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From Indystar.com


Ron Glass - Gen Con Indy Gaming Convention - Indystar.com Interview

By Peter Benyola

Friday 19 August 2005, by Webmaster

From Indiana to ’Firefly’

Evansville native has fun at convention and talks about ’Serenity,’ a feature-film spinoff.

Ron Glass has been a TV icon — twice.

Glass, a 60-year-old Evansville native, played Detective Ron Harris on "Barney Miller" and Shepherd Book on "Firefly," in addition to more than 60 acting credits and one for directing.

He first got hooked on acting while attending the University of Evansville, and is back in Indiana this weekend for the Gen Con Indy Gaming Convention at the Indiana Convention Center.

In between meeting fans and signing autographs, he took time out Thursday to talk about his Hoosier roots, his acting career and "Serenity," a feature-film version of "Firefly" out this fall.

Q: Do you still run into "Browncoats" (fans of the short-lived "Firefly") who are also fans of your show "Barney Miller?"

A: Yeah, absolutely, all the time. There have been people around here today who wanted to know if I had any photographs from "Barney Miller." Lots of people have fond memories, so I’m not the only old guy, you know!

Q: What inspires you?

A: Hope.

Q: Hope of another project?

A: Actually, I have a little bit more depth than that. My whole life is not about projects, you know (laughs).

Q: You’re a Buddhist.

A: I’ve been a practicing Buddhist for 21 years. It’s the most profound and most correct world view that provides me with answers to all my questions.

Q: How did you go from the Midwest to Hollywood?

A: I didn’t walk (laughs). When I left Evansville, I went to the Guthrie Theater, which is a repertory theater in Minneapolis. I spent four years there. I went out to California in ’72, and it’s home. I live just to the right of the "D" in . . . the Hollywood sign!

Q: "Firefly" is now a cult classic.

A: It’s because there are so many bright, intelligent, warm, savvy people out there.

Q: What is your character, Book, all about?

A: Book is a spiritual man who has a past that is — let’s just say less than spiritual. He’s about encouraging other people to get into their spiritual sides. And at the same time, what’s really great about him is that he’s forceful, but doesn’t beat you up with it. He’s a cool guy. He wears different hats at different times. He’s got a lot of scope.

Q: Do you see the "Firefly" series being revived after "Serenity" hits theaters?

A: I have no idea. I can only hope. The plan is to do more movies, so I hope that is exactly what happens.

Q: One of the comments from the Indianapolis sneak preview was that "Serenity" was "like a Western, like history repeating itself."

A: It’s a Western in space.

Q: Wagon train to the stars? That’s been done before.

A: Joss (Whedon, creator of "Firefly") has broken some barriers before. How do I know it’s a Western? We have horses, dust, rocks and a frontier. It was great.

Q: Is the movie a continuation of the series?

A: No. The movie will be equally accessible to people who saw the series, as well as to people who never saw it. (Whedon) worked it out that way, smartly.

Q: As an actor, do you feel you have played every role you had a desire to play?

A: Oh no, absolutely not. But I’ve had the good fortune to do a lot of parts that I really really loved. I would love to do Book for more years. And I loved Harris on "Barney Miller." And I can’t tell you the names of other things I’d like to do, but I don’t feel like my work is complete.