SPOILERS for the entire show
Alexander Siddig: But it arrived, I didn’t know about it on Tuesday, and on Thursday the script arrived – we started shooting on Friday. I was so shocked. You know you get the impression that maybe the producers sit down and talk about strategies and character arcs with actors but this thing came out of the blue and pissed me off so royally. It was a reaction to the fact that the character was genuinely unpopular in the early days. Because he was not fancy; I mean this is a time where 90210 was at the top of the charts in American TV and this guy was so not the hunk, he was the anti-hunk. He was the -
Jordan Hoffman: He was a man of science! That’s what he was!
Alexander Siddig: He was a man of science; he was like half good looking, rubbish at pulling girls. I mean it was all the wrong kind of archetypes. And so they kept trying to do things to make it happen. Eventually they did the Bond thing (reference to Our Man Bashir) – they did the Bond thing before that actually. And that kicked it off. I have to say that I’m still pretty angry. Well, not angry . . .
Jordan Hoffman: You have a craft, and you fill out a back-story of the character and you work at it for three years, four years and one day they walk in and say "guess what, you have this secret you’ve been keeping from everybody".
Alexander Siddig: Exactly. And everything you’ve done could have been completely different had I known.
Jordan Hoffman: So did you go to the producers and voice your displeasure or just roll with it?
Alexander Siddig: I did it the only way that an actor can. I completely destroyed the lines that they gave me regarding the situation. Every time something came up that was to do with being kind of Data-esque - I mean, I couldn’t get away from the fact – I thought I was being a Data, which is what they wanted to do, they wanted to switch the characters from all the shows, which they ended up doing with Voyager -
Jordan Hoffman: Which may have been a problem for that show. . .
Alexander Siddig: Well, it was a bit cynical at the end of the day. But I just fluffed the lines; well I didn’t fluff them completely I literally pinned the lines on the back of someone’s shoulder once, reading them. I wasn’t bothered even to learn them. I just pinned them around the office as if they were lines needed for daily modification. And they got the message and dropped it kind of.
Wow, talk about an interesting interview. I agree with Siddig that the new information about Bishar's background came out of nowhere. I'm still uncertain if it turned out to be a good thing or not. It was certainly lazy of the writers, a random plot pulled out of nowhere that VOY writers might come up with. I had the same problem with Sisko finding out that he was half Prophet near the end of the series, which was even worst.
I am really glad Siddig resisted the writer's attempts to turn him into a Data clone. The last character they created to ripoff another was Pulaski, and we all know how THAT turned out.
How did you feel about Bashir's genetically-engineered storyline?