Interview with Marina Sirtis

Sirtis talks about Star Trek, travelling, and the cast reunion at Calgary Comic Expo


Boldly going where no woman has gone before. Beaming down to a convention near you.

Marina Sirtis has heard it all. The 57-year-old actress, best known for playing Counselor Deanna Troi in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, says the best part about being a science fiction icon is the dedication of her fan base.

“I have the best fans in the whole world,” Sirtis told up! magazine by telephone from her home in Los Angeles, California. “I defy any actor to say that their fans are as caring and as friendly as mine.”

In addition to making appearances in the sci-fi convention circuit, Sirtis continues to act, appearing on TV’s Family Guy and Grey’s Anatomy. On the big screen, she reprised her role as Deanna Troy in four Star Trek TNG movies and landed a small role in the 2004 film Crash, which won an Oscar for best picture.

Sirtis will join the original cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation at a special 25th anniversary reunion event at the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo, which runs April 27-29 at BMO Centre.

Is there any Star Trek: The Next Generation cast member you haven’t kept in touch with who you’re looking forward to seeing in Calgary?

We’ve all kept in touch; we’re all still best friends. Scary, isn’t it? Twenty five years later and we all still hang out.

The only person we don’t see as much as we’d like is Patrick [Stewart] because he went back to England, but the rest of us see each other on a regular basis. So, I’m really excited to see everyone in the same place.

You’ve done a variety of acting work since Star Trek. Is there any truth to the notion that science fiction actors become hopelessly typecasted?

To be perfectly honest, after TNG what I was being offered was a lot of sci-fi. I know my fans aren’t going to like this, but I’m not a big sci-fi fan. [Laughs] I like chick flicks.

I did some of the [sci-fi] stuff that was offered to me and I didn’t do other stuff. Then I finally decided that while I wouldn’t not do science fiction, I should occasionally do something totally different so that I wouldn’t add to the typecasting.

You opened yourself up to this: what’s your favourite chick flick?

You’re going to laugh… Steel Magnolias. I’ve seen that film more than any other film in my life. I just love it.

At one point Dolly Parton says, “Laughing through tears is my favourite emotion.” That describes me perfectly. I love something that makes you kind of cry and laugh at the same.

You’ve done the science fiction convention circuit a couple of times. What’s your favourite convention city?

There’s a convention in Germany called FedCon. It used to be in Bonn and last year they moved to Dusseldorf. There are 6,000 people there, and when we go we’re treated like the Beatles. That says it all.

Suppose you had one week, a suitcase full of clothes and a plane ticket anywhere in world. Where would you go?

I would go to Greece, because that’s where my brother lives. He has a house on an island called Andros. It’s beautiful and quiet and idyllic… I would be killing two birds with one stone because I would be in a beautiful place with the people I love most in the world.

There was a petition recently to get you on the BBC series Doctor Who. What else is coming down the pipeline for you?

There are actually two campaigns on right now. In addition to the Doctor Who petition, I have to give kudos to my Canadian fans, Ronnie and Laura–they’ve started a campaign to get me on Dancing with the Stars. If you go to you can vote for me.

They set this all up; I had nothing to do with it, but God bless them. My fans are amazing!

Can you dance?

You know what? They’ll teach me. I can dance, actually. I’m an actress who moves. I think with all the training, I’m pretty sure I could be as good as Rob Kardashian. [laughs] Although, I don’t have a big butt to shake like he does, so I’d have to come up with something else to do as my parlour trick.

What [the petition organizers] are saying to the producers is, “Star Trek has not been represented in the 13 seasons of the show,” and there are a lot of fans out there who would love to see one of their own on the show.

Have you ever been to Calgary?

I have; I nearly got thrown in jail in Calgary

What happened?

I came to Calgary to renew my work permit when I got the Star Trek job. I was advised by some legal idiots, I will call them, to lie to immigration about why I was coming to Canada. And so I did and I got caught.

They realized that I didn’t actually want to be in Canada — I needed to be back in Los Angeles to do this fantastic job I just got  — so, they released me on my own recognizance overnight, although they did say to me, “We really should put you in jail overnight.”

I got my permit and the rest is history.


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