1994 Interview All About Garak & Andrew Robinson
I’ve seen this great interview posted a bunch of times online, but it’s alway seems to be as graphic scans, which I have a hard time reading, so when I actually got my hands on DS9 magazine Vol. 9, 1994, I was psyched. I could read it AND I could scan it! So here it is, with all the text, plus photos. I’ll be posting the photos all separately afterward, including a few that don’t fit. Enjoy!
I love Garak and Andy so much. Also, I love that this interview is all after Season 2 (and I believe before Season 3 aired), so you have Robinson saying things like “I wished I’d get to do more plots with Rene and Avery!” and “It’s going to really interesting when Garak’s secrets come out!” He he. It’s really zero surprise he wound up writing a book. Or that the book would be well written – he uses great words in the interview, just popping in stuff like “apotheosis.”
According to his former superior in the Obsidian Order, Garak has a “rare talent for obfuscation.” The same, fortunately, cannot be said of the man who plays him, Andrew Robinson. Given the chance, he willingly expounds upon the delights of playing this charming, yet devious, Cardassian.
“This role has been quite surprising and wonderful,” Robinson says. “The way the character is progressing is a delight for me. When I auditioned and got the part, I had no idea that it was going to be a recurring character. They’ve been writing really interesting things for Garak; each time that he appears, there’s something more to play."
What first attracted him to the role was "the mystery about the character. At the same time, there was also this wonderfully refined and urbane intelligence about Garak. Not only did he have a secret, but his secrets were very deep and potentially very interesting. I don’t know where it’s going from here, but I look forward to the day — if the day ever does come – when the truth about Garak emerges. I have a feeling that the secrets he has are going to be a great deal of fun to play."
Because he didn’t receive any back ground from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine writers or producers, "I just created my own, so I had something to work from,” says Robinson. “I went for the approach of something that was reptilian, someone with cold blood, who would have that same deliberate, measured style. In terms of mystery, I played ‘I’ve got a secret.’ The writers and producers have been taking what I’m doing and building from that, as well as whatever they have in mind for Garak, which really is the best. Very few shows do this.
Not surprisingly, Robinson’s least favorite aspect of this role is enduring the makeup. “That’s the worst part of it. Garak is a three-and-a-half hour makeup job. Sometimes I’ll have a 2 or 3 a.m. call! There are seven prosthetic appliances that they put on, including the neck. It teaches you a lot of patience,” he admits. “Once I’m in it – and these are long days I put in on the set, 14 to 16-hour days sometimes — I just have to 'Zen’ out. Otherwise, if I start getting cranky, then I’m done; I can’t act or do anything. I really have to move into an almost beatific state. I have lost weight, though; that’s one good thing!” he adds, laughing, before relating a more serious makeup-related tale.
“When the earthquake hit in January, it was 4:30 a.m. in Los Angeles, and I was already in the makeup chair, along with Armin Shimerman [Quark] and a couple other actors. It was pretty bizarre: this earthquake hits, all the power goes out, and all these aliens in varying stages of makeup are milling about in the darkness! People like Armin and Ed Wiley, who was playing this Cardassian, couldn’t get through on the phone to their families, so they just jumped into their cars – Armin in his Quark makeup and Ed with his Cardassian makeup on – and drove through the pre-dawn streets of Los Angeles. I can only imagine what the other motorists saw – I think that would be more bracing than a cup of coffee!”