When it comes to revisiting his biggest roles, Brent Spiner is very selective as to where he’ll boldly go. Yes, he’s reprising the role of madcap scientist Dr. Braksih Okun in this weekend’s Independence Day: Resurgence, a part he originated 20 years ago in Roland Emmerich’s original disaster flick.
But as for his most iconic part to date — the pale-faced, Soong-type android Data on TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation and four subsequent films — Spiner has reservations about returning to the character, despite the fact that the franchise is red-hot, rebooted on the big screen by J.J. Abrams and returning to the small screen in an upcoming new series.
“I think I’d look ridiculous in that makeup now, because I’m just too old for that part,” Spiner told Yahoo Movies while promoting Resurgence. “And he shouldn’t age… I can’t play him anymore, that would be silly.”
Spiner, 67, did point out, however, that he also played Data’s creator, Dr. Noonian Soong, at various ages, including as a 100-year-old man. And the new Star Trek series, from Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller, takes place some time before the original series and Next Generation. “So this guy, who was 100 when we did Next Generation, was around my age when this new series is taking place.”
Of course, they’d still have to make him an offer. “ I guess if they had enough money I would be happy to do it,” he cracked.
Spiner, who appeared in Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), said he hasn’t done a great job keeping up with the new films, having only seen the 2009 reboot. “Not for any reason. I keep saying to myself, 'Tonight I’m gonna watch the one with Cumberbatch.’ I just haven’t gotten around to it, there’s just so much stuff to watch. I thought the first one was really fun. I thought the cast was great. And I thought J.J. did a great job. It is what it is.”
He also doesn’t spend all that much time waxing nostalgic over his years as Data. “I don’t reflect on it very often, unless I’m asked a question about it. In my own house, it never comes up,” said Spiner, who is also currently starring in the Cinemax’s new supernatural series Outcast. “In fact my son who’s 13 has seen three episodes and somewhere in the middle of the third episode he said, OK, I think I’ve seen enough.’”