According to Nana Visitor
, the role of Kira Nerys was the role of a lifetime.
An interview with Nana Visitor
Nana Visitor wouldn't change a thing. Even if she could re-imagine her life and career in an alternate universe, she wouldn't pull the trigger on making it a reality. And, more specifically, even if she could, she'd not dare change a thing about her experiences on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
"I wouldn't," says Visitor who spent seven seasons on the show as Major Kira Nerys, the formidable Bajoran first officer aboard the wormhole-protecting space station DS9. "That show, that character really was one of the things that defined the rest of my life. Not just because I was part of this television show that people still follow, but because of Siddig, us having a child, and the people that I met 15 years ago that I still keep up with, that I still hear from all the time. It's kind of like what college is for a lot of people. You form friendships that last the rest of your lives. 'Star Trek' is the only acting experience I have had where this many friendships have formed and this many have stayed."
"I can tell you, having continued to work since 'Star Trek,' that the years make me think even more fondly of the experience on the show," Visitor continues. "As an actor, I always equate it to being a racehorse. I'm capable of really running and I want to run full out. DS9 was running full out in every way. And a lot of the jobs I do now, frankly, are like being at a farmer's market and giving two-year-olds rides around the parking lot. It's work. It's what it is. It's the job at hand. But it certainly doesn’t make me race the way that DS9 made me race."
"It's interesting: when my boys find the show on TV they stop and watch it. They find it really funny and very bizarre to see Siddig and me in these situations and doing this stuff. I tend not to watch the episodes because I miss it too much. I can look at a show and look at a moment and know exactly what was said, when we filmed it, what I was feeling. The sense memory is still so strong. I think I was so present in those years, every moment I was on set, like maybe I haven't been for a lot of my life. But it required that of me. Doing that show, playing Kira, required everything I "
Visitor truly considers Kira the role of a lifetime. "I can't imagine a better character," she enthuses. "I just cannot imagine one, and luckily I knew it at the time. Frankly, I could have gone a few more years with the character. I loved her. I loved her faults and I loved her history. The writers from DS9 occasionally hire me to do other projects, but, other than that, I just haven't come across that kind of writing again or character development, or even the understanding that someone can have a set of morals that will guide how they are with other people. Behavior, the mythology of a character, doesn't seem to make a difference to a lot of people now producing shows."
Visitor actually portrayed two characters on DS9. In addition to the Kira that fans came to respect, Visitor portrayed a version known as the Intendant of Terok Nor in a number of Mirror Universe episodes. The shows transcended mere gimmickry; rather, they shed a dark light on the regular DS9 characters and provided exciting acting challenges for the lead actors and several members of the show’s extensive supporting cast. Visitor recalls that the DS9 producers blindsided her, albeit happily so, with the decision to showcase the Intendant as a volatile, sexy, hedonistic, conniving, narcissistic and possibly bisexual force with whom to be reckoned.
"We got very little advance notice of what they were going to do next," Visitor says. "I think I just read the script and learned what I was and how it happened. It fascinated me to think of the essence of the person being the same, having the same passion, the same DNA, yet how does it flip? It's like having a clone. Does the clone become just like that person? Well, maybe not. So, OK, there’s a real sense of purpose. Kira's sense of purpose was one for her people and the Intendant had a huge sense of purpose as well, but it was all for herself. So those things were really interesting, and it was fascinating to make that into something so dark."
"And it was also fun to have a whole different set of rules in terms of what they wrote for me, having slaves and all the outrageousness. To me, the Intendant was close to what a drag queen would do. She was over the top, and there was a line that I loved to walk. I tried very hard not to go over that line, and I know sometimes I did go over it, but when you're doing a TV show like that, you're going to win some and you're going to lose some. Mostly, you only know what you've done once you've seen the show put together. But I liked taking that chance because the risk was usually really worth it."
Read the full article in issue #15 of The Official Star Trek magazine. Subscribe now HERE!