GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Super-Con Big Wow!-Interview Denise Crosby | I Smell Sheep

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Super-Con Big Wow!-Interview Denise Crosby

Super-Con Big WOW! had so much to offer those attending, I had the privilege of meeting and chatting with a variety of different comic authors and comic artists. But the very best thing that happened while I was there was the sit-down interview I conducted with Denise Crosby. For those of you who don't know, Denise Crosby played Lieutenant Tasha Yar, the first security chief of the USS Enterprise-D in Star Trek: The Next Generation. (and one of the best shows of all time) I hope you enjoy. :)

Katie: Hello, Denise, my first question is how did you get into acting?
Denise: Wow, ya know I think instead of you getting into acting, acting gets into you. I remember a Meryl Streep quote, I am sorta paraphrasing it, If there is anything else you can do, do that. Because this is a tuff cross to bear. I think it's the only thing that makes sense to do. I kind of tried to rebel against it because I'm the third generation in my family to go into show business. My grandfather was Bing Crosby, my grandmother was Dixie Lee who was a huge singer actress at the time in the 30's when she meet my grandfather. And my Dad kind of dabbled in it, he and his three bothers had a singing group and they played around with my uncle. He did a movie with Elvis and different things like that. My mother worked at Paramount, oddly enough, and was a bookkeeper so part of her job was she was a bookkeeper on the TV show The Mod Squad. So I would go when I would have days off and go to visit her at Paramount and go to the set of the The Mod Squad. It was really cool to hang out and that was my real first time being on a set. I think as I got older I wanted to make sure it was really me doing it for me. And not just following some path that everyone assumed I would. Does that make sense?
Katie: Yes it does, and that it was not just a paycheck.
Denise: Yeah. I mean you've got to really want to do this. Because there is a lot of rejection and uncertainty and difficulty in all of it. But at the same time the other side of that is the great thrill of discovery and humanity, and touching people's souls. That is very powerful.

Katie: So how did you find out about the Next Generation holding auditions?
Denise: I was just starting to get some work as an actress, and I got the audition and originally I was reading for the part of Deaena Troi. So it was a very different way they were going to go with the role, and they were very secretive about the script. We weren't given a full script. We were only given what's called "sides" just what we were going to audition with, and we knew nothing about it. And here I get these pages that are talking about Counselor Troi and she's a Betazoid. And I was like "what the hell is a Betazoid, what is this?" and nobody could give me an answer.
Katie: Did it say at least that she was an empath?
Denise: Yes. She was basically the ship's counselor, therapist, shrink and I am going ok well I don't know what to do. But all of us were like that, left in the dark, but I think after about 3 auditions after Deaena Troi they switched it. Marina and I. They wanted me to read for Tasha and her for Troi.
Katie: So she was reading initially for Tasha?
Denise: Yes.
Katie: Oh wow. That would have been totally different I can't even imagine.
Denise: {laughs} Can you imagine? Yeah I know.

Katie: So did you expect the show to become as huge as it did, what did you all think going into it?
Denise: No. As a matter of fact at the time I was working on a movie called Miracle Mile during the time I got the audition for Star Trek. Now Miracle Mile was a very highly regarded script at the time. It was written by a guy named Steve De Jarnatt, who's an independent film screenwriter with Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham in the leads. It had been around town for a couple of years, and it was talked about in the industry as one of the best scripts running around that nobody had made. Finally it got financing, so when I was doing it and this thing called Star Trek: The Next Generation was being cast I thought this looks a bit cheesy. Why are they going to make another redo Star Trek? You can't redo Star Trek it's iconic! Are they gonna play Kirk and were gonna have Kirk and Spock? No no it's the Next Generation. And I am thinking, this is not gonna fly. And it was the first television series being made for syndication.

So remember TV Series back then you would be on one of the main stations but then if you made enough it would go into syndication playing on the local. This was the first time it was being made directly for syndication. It had this kind of vibe that it wasn't really a major thing. We were all kinda just hacks doing this thing. But what are you gonna do? You need work and you gotta do it. And then fan feelings, the feedback, was pretty negative. This was before it aired. That how dare you, you can't do another Star Trek, this is blasphemy! You know? So the feedback was not good.

Katie: So you and Data *evil laugh* you guys were one of my favorite "hook-ups" or "loves"
whatever you want to call it, what was that like for you doing those scenes?
Denis: Well, you know Brent is just a great guy and a lovely person and so funny that it was just ridiculously funny. We just made light of it and had no idea that it would have such a resonance with people. I had to just worry that the outfit I was wearing would stay in place! {we both started laughing at this point} That was my biggest fear, and then not laugh. Because Brent's face was just like {Makes really funny Data face} Pinocchio or something! It was just so funny, we just had such a ball doing it.
Katie: Well and then after when you character died and he kept the little hologram of you, that was just so touching. He would look at your picture and you just know he has feelings!
Denise: I know! Exactly! That whole thing allowed, I mean that's the thing a writer writes into a story with only that in mind but then there is a ripple effect to it. Because that happened in that episode then all these other things are allowed to happen, and you have to write to that.

Katie: What was one of your favorite scenes to do while you were on the show?
Denise: I loved some of the first early episodes, because it was all so fresh. Nobody new what any of it was at that point and we were all so deliberate in using our phasers and communicators. I would use the panel on the ship, and Michael Okuda the designer said "You know I think by then you would only need to touch one button". But everything was so new for the first time. None of us had ever done any of this and it was very exciting that whole first season. I would see a change when I would come back, they would get more routine, more familiar and that quality was never to be seen again.

Katie: Working with Patrick Stewart, what was that like?
Denise: Just incredible, just working with a fantastic actor makes it so easy. He just assumed that captain quality so you never had to act that or pretend that or just think oh yeah this guy's really the captain. He was the captain.
Katie: From day one it was believed!
Denise: Yeah. You just wanted to be good because he was so good, it was really interesting.

Katie: So now I have two questions for you from my friends in Ireland "Following the Nerd", they run a radio show and website. They wanted to know do you regret leaving the show?
Denise: No. For me really at that point in time, I felt that it wasn't going to grow. There wasn't enough for me to be satisfied as an actor anymore, by the end of that season and I was very frustrated. I didn't want to spend the next six or seven years, whatever it was going to be, just sometimes standing on the bridge doing nothing for like 15 hours sometimes not having any scenes to play or anything. So for me it was really a creative choice to make, they only choice I had to make. I was really frustrated and going to become miserable soon.
Katie: I thought the Data thing could have been...
Denise: You know there were a number a things they could have done, but were they going to? And you had to make that choice, I didn't want to risk just constantly having nothing to play. Nothing going on.

Katie: You kind of touched on this earlier, but you had a recurring role as a Romulan
character, what was that like coming back after being gone? What was the reception like?
Denise: It was always fun coming back. I just loved the idea of having this character, being Tasha's daughter, and being half Romulan just the possibility involved in that. So it was always great to see everyone and check back in. I never thought that was going to happen, I came back periodically. I came back all throughout the series. So it was a great surprise really.
Katie: And I liked that you came back!
Denise: Yeah me too.
Katie: I cried on the episode when your character dies, I was a little girl, but I did.
Denise: Awww.
Katie: I've always hated that. It's something that's stuck with me, whenever a character dies on a show that I like I always think of Tasha Yar.
Denise: That's sweet.

Thank you again to Denise for taking the time to sit down and chat with me, it's something I will never forget. I loved STTNG from the first season and still carry that torch to this day. :)


  1. OMFG *fangirl squeeeeeeee* <== I just actually did this in my lecture *blush*

    So excited. Wonderful interview. I always loved Tasha- and just TNG in general. Can't imagine how it would be to actually meet Patrick Stewart. <== hero of my teenage self

  2. how cool! You lucky girl :) Great interview Katie!

  3. Thanks ladies, it was a very special moment for me. So glad you liked it :)

  4. Awesome, Katie!! I'm a huge Star Trek fan, too. I was very sad when Tasha Yar died, but kinda jealous when she got to be with DATA!! What an honor (and a challenge!) to be the one who inspires feelings in an android, LOL.

    I think Denise has her grandfather's eyes.
    Thanks for the interview, Katie!

  5. @Kerrelyn Oh the Data and her thing was HOTT! I think it was a bad move on the writers part not to do more with that storyline....

    She was a class act and a very sweet lady. Thanks for the comment Kerrelyn, now I want to play some Bing Christmas songs! lol

  6. Star Trek: The Next Generation was my favorite "branch" of the series. Tasha was one of my favorites from the show!

  7. Warning NSFW:

    Click the link.

    You know you want to.

  8. *fan girl squee* Awesomeness! I was a kid, too, when Tasha Yar died on the show (My whole family watched the show every week) and I still remember it vividly! I think it was one of the first series I watched where a main character was killed.