Personal Log: David Warner
Remembering David Warner, who gave Trek three great roles - and one of TNGs most intense episodes - as well as playing memorable villains in Time Bandits, Tron, and Titanic
For TNG fans like us, David Warner is burned into our memories as the sinister Gul Madred in the unforgettable “Chain of Command, Part 2”. Inspired by George Orwell’s 1984, it depicted Captain Picard’s psychological torture at the hands of the brutal Cardassian interrogator, brilliantly played by Warner. But of course, Warner had already enjoyed two higher profile roles in Trek, having played the Earth ambassador in Star Trek V, and Chancellor Gorkon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He is one of only a handful of performers to have had scenes with both Captain Kirk and Captain Picard.
He was a last minute replacement on “Chain of Command”, and seems to have taken in part because it meant reuniting with (as he called him) “Pat Stewart”, who had both been in the Royal Shakespeare company together in the late 60s and early 70s. As a result of the short time scale, they didn’t have time for him to learn the script, so they wrote all his lines down on cue cards.
As he remarked about this role:
There was too much technobabble and dialogue that doesn't come naturally to me. So they wrote everything up for me. I don't mind people knowing this. Every line I said, I actually was reading it over Patrick's shoulder or they put it down there for me to do it.
Ira Steven Behr had wanted to get Warner back for the role of Akorem in the DS9 episode “Accession”, the revered Bajoran poet who emerges from the wormhole after being missing for two centuries. The role eventually went to Richard Libertini. Behr commented:
Personally, I wanted David Warner as Akorem. He wanted to do it, but his wife talked him out of it because he was on vacation and she didn't want him to work. To this day I still wish David Warner was in it.
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