Las Vegas Con 2017 with Dukat, Damar and Weyoun

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Shada Dukal
Evil but still Redeemable
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Las Vegas Con 2017 with Dukat, Damar and Weyoun

Postby Shada Dukal » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:42 pm

The moderator opens the discussion and announces that they will explore power, control, dominance, oppression and submission (is this guy into BDSM? Really kinky…) 3.37 Then he points out that they have a pretty strong aggregate of fascists and apologists for fascists while eyeing the Cardassians and the Vorta.

After presenting all guests the moderator gives the floor to Behr and he starts his 20-25-year-old jeremiad about how Gul Dukat is a fascist and Hitler loved his dog too. The guy must be truly fixated on that.

Marc Alaimo is sitting next to Behr and is grinning, eye-rolling, hand waving and vigorously shaking his head in denial while Behr waxes on space fascism and finally claims he doesn’t know what “fascist” mean and can’t even spell the word. Casey Biggs also visibly disagrees with what Behr is saying. 5.24

Then Behr moves to Damar, Casey Biggs receives a round of applauses from the audience, while the Vorta is trying to downplay the hero of Cardassia. Behr accuses him of killing Zyial but Damar promptly counters him and says that she was a traitor. 6.10

Behr calls Weyoun “the Neville Chamberlain of DS9” but Weyoun explains that he was only a facilitator for peace, goodwill, and communion and finally says “Long Live the Founders.” The baddies are holding their own and refuse to make Mr. Behr happy. 6.46

Behr looks puzzled and wonders who is more deluded – Gul Dukat or the Vorta.

Then the moderator asks how the Dominion arc was created and who were the people behind, Behr says he, Wolfe, Fields and Crocker started developing it during season 2. Then he admits that initially he did not recall who the Cardassians were, if was Piller and Berman who brought them in. Then Alaimo buts in and explains that he was the first Cardassian in TNG – Gul…Something. (he means Macet).

Alaimo interjects, “I have always thought it would have been nice…” Behr is truly exasperated and covers his face with his hat because he expects that Alaimo would say that if would have been nice to give the Cardassians a less moralistic treatment. A guilty conscience? 10.49
But Alaimo just points out that it would have been nice if someone has explained to him who his character was and what his back-story was. Then Behr changes the tactics and prides himself on his audacity to cast Alaimo. He says that they were all disappointed with the performance of the actor who was supposed to play Dukat’s part, he clearly could not sell his lines in front of an view screen because there was no real interaction. 11.48

Then Behr acknowledges that Alaimo just entered and played Gul Dukat like it was “Deep Space Nice starring Marc Alaimo as Gul Dukat.” What else could it be? 12.39

Alaimo clarifies that for the first season any time he was on, he was on probation and he knew that if he messed up he would be gone so he really had to make his stand and make his presence felt. 14.29

Then Casey Biggs explains that he expected to be in only one episode as Dukat’s lieutenant but then they kept writing more about his character. He would appreciate if someone had told him that he had a wife and a child but one day Jeffrey Combs (referred to as “this lovely weasel") just walked in and told him that they were killed. On the brighter side, it was a faithful day because he gave up kanar. 14.56

The discussion moves to the Vorta and Jeffrey Combs humbly defines the Vorta as “the middle management of the Universe.” Behr says that their initial conception changed quite a lot during the casting because the Vorta were supposed to resemble the actor Brian Dennehy (the big burly cop that chased Rambo in “First Blood”). They view them as businessmen and trumps (the card-playing meaning) calming beefs and making deals between different races. However, when Combs came and they started writing, the Vorta image was reshaped. 16.27

The moderator questions the Vorta dispensability but Combs reassures him that this was not a problem and this was actually “the brilliance of the Dominion.” 17.20

Here Casey Biggs comments on the expendability of the Vorta recalling the joke Damar made about talking to Weyoun 9. Both Combs and Biggs seem awfully happy about that. 17.42

The moderator asks Combs what inspired him to create such a smarmy character. Alaimo throws in, “That is who he is” 17.50

Then Combs says that he did not have much time for preparation because he showed up at 4 a.m. got some stuff slapped on him and had about 15 minutes to watch his character in the mirror and to decide intuitively how to act it out. He admits that when he was in gear and prosthetics he did not know who he was and felt like a test pilot wondering whether the thing would fly or not. 18.03

He views Weyoun as “a member of the court, someone who facilitated, a diplomat smiling at everyone and making everybody feel at ease while the shiv goes in between your ribs.” 19.14

After that, Damar explains how he felt when he had to play Damar for the first time. They discuss the relationship between Dukat and Damar.19.54
He says that he had no idea who the Cardassians were but Marc Alaimo was so gracious and took the time to reassure him that everything would be fine and he would show him what to do. He adds that Alaimo as Dukat was “the epitome of this race.” Casey Biggs also says he had to trust his colleague that he had done his homework and had done some research so all he had to do as a newbie was to listen to and to react. Apparently, He is very proud of the arc that Dukat and Damar had. 20.00

Alaimo says he really enjoyed when Casey Biggs came on as his lieutenant because he knew how Casey Biggs was feeling walking into a situation that the rest of them were just getting used to. So he was very happy to take him under his wing. He told him to follow his lead and to relax. He even once slapped him in the face while they were exchanging lines and Casey Biggs was very surprised but he produced a very true reaction. 21.52

The moderator asks about Dukat/Kai Winn relationship. Alaimo says how much he loved working with Louise Fletcher (an amazing actress indeed). However, he did not like the transformation that he went through physically because he had to become a Bajoran (icky!). The moderator assures Alaimo that it was jarring for the audience too but Alaimo insists that it was mostly jarring for him because he did not know what it was going to be like. He admits he always relished being Gul Dukat because everybody would move out of his way when he walked in and that was terrific. As a Bajoran he was a kind of wimpy guy. 23.37 This draws a new round of applauses from the audience and a giggle from Casey Biggs. (Yes, I know it, I have always known it, the Bajorans are wimps.)

In the meantime, Behr looks quite sour and miserable and starts vindicating the Bajoran transformation from writer’s point of view. He says that he and the other writers felt really good about that because even at the end they managed to screw up the fans and the actors and managed to surprise them all. He explains that Louise Fletcher was around for 5-6 years but she existed alone so the writers thought that putting her and Dukat together would be great. Then he spills the beans and reveals the true reason for transforming Dukat into a Bajoran. He says that Alaimo would never cop to what Dukat had done to the Bajorans (?!) so the writers decided to use that within the character. So they made Dukat identify with his victims. In the meantime, Alaimo’s mien and grin suggest everything but agreement probably because he has been listening to that nonsense for 25 years. Finally, Behr says that Alaimo played it very well and Alaimo just acknowledges that it was his job. 25.32

Then Damar talks about the technique of personalizing in order to covey any range of emotion convincingly. Each emotion must come from a place that is authentic although the actor might be thinking about some personal experience such as the death of his dog but what the audience sees is genuine emotion. He calls this a Pandora’s box of ability and it enables the actors to pull it off. He says he expected that Damar would be paired with Ziyal and thought of playing the character flirty but later the writers gave her to Garak and he had to shoot her. 37.47

Then one of the people at the con asks Behr at what point he knew who Dukat truly was and when did he decide to convey this to Marc Alaimo and was there such a point later in the series.

Behr obviously does not like the question and says that they hired the actors not to sit around and discuss their characters but to take the script and make it come alive. Then he says the truth – they spent half the series humanizing Gul Dukat because they did not want him to be a one-dimensional villain. Then he began to read the chat-room discussions and he realized that people were getting enamored with Gul Dukat (I still fail to understand how having a character that people love is a bad thing) so he started to feel bad. He felt they had gone too far and they had lost the thread a little bit, they had lost the actions he had done or ordered to be done. So he decided to get back to “the evil” at the core of the character because when someone is evil it is not in their head it is their actions that count. He gives Alaimo a firm stare and continues that these actions (Alaimo’s or Dukat’s?) were responsible for the death of a lot of people (I thought they were Bajorans). Neither Alaimo nor Damar and Weyoun seem to approve of Behr’s explanation and Alaimo just shifts irritably and tries to keep a poker face. Then Behr repeats his favorite Renoir’s quote on how every man has his reasons and this is the saddest thing in life. (Probably all people should have only one reason, and having different reasons must be forbidden and punishable). Several people from the audience laugh at the end of his lecturing and Alaimo smiles. 41.26

Finally, Alaimo rounds up the panel and thanks to the audience for the support and dedication.
I am the Lizard King, I can do anything!
Jim Morrison

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