Armin Shimerman - A Profitable Venture     Armin (and Kira Nerys) unmasked in Far Beyond the Stars  

from TV Zone Special #34

Ever since opening his bar on Deep Space Nine, the Ferengi Quark has earned a comfortable living as a barkeeper dispensing drinks and providing entertainment, while making a tidy profit conducting somewhat dubious business transactions with an eclectic alien clientele. Unfortunately, Deep Space Nine’s demise this year after seven seasons means an end to Quark’s latinum-making ventures, at least for the moment. Although he had no hesitation about staying on to play Quark, the show’s seventh year came as somewhat of a surprise to actor Armin Shimerman.

“I told fans at lots of conventions that there would be no seventh season, and I guess I was wrong,” he says. “When we originally signed our contracts it was for six years and I firmly believed that we’d last that long, but our seventh year was an added bonus.

Quark sees egg. Egg egg egg“I’ve enjoyed my time on DSN. It’s almost been like a marathon, I suppose. There are times when you can’t understand why you’re running the same race, but on the whole it’s been a very uplifting experience.

Playing Quark for such a long time has taught me so much as far as acting. I’ve learnt the meaning of 'less is more' and how camera angles can benefit your performance, so I’m more relaxed now in front of the camera. I’ve also learnt to stand up to directors if necessary and how to exceed their wishes when necessary. It has been a great maturation process and, along with paying me for my work, the producers have allowed me to grow as an actor, for which I’ll always be grateful.”

“What was also exciting is that Michael Piller and Rick [Berman, Deep Space Nine's co-creators] didn’t want to rehash the same series over again as they had done with The Next Generation. They wanted something different. We’ve found over the years that the fans pretty much want the same thing over and over again until you force them to realize that change can be good. The Next Generation, as was the original Star Trek, was an episodic series. Each episode was self-contained and belonged to itself, so viewers didn’t necessarily need background material to appreciate the show. Deep Space Nine was more of a serial. You really had to know the background of our recurring characters and where the plot line was. In that regard we were much closer to Babylon 5, I think, than we were to The Next Generation.

“The other thing was that Michael was far more keen to develop what I would call three-dimensional characters,” continues Shimerman. “Their three-dimensionality was highlighted by the fact that the characters were good and bad. They were problematical in the sense that there were things about them that weren’t especially nice. Kira [Nana Visitor], for instance, besides being a terrific officer, was also a Bajoran nationalist – if it wasn’t good for Bajor, then it wasn’t good, period. It took a long time for her to see things from a Federation perspective and not strictly a Bajoran one. When Sisko [Avery Brooks] was first assigned to DS9 he wasn’t exactly thrilled and it took a while for him to appreciate his situation. To top if off, he also became Bajor’s spiritual leader, the Emissary. Our characters had deeper and darker qualities that you never really saw in the crews of the original Star Trek, TNG and now, Star Trek: Voyager.”

More reflections on the end of DSN from Armin Shimerman, Michael Dorn, Max Grodénchik, James Darren, Andrew J Robinson, Michael Westmore, Ira Stephen Behr on our extensive range of interviews – each at least four pages long. Plus Season 7 episode guide, and the cast's favourite peisodes and defining moments. All in TV Zone Special #34

Steve Eramo
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