Star Trek:TNG casting memo surfaces after 23 years

In a parallel universe, Belgian actor Patrick Bauchau played Captain Picard.

I’m basing that claim on a 23 year old memo that surfaced, on Paramount letterhead, written by John Ferraro, who was then a young development executive in Paramount’s syndicated television division, to John Pike, president of Paramount’s TV division at the time.

The memo, which has surfaced on the Letters of Note blog, lists the people who were being brought in to read for Gene Roddenberry in April 1987 for the various roles. Notably, Brent Spiner and Wil Wheaton weren’t even being considered for the roles at that time, and Wesley Snipes was being considered for the role of Geordi LaForge.

Obviously, this was early in the casting process.

[GAS] tracked down the author of the memo, John Ferraro, who had no idea the old memo had been leaked online.

“It’s so funny! How did that memo surface, it’s been like, 25 years! That’s kind of crazy! Somebody obviously found it in somebody’s old file at the studio, I guess.”

Ferraro mentioned that the letter might have simply been used to create a preliminary list of the types of actors that the series would go for – and was quick to point out that though he wrote the letter, he did not determine the names on the list.

“Those weren’t my choices. It wasn’t like I was the one who put Wesley Snipes’ name on the list…. “

“The casting director was bringing people in, and it looks like [at the time the memo was written] they were starting to pare things down and determine the people who would read for Gene [Roddenberry]”

“It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t worked in the industry, but there’s sort of a hierarchy of the way it works on the executive side… I was pretty junior, and I was reporting to a guy named Rick Berman, who became the producer of the series… I was his guy who did a lot of the legwork. But I had been working in television for about five years at that point.”

Ferraro worked on Star Trek through the production of the pilot, and possibly, he said, through the first couple of episodes. After that he moved to Paramount’s film division. Today, he’s working on producing other independent film projects.