With Independence Day: Resurgence hitting theaters this week, we were lucky enough to spend some time with actor Brent Spiner, who is well-known icon within the geek community, having played Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well voicing Puck in Gargoyles, Gall Trayvis in Star Wars Rebels, and multiple comic book characters. We'll next see him reprising his role as Dr. Brakish Okun in the sequel to Independence Day. Yes, he survived! Somehow...
Here are 5 things we learned from our live interview.
1.) His character is coming back in Independence Day: Resurgence...sort of
People thought I was dead. I was not dead, I was in a coma. In Resurgence, I am still in the coma. By the end of the film, I'm still in the coma. I don't speak in this entire movie...maybe. But I understand if there is a third Independence Day, I will speak again.
2.) He was in one of the worst Broadway flops of all time
[The Three Musketeers] was one of the biggest money-losing shows of all time. ...The director was a guy named Tom O'Horgan who had three hit shows on Broadway going on at the same time. He had Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and Lenny all at the same time. He was why I wanted to be part of that show.
And the first day of rehearsal everyone was there and he said, "Okay, here's my concept. This book (The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas) was written in 16-something-or-other, the operetta was written in 1927, and here we are in 1985. I'm going to combine all three of those things into one thing." And I just thought, "We're doomed. This is an absolutely terrible idea."
This part is true, by the way - the producer had a Ringling Bros., Barnum and Bailey background...and he came up to me after the very first rehearsal and said, "I'm not going to be here tomorrow; I have to go to Ft. Lauderdale to a funeral. The oldest clown in the circus died. But I'll be back the day after that!" So the next day, he went to the funeral and while he was at the funeral, he had a heart attack and died. And I was thinking in my superficial, selfish mind, "I'm out, it's just not going to happen." Instead, his son came in the next day and said, "We're going to do this show in my father's memory."
I think it lost $8 million in a week.
3.) He has a weird Friends crossover history
Any time you play yourself, you are a nerd icon. I had actually played myself prior to The Big Bang Theory on a terrific show called Joey - remember Joey? It was a Friends sequel. I had also done an episode of Friends, but I didn't play myself in that episode. And he (Joey) got confused, because he thought I was the guy on Friends, but really I was me. [laughing]
4.) He's voiced not one, but two DC villains
I was really lucky I got to do it, because Mark Hammil - wonderful actor, I love Mark Hammil; he's a great voice actor - decided he didn't want to play the Joker anymore. So they called me and said, "Do you want to play the Joker?" and I said yes. I had worked with Greg Weisman, who produced the show—he had also created Gargoyles—anyway, I dont know why the show didn't last very long. I thought I was going to come back and do it some more, but I didn't. I did do a new Justice League, and I'm the Riddler, because Mark wanted to come back and play the Joker. So now I'm the Riddler.
5.) His return was planned from the start, even though he was 'dead' at the end of the first Independence Day
[Adam Baldwin's character] did say I was dead - on the set. But they wisely cut that line before they released the movie, because Roland [Emmerich] and Dean [Devlin], who produced with Roland, had already made the determination that if they did another Independence Day, they'd bring Dr. Okun back. You get to know him better in this film. I have a bit more to do in this film.
You can check out our full video with Brent Spiner below!
Independence Day: Resurgence is in theaters on Friday, June 24th.