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Feature: Star Trek: Nemesis

Spot the Difference…

Brent Spiner as Data

Brent Spiner is back in white make-up to play Data in the new Star Trek movie Nemesis. But that’s not all, as he’s also bringing life to Data’s simple-minded identical twin, B-9.

When Brent Spiner was first beamed into the world of Star Trek 15 years ago, he felt the same sense of excitement as any actor who’d just got a regular, high-profile job, but he knew that Fate is fickle and the series might be gone after only a handful of episodes. After all, Gene Roddenberry was trying to capture lightning in a bottle for a second time... So Spiner and his fellow cast members expected to be seen as failures at worst, and at best as ‘the new guys’.

Of course, it didn’t work that way. The Next Generation blazed its way into TV history, and with a string of spin-offs following in its wake its crew have become the veterans of the franchise as they’ve conquered the big screen. But it’s been four years since the Enterprise-E last checked in, a gap longer than the entire run of the original series, and many fans began to think that another adventure might never hit the screens. But, the Texan-born actor reveals, that was never any danger. Everyone was simply determined to get it right when the crew did return to the screen. “It was about three years ago,” Spiner remembers. “Rick Berman called Patrick [Stewart] and me and said, ‘Look, the studio’s interested in doing another movie. Are you interested in doing another one?’ And we said, ‘If the story’s good, we’re there.’ So that’s the way it came down, but we were both perfectly happy to do another one.”

It was Spiner who was instrumental in finally getting the Enterprise out of drydock, by recruiting his friend, the Oscar-winning writer of Gladiator John Logan to the team. “There was no story at that point. That’s the difficulty of a Star Trek movie – it’s not like other movies where there are spec scripts or somebody’s written something based on other source material. In our case, the studio decides they want to do a movie and then says, ‘Write one.’ And we’ve got to come up with it. In this case we were fortunate in that a friend of mine, John Logan – who in addition to being an A-list writer is also a huge Star Trek fan – really wanted to write this movie. He and I actually wrote a story and presented it to Rick. It turned out, though, that the story, or something close to it, had already been done on one of the other series. He thought we would be better off writing something new. So the three of us just sat down and started talking about what excited us, what we wanted to see, what we wanted the movie to be about.”

by James E Brooks

More on Data, B-9 and Nemesis in:
Starburst #292A

Photo © Paramount
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

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Starburst #292A
November - 25 YEARS! (Data) 2002
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