Check out an exclusive excerpt from the upcoming book Star Trek: Villains, in which Nana Visitor talks to Star Trek Magazine about her turn as the deviously evil Intendant. Order your copy today to read more about the Mirror Universe and other familiar foes from the Star Trek Universe.
Star Trek Magazine: When you read Deep Space Nine’s first Mirror Universe script – “Crossover” – and you saw that version of Kira, what were your initial thoughts?
Nana Visitor: An interesting thing happened. The more I played the Intendant, the clearer I understood Kira. If you want to do a tragedy, the best way to do it is to take the words and make it into a comedy, so you stretch it in a whole other direction and then come back and see it in a clearer way. You engage your consciousness with being the absolute opposite of something, and you have to realize what that seed is that you’re flipping. So it not only made the Intendent fun, but it made Kira richer for me as well.
Was the Intendant a character that you enjoyed coming back to? Because you could argue she did have some morals, albeit way out there.
NV: The way I saw her, she was pretty much a sociopath. She really didn’t understand empathy for other people and was completely self-absorbed. A narcissist. So I felt she fell in love with Kira not because she was a woman, but because she was her. She saw herself.
Do you believe the Intendant could have pushed Kira to be more like her?
NV: Yes, I believe that she thought Kira was a little stupid.
Because of Kira’s moral code and the mission she was on?
NV: Yes, she believed she was missing the point of opportunity right in front of her.
So what was it about the Intendant’s story that made you, as an actor, step back and think, “Now I understand more about Kira.” Because Kira really was a very complex character.
NV: Exactly, and when I realized how simple it was to flip it to make it all about the Intendant, to make her think that other people were stupid and didn’t really count as much as she did – just being a narcissist – made me understand the depth of Kira and how amazing people like Kira are. People that live for others and take the chance to live as they really believe their ethics demand.
Do you think meeting the Intendant, and her being so flamboyant, for want of a better word – a totally different “her” – changed Kira?
NV: I never felt that it did, I never saw it that way. I thought Kira would not recognize herself, that it wasn’t about the fact that her body looked the same. She took a different path and that made her a different person. I always thought Kira saw the Intendant as another difficulty to deal with.
If they’d had the exact same beginning, do you think that Kira could have gone that way, the Intendant this way…?
NV: That’s the fascinating question, nature or nurture. I think the answer for me in that was nurture.
Do you wish you’d had more episodes as the Intendant?
NV: You know, I said to Ira [Steven Behr] at some point in the last season, “You know what would have been great? If we found out that Kira had been locked in a closet after the Intendant’s last episode, and that it was in fact the Intendant and not Kira that we’d seen from that point to the end of the series, and that she caused a great deal of the war and the Dominion and all of that stuff.” Of course, that would have been impossible to go back and do, but I always thought that would have been a fun idea.
Which is similar to what they did on Star Trek: Discovery with Captain Lorca, Jason Isaac’s character – the old swap thing that nobody saw coming.
NV: Ahhh, the old swap thing, it’s always a good story.
You clearly enjoyed the deliciousness, the evil, the devil-may-care attitude of the Intendant. You could really just let it all hang out.
NV: It was really fun, really fun. The one thing that wasn’t ever fun were the baths and the fact that it was so hot and they put orange oil in it, to make it nice, but that took off the glue that was holding what little clothing I had on.
So that wasn’t so cool
NV: No, I didn’t enjoy that!