Chase Masterson joined the cast of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” as the Dabo girl Leeta at the end of the show’s third season. Initially, Leeta was a side character, only appearing in a few episodes. However, Masterson became a series regular in the fifth season when her character fell for another series regular, Quark’s brother Rom, played by Max Grodénchik.
In an exclusive interview with Heavy, Masterson revealed behind-the-scenes details about how Leeta’s relationship with Rom started and her real-life relationship with the actor who played her husband.
The Odd Couple
From an outsider’s perspective, Leeta and Rom seem like an odd pairing. Leeta is a gorgeous, outgoing Dabo Girl. Rom is a sweet guy, but he’s also awkward, quiet, and a mess around women. He definitely doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that a woman like Leeta would go for, especially because her first romantic partner on the show was the resident playboy, Dr. Julian Bashir.
However, Masterson revealed that Leeta’s romance with Bashir was exactly why she got paired up with Rom next.
“Max will tell the story of how Ira [Steven Behr] in a very fatherly way, put his arm around Max’s [Grodénchik] shoulder and said ‘Let’s go for a walk.’ And they went for this walk, down the Promenade I guess, and he said, ‘Rom, we’re giving you Leeta.’ And Max, said ‘Uh… thank you.’
Ira said, ‘Everyone loves Bashir, so we gotta keep him single. Because everybody loves him.’ And Max was like, ‘Oh thank you?’ And Ira said ‘It’s a good thing.’ And that’s why it happened basically.”
Masterson went on to say that she thinks Rom and Leeta’s relationship worked because it was such an idealistic success story.
“I think it was genius storytelling. I think it was very much at the heart of ‘Star Trek.’ People get to see each other for who they are inside and nothing else matters. Both the Dabo girl — this unrespected, least rung on the station really, is these Dabo Girls — and this runt brother, they become the head of the Ferengi Empire! It’s a very ‘Star Trek’ tale.”
She added that she thinks Rom and Leeta are so beloved because they are beacons of hope for Trek fans.
“The characters of Leeta and Rom are still loved in this way because it really strikes to the heart of ‘Star Trek’… Things happen in life that you would never imagine. So, keep going, have hope and work hard and do the right thing, and you never know what’s around the corner.
Masterson absolutely loved their storyline and the endless possibilities it conveyed.
Masterson Loved Working With Grodénchik
Perhaps one of the reasons their onscreen relationship worked so well was that Masterson and Grodénchik truly loved working together. When asked about her favorite moments working in the Trekverse, Masterson replied, “some of my favorite general moments were just looking into Max’s eyes.”
“Max was so brilliant as an actor, such a true, deeply sensitive person, a really introspective person, who really brings that to the work. And really wants to delve in deeply and cares… You can see that in Max’s eyes on camera and off. So, really truly, my favorite thing as Leeta is any one of the zillion moments of working with Max, whether the camera was rolling or it wasn’t. He’s electric.”
Masterson continued, saying that working with Grodénchik was wonderful because he had a “deep well of insight and emotion and passion to work with” that made her job easier.
The two get to see each other regularly at “Star Trek” conventions, which Masterson is looking forward to in the near future.
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