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First Contact's Borg Queen Part 2

First Contact's Borg Queen Part 2

Yesterday, in part one of our interview with Alice Krige, the actress recounted her memories of playing the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact and also on Voyager. Here, in the second half of our conversation, Krige talks more about her time as the Borg Queen, says she wasn’t aware of any possible return engagement on Enterprise, and lifts the curtain on several upcoming projects, including StringCaesar, a film she’s produced for her filmmaker husband, Paul Schoolman.

We’ve read that you’d been contacted about appearing on Enterprise as the Borg Queen, but that the show ended before an opportunity arose to bring you on board. Is there any truth to that?

Krige: No, that’s not true. I’m not aware. They may have spoken to my agents or my manager, but I’d be amazed if they hadn’t told me. (Her agents and manager) tell me everything, and it’s my choice if I want to be involved in something. Everything is relayed to me, and I never heard from Enterprise, no.

First Contact is still regarded as one of the best Trek features and your appearance on Voyager went over well. As a result, both in terms of popular Trek characters and roles in your career, the Borg Queen ranks way up there. How surprised were you by all that?

Krige: I had no idea it might happen. I knew very, very little about Star Trek. People know from other interviews that I’ve done that I grew up without a television, so I’d never really acquired a serious taste for Star Trek. I had this huge cultural black hole in the center of my consciousness. I don’t know about stuff like Star Trek, or I didn’t. The Borg Queen was an enormously intriguing character and the more I explored her, the more interesting she became. She still is enormously interesting and still has remarkable potential, from both a metaphysical point of view and from a quantum physics point of view. She is a very, very interesting entity and concept. But I had absolutely no idea that the character would strike a chord in the way that she did.

You’ve produced one movie, Shingetsu, and are finishing up a second, StringCaeser. What led you into the producing?

Krige: It came about entirely on account of my husband, Paul (Schoolman), who has an inclination toward and talent for very unusual work. It’s work that most people wouldn’t have the courage to fund. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. The picture we’re in the last two weeks of post- (production) on is something the Star Trek family has heard about ever since I was the Borg Queen. That is StringCaesar and it’s an account of the adolescence of Julius Caesar, the Emperor, but it’s told in a series of contemporary prisons, in a series of parallel universes. It has a handful of wonderful actors, South African actors and, giving a remarkable performance, Derek Jacobi. We also had a group of about 300 prisoners from different prisons, in Cardiff, in Wales, at Pollsmoor (Prison) in South Africa, where the bulk of the piece was shot because that’s, as it were, Rome. We also shot some short sequences in a penitentiary in Canada.

As you can imagine, it was a very difficult project to fund. No insurance guarantor would touch it. So it’s taken a long time, but the joy of it is it’s grown richer and richer over the years as the project morphed to include more and more prisons and more and more people. So it’s something that’s been made through the passionate commitment by a very small group of people who’ve worked largely for love and whom I hope will be rewarded. It’s a challenging film, an engrossing film, a series of different takes on history. It’s a bit like a kaleidoscope. So it’s a total guerilla film, but there was no other way. And I hope we find an audience for it. (For additional information click here.)

You have a small role in StringCaesar as a pirate king, but audiences saw much more of you as the baddie, Morgana le Fay, in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which is about to come out on DVD. How did you enjoy that experience?

Krige: My introduction to the world of Jerry Bruckheimer filmmaking was absolutely fascinating. Although my contact with him was extremely brief, his clarity and preciseness in terms of what he was envisioning was astonishing to me. And the very, very unassuming way in which he stated what he wanted, at least in my presence, was impressive. It was done in the most understated, non-intrusive way, but you understood entirely what it was that you needed to do. It was really fascinating. The director, Jon Turteltaub, has an ebullient, glorious, delightful energy, and it was a very interesting synergy on the set. It was a good combination. And I found Nicolas Cage to be really delightful, interesting, very laidback, very wry and charming.

You’ve also completed a film called Will. Tell us about that…

Krige: It’s a dear, dear movie about a little boy called Will who, in the course of the piece, becomes an orphan. It’s about how, in his father’s name, he runs away and makes his way across Europe to go the European football championship cup in Istanbul in 2005. It has some wonderful actors, like Bob Hoskins and Gerard Depardieu. It’s in post now. So that will come out next year. It is… I hesitate to say inspirational, because I don’t want to say you have to see it because it’s good for you. But I really hope that it fulfills the promise of the script, which was very charming and loving.

And before we let you go, is there anything else you’ve got going on that we should know about?

Krige: I will, in January, be participating in an ensemble piece that’s really around Bill Nighy. It’s a fascinating script called Page 8, written and directed by David Hare. I don’t know the rest of the cast yet beyond Bill Nighy and Michael Gambon. So I think that should be very interesting. And right now, actually, I’m in a taxi on the way to Heathrow (Airport in England), because I’m going to a Star Trek convention. So our timing for this conversation is really quite perfect.