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Catching Up with TNG Guest Barbara Alyn Woods

Catching Up with TNG Guest Barbara Alyn Woods

Talk about the next generation. Barbara Alyn Woods is a successful actress whose film and television credits include Star Trek: The Next Generation-- she played Kareen Brianon, personal assistant to Dr. Graves in the second-season episode "The Schizoid Man" -- The Waterdance, Ghoulies IV, Seinfeld, Striptease, series regular roles on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and One Tree Hill, and guest spots on The Goldbergs. But, as discovered during a recent interview with Woods, she's busiest these days bouncing from set to set to set in support of her three daughters -- Natalie, Emily and Alyvia -- all of whom are following in mom's footsteps. Here's what Woods had to say during our recent conversation...

What are you up to these days in terms of work and life?

I am trying to squeeze in work for myself whenever I can. I have three daughters who are full-time working actresses, so it's very important to me to be on set with them as often as I can, which means being very choosy when it comes to which projects I accept. Natalie is on The Goldbergs and Gotham and just finished episodes of iZombie and Chicago Fire. Emily just finished a film with McG, a horror/thriller called The Babysitter, and also Replicas, where she plays Keanu Reeves' daughter. Alyvia just was in Christmas of Many Colors, the sequel to Coat of Many Colors, where she played a young Dolly Parton, and is also the lead character in an Amazon original movie for American Girl. And she continues her role as Faith on CBS's Young and the Restless. I call our family "the circus family" because we're always traveling from city to city and never know what is on our plates next.

Trek fans know you from your TNG episode, but if people run into you on the street, what of your other performances are they most eager to talk about with you? We’re assuming Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, One Tree Hill and probably Seinfeld. So, those and what else?

Trek fans are the most loyal fans, but I've been fortunate enough to be on a few shows that have a major following as well. One Tree Hill was on the air for nine years, and is now one of the most-viewed series on Netflix.  Also, Seinfeld has had a resurgence in the last couple of years too. So yes... I'm often recognized for that character. It's fun because my fans who watched Honey, I Shrunk the Kids grew up and became my fans of One Tree Hill.

Let's go back in time to Trek. How did you land your role as Kareen Brianon in “The Schizoid Man”?

Star Trek holds a special place in my heart because it was my first professional gig in Los Angeles. To make it even more memorable, the series was shot on the Paramount lot, a studio I had visited and dreamed of working. I have such vivid and fond memories of Brent Spiner. He knew I was relatively "new" and was very nurturing, an extremely giving actor.  I remember my audition sides to this day, which included a lot of crying. Sometimes it's easy to work up those tears the first time, maybe the second time. But when you're called back several times for the same role, it becomes a little more challenging to muster up those emotions. But for some reason, this role touched me so deeply that the tears just kept flowing. The casting director gave me the good news while I was still in her office. Landing my first job in Holllywood is a feeling I will never forget.

What do you remember most about your Trek experience?

I remember how detailed and thorough the hair, makeup and costume departments were on Star Trek. I don't think I realized at the time how amazing they were, until I worked on other shows and made the comparison. Every single detail of the show was so carefully thought out. I also remember thinking how incredibly charismatic Patrick Stewart was.  he entire cast and crew was so welcoming. It was such a phenomenal "first" experience. I remember Brent explaining to me on set that the fans I accumulate on this episode will be my fans for life.

How did you enjoy working with Morgan Sheppard?

I ran into Morgan Sheppard years later on an animated TV movie, Prep and Landing, in which my daughter Emily was working. I  was so excited to reconnect with him, as we sat and reminisced about how unforgettable both of our experiences were on Star Trek. I was flattered that he even remembered me. Not many actors have worked on as many projects as he has. He was a complete pro and the consummate gentleman. Once again, I was very lucky to be surrounded by such established artists.

What's the line in the “The Schizoid Man?” script that you got that you just couldn't wait to get on the stage to play? And why were you so excited to play it?

I loved my scenes with Worf. I ask him, "Excuse me sir, are you a Romulan?" And he responds as if he is extremely insulted, "Hardly." Not sure why that sticks in my mind so many years later. I remember finding it difficult not to laugh every time Michael responded. It was one of the only light moments in the episode.

If you could play any character from Trek other than the one you played, who would you want to play -- and why?

I can't choose another character; I love Kareen Brianon and I feel like I would be betraying her to think about another character. But, of course, any girl would want to play Troi; coming to work and hanging out with Brent, Patrick, Michael and Jonathan every day would be pretty sweet.

Star Trek is celebrating its 50th anniversary year. What does it mean to you to be a part of the franchise on this huge occasion?

I am so honored to be even a very small part of the Star Trek franchise. It continues to amaze me how interested and devoted the Trek fans are and I feel so grateful that they have always followed my career and have been so supportive. Thank you Star Trek, for beginning my career. I will always hold my Star Trek memories close to my heart.