Trek's Picardo shares sly trick that won him a First Contact cameo

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Dec 17, 2012, 3:27 PM EST

It turns out Robert Picardo wasn't in the original plan for Star Trek: First Contact—so the actor got sneaky, which eventually scored him a cameo in the big-screen Trek adventure. So how'd he do it?

Picardo, who played the Doctor in Star Trek: Voyager, bent the ear of everyone involved with writing First Contact and questioned the logic of why the ship wouldn't have its own holographic doctor.

In a lengthy interview with SFX, he explained how it went down:

"I was in Rick Berman, our executive's office, who handled the whole franchise, and after we talked about something else, I was on my way out and I said: 'You're writing that new movie script now. You destroyed the enterprise at the end of Generations, So, you have a whole new ship. Well, I don't understand something. Why does Voyager have more technology than your flagship, the Enterprise? How come we have this emergency medical hologram thing, and they don't have it? Look, I'm not trying to pad my part, just looking out for your logic.' He laughed, and he said, 'Why would they look all alike?' And I said: 'Why wouldn't they look all alike? It's the first generation of a new technology - why would you make a wrench look different on every different ship?' He smiled and said, 'That's a very interesting idea.'

"So, about two weeks later, I'm having dinner with Ronald D Moore [scriptwriter]. 'You're writing a new movie script. I don't understand something...' 'That's a very interesting idea,' he says. A week later, to Brannon Braga, 'You and Ron are writing a new script? You know, I don't understand something...' And I do the whole thing again, he says that's an 'interesting idea'.

"About a month after that Jonathan Frakes [director of First Contact] calls me in my trailer and says, 'Thank you for helping me get the movie to direct. I showed them an episode, it had to be approved by the studio, and we showed the firstVoyager episode I directed.' [Season two episode 'Projections'.] It entirely featured my character from beginning to end. So I said, 'Well, you're very gracious, of course I had nothing to do with you getting the movie but congratulations. But you know, I don't understand something..." Did the whole story again. He said, "That's a very interesting idea."
"About two weeks after that I got a call from Rick Berman saying, 'We decided to put The Doctor in the new feature." And I say, 'That's a very interesting idea.' Never said a word about where it came from—no one ever acknowledged that I started this round robin among them!"

What do you think? Was Picardo a good fit in First Contact?

(Trek Web via SFX)