by Ian Spelling
Even after four years, life on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine remains fun and uniquely challenging for Nana Visitor. She loves her character, she loves the show itself and, as everyone in the universe knows by now, Visitor is deeply in love with co-star Alexander Siddig, with whom she’s been romantically involved with for more than a year.
But, for the sake of this particular conversation, the show is the thing. “It really continues to impress me. What really pleases me is our producers’ commitment to maintain the quality and even improve the show,” she notes. “We’re in the top 10 of syndicated shows. We’ve got our audience. In some ways, our producers could stop tinkering with the show. Thank God they don’t do that. Thank God that they have the creative wherewithal to keep going with it. And, also, there’s the Star Trek franchise to protect. All of that ensures that the show is not creatively abandoned. In fact, I feel like we’re really hitting our stride right now.”
Over the years, Visitor’s ST:DS9 alter ego, Major Kira, has gotten involved in a couple of romances (Life Support and Crossfire), left the adoring Odo pining mournfully for her (Heart of Stone), battled personal demons, became a Cardassian, (Second Skin), grown closer to her fellow actors on the space station, been Kira’s evil doppledanger (Crossover, Through the Looking Glass), tranformed into a James Bond-like femme fatale in Bashir’s elaborate Holodeck fantasy Our Man Bashir, lost a bit of the rebel anger, and, in Return to Grace, even gone so far as help her greatest enemy, the Cardassian Gul Dukat, in his greatest time of need.
“There has to be some kind of evolution there. I have to admit that I was a little bit resistant to it, as were some of the people who watch the show and like the character. She’s become a little bit more secure in her surroundings, in her situation, so the chip on her shoulder has dropped. She has opened up and you can see her multi-facetedness, even in a conversation in Ops.
“Kira doesn’t have to be holding a baby for you to see that she has a tender side,” says Visitor, whose own real-life pregnancy will be written into the action of ST:DS9′s fifth season. “She now feels more free to show that side of herseld, even in a working situation. You know, if a character doesn’t grow, it dies. So, while I’ve sometimes been thrown for a loop by it all, I’m very, very pleased by what’s happening with Kira.”
Visitor and Siddig spent the hiatus between ST:DS9′s fourth and fifth seasons on vacation in Europe and preparing for the arrival of their first child together (Visitor has a son, Buster, from a previous relationship). While Visitor knows that there surely will be life beyond Kira, beyond ST:DS9, she’s perfectly content to play for a while longer in the 24th Century. “Star Trek is already a huge part of my life and it always will be,” she enthuses. “It has already made a huge impact on me, personally. Every role changes you. It brings out something different in you. You realise, ‘I can be a little more assertive than I thought I could be,’ or ‘I can use this strength, this sense of humour.’ Every role I’ve ever done, there has always been a little ghost of it that stayed with me, and I know Kira will too.”
(Heaps of thanks to Helene’ for transcribing this article!)