warrior kind of thing. You know, martial arts to where all his anger and brute force is controlled and focused. And luckily they did that and that turned into Klingon martial arts and kind of turned the whole Klingon world around which was great. But after awhile, you go oh come on you know? And you know that you're in trouble when they start off a conversation with you know Michael, wouldn't it be cute if...
Michael Dorn: That's when I know I'm in trouble. Like you know, the mud bath. They didn't need to do that but that's OK. Yes?
Q: Did the set get more out of control with background antics when John Delancie was on board?
Michael Dorn: No, it was always the same. It stayed at a fever pitch for seven years. So nobody actually kind of topped us.
Q: Was 'Deep Space Nine's cast the same?
Michael Dorn: No! 'Deep Space Nine' they were, they were serious. They were a serious cast... until I got there.
Michael Dorn: And I guess it was because they were very (inaudible) about Avery Brooks, they called him Mr. Brooks, you know? Mr. Brooks, we're ready for you. All of the actors were very serious. In fact, the crew -- I told this story just the other day -- the crew we worked with a few years before and they went over to 'Deep Space' so I knew them very well and when I got there they were like oh my god! Thank god Michael you're here! Now we can have some fun!
Michael Dorn: I said, you're kidding? When I first walked on the set it was like that old Monty Python thing (chanting, chanting, chanting).
Michael Dorn: It was so quiet and I was like, you're kidding??? Come on! So it took about a year and then everybody started having fun. But it was great work they're all lovely actors, really lovely actors. But it was just a really serious set. Yes? Hi!
Q: I was just wondering how you felt working with a child when you found out Worf all of a sudden became a father to Alexander?
Michael Dorn: It was, I love children -- but it's tough working with them because they're not adults. Although they're very good and they know their lines, but it's just a little tough because you have to be careful around them. You can't get too out there. But it was very cool. There was three kids that played Alexander. The first one was a very young kid, and then there was Brian, and then there was another kid I think he was in his twenties that played him on 'Deep Space Nine' and he was a good actor too. I had a great time with him. But you know, it's like W.C. Fields said: you never work with dogs or kids because they steal the show.
Q: What about working with cats? Data's Spot? "I will eat it."
Michael Dorn: I love cats so that was fine. I love them so that was cool. But I'm very wary of working with animals in general because they kind of get the attention away from, okay the cat has to lie down this certain way, and it may take two hours waiting for the cat to do that. And I said why don't you just drug him?
Michael Dorn: And it goes down, but they wouldn't do that. But no, we didn't have a problem with animals. Anybody else?
Q: What are your thoughts when they did that episode on 'Deep Space Nine' "Trials and Tribulations?
Michael Dorn: I hated that "Trials and Tribulations!" I thought it was a stupid, stupid episode!
Michael Dorn: Sorry. Let me put it this way, I never really liked the original episode. I just hated it. So when they said oh Michael, wouldn't it be cute if we did "Trials and Tribulations?"
Michael Dorn: I mean, I just hated it. The whole thing, with the Klingons (rubs his forehead) and you know they didn't even deal with that. Oh god. It wasn't even like, it wasn't even like fun. Somebody over here?
Q: Was it awkward or fun to play the Regent?
Michael Dorn: The Regent? Oh I loved it. You mean in the alternate universe? I thought it was fun. And it's funny, Andy Robinson who I had on the chain and everything, I worked with him before on 'Chips.' I did an episode with him on there. And then we did that, and then we did another show called 'Martial Law' and I got to shoot him. It's funny, I shot him and I knocked out the Sergeant on 'Chips' on a movie I did with Brian Bosworth. I just love that you know? You get to kill your friends later on. I love that stuff. Yes?
Q: I love comedy, and I think my favorite's 'A Fistful of Datas' I just couldn't stop laughing through the whole thing. Were you prepared to see Data as a woman or did they just spring that on you?
Michael Dorn: Michael, wouldn't it be cute if Data was a woman?
Michael Dorn: I love Brent, he's like my brother, but he's the ugliest woman I've ever seen... in my life.
Michael Dorn: You know? I wasn't prepared for that. Let me put it this way, I knew it was going to happen, but I wasn't prepared for how he looked. And it was frightening. It was just... frightening. But he and I are big John Wayne fans, big western fans, so we definitely got a kick out of doing that. And there was a big homage to John Wayne in a lot of, because I had a shirt that John Wayne always kind of wore, and the hat and everything. But I love westerns. In fact, I wrote a little short right now that hopefully we're going to, if we can get the budget down to a manageable level, but yeah it was pretty frightening.
Q: Hi, how familiar are you with the Klingon language and could you speak Klingon for us right now?
Michael Dorn: You know, the only thing I know anymore is "nuqneH" which is "what do you want?"
Michael Dorn: At first there was an effort to kind of do it, to kind of learn the language, but after the first season you just didn't have the opportunity, they just didn't use the language that much. But the cool thing was on 'Deep Space' it got to be a little more, because we had Klingon drinking songs, we had a song in the show I was talking about with John Calicos where he goes off for one last battle and they do this Klingon dirge which is just amazing. And there's another Klingon fighting song so they did, they actually opened up a lot more. But that's all of the language that I know. Because it's not a language, really, or something that you use every day, so once you learn it and the episode is over it's gone. You know? You're on to something else.
Q: Would you consider a guest spot on 'The Big Bang Theory?'
Michael Dorn: Would I consider a guest spot on 'The Big Bang Theory?' Yeah.
Michael Dorn: But I think they're going to wear out, I think they've worn out the whole 'Star Trek' thing. They've kind of worn it out. Did LeVar do it? He did? And Brent? And Wil Wheaton? I think they've worn it out. I always thought that the storyline should be, what's the tall guy's name? Sheldon. I always thought Sheldon should hire me... to kill Wil Wheaton.
Michael Dorn: And he just doesn't know that we're great friends, you know? I thought you were going to KILL him! Um... no.
Q: Did you get to keep any souvenirs from 'Deep Space Nine' or 'The Next Generation' or was there something that you wanted to keep but you couldn't?
Michael Dorn: You know, I didn't really keep any souvenirs from either show. The only thing that I have is I have the last headpiece that I used ever, and that's the only thing that I kept. There was a time where I was going to keep the false teeth, but that didn't work out. I'm just not big on keeping stuff like that. I think Marina has the bridge in her house.
Michael Dorn: I mean, she was trying to steal as much as she could from there.
Q: You mentioned Richard Marquardt who directed 'Return of the Jedi,' but my question was Klingon cuisine -- what was the best thing about it?
Michael Dorn: There was nothing good about it. Once again, wouldn't it be cute if... Klingons loved worms.
Michael Dorn: You know, there was one time that they had me eat, I think it was octopus. It was, not calamari, but it was actually a real tentacle of an octopus and they set it out, it was sitting out for like hours, and they wanted you to like look like and I was I'll try to pretend as much as I can but Klingon cuisine wasn't good. The only thing I kind of liked was blood wine. That was pretty good.
Q: What was it made of?
Michael Dorn: It was just cranberry juice. Yes?
Q: I know Nathan Fillion is a big nerd...
Michael Dorn: Sorry? A big what?
Q: A big nerd.
Michael Dorn: He's a nerd? Do you know him very well?
Q: No but I've seen a lot of his stuff and he references a lot of stuff on his shows. When you first appeared on 'Castle' what was he like?
Michael Dorn: He's a guy. He's a guy's guy, you know? We came up, and we talked briefly because he was leaving and I was coming in, we talked briefly. And the next time, he says hey Michael come over here, I want to show you this car. And so we sat there and started talking about cars. Because he's a gadget guy and is building, has built an electric car. And it's like a super fast electric car. And so we sat down and talked for a long time. He's a good guy. He's just really cool which is great. Yes?
Q: Another memorable episode a lot of people remember is "Far Beyond The Stars" and what was it like to come in at a decent hour and wear not necessarily street clothes, but Earth clothes?
Michael Dorn: Oh it was terrific. People don't realize, like when I worked on 'Castle' they just don't understand why I'm so happy to get into makeup. I'm so happy because they do a few little brushes, a little eye thing, and go okay you're done. And I'm like THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Q: Because in the episode with Paul Sorvino I think maybe you didn't have the whole forehead thing.
Michael Dorn: No, I didn't have the forehead and just had a little mustache but that was it. It's very funny but another thing that happened that was just hilarious was between 'Deep Space' and 'Next Generation' I did a sitcom with Thelma Hopkins and Cindy Williams and I was playing a coach for one of their sons, basketball or baseball teams, and I was coming over to their house and I'd walk in the door and I was supposed to turn around and close the door and continue with the scene. And so I'd walk in and go "hi, how are you doing?" And that first they'd say, oh Michael could you close the door? And I'd say yeah sure and close the door. And then in more rehearsal I'd walk in and they'd say Michael can you close the door? And I'd say yeah sure. And finally at like the third or fourth rehearsal and we're just getting ready to shoot or something like that and I'd walk in and say "hi, how are you doing?" And the director's jumping up and down and says Michael, WILL YOU SHUT THE FREAKING DOOR?! And I go but you don't understand, I haven't shut a door for seven years. Where I come from, doors close on their own! You know?
Michael Dorn: And it just hit me because I kept walking in, hi! I don't even know why I said that. Okay, thank you guys for coming out. How is the weather out there now?
Q: Sunny and cold.
Michael Dorn: Sunny and cold. Where am I? Sunny and cold.
Michael Dorn: You know I got to tell you, in Los Angeles if it gets to be like 54° F we're like insane. We're like going to commit suicide. We're like lemmings running off a cliff. Oh my god it's so cold! And then I get up here and people are running around in shirts and slacks and I'm like look it's cold! You can see your breath! And people are like oh this is nothing.
Michael Dorn: So anyway I want to thank you guys for coming out. I want to thank you for bringing the cold. I mean, bringing the regular weather.
Michael Dorn: And I also want to thank you guys for supporting us and definitely when this romantic comedy comes out, come out and support us. Go on Kickstarter.com you know? You'll hear about it. It will be on all the websites so you'll hear about it and once again I'll see you when I come back next year.
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