I managed to catch up with one of my favourite stars recently, Odo. When he suggested we meet in St. Stephen’s Green park in the heart of Dublin, I was so honoured. Much is known about his time on Deep Space Nine, but what is not generally known is his love affair with Earth, and in particular acting. Media reviews have included some lovely remarks – Changing Times June 2008: ‘Odo’s shape shifting abilities are unprecedented’. Vanity Fair just this year: ‘Odo’s few years in the Great Link have given him such a range of characters that he can dip into at a moment’s notice’. To help us visualise this love affair, he kindly provided me with a number of pictures that he holds close to his heart.
After Odo’s brief visit to Earth in 1947, he always intended on coming back a few years later as he ‘wanted to immerse himself’. It was a mixed experience at first. Due to the whole ‘alien’ issue that still exists in some circles, he found himself limited in career options. He decided to try his hand at acting. As Odo admits ‘after I initially tried to tell a few humans about who I really was, I mainly got a very scared reaction, well apart from Willie’. Odo is referring to William Wyler who gave him his first role, albeit risky, as the spike on the Roman chariot in ‘Ben Hur’.
He continued to get important but uncredited roles in a number of movies. As with many great actors Odo worked his way through the ranks, and took whatever roles he could get. He missed his bucket so much from Deep Space Nine he jumped at the chance of a recurring role in the Rocky movies. If you watch the extras closely you can actually see Sylvester Stallone’s spit jump back out of the bucket in a number of cutting-room floor scenes.
Odo thought he would never really make it. Somehow he missed out on the lead role of ‘Manimal’ with producers saying his shapeshifting was ‘unrealistic’. As he walked out of that audition in a state of shock his phone rang. Half of the movie ‘Challenging’ had to be reshot. Angelina Jolie was no longer available, Odo was asked to step in. He did such a fantastic recreation (critics said the lips were ‘dreamy’) that they felt obliged to change the name of the movie.
He’s not without controversy. The phrase ‘no such thing as bad publicity’ is now well known partly due to Odo after a well known broadway theatre’s phone lines being jammed with disgruntled patrons and seats being thrown on stage after he never turned up to any of his 15 sold out shows of his highly anticipated one man play.
In reality, to see the real man behind Odo, the wonderful René Auberjonois! do his stuff you can check him out in his latest movie Blood Stripe! Best of luck to René, and to his director son Remy Auberjonois on their new movie! I look forward to seeing it.