JMS: Recasting Na'Toth Rumour

 Posted on 7/27/1994 by to

Actually, no, it's not a rumor; I'd mentioned this some time ago, but
apparently some didn't see it....

So to repeat: we'd had to replace Mary Woronov with virtually no
notice after we found that she really had a hard time with the narn
prosthetics (wouldn't wear the contacts, and other stuff). In a panic,
our casting director called in a favor from Caitlin Brown, who is mainly
a leading-lady type actor. She came in and, in fact, for the first
episode (shooting almost immediately afterward) wore a variation of the
Ko'Dath makeup, because there wasn't time to make one specific to her.

She came in without being under the 5-year option that generally
exists in these situations. Did one year, about 9 episodes, as Na'Toth.
And had to turn down a couple of leading-female parts. During the hiatus,
she did a romantic lead character in a film with Jack Nicholson and
Meryl Streep. And had to ask the hard question: do I continue to grow as
a romantic lead actor in feature films, or play Na'Toth? She is a VERY
gorgeous woman, and felt awkward hiding behind the mask and cutting
herself out of leading female parts in feature films to do it.

We went 'round and 'round about this for some time, it was a very
difficult decision for her because she likes the show and everyone here,
but finally opted out. On one level it's a pain in the butt, but we
respect her decision. And it *is* her call, not ours.

(Quick aside...pfffttthhpplttt to those who, in their theory that
Sinclair/O'Hare quit, said that I'd naturally say it was mutual because I
could never say it was the actors choice because somehow I'd get in
trouble. No, I *would* say it if O'Hare had opted out on his own. And
in this case, that's exactly what happened.)

We didn't recast Sinclair because that character is going somewhere
from whence he may (and will) return, and because that serves the story;
in this case, we are recasting Na'Toth. By the end of season one, Na'Toth
knows stuff that I need that character, G'Kar's aide, to know. (Though I
was briefly tempted to do the Murphy Brown Secretary line, with G'Kar
getting a new aide every so often due to terrible airlock accidents...but
I went to lay down for a while and the notion passed.)

So no, it's not a rumor, it's quite true. In fact, we just finished
up a casting session and found someone who's very right for the part;
and though we weren't confined to this, is actually about the same height,
same build, same attitude as Caitlin, and whose voice is very similar. I
don't think much difference will be noted in the long run, really.