Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashir

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by Dream, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    Imagine his full name appearing in the main titles:

    Siddig El Tahir El Fadil El Siddig Abderrahman Mohammed Ahmed Abdel Karim El Mahdi

    as Dr. Bashir
     
  2. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    It would make more sense, given how the episode was resolved. Nonetheless, I think we'd would miss the poignant conversation between Bashir and his parents in the last act--a conversation focused on the fears of parents and how expectations affect children.
     
  3. Lt. Uhura-Brown

    Lt. Uhura-Brown Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    They kinda did that with Babylon 5. They had everyone's character arc already written 'in pencil' even including how they'd write out a character who's actor ever wanted to leave the show.
     
  4. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    That twist is easily the worst decision they made in the entire history of DS9. It completely trivialized all the good things established about his character and it made absolutely no sense with his established traits.

    It also established a systematic prejudice against children enhanced beyond their own control, which goes against everything established about the Federation. And IF they wanted to do that, they should have had a story about genetically enhanced kids who leave the Federation and take high paying Ferengi jobs or get recruited by the Romulan military. Or at the very least had other genetic kids say "Hey WAAIT a minute, I've been blacklisted my whole life, this Bashir gets a pass just because he managed to hide it long enough? Fuck that, if he gets to join Starfleet so do I." Instead all they did was have a bunch of lovable traitor lunatic geniuses who didn't challenge the system in any real way. If they had treated it a little more like telepaths in Babylon 5 it would have worked better. But instead they just made it this systematic prejudice that nobody questions and everyone goes along with. That was the worst of both worlds, it made the Federation less likable AND it whiffed an opportunity to say anything interesting about human nature.
     
  5. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    You know, I feel for Siddig a lot --- I don't know if this was covered in the interview, but Siddig was originally planned to play the part of Sisko. They didn't tell him they moved his part from Sisko to the Doctor (who as of that point was unnamed) until after he had already moved to America and until he showed up to shooting the day of.

    Berman kind of screwed him, then screwed him then screwed him some more and I do really feel for the guy a lot. I mean how would ANYONE feel moving their entire life for a lead part only to get on set and find out not only aren't you the lead anymore, the writers have barely fleshed out your new character. It's only one step better then showing up to the set and finding out you no longer have a job.

    The only redeeming fact about it is I had heard that because of his SGA contract, they didn't change his salaary at all; so they essentially paid Brooks and Siddig as the leads until at least season 3 when the contracts got renegotiated.

    Regardless, no matter how you parse it, you *HAVE* to feel for the guy.
     
  6. LOKAI of CHERON

    LOKAI of CHERON Commodore Commodore

    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    Wow, I was completely unaware of this!
     
  7. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    Me too. It certainly wasn't mentioned in the Companion!
     
  8. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    Huh. Must take him a week to sign any document that require full name signatures.
     
  9. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    You know, I sometimes wonder if Siddig would have used a more middle eastern name during DS9 as his stage name if by association, it might have tempered on some level people's outlook on the middle east.

    I find myself thinking he had a chance to make a socio-economical statement with his role; though I won't be surprised if someone told me part of the deal was for him to take an American sounding name as his stage name.

    Most people that don't know the nitty gritty about Trek tend be absolutely floored when I bring up some of Siddig's history and I know I'm only scratching the surface in a lot of ways.
     
  10. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    So if he'd called himself "Mohammed Ahmed Abdel Karim", everyone would love Arabs? That seems wishful thinking, to say the least!

    The whole point of changing his name was to reduce typecasting, so I doubt making a "socio-economical statement" was at the front of his mind.

    They never did play on his heritage in any way, but then Star Trek has almost always been more subtle than that. Nichelle Nichols being African-American was never explicitly commented upon in Star Trek; indeed that was the whole point. She was just there, and no one felt the need to comment on it, or question that, which was a marked contrast to much of US society in the mid-sixties.

    It's the same with LeVar Burton in TNG, Garrett Wang in Voyager.. no one questions or makes a "statement" that there are these black guys and Asians running around Starships. The are two exceptions to that, as far as I can tell, both involving Sisko. 'Far Beyond the Stars' most obviously, and 'Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang', when he talks about "our people" with Kasidy.
     
  11. toughlittleship

    toughlittleship Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    I strongly doubt anybody had intentions of casting El Fadil as Sisko; he had hardly any acting credits to his name. Rick Berman had seen him in a Lawrence of Arabia prequel, playing the Alec Guinness character. And anyway, all the main actors signed six year contracts, which is why Terry Farrell left. Her contract allowed her to.
     
  12. pymfan2000

    pymfan2000 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    Where did you guys hear that Siddig had originally been cast as Sisco? That's the first I've heard that story....
     
  13. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    I can believe he originally auditioned for the role instead of Bashir, but this suggestion that Berman told him he had the gig, with the contract signed, only for him to arrive in Hollywood and be told he was playing a totally different part, is surely too Machiavellian?
     
  14. Stephen!

    Stephen! Captain Captain

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    They apparently changed their mind because he looked too young to portray Sisko.
     
  15. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    I never even made the connection that the actor was Arab until I saw him in Syriana. He speaks in a perfectly British accent and is very light skinned.

    Also DS9 was before 2001. Now, if they had put an Arab captain on Enterprise, that would have been a real statement. That's what they would have done if they were serious about keeping Star Trek progressive, not that stupid mindmeld AIDS crap.
     
  16. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    Yes, it's pretty common kowledge El Fadil was Berman's first choice to play Sisko., as Berman and Piller talked about it in early DS9 interviews.
     
  17. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    I think a black captain and woman captain will be as far as they take it. Disappointed they went back to white male for ENT.
     
  18. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    If I am not mistaken, it was in the movie "The Captain's Chair" where they talked about all the captains and their thoughts behind who they were casting. If my memory serves me, the same video also talked about the changes between Pike and Kirk, the search for Picard and how hard of a time they had finding just the right person to play the part and Geneviève Bujold originally as Janeway. I seem to recall Robert Picardo hosting the video, but I feel like I am WAY off on that one; I think that's another one he hosted.
     
  19. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    Star Trek has always pretended to be forward thinking and progressive, but I'm not sure it ever was. Thinking that having a female captain was making a big bold statement in a time when powerful female CEOs were already commonplace showed me just how far behind Trek actually was.
     
  20. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Alexander Siddig Interview: He reveals anger over changes to Bashi

    But those weren't really milestones anyway. TOS had shown us black and latino Commodores, TWOK gave us a black starship captain, and TVH a black woman captain. That was more to do with how DS9 and Voyager were publicised.

    And on that, while I don't remember too many column inches about Sisko's race, I do remember quite a bit of fanfare and backslapping about the bold decision to hire a woman to be the latest captain when Voyager came about.

    I do wonder how much more diverse and progressive the show would have been had the writers had free reign, rather than having to get past the "small-c" conservatives who had the final word at Paramount. It's little things like the original intention of Frakes to have same sex couples in Ten Forward in 'The Offspring' (quickly shut down once word got out), The Blood and Fire debacle, and the amount of hand-wringing that preceded 'Rejoined'.

    I guess that's what happens with first-run syndication, when it's not just one network you have to contend with. I can understand the ultra-cautious nature of many of the decisions in the early nineties, and I think it's easy now to forget how much has changed socially in that short time.