Chase Masterson Ultimate TV

Chase Masterson

Funny that the career took off because of one guest appearance on "DS9." "It was really nice having the kind of viewer response that I did," says Masterson, who calls Leeta "a lovely piece of work on the writer's part."

In press materials distributed by the SCI-FI channel, the character of Leeta is described thusly:

"'Deep Space Nine's' young, sweet and sexy intergalactic casino girl, whose good looks and figure-flattering attire can't help but keep the crew distracted from her brains and focused on her beauty."

Masterson is agog. "That's awful sweet...I'm glad that they see things that way, because Leeta could be thought of as the somewhat light-headed casino girl, or you could think of her as the really down to earth girl who's working her way through med school.

Leeta's a dabo girl and wears sexy stuff because that's who she is inside but also because that's her job. And I think, like a lot of things in science fiction, that's just one way that the writers say 'don't judge a book by its cover, even if it's a really pretty cover.'"

Why is the Sci-Fi channel writing her PR? Masterson is co-host of "Sci-Fi Entertainment," the upcoming magazine show dedicated to all issues and events that could be termed science fiction. Science fiction "insider" Scott A. Mantz also hosts the weekly series, which premieres Friday, May 1.

"It's a fun show, it's real hip; it's really informative, too," Masterson effuses. "Last week we interviewed these guys who were making cars that drive themselves. We also talked to a guy who started making robots as a kid, he started in his garage, last year he sold some equipment that he created to NASA that went to Mars.

It's like science fiction turned into real life. Our dreams are slowly but surely becoming technical realities, which is kind of a cool thing to focus on. With the new millenium, sci-fi is affecting fashion, architecture, design, will have something for everybody, the die-hard sci-fi fanatics, to people who love 'Godzilla,' 'The X-Files,' 'Star Wars'...during the first two episodes we're going to have interviews with Matt LeBlanc and Gary Oldman. It's gonna be a lot of fun."

When you listen to Masterson talk, you know she isn't just a one-woman PR machine spouting about her upcoming project because the studio execs tell her she must - she is genuinely excited about the show, and about her blossoming career.

In the upcoming Steven-King-scripted movie "Sometimes They Come Back...For More," Masterson says she plays "a really kick-ass military commanding officer who brings a team down to Antarctica to capture a killer on a military base." The film also stars "Murphy Brown's" Faith Ford.

"It's a really interesting piece of work," really dark - all things Steven King," says Masterson. "It's a piece I'm really glad I did, it's so un-Leeta - it's Leeta goes Rambo." The film, though set in Antarctica, was primarily filmed in Valencia, a commuter-burb about 25 miles Northeast of Los Angeles. "We shot it in July, on a soundstage," says Masterson, laughing as the irony of shooting a movie set in an icy atmosphere in the high desert is acknowledged. "We were wearing five layers of clothing, including long underwear, fatigues, Flak jackets, parkas, gloves, mittens, a total face mask, goggles - we were soaked in sweat after five minutes." The movie is screening at the Cannes film festival in May.

"I'm going to be too busy with this new show" to go to the screening in Cannes, Masterson admits, with just a hint of disappointment. Aha, she says the 'B' word. She is busy, she is not just effusing. This is pointed out to her, and she laughs, adding that she actually should go to Cannes because of a documentary she's producing on the Cannes Film Festival. This brings us to another arm of Masterson's career -- add to her list of credits the label "producer."

"I have a few pet projects I'm shepherding through (the studios)," including the documentary, which she says "was the biggest American documentary made," though it isn't finished yet. "We're changing a few things conceptually, it's going to be out soon."

The documentary "was a unique opportunity to use my brain," says Masterson, adding that "we had a two-time Academy Award winning director, Robert Koppel."

Unlike most actresses with production companies, not one of Chase's projects includes a role for her. "I'm doing all these projects because I'm in love with the projects, it has nothing to do with me being seen or promoting my own career. I just feel like they're pieces of work that are worthy to be made. It's an incredible accomplishment, as much if not more so, to create a piece from the ground up," she says. "I'm in love with these projects - it's a passion thing."

Also on her production plate are two animated projects. Animation? Masterson has a theory about her love of animation that relates to her son: "Maybe because I'm only allowed to watch cartoons." Plus he "may want to be an animator, he's a fine graphic artist."

First and foremost she's working on a half-hour animated comedy called "Man Boy," which she vows will be the next "South Park." Masterson optioned the project after meeting the writer at an Animation festival. "It's going to be a pretty big project, so I'll boldly say 'watch for it,'" Chase pitches. The would-be series is for the 18-24 year-old audience and, according to the producer, is "edgy, irreverent and insightful."

The other project she's shepherding is "Max and the Marshmallow Monster," designed for the three to 10 year-old audience. This one she calls "educational, inspiring and cute," and adds that one of the other producers on the project is Gary Wolf, the creator of "Roger Rabbit."

Masterson still contends she isn't 'busy' - but we don't believe her: she's doing press for "Sci-Fi Entertainment," she'll be back next season on "DS9," she's playing the pitch-the-projects game with studios, working on her charity, and attending conventions. Perhaps her claim of not being too busy is just her way of making this interviewer feel that Masterson's got all the time in the world to talk; maybe it's just because Masterson is so damned nice.

One thing we can all agree upon: the Dabo girl, the producer-lady, the action figure, the supportive mum, the kick-ass commando, the talk show host - is truly hot.

-- By Shelly Lyons --

"Sci-Fi Entertainment" Debuts on the SCI-FI Channel May 1 at 6:30 p.m. (all times ET); repeats air Fridays at 12 a.m. and on Sundays at 9 a.m. Also stay tuned for a live chat with Chase Masterson on UltimateTV April 30 at 5 p.m. (PT)/8 p.m. (ET)

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