Star Trek DS9 Icon Says Studio Investigated For Drug Abuse And Found Crazier Answer

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

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In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Dr. Bashir is eventually investigated by Starfleet over his genetic engineering, something he spent most of his life trying to hide. In real life, the actor who plays Bashir had very little to hide, but some of his strange behavior early in the show caused executives at Paramount to worry. In an old interview with the Sci Fi Guys, Bashir actor Alexander Siddig revealed that he would walk onto set with black rings under his eyes, launching a quiet inquiry into drug abuse that discovered his real addiction was video games.

Bashir Lacked Experience In Deep Space Nine

In Deep Space Nine, a major part of Bashir’s character is that he is younger and a bit less experienced than most of his colleagues. He is brilliant and a world-class doctor, but he often seems a bit too interested in the romantic notion of being a frontier doctor. Speaking of romance, Bashir spends so much time chasing skirts in the early days of the show that his character felt like he belonged more on The Original Series than Deep Space Nine.

Alexander Siddig Was A Gamer

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Alexander Siddig isn’t actually all that like Bashir in many respects, but you wouldn’t know that from his story about getting investigated for drug abuse. According to the actor in this interview, he was a huge PC gaming fan back in the ‘90s, going all-in on what was then mostly considered a young man’s hobby (a bit like Bashir enjoying his holosuite games). Accordingly, he spent a chunk of his actor’s salary “buying the latest computers and computer games” and living a life that, as his interviewer noted and Siddig agreed with, was “every geek’s dream.”

An Unfortunate Drug Investigation

However, the busy actor soon faced every geek’s nightmare: trying to find time to play all the games he was interested in. He recalls having early shooting days on Deep Space Nine and having to the set at 7:00 am. That wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that Alexander Siddig tended to stay up playing until 4:00 am, resulting in him coming to the set and getting to work on less than three hours of sleep, eventually triggering the drug investigation.

A Unique Addiction

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Apparently, getting only three hours of sleep wasn’t affecting his performance all that much (again, channeling the youthful energy of Dr. Bashir), but it did give the actor dark rings under his eyes. This sent some quiet warning bells ringing in the halls of Paramount, and according to Alexander Siddig, “they sent someone down, as the studios do, to quietly inquire if you needed rehabilitation for a drug abuse.” It’s funny in retrospect, but this was a real nightmare scenario for Paramount: the prospect that a lead character on their hot new Star Trek spinoff, a character that early audiences absolutely hated, had a secret drug problem.

There Were No Drugs Involved

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Obviously, Alexander Siddig put their minds at ease, and Paramount no longer had to worry about what was causing him to come to work with dark rings under his eyes. Ironically, though, the actor seems to think the studio had the right idea but merely looked for the wrong “drug.” In the interview, he admits that playing video games was “like a weird drug” because he “just had to keep going” in his quest to defeat whatever game he was playing.

Siddig Lent His Voice To Star Trek Games

Interestingly enough, even though Alexander Siddig loved computer games so much back in the day, he never loaned his vocal talents to anything other than official Star Trek games. His Deep Space Nine colleague Armin Shimerman, meanwhile, has had major voices in Bioshock, Ratchet and Clank, Psychonauts, and so much more. If only Siddig had been motivated by some Ferengi-like greed, he and Colm Meaney could have headlined my dream game…Total War: Alamo

Source: Sid City