Q: How long did it take to do Brent Spiner's makeup for his role as Data on "Star Trek: The Next Generation"? That was before a lot of the new products and technology were available.

« Back to Q & A

Adam Thomlison / TV Media

Longer than an episode of the show, but he could comfort himself by looking at the guy in the chair next to him.

Brent Spiner has said it took 75 minutes every morning to transform him from an average-looking character actor into a (relatively) believable futuristic android. Most of that time seems to have been spent on metallic makeup, but the helmet of hair and yellow eyes took some time as well. Thankfully for Spiner, he needed a lot less makeup for most of his scenes in the 2020 reboot of the franchise "Star Trek: Picard." 

Spending an hour and a quarter in the chair every morning for 176 episodes of the show (plus four movies and guest turns on two spinoff shows) shows real dedication. He freely admitted in an interview with the Chicago Tribune that the makeup was the worst part of the role, but said it was worth it. "When you're in a scene with seven other cast members, viewers' eyes do tend to focus on the one who glows.''

Also, he didn't have it as bad as co-star Michael Dorn, who had to spend three hours a day getting made up as the Klingon character Worf.

Dorn said the call time each morning was 7 a.m., which meant he had to be on set and in the chair at 4 a.m. He told Syfy.com that he never saw the sun until the off-season.

But the makeup was the smaller part of the job for Worf -- he also had complicated prosthetics to create his Klingon forehead ridge. Dorn didn't seem to mind it, though -- along with the big-screen movies, he signed back on to play Worf full time on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" after "The Next Generation" ended.


Have a question? Email us at questions@tvtabloid.com. Please include your name and town. Personal replies will not be provided.