It’s been 13 years since “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” ended its seven-year syndicated run. But like anything else with the name “Star Trek” attached, it’s still hard to get away from.
That’s exactly what actress Chase Masterson has had to deal with over that period — and she only appeared in 17 episodes of the show as Leeta, a Dabo girl in Quark’s bar who later married Quark’s brother, Rom.
It’s not that Masterson is trying to distance herself from fandom — far from it. But her profession is still as an actor, and there’s more to her talents than simply looking beautiful and being charming.
“Leeta is one of those wonderful roles that turned out to be more than the sum of its parts, and I’m grateful that Leeta has had that enthusiastic following,” Masterson recently told Airlock Alpha’s podcast, Alpha Waves. “Leeta was only supposed to be on for four lines in one episode, and they kept on bringing Leeta back over five seasons. The fan response did it, and they created this storyline, or these couple of storylines. But the bottom line is yes, it can be extremely limited and extremely frustrating.”
Fans have been wonderful to her over the years, and the family that was created from the DS9 experience has been extraordinary, Masterson said. She loves the character the writers created for her, but sometimes wish they had a chance to explore Leeta more deeply — giving Masterson a chance to show off even more of her acting chops.
“You could only go so deep into any one character, and [Leeta] was like the one on every sweeps week episode. She is the eye candy, she is loving and fun and comic relief,” she said. “I do kind of resent it that [people think] that is how far Chase goes, because it’s definitely not. But I understand that people may think that, because the character was there. If you inhabit a character enough, people think you are it.”
If she was given a chance to play Leeta again, she would. But there is absolutely no movement on a “Deep Space Nine” reunion. So Masterson has been moving forward, getting some rave reviews in the independent feature in “Yesterday Was a Lie,” and is now in the process of raising money with filmmaker James Kerwin in “R.U.R.,” based on the 1920 Czech play written by Karel Capek.
“R.U.R.,” which stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots,” was the production that first introduced the word “robot” into our vocabulary, and would become a television movie on BBC Television in 1938 — the first of its genre on the government-funded broadcaster.
The play also had some other lasting effects on the genre, including Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse.” His fictional company that runs the Dollhouses, Rossum Corp., is named from the play. Also, the “Star Trek” episode “Requiem For Methusaleh” features a robot named Rayna Capek.
Karel Capek credited the creation of the word “robot” to his brother, Josef Capek. Karel would die of double pneumonia in 1938 at the age of 48, just as Germany began occupying his country of Czechoslovakia. Josef, who like Karel was politically active against the Nazi party, would die in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945.
Masterson wants to celebrate the great pioneers of science-fiction, and “R.U.R.” is a perfect way to do that. Without the work of people like Capek, the future of science-fiction and shows like “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” could’ve been much different. And she’s glad that’s not the case.
“The beautiful thing about ‘Deep Space Nine’ is that we knew what we had when we had it,” Masterson said. “We had a really close cast and crew. We were telling stories that changed lives and we were making history, partly because it’s Star Trek, and partly because its following is so pure and huge.”
Hear the entire interview with Chase Masterson on the latest episode of Alpha Waves Radio. It can be found in the iTunes Store from Apple, or directly from the source on our Podbean hosting site. Also on the show is Neville Page, the creature creator behind projects like “Prometheus,” “Star Trek,” “Super 8” and more. Find out what his role was in the last Star Trek movie, and what goes into making such memorable monsters from great films.
Alpha Waves Radio then returns March 1 with Tim Sullivan, one of the directors of the horror anthology film “Chillerama” as well as Robert Englund’s “2001 Maniacs.” After that, the show continues March 15 with D.C. Douglas, a character and voice actor who has appeared in many projects, including the new massively multiplayer online roleplaying game Star Wars: The Old Republic.