Marina Sirtis is no amateur to acting, having begun her career in the late 70’s on a number of British television shows. After running the acting circuit for years, she landed a roles as Counselor Deanna Troi in the famed television show Star Trek; The Next Generation, and continued the legacy of a franchise that is near and dear to millions of fans across the globe. It also made Sirtis a staple in the science fiction genre, as well as a mainstay character for the franchise into the following decades. Her enthralling character became almost iconic for representing major growth in a single character, from a female caricature to a full-fledged dynamic leader, a growth that is hardly represented in major fiction.
It is this pivotal role which seems to arise consistently in her career and her own character. Acting seems to exist in this sort of untouchable void, but the fact of the matter is that acting is an accessible medium, where millions of actors establish long-lasting careers without the notorious fame that makes them Hollywood symbols.
Marina Sirtis briefly mentioned this, as well as elaborating on her role as the iconic character, and how that very role shaped her entire career. Among other things, we discuss soccer, psychology, and her latest stint on the wildly and universally acclaimed long-running series NCIS.
Who or what inspired you to become an actress?
I always wanted to act. Apparently when I was a little girl I used to get up on the seat on the bus and sing Que Sera Sera.
Was there any other career you were interested in before you started acting?
I never wanted to do anything else. In fact I didn’t learn to do anything that would enable me to earn money away from my chosen profession. Dumb but it worked!
What advice would you give to people just starting in the field?
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. If I had listened to the naysayers I’d probably be working retail now. I have to say, however, that there’s a difference between being an actor and being famous . Make sure you want to act for the right reasons.
Aside from acting, what other activities in life bring you joy?
Soccer is my passion. Watching, not playing. I support the North London team, Tottenham Hotspurs. My other passion is my dogs. I don’t have kids so they are inordinately spoiled.
You have had a long history in television and film which revolved largely around the genre of science fiction and fantasy. What do you find so remarkable about this genre? Is it simply the idea of imaginative storytelling, or is it something more?
I fell into Sci-Fi. It has never really been my favorite genre but it’s been very good to me so I’m not complaining.
Your role as Deanna Troi on Star Trek has made you a staple in the famous series and a mainstay. The development with her character has been astounding for fans. What is your greatest takeaway from revisiting a role that has spanned decades and mediums for all these years?
I think that no matter the direction my career takes, I will always be Deanna Troi. One of the greatest things I hear is that she inspired others to become counselors or psychologists. As a lowly actress you can’t imagine how humbled I am that a character I played had such an impact.
We all know how passionate fans of Star Trek tend to be, any interesting personal stories in that regard and have you ever experienced such enamored fans from other roles?
Star Trek was “family time” for many and as we’ve been around for over 25 years some of those people are no longer with us .It warms my heart when I hear that watching re-runs brings back many happy memories.
You had many sort of ‘guest spots’ in your career in a range of genres. What is your unique satisfaction from exploring a character for just a brief moment?
Doing a guest spot on someone else’s show is pretty nerve racking in itself. You’re basically visiting another family. On NCIS I was cast the day before I started filming. The only thing I could do was learn the lines. There was no way I was going to mess up on my first day on the #1 TV show! Usually you get a little longer. If you have to read for a role the work on the character is done for the audition.
You have just joined the cast of the long-running series NCIS. Is there a family dynamic at play in joining such a respected cast of actors? What is your role in the series?
I play Orli Ehlbaz on NCIS. She is the new head of Mossad now that Michael Nouri’s, Eli David, character has died. I have never in my career been welcomed to a cast as I was on this show. It took my breath away. Despite Mark Harmon being the obvious star of the show, this really is an ensemble cast. No primadonnas and no over-sized egos. An absolute pleasure. I can’t wait to go back next season.
Ryan Merkel is a cool writer guy and contributor all over the internet, from blogs on music to magazines about music to sites about playing music. He is currently founder of SunState Investing and is head editor of the music entertainment magazine, CultureTease. He has written two novels, and is currently working on a third full-length novel, surprisingly, not about music. His novel “Splatter the Noise” earned accolades for independent publishing. Be sure to check out: www.sunstateinvesting.com
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