Yesterday, Star Trek favorite Armin Shimerman talked in detail about his days as Quark on Deep Space Nine. Here, in part two of our exclusive interview, he talks some more about our favorite Ferengi and then fills us in on what he’s doing now as an actor, voiceover artist, writer, teacher and director.
You mentioned that, at the end of the day, most of Quark’s potential as a character was realized. You ranked it a nine out of 10. What was the missing bit of unrealized potential? What would have taken your assessment from a nine to a 10?
Shimerman: What I would have liked to have done, or done more of, because it was done in the last two episodes, was to go back to square one. I didn’t want to go back and do it all over again. No, not that at all. But what I had learned in the last two episodes was how far Quark had come since the first episodes of the show, and it would have been interesting to go back and try to recreate the Ferengi that Quark was in the first three or four episodes of the show. He was a very conniving, a very duplicitous, and a very sort of black-market Ferengi. Most people have an impression that’s what he was all the way through the run of the show, but the truth of the matter is that after the first half of the first season, he was still kind of that, but he was moving on to other things. So it would have been interesting to go back, at the end, and see a much darker and much more insidious Quark. But that thought was prompted by things that were said and done in the last two episodes of the show.
Let’s get everyone caught up on what you’re doing these days. You’ve been very busy with The Antaeus Company, which is based in Los Angeles. Tell us a little about the theater group and what you do with them.
Shimerman: Yes, my wife Kitty (Swink) and I help run that, and it’s dedicated to classical theater. In addition to the work that we do there, we also have an academy where we train the next generation of classical actors. This academy decided it wants to do a presentation for the holidays, and what we’re going to do is a presentation of a radio version of The Thin Man. So that’s what we’re working on right now. The company has a lot of new, young people, but Chris Pine once worked here. Scott Bakula and his wife (Chelsea Field) have been in a production, and (Voyager and Star Trek VI guest star) Kurtwood Smith is in our current show, The Autumn Garden.
And what’s happening on the acting front?
Shimerman: I have sort of reinvented myself and I am doing a lot of voiceover work, primarily for games. A few games that come to mind are the BioShock series, which have been very successful and for which they gave me a phenomenal role. I’m sort of the baddie, but he’s the guiding force of the game as well. Andrew Ryan is that character’s name. And I am certainly the baddie (Dr. Nefarious) in the other project, which is called Ratchet & Clank, and I can’t tell you how many of those I’ve done. It’s a trauma for my vocal chords, but I have a great time doing it. I think I’ve done two dozen games, maybe more, and some of them are recurring characters, which is nice. So there’s that.
I also had the good fortune to be on Warehouse 13 recently, earlier this year, for a wonderful role that I hope I’ll get to do again at some point. I will be doing a production of Juno and the Paycock this spring, here in Los Angeles, at a theater called the Odyssey. My wife, Kitty, will be in it with me. Actually, she will be the leading lady and I will be the comic relief. I’m looking forward to doing that. So I’ve been acting, doing a little directing, teaching – trying to pass down to others what little knowledge I have – and I’m continuing to work on my novels. But, basically, what Kitty and I are doing is we’re seeing friends and enjoying what’s been given to us. So it’s all been good.
And before we let you hang up, how did you enjoy your guest shot last year on the “Juror #6 Job” episode of Leverage, which was something of a mini-Star Trek convention in and of itself?
Shimerman: That was a little while back. Jonathan Frakes was there, of course, directing it, and Brent (Spiner) was one of the main guests. What was even more delicious about it was that the judge that I was talking to in the episode is my wife, Kitty. So I had a wonderful time. Kitty actually had the larger role in the episode. It was nice to see Jonathan. I hadn’t actually worked with him as a director since Star Trek, though I’d seen him over the years. It may be of some interest to people that Jonathan and I know each other a very long time. Back when we were children – and by that I mean in our mid-20s – we both belonged to a theater group in New York City that was called The Impossible Ragtime Theater, where we did (off-Broadway) plays together.
Click here to read part one of Armin Shimerman's interview.