Jeffrey Dean Morgan is best known for his roles in The Walking Dead and Grey’s Anatomy. However, the actor is one of the many stars who appeared on Star Trek without much notice, perhaps because his face was completely buried under prosthetics and makeup.
Morgan never returned to the Star Trek universe after his single appearance in Star Trek: Enterprise. Apparently, the job was so awful it made him reconsider his career as an actor. He told the whole story to Sean Evans during an appearance on the YouTube series Hot Ones on April 1st.
‘Star Trek’ was ‘Horrible’ for Morgan
Evans and Morgan chatted about his career as they feasted on increasingly hotter chicken wings. Of course, the majority of the interview focused on his iconic character Negan from The Walking Dead. At one point though, Evans brought up Morgan’s single appearance in the Star Trek universe.
Morgan confirmed that being on Enterprise made him want to quit acting, then explained why his experience was so horrific.
“That feeling was on the nose. That job was on the nose, in a bad way. It turns out I’m claustrophobic. I had a really hard time doing the makeup process, and I had straws in my nose. I’ve never been on a set where I went home at night and just thought ‘what am I doing? I’ve made the worst f**king decision of my life. I don’t ever want to be an actor again…’ It almost made me quit. It was horrible.”
Luckily for fans of his incredible talent, he didn’t quit. However, he never took another role that required such an intense makeup process.
Morgan had to Deal With Some Serious Prosthetics
One glance at Morgan in his alien getup gives a good idea of why the process was so excruciating for him. He played a Xindi-Reptilian in the third season episode “Carpenter Street.” The role required an elaborate, full-coverage mask, as well as other prosthetics.
Morgan’s comment that he had “straws in his nose” refers to a common practice employed by actors who have to wear full masks for their scenes. The masks often have tiny nose holes, which makes it very hard to breathe. The makeup process takes several hours, so actors can’t just take off the mask whenever they want to get a full breath. So, straws are inserted through the mask and up the actor’s nose between scenes.
According to Healthline, two of the most common symptoms of claustrophobia are shortness of breath and hyperventilation. Being stuck in a mask that made it hard to breathe would likely exacerbate claustrophobia, so it’s totally understandable why Morgan had such an awful time.
Many Other Actors Had Issues With Their Alien Makeup
The makeup process for a science-fiction show like Star Trek is unlike anything else in the business. Many actors think that they’re prepared to be buried under layers of makeup and latex or rubber prosthetics for an entire day of filming but find out that they can’t handle it once they’re all made up.
Melanie Smith, who people may recognize as Jerry’s girlfriend Rachel on Seinfeld, quit Star Trek: Deep Space Nine after a few episodes because of the makeup. Wearing the extensive makeup and prosthetics required for her role as the Cardassian Tora Ziyal for more than 12 hours at a time actually made her sick. She stuck it out as long as she could, but eventually, she was so sick every time she filmed that she had to quit.
Prolific television and movie actress Andrea Martin only made it through one day of filming in full Ferengi makeup before she quit DS9. Like Morgan, the prosthetics made her claustrophobic. They also made it very hard to do her job effectively. She could barely hear the other actors in her scenes because of the prosthetic ears.
Even Star Trek veteran Michael Dorn had a really hard time with the makeup and prosthetics. When he first started on Star Trek: The Next Generation, he developed a serious skin condition because of the makeup. He considered quitting the show but brought it up with the producers before he made the decision. They worked with the makeup department to make changes. Luckily for Trek fans, the new makeup and prosthetics worked for Dorn and he continued to play Worf for several years.