April 24 2024


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Farrell: Berman Was Inflexible

3 min read


Terry Farrell, Deep Space Nine‘s Dax, was nervous when she got the news that she was to play Jadzia Dax, and sad when the time came for her to leave the show and character behind.

Being offered a strong female character role made it easy to say yes to playing the Trill.

“Everything about how (the creators) described Dax – she lived many lifetimes, she was a science officer, she was a strong female character – all of those things were incredibly appealing about her, especially being in the Star Trek universe,” said Farrell. “It’s as close to a solid job you can get in Hollywood as an actor. All of that was incredibly appealing and very nerve-wracking and exciting. I lost ten pounds between the week I read the first time and the last time out of excitement and nerves. I hardly slept at all. When I got it, I burst into tears, I was so excited.”

At first, Farrell was intimidated by Avery Brooks, but an appeal for help changed that. “During my first scene, I was so incredibly intimated by him,” she said. “I couldn’t top him because he’s so intense. I went up to him on a lighting break and pulled him aside. I had to appeal to his gentler side. I explained to him that I was twenty-eight; I wouldn’t be able to top him; and if he could help me out a little bit so it wouldn’t be so much more glaringly obvious that he was more powerful than I was. He softened and opened up. It was the beginning of a really, nice straight-forward relationship. I really liked working with him very much.”

The Worf/Dax relationship represented an interracial marriage to Farrell, who thought it was very well-written. “It was handled gracefully and crossed barriers,” she said. “(Michael Dorn and I) were friends. Before we did a scene, we were like, ‘Let’s see if we can make something happen here.’ I don’t know if (the creators) let us think we had something to do with it, but we felt like we did. I really, really liked working with Michael.”

Her favorite story though, was that of Lenara and Dax in Rejoined. “For my character, it made most sense since it was already explained I’ve been a man and woman several times,” said Farrell. “Gender wasn’t the issue. For the worm/symbiont, it was a matter of the being it was embodied in. When they approached me about it, it felt quite natural and a giant opportunity to support and be there for people who need people to stand up for them.”

“Today, I still get a lot of people thanking me for that, that it gave them strength, and that it made them feel like they weren’t alone, it inspired them to be themselves – all the things I was hoping it would do,” said Farrell. “Not only me, but all the people involved with the show.”

Farrell left Deep Space Nine when her six-year contract was up, but it was not because she wanted more money. She wanted less screen time because she was burning out after six years. But Rick Berman had no interest in working with her on cutting back her appearances; for him it was all or nothing. “I did suggest in the wake of that I could be recurring…not be in every episode,” she explained. “Rick wouldn’t have any of that. It was basically, ‘Here’s the offer. If you want it, sign it. If you don’t, it’s really been nice working with you.’ I went with ‘It’s really been nice working with you’ – I added that because it really sounds nicer. I don’t think Rick was thinking that at all. That was unfortunate.”

Now retired from acting, Farrell is a full-time parent to her son. She still makes convention appearances though, and fondly remembers her Deep Space Nine days. “I’m just so honored that I got to be a part of a group that told a story that made people feel like they were a part of something positive.”

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28 thoughts on “Farrell: Berman Was Inflexible

  1. I was told years ago by Siddig that she wanted more money than everyone else on the cast to stay on for the final season. She walked because CBS wouldn’t pay her what she wanted, and they left her with nowhere to go but out the door.

  2. Considering she bounced back quickly with the first 2 seasons of Becker with Ted Danson, I really doubt it was anything else but the money issue…

  3. Can’t say I’m surprised by what she had to say about Rick Berman–I don’t recall *any* actor/actress ever having anything nice to say about him. Given that, I have to believe those who have never commented at all are just being polite.

  4. Yeah, I’m not sure I believe that. (And it was Paramount at that time, not CBS). I’m more inclined to believe her account of it.

    Keep in mind that Rick Berman was a glorified corporate toady for Paramount whose primary function when he was first brought aboard TNG was to keep an eye on Roddenberry.

  5. I’m inclined to agree with you. If she was burning out with series work after six seasons, then why join another series? This doesn’t make sense. I don’t doubt that Berman was gruff when presenting her the options, but he was right to insist that she’s either a part of the cast or not. If he let her get away with being part-time, then other regular cast members could have asked for the same.
    In the end, it worked out well for everyone. Farrell got another regular acting gig for four years, while the show got some new blood in Ezri Dax that led to some interesting story lines.

  6. Off the top of my head, Kate Mulgrew, Colm Meaney and Patrick Stewart have been pretty positive about him over the years.

  7. Well, there might be a hint of truth in that if she’s saying she wanted less screen time. It could be that she still wanted the same money and therefore, in a sense, would be earning more than the others because she’d be getting paid the same for quite a bit less work.

  8. Worth remembering that the time it takes to film a 20 minute sitcom is a lot less than it took to film 26 42minute big budget shows a year.

    Not that I ever watched Becker.

  9. It’s not hard to believe that she could be burned out doing one series for 6 years and then jump into doing a completely different kind of series with all new people to work with. Sounds like she just needed a new environment to keep her interested.

  10. Not true. Jonathan Frakes catches up with Berman every week, all the cast of TNG are fond of him, Armin Shimerman, Rene Aberjonois, Alexander Siddig all speak very highly of him.

  11. I just saw her at the Motor City Comic Con. She is still sizzling hot. She mentioned on the panel with Gates McFadden that the producers also wouldn’t let her take a week to work on other projects. They wanted her 24/7. I think the contract got to much for her. Again she s very hot in real life.;)

  12. The show only had one more year to go. She couldn’t have stuck it out one extra year?

    As I recall she left Becker early too.

    Do I sense a pattern?

  13. Just take a moment to think about how many cast members across various Trek projects that Berman worked with. Impossible to expect, given his position, that he would just get along with everyone.

  14. I’m rather sure most or all of the TNG cast still spends time with him and are close friends.

  15. Honestly, I wish Jadzia Dax had been killed off a year or two earlier than she was. Ezri was a welcome new addition and I’d have loved to have seen more of her and seen her character grow more than it did in just a single season.

    Further, Dax is too big of a character to be in the background. If this story is true, Berman was right for what he did. You might as well make Spock a bit character on TOS or Data on TNG.

  16. No one worked with more in the various Trek casts and crews than Berman. So yes, the odds are some would not like him.

  17. Definitely a pattern, but had she not been released in time for auditions, she wouldn’t have gotten Becker. That was a big get, regardless of how she seemed to leave that show over money issues.

  18. Meaney’s relationship with Berman dates back to TNG so it’s fair to give him some leeway, I loved his bit roles in “Con Air” and “Mystery, Alaska” those were the only 2 I remember during the DS9 series…

  19. The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain as well. That’s an annoying title to type on a phone. He seems to have done a lot of work on the side during DS9. Surely some was during hiatus, but it’s still impressive.

  20. I had forgotten all about this thread, and then stumbled upon it again by accident just now.

    I’m gonna follow up with this: When I posted my original message, I had just finished listening to a podcast with Wil Wheaton (Mission Log, one of the Supplemental episodes) where he basically presented Berman as a backstabbing-asshole of the worst kind.

    My point here was, that’s *very* different than simply “not getting along” with someone.

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