11:03:18 on June 15 2002
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: Deep Space Nine
In the July issue of STAR TREK: THE MAGAZINE, former TNG and DS9 writer/producer Hans Beimler talks about how he came back to the TREK franchise with DS9 after working on such early TNG scripts as "Arsenal of Freedom," "Who Watches the Watchers" and "Allegiance."
"Basically we were broke," Beimler exclaims in reference to himself and then-writing partner Richard Manning. "We'd created and written a series and we'd had a lot of fun, but it hadn't been that big a success, so there wasn't much money coming in. I talked Ricky into doing an episode just to float us by until the next thing came along. They were already batting the 'Paradise' concept around. We took a pass at it and did a draft of the script, and then they made some changes to that. It was not an unpleasant experience; working with Ira [Behr] rarely is. At the end of the year, Ira asked us to join the staff, but Ricky did not really want to rejoin the Star Trek world, so ultimately we passed. Then we went on to do 'TekWar'," he recalled for the mag.
After Manning decided to persue feature work, Beimler says he called DS9 producer Ira Steven Behr, who offered him a staff job on DEEP SPACE NINE. But getting used to the "middle child" STAR TREK wasn't easy after working on TNG.
"It took me a while to catch the drift on DS9. At first, I thought it was going to be easier than it was. By the time I joined the staff it was clearly a different show; this was not TNG," he admits. "I had an idea what to expect though; Ira had warned me that this was not your father's Star Trek, Knowing him, I knew that, once he'd gotten his hands on things, they had probably changed radically. But I was surprised as to the extent of it. We had entered a complicated universe, with very complicated characters; Ira has a penchant for developing the kind of dark and mysterious characters that do things you don't really expect them to do. They were much more sophisticated characters than those on TNG, and I really got fond of them over the years."
His first script, "Sword of Kahless," presented problems that only a pairing with DS9 writer Rene Echevarria (now running the new ABC series MEDS for the fall season) could remedy.
"I did a pass on the script that was OK, but not great, and then Ira assigned Rene Echevarria to me so that we'd do a pass on it together. It was fun. I like writing with other people, and I enjoy the collaborative effort. The experience of doing that rewrite bonded Rene and me, and from then on we referred to one another as 'My brother in Kahless'. He helped me enormously to really understand what they were trying to do on a character level," Beimler says.
Eventually becoming Ira Behr's writing partner for the last two years of the show meant doing lots of Dominion War episodes and Ferengi episodes, which Beimler admits weren't always a success.
" think the funny Ferengi shows weren't very successful. We never really executed comedy well," he told the magazine. "I'm not sure where the responsibility for that lies. 'The Magnificent Ferengi' was as close to successful as we ever did, but there were some other things that should have been funnier. There are some that have very funny moments in them like 'The Little Green Men' but even then they never fulfilled the potential of the scripts. You might say that's just writers laughing at their own jokes, but I don't think it's true. I think the scripts really were much funnier that the shows. I can't quite tell you why."
He also reveals that supporting Ferengi characters -- like Max Grodenchik's 'Rom' -- got more screen time when comedy episodes came along because Armin Shimmerman had cemented an interpretation of the 'Quark' role that didn't mesh with some of the writers' own conception for how Quark should be characterized.
"To be honest, sometimes Armin's interpretation of Quark was a lot different than the way we saw the character. Rom was more the way we saw Ferengi, and it was funny. We all gravitated to this funny part of that character. Quark was the bigger star of the show, the more central role, but we all really liked the way Max [Grondenchik] played Rom."
To read more, check out the July issue of STAR TREK: THE MAGAZINE. Thanks to TrekWeb's 'Cyrus' for these excerpts.
React to this story below and then see what others are saying about this topic at the STAR TREK BBS.
Send this story to a friend: