He played Comdr. Will Riker, second-in-command to Patrick Stewart’s Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but as a director, Jonathan Frakes takes orders from no one — be it on the brand-new CD-ROM Star Trek Klingon or the next Star Trek movie, which he’s currently shooting in Hollywood. We caught up with Frakes between takes and launched some interrogatory flak across his starboard bow.
1. What’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever told a Klingon actor to do?
Learn the Klingon national anthem. That took the better part of the night when we were shooting the CD-ROM.
2. What’s your favorite word in the Klingon language?
cha’Dich. It’s your second, the guy who carries your sword.
3. The Klingons challenge the Dallas Cowboys. Who wins?
I don’t think the Cowboys would even come onto the field. They’d be scared off by the Klingon national anthem.
4. If you could cast your wife, ”General Hospital”’s Genie Francis, in a ”Trek” role…?
She’d be a great Romulan. Very intelligent, cool, and controlled.
5. Which is more comfortable: the captain’s chair on the ”Enterprise” or the director’s chair on the ”Star Trek” set?
The captain’s chair — but it’s ergometrically designed for Patrick Stewart’s butt.
6. Ever sit through a Klingon makeup session?
I’ve never been a Klingon. But I’ve been other kinds of monsters in drag makeup.
7. What’s your favorite Klingon dish?
Gach. I like gach (serpent worms). And I once ate a live grub worm in a Star Trek episode.
8. Who’d be more favorable to Klingon immigration — Bill Clinton or Bob Dole?
Clinton — years ago we sent him a birthday video from the bridge. Plus I think he’s actually had contact with Klingons.
9. Has anyone ever told you that you look like Potsie from ”Happy Days”?
Unfortunately. But — that’s not fair to him. I thought the beard would cover it up.
10. How many Klingons does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Oh, come on.