The deal Brent Spiner made with himself to memorize his lines on Star Trek: The Next Generation


Brent Spiner's role as Lt. Commander Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation came with the necessity of technical jargon which would have been a breeze for someone with total recall (an eidetic memory), which Spiner doesn't have. Though rumors swirled when he was playing the role that he did possess a photographic memory, Spiner set the record straight on a recent episode of the Inside of You podcast with Michael Rosenbaum [via fandomwire].

Instead of being able to easily recall the lines, Spiner made a deal with himself. He could not go to sleep until he could say the lines out loud perfectly one time. The actor filmed for sixteen hours a day so that didn't leave a lot of time for him to get the dialogue memorized and get the necessary sleep to be able to function the next day. Unfortunately, there were some nights that he didn't sleep because of the deal he'd made with himself.

"Well back in those days when I was doing it, you know, every day, it is a muscle. You get better and better and better at it. I used to have a deal with myself. I would go home after 16 hours or whatever because we were doing 26 episodes a year back then. I’d come home and I’d say, ‘Okay, let me open up a script’, and my stomach would turn over. I think, ‘I could learn this for tomorrow’. I had a deal with myself that I couldn’t go to sleep until I could say it out loud one time perfectly so I knew I could do it the next day."

Brent Spiner

Fortunately, it got easier for Spiner to memorize as time went on, but he did have a conversation with the producers which led to things getting a little better after season two. The actor has played several roles during his time in Star Trek, and each of them had their fair share of convoluted lines. While Spiner says they got easier, it still sounded like a mouthful. This obviously wasn't an easy role to play, especially when you add in the make-up and the contact lenses, but that didn't stop Spiner from returning to the familiar role in Star Trek: Picard's season one and three, and hopefully, we haven't seen the last of the android.

dark. Next. Brent Spiner made two lucrative demands before agreeing to be in the first Star Trek: The Next Generation movie. Brent Spiner made two lucrative demands before agreeing to be in the first Star Trek: The Next Generation movie