Chase Masterson

Actress and singer Chase Masterson's role as the gorgeous, spirited Leeta on
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, grew from a bit part to a serious supporting presence. From D'abo girl to the wife of the richest being in the universe in just five years. Sci-fi-online caught up with her as season three of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was due for release on DVD...

Sci-fi-online: Were you a Star Trek fan before you were cast?

Chase Masterson: I had a boyfriend who was a Trekkie and we'd watch the show. When it was on, but I wasn't with him, I was only allowed to call during the commercials. I also had a roommate who was a Trekkie, so we talked about the show a lot. That was during the Next Generation years.

SFO: What attracted you to the role in Deep Space Nine?

CM: There's nothing more important to an actor than a good script, and I've always loved and respected Star Trek for its incredible writing. Also, I knew that Trek would be a great introduction to the world of science fiction, which I find incredibly intriguing. Plus I had a few friends associated with the show, which only made me want it more. On top of everything else, I'm knocked out by the faithfulness of the fans. Even now, three years after the end of the series, I'm overwhelmed by the response we get. I think Star Trek fans are, by and large, a very sensitive group of people. The show has a lot of heart, and so do they. How could I resist being a part of that?

SFO: Weren't you initially in line for another role?

CM: I was originally up to play Marta, the D'abo girl who dated Jake Sisko. I auditioned for it and made it to the final two, but obviously I didn't get it. Later on I was cast as Leeta, and after shooting two or three episodes, one of the producers let it slip that they'd written her especially for me. That was an incredible compliment.

Leeta was originally only going to have four lines in one episode, but they kept bringing me back. I never had a contract. Eventually they gave me a story arc of my own. I started the series as a D'abo girl at Quark's, and ended up marrying his brother Rom, who became the Grand Nagus. So things really worked out for Leeta. She loved Rom because he was pretty on the inside, which is really what Star Trek is all about, looking beyond the obvious. And Max Grodenchik, who played Rom, was just as sweet in real life, an incredibly giving actor and a very sensitive person. I'm thankful for all the interesting things they did with Leeta, and grateful too, for what the show's done for me.

SFO: Who else did you get along with on set?

CM: Leeta had a fling with Dr Bashir for a while, and Sid [actor Alexander Siddig] and I are still really good friends. He was great to work with, so giving, and a great director too. We run into each other at conventions all around the world and it's always nice to see him.

Armin Shimmerman [a.k.a. Quark] was also wonderful. He took Max and me under his wing and was really there for us, very supportive and always encouraging throughout the show.

SFO: How do you think DS9 stands apart from the other Star Trek shows?

I believe that DS9 is a favourite with many fans because it was relationship rather than event driven. People can relate to it, and get involved with it. There's an intimacy to it that they respond to.

SFO: Do you have a favourite episodes?

CML: I loved working on [fifth series show] Dr Bashir, I Presume, partly because I got to work with Bob Picardo. I had a lot of fun with that. I also really enjoyed making [sixth season show] Profit and Lace, teaching Quark how to be a woman - it doesn't get much better than that.

SFO: Thank you for your time.

With thanks to Frederique Slezak at Paramount's Press Office

Season Three of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is available to buy from Paramount Home Entertainment from 23 June 2003 RRP £84.99 (DVD)

For a list of other relevant sites click here.

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