Brent Spiner Video Interview On 'Star Trek,' 'Dreamland'
Brent Spiner, Star Trek's Capt. Data, shares the secrets behind his new genre-bending CD, Dreamland, and muses about Data's future.
- Q: How did you come up wit the idea for your new CD Dreamland? - Erik Meers
- A: I was sitting on my exer-cycle one morning, and I called my friend John McKenny who is an arranger and orchestrator and said, ‘I think I want to do another CD’…. I got this idea that I wanted to dream songs–there are so many songs that are about dreaming, or yearning or imagining or hoping—but they contain the word ‘dream’ in the title.
- Q: Will we ever see your Star Trek character Data again? - EM
- A: Sean Connery said, ‘Never say never.’ But probably never. We are getting a little bit old in the tooth to be doing–at least I am. Data is a character that’s about youth, in a way. And child-like wonder. Exploring humanity with child-like eyes… some of the other people could come back much easier than I could.
- Q: It's part musical, part radio show. Where did you get the inspiration for the CD's unique form? - Uinterview User
- A: I bought a Preius. My Preius had an XM radio in it so I was listening to a lot of satellite radio. I seemed to be flipping through three channels the most. I was listening to High Standards, I was listening to the 40s channel, and I was listening to Old Time radio, particularly if there was a Jack Benning Show on. Somehow or other while I was listening to these three things and kind of putting this together, I think it all formed.
- Q: Do you feel nostalgic for the radio era? - Uinterview User
- A: I am nostalgic about that time. I love that time. I love films from the 40s and the 30s. I love anything that predates, basically- I think I stopped liking movies around 1970. Anything in the past really. I like black and white. I saw this in black and white.
- Q: You're the writer, producer, and major performer on the CD. How long did it take to make the CD? - Uinterview User
- A: It was about nine months from the moment that I called Mac to when we actually held the product in our hands. It was about nine months. It was complicated. We had to write it, we had to cast it, we had to find people to do it, we had to get an orchestra together, and that's when I really started thinking and it became a real project.
- Q: In Dreamland, you perform with Maude Maggart, sister of Fiona Apple, and Star Wars star Mark Hamill. How did you connect with them? - Uinterview User
- A: I was driving down Pacific Coast Highway and suddenly this singer came on that I'd never heard before. I literally had to pull over because she's so brilliant and her voice is so incredibly beautiful. I thought 'This is it. This is the girl. I've got to have her. Who is she?' Then he mentioned at the end of the song who she was. She was singing a tune called Looking at You. She sings around six weeks out of the year at the Algonquin Hotel in New York. She is kind of the queen of cabaret right now. She is as good as it gets. I've known Mark for years, not well. He's a very good friend of John McKinney's who did the arrangements on the CD. Mac did the orchestrations for a Broadway show that Mark starred in called Harrigan 'N' Hart and he always raved about Mark's musical talents even though he doesn't really sing on this. But I have a six year old son so I watch a lot of cartoons and if you watch closely and look at the cast lists you see Mark Hamill often. He's the Joker on Batman on the cartoon and I'm always amazed when I hear him because I think 'That can't be Mark Hamill. That doesn't sound anything like him!' He's really really brilliant. His vocal stuff, he can do a lot of voices. So I needed one person to do all the other men in it and I asked Mac if maybe he could talk to Mark and he said 'Yeah I'll do it.' Again I lucked out.
- Q: Before Star Trek, you were a star on Broadway. Do you have any interest in taking Dreamland to Broadway or Off-Broadway? - Uinterview User
- A: I'm not sure. People have suggested that they would like to see it in one form or another. They want to see it as a film. And we've talked about it potentially as an animated film because I think that because it exists in the imagination, both in the imagination of the listener and in the imagination of the man who's the lead character because it's his dream, I think it would lend itself to be an animated piece. At the same time we did create it just to be an audio experience. To try to create something new to listen to more than just song song song song song. That being said, I have thought about it potentially being some kind of a staged concert with visuals and that sort of thing. I am kind of pursuing that but I have to find a director who wants to do it with me 'cause I really don't want to direct it and be in it. So maybe I should direct it and not be in it. I don't know, we'll see.
- Q: When you were on Broadway, what was your favorite role? - Uinterview User
- A: My favorite role I did on Broadway I guess would have to be John Adams in 1776. It was the biggest role I've ever done on Broadway. I've done six Broadway shows but there's something- I have an affection for almost all of them. Not all of them, but almost all of them because I was on one of the biggest Broadway flops of all time, too: Three Musketeers. It lost 12 million dollars in a week and it was really just unbelievably bad. I'm sort of proud of that, frankly.
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