The 34-year-old actor best known as Spock in Star Trek has been noticing a lot of things lately—from tabloid excess to financial corruption—that he finds highly illogical.
Interview by David Walters, Photograph by Chris Mcpherson
Details: In your new movie, Margin Call, you play an investment-bank risk analyst during the 2008 financial collapse. You’re a little more smoldering than the average bean counter.
Zachary Quinto: Our director, J.C. Chandor, brought that up once. He said, “I just wish we could shave your head. You’d look a little less put-together.” The funny thing is, a month and a half after we wrapped, I did shave my head for a play. J.C. said, “That’s the way you should have looked in the movie!” [Laughs.] I’m sure there are dudes on the floors of Wall Street who look like me.
Details: Were you concerned about whether you could inspire empathy for a bunch of overpaid suits?
Zachary Quinto: We’re not necessarily asking for empathy, just providing access to a world in which these people were ultimately pawns in a much larger game. There were certainly people who acted reprehensibly, but there were also people who were just following orders.
Details: What can you tell us about your role in Ryan Murphy’s new TV drama, American Horror Story?
Zachary Quinto: I think at this point I can safely say I’m playing a ghost. But they were very strict with the scripts. I had to go to the studio on my first day at seven in the morning and watch the pilot alone in the editing bay. I was so freaked out. I was in this dark room breathing that stagnant non-circulated air . . . It totally put me in the right frame of mind.
Details: When can we expect to see you in the next Star Trek film?
Zachary Quinto: People will have a better idea when they see me walking down the street with shaved eyebrows. That’s definitely the most tedious part of playing Spock. The first time, it took three weeks for them to come back in a way that I didn’t have to wear my glasses every day to hide them. It was probably two months before they were really thick and bushy again.
Details: You’ve been very protective of your privacy. How do you feel when you see videos of Ryan Gosling breaking up street fights?
Zachary Quinto: I mean, good for him for making an effort. But it’s like our culture is so rooted in voyeuristic obsession and the exposure of people’s lives in order to feel validated. It’s terribly empty and sad. It leaves me with a diminished faith in humanity.
Details: So you won’t be jumping into any brawls?
Zachary Quinto: I’ll step in and do my part. I just don’t want to have it recorded—that’s the weird part, you know?