Hidden In The Stars

It's been a little while since I've made a post, and I'm bound and determined, with the tenacity of an Obsidian Order operative, to not allow this blog to linger without activity. I've been working my way (much more quickly than expected, thanks to my newly rekindled addiction to it) through my Star Trek: The Next Generation DVDs ... have made it past the halfway point of season two in mere weeks. Anyway, the most recent episode I watched prompted me to crank out this little off-the-cuff post about some interesting and probably little-known casting tidbits about ST:TNG....

Did you know there was a semi-famous face hidden in the holodeck lineup of Klingon warriors in the rite of ascension anniversary program that Wesley and the crew assembled for Worf in the episode "The Icarus Factor"? It was none other than TV-personality-turned-new-age-musician (and, of course, Trek fan) John Tesh! His name never appeared in the credits, but the behind-the-scenes tale of his cameo appearance was mentioned in the wonderful Star Trek 25th Anniversary Special (absolutely not to be confused with the ridiculous 30th Anniversary not-so-Special hosted by Ted Danson). Say ... why did Kenny G get a spot in that 30th Anniversary thing? If they wanted cheesy instrumental music, why not somebody with an actual Trek connection like John Tesh?

But, I digress.... John Tesh certainly had the stature for a Klingon ... the guy is well over six feet tall, from what I understand. While we're on the subject of Klingons, another notable personality who appeared as a Klingon was basketball star James Worthy (in the episode "Gambit, part 2").

There are two other, more famous, faces who almost had guest roles on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Little person actor, David Rappaport (most remembered for his lead role in the Terry Gilliam fantasy comedy Time Bandits) was cast as trader/collector Kivas Fajo in the episode "The Most Toys", and had actually filmed a few scenes, before he tragically lost his battle with depression and committed suicide. If only he knew how many people enjoyed watching him in his various TV and film appearances, maybe that wouldn't have happened.

And did you know that the one and only Robin Williams was cast to portray time-travelling con-man Berlinghoff Rasmussen in "A Matter Of Time"? Unfortunately, the filming schedule for the episode conflicted with that of the Steven Spielberg movie Hook, forcing Williams to ultimately choose between the two. Hook, by the way, is a terribly underappreciated movie and one of my favorites, so if you've never seen it, you simply must.

I of course like these two episodes (in fact, "A Matter Of Time" is one of my favorites), and thought that the actors who ultimately played the roles, Saul Rubinek as Fajo and Matt Frewer as Rasmussen, were brilliant ... but I still have to wonder what those episodes would have been like with those never-cast actors in the roles.

Aha ... just found this neato resource, showing many more casting "near-misses" that I didn't know about!

No comments: