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Feature: The Borg Queen (Star Trek)

Alice Krige

The Queen holds Data captive in Star Trek: First Contact

Having seduced Data and pitted herself against Janeway, Alice Krige tries assimilating us too

When the Borg first appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Q Who, they were portrayed as a faceless collective, speaking with a single voice. This changed, however, with the 1996 movie Star Trek: First Contact's introduction of a ‘Borg Queen', who spoke for the collective, but still seemed to have a unique personality of her own. The deadliest of her species, she used her every asset, from intelligence to sexuality, in an effort to crush the Federation and assimilate Humanity. The beautiful and multi-talented Alice Krige was chosen to bring the Queen to life: an acting challenge she initially found a bit daunting.

"I never know whether I'm going to reach the point where I'm animated by the character or vice versa," she muses. "So it starts out as very much a process of self-examination, turning over every stone. I read a lot and constantly look for images. As an actress, one thing that's very important to me is the clothes my character will be wearing. If you're playing an ordinary Human Being and the clothes don't feel right they can always be changed. However, you can't just try on a new dress when you're playing the Borg Queen," laughs Krige.

"Once I'd been cast the make-up department needed to do a live mask of me. Now in the script it said, ‘She is Borg but has a haunting beauty.' I thought, ‘Oh, I can handle that. It should be interesting.' There was no mention, though, of prosthetics. After they made the mask I asked, ‘Why are we doing this?' Michael Westmore [make-up supervisor and designer] explained to me, ‘For the prosthetics.' I said, ‘Oh, I'm wearing prosthetics...' Then Michael introduced me to Scott Wheeler, who had, with some input from other people, created and sculpted the Borg Queen's head and face..."

According to Krige she sent chills up people's spines on her first day of filming when she was completely made up as the Borg Queen. "We walked over to the main make-up trailer and they called Rick Berman to come down. While we were waiting I put in the contact lenses. They were mirrored which allowed me to see out but no one could see in.

"With that done I glanced up into a mirror and as I did I heard a collective gasp from everyone standing behind me. I realized, ‘Oh, my God, they're frightened. They created her and they are scared.' All of a sudden I got this incredible rush of power. It was the wildest sensation. I feel that the costume and the mask were extraordinary gifts to me in that when I got into them it was like going through the looking glass. It was no longer me but the Borg Queen..."

by Steve Eramo

For the full interview and character profile, see our Top 20 Vilest Villains run-down in
TV Zone Special #44 – also featuring new interviews with John De Lancie and Walter Koenig.

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

Taken from
TV Zone Special #44, see below for ordering options
TV Zone Special #44
Winter 2002
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