Season Five of Star Trek: DS9 Nine revealed that Dr. Julian Bashir was genetically modified
While Star Trek: DS9 fans were a little more forgiving of this change to Dr. Bashir’s character, Alexander Siddig was not. In fact, he hated the idea of his character being turned into Data 2.0. And he wasn’t given a choice when the episode, Dr. Bashir, I Presume, was written nor was he made aware of it until right before filming was set to begin.
"…on Thursday the script arrived – we started shooting on Friday. I was so shocked. You know you get the impression that maybe the producers sit down and talk about strategies and character arcs with actors but this thing came out of the blue and pissed me off so royally. It was a reaction to the fact that the character was genuinely unpopular in the early days."
Choosing to make such a drastic change to Dr. Bashir was unsettling for Siddig, and he disliked it so much that he admits he sabotaged the efforts to make him more like a computer than a human.
"I did it the only way that an actor can. I completely destroyed the lines that they gave me regarding the situation. Every time something came up that was to do with being kind of Data-esque – I mean, I couldn’t get away from the fact – I thought I was being a Data, which is what they wanted to do, they wanted to switch the characters from all the shows, which they ended up doing with Voyager …Well, it was a bit cynical at the end of the day. But I just fluffed the lines; well I didn’t fluff them completely I literally pinned the lines on the back of someone’s shoulder once, reading them. I wasn’t bothered even to learn them. I just pinned them around the office as if they were lines needed for daily modification. And they got the message and dropped it kind of."
Though producers might have dropped the overall story arc, there continued to be references to Dr. Bashir’s genetic enhancements throughout the course of seasons six and seven. While Siddig didn’t like the change to his character, it did open up more story lines and brought him to the forefront in several episodes which can’t be considered a bad thing for an actor.
However, having to play a part that he didn’t like had to be difficult. Perhaps if he’d been forewarned and given the opportunity to discuss it and potentially have some input, things might have played out a little differently.