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Five things with Star Trek’s Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis has played many iconic roles and her latest is as a talking AI in the upcoming fantasy Max Winslow and the House of Secrets. Here are just five things we spoke to Marina about…

1. Playing an AI

Marina Sirtis’ latest movie, Max Winslow and the House of Secrets, sees five teens invited to the home of an eccentric billionaire (Chad Michael Murray), to compete in a game to win his mansion. The night takes a dark turn when they become trapped in the house and are forced to face off against each other and an evil AI entity (Marina Sirtis) who controls everything in the house, including their fate: “She is like the puppet master if you like, she was the one directing everything!” Marina tells us. 

2. Deanna Troi

“I always usually played the bad girl because dark-haired girls are usually the bad girl while blonde girls are usually the good girl,” Marina tells us. However, that all changed when she won the role of Deanna Troi, the sweet-natured Betazoid–Human hybrid in Star Trek: The Next Generation. That didn’t mean people found the character overly exciting though: “I remember when TNG first started people would come up to me at conventions and say: “We think Deanna Troi is really boring. But we really love you!” I actually prefer evil. It’s more interesting. There’s more to get your teeth into… though as far as acting goes it’s much harder for me to play someone nice because it’s so far away from who I am [haha!]”

Marina Sirtis has played many iconic roles and her latest is as a talking AI in the upcoming fantasy Max Winslow and the House of Secrets. Here are just five things we spoke to Marina about…

1. Playing an AI

Marina Sirtis’ latest movie, Max Winslow and the House of Secrets, sees five teens invited to the home of an eccentric billionaire (Chad Michael Murray), to compete in a game to win his mansion. The night takes a dark turn when they become trapped in the house and are forced to face off against each other and an evil AI entity (Marina Sirtis) who controls everything in the house, including their fate: “She is like the puppet master if you like, she was the one directing everything!” Marina tells us. 

2. Deanna Troi

“I always usually played the bad girl because dark-haired girls are usually the bad girl while blonde girls are usually the good girl,” Marina tells us. However, that all changed when she won the role of Deanna Troi, the sweet-natured Betazoid–Human hybrid in Star Trek: The Next Generation. That didn’t mean people found the character overly exciting though: “I remember when TNG first started people would come up to me at conventions and say: “We think Deanna Troi is really boring. But we really love you!” I actually prefer evil. It’s more interesting. There’s more to get your teeth into… though as far as acting goes it’s much harder for me to play someone nice because it’s so far away from who I am [haha!]”

3. Voiceovers

Marina’s role in Max Winslow and the House of Secrets is mainly voice work (she’s part of a talking smart house!) but this isn’t the first time she’s done this type of acting (she also plays Demona in Disney’s Gargoyles). However, it’s something she finds quite challenging: “Voiceover acting is not my favourite type of acting, because the way I work (and everyone has their own method) is I don’t plan anything ahead of time. I know a lot of actors absolutely think ‘this is what I’m going to do on this line and this is what I’m going to do with this line’. They have it all planned out. I don’t do any of that. I learn the lines and then I react to the person that I’m acting with because I was taught that acting is reacting. Acting is listening and then reacting. So if you plan something… well the other person could be turning cartwheels in the scene and the way you deliver doesn’t change!”

4. Choosing scripts

Though Marina’s body of work is impressive (her IMDB page is like a genre wish list) there are a few movies she’s missed out on: “When Star Trek was over, I got sent two scripts: one was an offer and one was where I would have to go in and meet with the producers and director. The one I was offered was about saving the rainforests – I’m a bit of an environmentalist. I want to save the rainforest so I’m gonna do the rainforest movie! It was called Paradise Lost and it went straight to DVD, nobody saw it and the thing that I didn’t go in for… wait for it… Men In Black!”

5. Reuniting for Picard

In 2020, The Next Generation’s stalwart captain Jean-Luc Picard got a series of his very own, with actor Patrick Stewart returning to the role. He wasn’t the only returnee for Star Trek: Picard, with Marina and Jonathan Frakes (among others) also reprising the roles of Deanna Troi and Will Riker respectively: “[Jonathan] was really nervous because he hadn’t acted for a long time,” Marina tells us. “He said in an interview: ‘Well Patrick’s Patrick and obviously brilliant. Marina’s just literally stepped off stage on the West End, so she’s firing on all cylinders… and I haven’t acted in years, I’m really nervous!’ But he was wonderful! Working with Patrick and Johnny again… my heart was full!”

Max Winslow and the House of Secrets will be available on digital on 15 February