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Interview: DS9's Nicole deBoer Reflects on 'Ezri Dax', Beams Aboard Piller's DEAD ZONE

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Typhon Station is a very fastpaced PBeM RPG with skilled, experienced players and a warm sense of bonding and community. We play at the turn-of-the-century, 2400, and are located in the Typhon Expanses, bordering the Neutral Zone, proximate to the Romulan Empire, and near the Iconian Digs, and are on the first warning route of the original Borg Incursion.
We have three stations to post from, SB 185, USS Odyssey, and USS Wraith. They all have general and particular storylines and all interact. This game is not for the faint of heart! The writing is superb and comes hot and heavy. We have some open spots and also we will consider character suggestions. So, longtime RPGers and novices, check us out. See if you want to make Typhon Station your home away from home.

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Posted: 00:01:38 on June 26 2002
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: TrekWeb Features

Nicole deBoer as Ezri DaxWritten by Steve Krutzler

Nicole deBoer didn’t take the usual route to STAR TREK fame, in fact, one might say she was an afterthought. But in her single year as Lieutenant Ezri Dax on STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE she defied the odds and became one of the most beloved actors in the franchise.

Jumping into the twilight of an intricately woven seven-year saga, deBoer enlivened every frame with a naiveté and spunk that the broodingly serious DS9 usually attempted with Ferengi episodes. Now she finds herself endeared to fans the world over who loved Ezri Dax and wish she had been with us longer.

”I think it’s funny when people say, ‘you go to those conventions!?’,” deBoer told TrekWeb earnestly from the set of THE DEAD ZONE in Vancouver. “I say ‘yes I do, they’re fun, don’t knock them’!”

The peppy actress, who travels to STAR TREK conventions with her husband, welcomes the attention.

”I love STAR TREK conventions, they’re great. I like to go to places like Australia and places that I wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to go, so that’s always fun. For the fans it’s a way of socializing and they really have a great time. The energy’s always really nice, everybody’s always really good to me,” she says of the events that make her feel like a rock-star. “I have a blast. People put on shows, I get to see actors that I haven’t seen for a while, or meet people that I’ve never met – like from the original series – or even astronauts. So I always find it very interesting and very entertaining. I’m thrilled to go to them!”

DeBoer had the rare opportunity to take over a role that had existed for six years and make it her own for one season. But despite the brief tour of duty, she’s satisfied with her STAR TREK experience.

Nicole deBoer as Ezri Dax with Colm Meaney's Miles O'Brien”I did feel good about it. You can always want to do more and I’m sure the writers did afterwards, that’s just natural to feel that. But they sure crammed a whole lot of stuff in there for me for a year. I have fond memories of working on it, I loved working on it! I loved the character, I loved the cast, I miss working at Paramount studios [laughter]!”

Ezri, the emergency host for the Dax symbiont after cast member Terry Farrell’s contract negotiations forced her unexpected death at the end of season six, came to Deep Space Nine inexperienced and out of place. But by the end of the series’ run she deBoer’s character had forged her own special place among the crew, even allowing the producers the opportunity to finally consummate the Bashir character’s long-time attraction for Dax. But that’s not necessarily the way deBoer would’ve written it.

”I do like to play strong characters and of course Ezri did have strength in her,” she explains. “She just was confused for the first half of it. So I would’ve really liked to have gotten it together later on and maybe not thought about boys so much.”

The character grew up over the course of her twenty-six episodes, and deBoer says if here STAR TREK experience is at all incomplete, it’s in this respect that she’d liked to have had more time with Ezri.

”I would’ve liked to have continued on, to have her become more confident and get more together. It was ok playing it that [naïve] way but I liked how she got more confident near the end.”

Returning to the universe of STAR TREK may not be anywhere in her immediate future but the actress says she’d love the opportunity to play a character truly out of this world.

”[Would] I have to wear big fake boobs,” she asks before bursting into a prolonged fit of laughter. “Looks like it’s getting that way!”

In all seriousness, “I would love to. I would even love to play an alien, totally hide behind a mask. But I don’t think I could handle that makeup, I really don’t. When I heard about the audition [for Ezri] I was like ‘well what exactly does it entail, do I have to wear a head?’ because I don’t think I could take it.”

These days the thirty-one year old Canadian native is back home, but hasn’t strayed too far from space. Her executive producer on the new USA Network series THE DEAD ZONE is none other than DEEP SPACE NINE co-creator Michael Piller. As the STAR TREK vet in front of the cameras, deBoer has even more compatriots from the venerable sci-fi franchise behind her and the rest of the cast.

”It’s like being with anybody who is really good at what they do, it’s like being on a David Kelley show or something. These people are experts, and we’re benefiting from that,” she praises her fellow TREK alumns from Piller to Joe Menosky to Michael Taylor.

Her new role is the female lead in THE DEAD ZONE and a character introduced in Stephen King’s original novel. But deBoer says she could only draw partial insight from Sarah Bracknell as written by King.

”I read half the novel,” she’s not afraid to admit. “Honestly, I stopped reading the novel because while I quite enjoyed reading Sarah in the novel, the problem was in the book she doesn’t have a child with Johnny, so all her character decisions are different than for me. That’s a big deal, to have a child with him and it really changes everything. I took what I could get out of it and then felt ‘oh it’s not helping me’. The basis is there but her situation is different.”

Piller brings a lot of STAR TREK’s interest in scientific phenomenon to the table, but deBoer says we shouldn’t look for techno-babble in this newest franchise series any time soon.

Nicole deBoer with Anthony Michael Hall from THE DEAD ZONE”They’re trying to marry the scientific and the spiritual, and each episode varies in what it’s dealing with. Sometimes it can be a very specific thing that’s not touched by Johnny. It’s a mixture of both and it’s been done quite well, and injected with humor too.”

The episode being shot while we spoke to Nicole utilizes some of that humor and is written by Michael Taylor (DS9, VOYAGER).

”It’s quite funny because it’s basically a date that he has with the reporter on the show and he’s a little untrusting of her, but there’s definitely an attraction between them and my character does not really trust her,” she told us of the episode. “So he goes on this date and they’re basically taking the idea that if you go to bed with someone you’re going to bed with everyone they’ve slept with. Well it REALLY is for Johnny so it’s a very comedic thing.”

The variety in the first cycle (thirteen episodes) of THE DEAD ZONE reveals a versatility similar to the STAR TREK series.

”We did a pretty cool one called ‘Netherworld’ where Johnny wakes up and everything is as though it never happened,” deBoer cites. “He was never in the coma and he’s with Sarah and having this happy life, but it’s very bizarre as well. The jury one they’ve done it very good [‘Unreasonable Doubt’], and we’ve even done a bank robbery sort of thing that’s kind of like DOG DAY AFTERNOON (1975).”

Nicole jests that working on STAR TREK had its benefits: “I miss the official thing about STAR TREK of being a ‘Lieutenant’ -- but it’s nice to be a normal civilian and the location factor spices things up a little bit. Sometimes those studios got a little suffocating.”

Science fiction and STAR TREK fans should look forward to THE DEAD ZONE’s innovative use of visual effects in the telling of the stories.

”I really like the camera stuff that’s going on and the visual effects that we’re using. I think we’re trying to use the most cutting-edge that we can for our budget. I’ve done some like in the pilot, with weird camera moves, you’re almost doing things like a play, which is kind of challenging.”

Her co-star in THE DEAD ZONE, Anthony Michael Hall, has a dual role, also serving as co-producer. Many STAR TREK cast members from Jonathan Frakes to Robert Duncan McNeill to Avery Brooks have jumped to the creative side. But deBoer’s in no rush.

”Right now things are still coming to you as a character. We’re working together with the writers as they watch the dailies come in and feed off that and have their own ideas.”

Catch Nicole in THE DEAD ZONE, Sunday's at 10 PM on USA Network.

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© 2002 All Rights Reserved.

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