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Star Trek legend Jonathan Frakes says TNG cast were “assholes” on set

Jonathan Frakes reveals that the Star Trek The Next Generation cast got along a little too well, sometimes making filming a bit difficult on the sci-fi series.

Jonathan Frakes in Starfleet uniform looking seriously off camera in Star Trek: The Next Generation

With crews as large as Star Trek has, you know they couldn’t get along all the time. According to Star Trek icon Jonathan Frakes, the cast of one of the Star Trek series was particularly bad at one point.

In an interview with Variety, Frakes reflected on directing Star Trek: The Next Generation episode ‘The Offspring’. “Our cast, as you probably know, is notoriously rambunctious,” he says. “I was, for better or for worse, one of the leaders of that kind of behavior on the set. Some directors really didn’t like coming to work with us because we were that bad. We would be yakking right up until action.”

While in the hot seat himself, Frakes realized the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast were harder to handle that he thought. “It happened to be a Data episode, which are always great, because Brent is a genius,” he says. “The sound department gave me a bullhorn. I had a lot of support, including from my acting company. But I realized what these other directors had gone through and what assholes we were. And I had not a leg to stand on in terms of asking them to behave.”

Oh dear. Thankfully, the episode didn’t suffer one iota, and Frakes became a regular director within the Star Trek franchise. He states that there was still a level of professionalism because of Patrick Stewart, who was a true Star Trek captain.

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“Part of it was because we were so well prepared because Patrick had set his high bar from the moment he showed up, that when you come into the morning, you have done your homework, and you’re in good shape,” Frakes adds. “The smart ADs actually built time into days that were all on the Enterprise bridge, knowing that we’d all have to catch up because we hadn’t seen each other.”

Really, all of this just contributed to Star Trek: The Next Generation being not just one of the best sci-fi series ever, but one of the best TV series. The clear chemistry across the main actors across every season and all their Star Trek movies.