When you do interviews, being the last guy on the docket can be tough. The subject is pretty worn out, they’ve had to answer a lot of the same questions, and they just want to grab a coffee.
Not John De Lancie. Despite all the interviews going longer than planned, he was sparkling and funny from start to finish. We asked him what it was like to play Q, and his opinion on who should take over in the reboot.
What goes into, for lack of a better term, playing a god?
It can be a trap. The trap being a god or a king or a saint have very specific attributes that we as an audience ascribe to them. But as an actor, after you’ve strutted about the room in a kingly manner, there isn’t much further to go. They’re more of an attitude than action. You don’t play a doctor, you play what a doctor does. And in my case, I played a god with clay feet, or who wants to be human.
How did you see Q changing as a character, over the course of seven years?
Seven years, but six episodes! When I first did it, the director was very insistent there be no humor. I felt that was a little bit of a mistake because in point of fact, nobody is one note. To bring in as many notes is possible, not the least of which is a little bit of humor, I felt was important. The second time I did bring that in because I didn’t have somebody saying no. That got to be a little too much after a while. I always maintain that Q, while entertaining, is dangerous. He never looks menacing, but you should never get too comfortable with him.
I thought that all those elements, in All Good Things, they sort of sparkled. So for me, of the six shows I did, that was one that had the most resonance.
Did they prepare you at all for the costume you were wearing?
Well, I wore it in the first episode, so it was old home week. It was a great costume. A heavy one to walk around in, it was really thick heavy fabric. I loved that costume, it struck a great figure. I wore it at home quite a bit.
What’s the best fan reaction you’ve had from playing Q?
I’m just going to pull them all together. It’s funny, I’ve never thought of it this way. It might be the reason that all these superhuman character have become so popular… people are just tickled with the notion with having more than just their feeble powers. The idea that I had these powers really tickled. People ask me “Would you have done this” or “Would you have done that?” People just like that stuff.
As we know, there’s a reboot of Star Trek. If it ever comes up, who’d you want to step in for the Q continuum?
Sasha Baron Cohen would be a good Q. Just very naughty, I think he would make a great Q. Eddie Izzard would be another. I could just see Q coming out and saying he’s an executive transvestite. Someone once asked me what Q’s sexuality was, and I said he was bi-special. (pause) I don’t think that was the answer they were looking for.
Thanks to Mr. De Lancie and Paramount for the interview. And if you’d like to see him in action, remember that All Good Things, the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation, has a special edition Blu-ray of its very own.