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Armin Shimerman: “I Always Saw Quark as a Much More Dramatic Character”

Armin Shimerman, who fans will remember for playing the Ferengi bartender, Quark on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, recently discussed auditioning for the role and eventually being cast for the show by executive producer Rick Berman.

Prior to DS9, Shimerman had played two Ferengi characters on Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the episode “The Last Outpost” he played Letek and in “Peak Performance” he played Bractor.

“Rick told me at the end of the audition process for Quark that the part had been written for me but I still had to try out for it,” said Shimerman. “I was thrilled when I heard that they were doing a third Star Trek series, Deep Space Nine, but when I discovered they were also going to have a regular Ferengi character in it I was determined to get the part. I’ve always been a big fan of the show and the idea of my possibly making a bigger contribution to the Trek myth other than my work on The Next Generation really appealed to me.

Shimerman played the character of Quark for all seven seasons of the DS9 series.

“I’m particularly proud of the fifth season story ‘Business As Usual’ because it shows Quark as much more of a thinking, deeper person in the sense that he has a real problem to solve,”

“There are a number of episodes in which he must face moral dilemmas, such as ‘Bar Association’ and ‘Looking for Par’mach in All the Wrong Places.’ I always saw Quark as much more of a dramatic character than the show’s writers, who always saw him as sort of comic relief. They did give me some dramatic episodes, but there was always a lot of comedy mixed in.” he explains.

“Because we stayed in one place we really went from being an episodic program to something more like a serial,” said Shimerman. “With an episodic show you can tune in any week having never watched before and know what’s going on as well as understand what’s going on with the characters because it’s all new every week. With Deep Space Nine we had more than 40 recurring characters and ongoing story lines, so our show was closer to being a serial. If you tuned in for the first time and, let’s say, saw the relationship between Worf [Michael Dorn] and Dax [Terry Farrell] you were going to be a little bit ‘lost at sea’ because you weren’t aware of what had come before.

“Another change that took place with our show had to do with its characters. When we first started out, the flaws everyone had were minor, but as the series continued these imperfections expanded and all of our characters became much more three-dimensional because of it. Quark’s flaw was that he’d become a little too human and moral. Kira was much more of a jingoist; anything that wasn’t good for Bajor wasn’t good for her, either. Sisko struggled between being a captain for the Federation and also respecting his position as the Bajoran emissary. So every now and then he was caught up in a moral dilemma as far as which path he had to follow. All of this, hopefully, is what made the show interesting to watch and the audience tune in week after week.”

[Quote source: The Morton Report]

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