Galileo 7.8, Germany, 2004

An Interview with René Auberjonois at Galileo 7.8 convention

(A video of this interview was originally posted on YouTube by Finiwen, but has been removed. Transcript by Heike Meffert.)

Interviewer: Thank you very much for taking the time. How would you describe the influence that Star Trek had on your life?

René: Well, there are two ways to answer that question. I mean … the first, and I suppose the most important way is the way it influenced my life since I was a young person, and it’s probably very much the same way it influences the fans who continue to support Star Trek. It’s in the lessons that it teaches and the precepts that it puts forward of searching for a universe in which people can live in peace and understanding with one another, no matter how alien we may be to each other. We have to find a way to live together in peace, and that’s the most important. And then, of course, as an artist it’s had a tremendous influence on my life, getting to be part of the Star Trek world… being given the opportunity to create a character like Odo, a changeling, who represents in a way the very thing I believe I am as an actor, which is a character-actor who changes and plays many different kinds of characters. In reality I’m a shy person … so that when I decided I wanted to be an actor I never expected that I would be a movie star or some personality. I always thought that I would be hiding behind my character, and so Odo really personifies that, that kind of work that I do as an actor … as an artist.

Interviewer: In 2002, you had a role, a guest role, in Enterprise

René: Yes.

Interviewer: How did you like that, and how did you like the show? Do you ever watch it?

René: I have not had the chance to watch Enterprise a great deal because I have been working in the theatre and, of course, that means I’m not free in the evenings to watch television. It was a lot of fun doing a completely different kind of character on Enterprise and it was in its first season so it was fun to be around … it was sort of reminding me of the way we were when we started Deep Space Nine, the great sense of adventure and excitement and the future, that we were going to get part of this amazing journey that Star Trek offers. So, it was fun to be around that cast and to see how much fun they were having. That was great.

Interviewer: I think you’ve played judges on a couple of occasions…

René: I played a judge on The Practice, yes.

Interviewer: …and on , I don’t know, was it Judging Amy?

René: On Judging Amy, yes. I’m at an age now where I play judges, doctors, lawyers, ministers… (laughing)

Interviewer: What are your current and future projects apart from Boston Legal?

René: Well, Boston Legal hopefully, if it’s a hit that will be what will concern me for the next few years. I just finished a play on Broadway, next week I’ll record a cartoon voice for some television-cartoon – I don’t even know what it is – I do video games, I record books, I do many different things – but I am at a point in my life … I’m not a big “star.” People are not continually beating down my door – but I’m at a point in my life where I don’t need to work. So, I don’t work unless someone comes to me and says: “We want you to work. And this is what we want you to do.” And then I look at it and I decide if that’s something I want to do. My days of auditioning and trying to convince somebody that I can play a part are over. (smiling)

Interviewer: And you had a couple of roles in comedy shows as well. Like in M*A*S*H, on Benson, on Frasier.

René: Yes.

Interviewer: How do you like comedy?

René: I find comedy the most challenging and the most… you get the most back from comedy, because it’s so challenging, because it requires…. You know, you can play Hamlet for four hours and the audience can sit in total silence and they might be asleep or they might think you’re great. But when you do a comedy you are having a dialogue with the audience. If you’re doing a comedy and the audience is not hitting the ball back to you, you know, and you’ll lose your step, you’ll fall … it doesn’t work. So, when it works, it’s the most fun you can have as an actor, because you are … (snaps his fingers, indicating quick back-and-forth exchange) you’re getting that response. That’s why… one of the reasons I believe actors from Star Trek enjoy coming to conventions. Not because of comedy, but because they get to see the audience and hear the audience. When we make a television show, our audience is this lens of the camera and we don’t get the response – and, so it’s incredibly encouraging to come half-way across the world to find an audience that still cares about your work and has a response to it.