Famke Janssen Refused A Fan-Favorite Star Trek Role

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Famke Janssen Star Trek

Few sci-fi franchises hold as much sway over popular culture as Star Trek. For actors, landing a role in this iconic series can be a career-defining moment. But when Famke Janssen was offered a fan-favorite role in the Star Trek universe, the actress turned it down because she felt that it would stifle her growth as an actress.

Famke Janssen In Star Trek: The Next Generation

Famke Janssen Star Trek

Per the book Star Trek: The Next Generation 365 by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann, Famke Janssen’s involvement with Star Trek began with her appearance as Kamala in the episode “The Perfect Mate” on April 27, 1992.

Kamala was portrayed as a woman who underwent special training and genetic modifications to become irresistible to men.

Famke Janssen’s Kamala was intended to be married off to a diplomat as a gesture to secure peace between two hostile alien worlds.

However, due to a series of complicated circumstances, Kamala ended up imprinting on Captain Picard instead of her intended groom, leaving her married to a man she could not genuinely love.

Offered The Role Of Jadzia Dax

famke-janssen-star-trek Famke Janssen Star Trek

While filming “The Perfect Mate,” Paramount began pre-production on Deep Space Nine. The creators, Rick Berman and Michael Piller had developed a character named Jadzia Dax, a young woman implanted with a symbiont that retained memories from previous hosts’ lifetimes. Famke Janssen was offered the role in the Star Trek series, but she declined.

Terry Farrell Took The Role

With Famke Janssen opting to concentrate on her film career instead of appearing in another Star Trek series, actress Terry Farrell took on the role of Jadzia Dax. The character was depicted with distinctive spots that ran from her forehead to the sides of her neck.

These spots were a late addition to the character after initial attempts with a prosthetic forehead proved unsuccessful.

According to makeup artist Michael Westmore, these spots were directly inspired by Famke Janssen’s character in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Perfect Mate.”

Creators Berman and Piller struggled to cast Jadzia Dax and Janssen, who just happened to be in the vicinity of the production offices and caught their attention on that day.

Wasn’t Interested In The Role

Impressed by Famke Janssen, they invited her to audition for the Star Trek role. However, Janssen wasn’t interested in committing to a long-term television series.

“I wanted some kind of guarantee that I could do feature films on the side,” she said. “And while I felt [Deep Space Nine] was a great opportunity, I felt I would get lazy as an actor if I didn’t keep challenging myself with different parts.”

Not Choosing Star Trek Was Correct

Famke Janssen’s choice to forgo the opportunity to explore the final frontier on a weekly basis may have raised eyebrows at the time, but in retrospect, skipping the Star Trek offer was the right decision.

While Deep Space Nine went on to become a beloved cornerstone of the space franchise, Janssen’s film career soared to new heights.

Went On To James Bond And X-Men

In the years following her decision, Janssen graced the silver screen with an array of memorable performances.

From her iconic turn as the sultry and lethal Xenia Onatopp in the James Bond film “GoldenEye” to her collaborations with visionary directors like Clive Barker, Robert Altman, and Robert Rodriguez, Femke Janssen showcased her versatility and range as an actress beyond Star Trek.

Additionally, Fenke Janssen has been featured in all three Taken films and starred in three X-Men movies, which were released from 2000 to 2006.