Zach is in Pittsburgh, visiting Point Park University to produce ‘The Chair’. While he’s there, he did an interview to local Pittsburgh Action News about his hometown pride, and also his new producing project. Watch the videos in our archive, see screencaptures in our gallery, and read the article below:
At 36, Pittsburgh native Zachary Quinto has taken one of the most recognizable characters in popular culture and made it his own.
He has played Spock in both of director J.J. Abram’s “Star Trek” movies, first replacing the legendary Leonard Nimoy, who originated the role, in 2009. It was the first movie of Quinto’s young career.
“I feel like I am carrying a mantle and I do feel like Leonard is passing something to me and handing something off to me that I am … that I take seriously, that I respect for integrity. It comes back to integrity,” Quinto said.
When Abrams and his team chose Quinto, he said they wanted Nimoy’s blessing for the selection.
“He gave so much more than his blessing. He became an integral part of my life and as we talk about the cycles, Leonard is just about the same age as my father would be if he was still alive. There is such a connection to him. In a way, he really adopted a paternal role in my life,” Quinto said.
Nimoy went twice to see Quinto play Tom Wingfield in Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” on Broadway last year. It was Quinto’s first Broadway appearance, although the Carnegie Mellon University graduate cut his theater teeth in college.
“One of the most profound experiences I have ever had creatively,” Quinto said of his recent stint on Broadway.
Quinto’s mother still lives in the Green Tree neighborhood where he grew up. His father, a hairdresser, died of cancer when Quinto was only 7. He attended Central Catholic High School, where he describes his education there as “very disciplined.”
It is also where he tried his hand at musical theater and won the local Civic Light Opera’s award for Best Actor in a High School Production.
Even then, his dream was to attend CMU, and it was there he met fellow students Corey Mossa and Neal Dodson, who would become his partners in their production company, Before The Door.
Their first project, “Margin Call,” starred Quinto and several Oscar winners and garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
“‘Margin Call’ was a dream from beginning to end,” Quinto said.
It was about that time that Quinto decided to announce that he was gay.
“The more people that can stand up as authentic versions of themselves, that is all it did and that is why I did it in a matter-of-fact way. It is not about me. I am one of a long line of people who have struggled in their own way,” he said.
And this year, Before The Door produced “All Is Lost,” which starred Robert Redford and was nominated for several Golden Globes, including Best Actor and garnered a sound editing nomination from the Oscars.
And in the midst of finishing up his play and getting ready to film a new movie in Berlin, Quinto came to Pittsburgh recently to inspire a theater full of Point Park University students trying to learn how to produce movies.
Quinto is one of the producers for “The Chair,” a project that takes two new directors, gives them the same film script and documents their efforts to make the movie that is chosen for a feature film.
The entire process will be documented for a television series to be shown on a cable station. The project also will be filmed in Pittsburgh and will include a lot of help from students and employees of Point Park University. Quinto is teaming up with his production partners, Moosa and Dodson, and Hollywood producer, Chris Moore.
“Pittsburgh is so ripe for it, and to be able to bring jobs into Pittsburgh, to give students opportunities to learn practically by being on set, to utilize this amazing landscape and architecture of this incredible city. ‘The Chair’ is the beginning for us of wanting to spent more time here,” Quinto said.