Max Grodenchik - Interview - What he left behind
Max Grodénchik was born on November 12, 1952 in the Bronx and grew up in Queens, New York, USA. He is an actor, known for Rocketeer (1991), Sister Act (1992), Rumpelstiltskin (1995), Apollo 13 (1995), Bruce Almighty (2003), and many know him as Rom from Star Trek Deep Space Nine.
--Thank you Max Grodenchik for your time for the fans on The-Entertainment-junkie.de - How you doing these days Max?
-- Doing quite well, thanks. I’m living in Austria with my wonderful wife and darling daughter. (My wife was born and raised here.)
-- The Last Years You and Aron Eisenberg will be posing for photos in costume. How deja vu is it for you with Aron going back more then 25 years?
-- It is indeed amazing how quickly I “feel” the character coming back to me once that Ferengi head, wardrobe and boots are on me and the teeth snap into place – it’s like
“instant Rom!” – I begin to walk like him and talk like him. And it’s a real hoot being on stage with Aron ’cause even WITHOUT the makeup and wardrobe Aron’s an extraordinarily funny guy. The makeup and costume just give us more to have fun with. And the amazing thing is we still fit in our costumes! (though there’s a bit more belly than there used to be)
-- You played in the 90´s not only Rom in DS9 , you also in TNG and many more. What was for favorite episode in Star Trek?
-- I really like the way “Little Green Men” came out – I remember while shooting it thinking it wasn’t going to be successful, but when it first aired it had me laughing out loud. And I remember really enjoying filming “Magnificent Ferengi” because there were seven of us in that makeup, and it was comforting to know that the others were suffering through the makeup as much as I was! It was a really great group of guys. (But any “suffering” was well worth being a part of the ‘DS9’ Ferengi family.) But picking one’s favorite episode is a little like picking your favorite child – you just love and appreciate them all. Our director of photography, Jonathan West, directed the
episode “Trials and Tribble-ations,” an episode I was not in but really find extraordinary – just incredible the way he wove the ‘DS9’ crew into the original series “Trouble with Tribbles episode. And likewise I think Avery Brooks did an awesome job in “Far Beyond the Stars,” not only starring in the episode but directing it as well – that is not an easy thing to do, to be acting AND directing, but somehow Avery made it work.
-- We see you many times in Germany at Conventions, I saw you at the FedCon and Destination Star Trek, how does it feel after all the years the fans still love you?
-- To have been a part of something that has meant so much to so many people, and for so many years, and to have my character be even a small part of that – I cannot overstate how honored I feel, and how humbled I am when fans stop by my table to let me know how much they enjoyed Rom, enjoyed ‘DS9’, and that the people I get to meet come from all over the
world… I just think I’m the luckiest guy on the planet.
-- Let us go back to 1990, Captain's Holiday, Sovak. Your beginning in the Star Trek Universe, would you do all this again?
-- Yes! If they asked me, I wouldn’t hesitate… okay, well I would ask my wife first, but I think she’d say “yes!” as well, so there you go. (But I might want that rubber Ferengi head to come with a zipper – you know, so that I could zip in and out of it for lunch!)
Seriously though, being part of the series itself has been the most extraordinary experience: friendships with fellow cast members have deepened; we’ve been welcomed in cities and countries I never dreamed of being able to visit (the mayor of Derry aka Londonderry, Northern Ireland gave me the key to the city!); an unlikely group of actors from the show were asked to form a singing group to entertain at a convention, and that group is now known as the ‘Star Trek’ Rat Pack and we’ve performed all over the States as well as England and yes, even Germany – and we continuously are having a blast doing it! In the midst of it all I met my wife and we’ve been quite blessed to have a daughter, and the three of us often travel to conventions together. An incredible journey – and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
-- Star Trek is on top these days. Patrick Stewart gets a second run. Would you come back when they ask?
-- In an instant! It would be a dream come true to work with Patrick again. When I did my first ‘TNG’ episode in season three (‘Captain’s Holiday’) I was being escorted around the studio to get fitted for wardrobe, Ferengi head and teeth, and we ran into Patrick Stewart. It was a beautiful southern California day, and much of the cast was hanging outside of stage 16 in between shots, enjoying the sunshine. The second A.D. who had been taking me around introduced me to Patrick. Patrick said, “Max, it may be a difficult week for you, with all that makeup and long hours. If there’s anything you need – anything at all – please have your request come through me – I seem to have some clout around here.” I can’t say enough good things about the guy, he was simply terrific to work with and extraordinarily supportive. As a “guest star
series regulars are, as they have been working together for quite a while. Patrick made me feel at home, and that’s rare for the STAR of the show to do that, and I will be forever grateful.
-- Max, Living in Austria, working on "Strawberry Moments " and "Tycho". What are these Movies?
-- They are both films by Austrian directors. I had basically a “walk-on” role in “Strawberry Moments,” where I played an actor in a sci-fi series (duh, I pretty much played myself!). It’s a rather unique exploration of men and women in relationships. The actor Irwin Leder – from “Das Boot” – also has a role in the film. Should be out in select cinemas and film festivals next Autumn, and hopefully in Germany as well.
“Tycho” is a film that has not begun principal shooting yet. It’s a musical about the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (no, I hardly sing in it). It is indeed about the famous astronomer but the heart of the film concerns itself with his brilliant younger sister, and her limited choices in a 16th century man’s world. It will be filmed in English, so I don’t have to say “Verzeih mir bitte mein schreckliches Deutsch!”
- - You worked for so many series and movies (Apollo 13, Sister Act, Star Trek...) Is there still a dream role for you?
-- When I was much younger I played the role of the school teacher ‘Kulygin’ in the Chekhov play “Three Sisters”. Looking back on it, it’s one of the stage roles I’m most proud of playing, one that I maybe came closest to getting right. The cast was quite remarkable, and I remember thinking, “if these other actors are so talented, then maybe there’s some talent in me as well.” Probably too old to play it again – but I think that I might give an even stronger performance now – so I’d love to give that a try.
-- At the last you can send some words for your fans right here. - Thank you Max for your time and I hope to meet you soon again.
-- Many thanks to you for your interest AND for your patience, Bernd. Und ich moechte auch den deutschen Fans danken: for all their wonderful support over the years.