Alice Krige

 


Alice Krige has appeared in numerous movies, but it is her role as The Borg Queen that millions of Star Trek fans will know her best for. We caught up with her as Star Trek: Voyager came to the end of its seven-year run...

Sci-Fi Online: You spend a lot of time in London, what is the appeal? It's always raining here?

Alice Krige: I just feel very comfortable in London. There is no effort and I just feel as though I am a fish in water when I am here. When I am in London, my husband and I stay with a friend in Hampstead. And I love it there, because each little house is different from every other one. And I adore the Hampstead Heath. The parks in London are wonderful. I have some friends who live in Clapham and its beautiful there. There are so many different parts to London, all very different, but all quite charming. We often go and have an Indian meal in Drummond Street.

I live in LA but don't spend much time there, but LA is like that. It takes a long time to discover it, but LA has a career town, a little Tokyo, a Chinatown and a whole sort of Mexican area, and that's what I like about London, each neighbourhood has it's own different feel to it. I have spent a lot of time on Dartmoor, which of course is surrounded by beautiful little towns. Tavistock in particular is a favourite. I have also been working in Swansea and Cardiff which are also lovely. I went to a convention in Glasgow and we had such fun. They gave me a kilt and a frilly blouse and taught me to dance - it was a wonderful night. England is beautiful. Last week we needed some time to escape and we went to stay with some friends in Norfork. With the blue sky, fields and trees and beautiful Saxon churches, it was really beautiful. I actually love the English countryside and I feel more at ease in it, than anywhere else on Earth - and I have travelled a huge amount.

SFO: Star Trek has stood the test of time and has a loyal army of dedicated fans - what is it about the show's formula that keeps it fresh?

AK: When I was asked to audition for the part, I had not seen a single episode of Star Trek, and I had to go out and borrow the Borg episodes from a friend.

When I grew in South Africa, we did not have television and I just didn't really acquire a real test for it. There are these great gaps in my cultural upbringing. I was very struck when I first started exploring the series. It seemed to have a combination of really serious concerns, it really raised moral and ethical issues that were important and it raised a need to have compassion and tolerance and see the other persons point of view, as well as to embrace people that are not like you. The whole idea of it being a society without money - it's full of really interesting ideas that have maintained their relevance. I mean they are fairly eternal questions that human beings keep on asking themselves. And society keeps on asking itself, and this is why, I think, that it has gone from generation to generation.

Star Trek is interesting television. You turn it on, and the chances are that you are going to go on watching it because it's interesting and the writing is good. It doesn't talk down to its audience and it requires you to pay attention. Also they use very good actors. I never met Gene Roddenberry, but I imagine that in the respect of Star Trek he was really coming from the heart. I am sure that it was not just the means of making money for him, but the issues were very real to him. And if you get that then you are going to make a connection with people. It's very good television.

SFO: Who is your favourite Star Trek character of all time?

AK: Data, played by Brent Spiner is a wonderful character. There was an episode when Data turned down a chance to be human, quoting Shakespeare's "To thine own self be true," but inched closer to his goal with the discovery of an emotion chip created by his builder, Dr. Noonien Soong. He delayed using it for over a year, and when the chip was finally installed it caused a near-overload as Data began learning the complexities of the new. Humour was a concept that largely eluded him until that point, and I love the way he expresses this.

SFO: Would you be seen out and about in your Borg Queen make-up and clothes?

AK: Yes, I would love to. I was told a story by Scott Wheeler (Make-up artist on Voyager) which I find hilarious. There was an earthquake in LA. It happened at 5 o'clock in the morning and they had just finished the make-up on one of the Star Trek characters. And this actor said, "I am going to see if my family are alright", and they said, "No, you are in make-up".

He ran out of the trailer, into his car and drove home. He got to a crossroads, it was pitch black and the traffic lights were not working, and there were no street lights. The cast member pulled up to the junction, and slowed down to a stop. As he did this, another car came toward him, and he said that he was aware of the headlights pass over him and the look on the other drivers face was absolute shock. He looked as if the Martians really had landed. It would be very interesting to see what effect it would have. I would like to do it at night to see how people would respond. I am totally open to the thought of another alien life form, Why not? Why should we be the only ones?

SFO: You star alongside Christian Bale and Matthew McConoughey in Reign of Fire that is set to be released in the UK later this year. Can you tell us about your character?

AK: I play the mother of the lead character (Christian Bale), but I am only in the film for a short amount at the beginning. In fact, it is an act that my character's son commits, that kills me off. I have also been working in Swansea and Cardiff for the past few months on a new project that is draining all my energy at the moment. It is a film that explores the life of Julius Caesar before the history books started, looking at his life before he became the great leader that we all know about. I am producing the film which is partly shot in Swansea Jail.

SFO: Would you like to play more science fiction roles in the future?

AK: I have been very lucky work wise because I have worked across an extraordinary number of genres, and have played an extraordinary number of characters. I have played at least four characters that were based on real women, two of whom were alive when I played them. I went from the Star Trek set, where there is a huge budget, and state of the art everything, and it was wildly exciting to see people working with such expertise. I finished that on the 2nd July and on the 7th July I was in Winnepeg working on the film set of a man who is a surrealist called Guy Madden, who I love dearly. His work is so dark, and this production was so poor compared to Star Trek. We were shooting at one end of a soap factory, while at the other end they were making soap. Not only this, but the soap factory was in a shunting yard and they were shunting trains around, so the sound quality was very poor. But, everyone who was there was so passionate. The work was extraordinary and I would do anything to work with those guys again.

I have also done mainstream film and television, as well as out-there stuff, and that is what has been so interesting about the last 20 years. So much variety. Usually what I am looking for is the character, I don't really mind about the genre. What I am interested in is her, and the story.

SFO: Thank you for your time.

Star Trek: Voyager 7.13 is now available to own on VHS (RRP) 13.99.


With thanks to Jonathan Bennett at the Paramount press office

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