New ‘Star Trek’ Cast Took Cues From The Classic Series
‘We made this movie from a place of respect and from a place of celebration for what came before,’ new Spock Zachary Quinto says.
By Larry Carroll
BEVERLY HILLS, California — When Gene Roddenberry launched “Star Trek” on its original mission, he envisioned the series as the depiction of a color-blind crew traveling the universe to find answers about the future, but respecting established traditions and customs. Now, as the new cast puts the final touches on the reboot, due May 8, they find themselves on the same mission.
“We made this movie from a place of respect and from a place of celebration for what came before,” Zachary Quinto, the new Spock, explained. “But also with an idea that it is a different world we live in now. There are different expectations and different technological advances that we can utilize that don’t resemble what came before. There is an energy of something really classic and something really modern [being mixed together] and I think it really suits our culture and it suits our industry. People are, hopefully, going to be pleased with it.”
Virtually all the castmembers — from Simon Pegg to Karl Urban to John Cho — have expressed their love for the original cast. And, while they realize that the new movie’s space-diving, special effects and sexiness would have been impossible for the classic “Trek,” they knew that ignoring their predecessors would be as suicidal as confronting a Borg with phasers set to stun.
“My mother used to watch ‘Star Trek’ when I was a little girl; the reruns were always on when we would travel to the Caribbean to visit family … it was always in Spanish,” Zoe Saldana, the new Uhura, remembered. “I’m not afraid to say my mom is a Trekkie — it’s really cool. She was the one who helped me tap into my role.”
A fan since her youth, Saldana’s mother was ecstatic when she landed the high-profile gig. “She was thrilled like a little girl. It was as if you told the 5-year-old version of her that the daughter she didn’t know she was going to have was going to play Uhura,” Saldana laughed. “It was mind-boggling for her.”
Similarly mind-boggling to Chris Pine was the action-hero reinvention that J.J. Abrams had in mind for the new Captain Kirk. “Reading through the script, there are a lot of action sequences and those were just descriptions of the action,” he remembered of the filmmaker’s attempts to balance his dialogue and destruction. “I wanted to skim through those and get back to the dialogue with the main characters and there was about four pages that take about four seconds to flip through — but I didn’t realize it takes about a month and a half to actually [film those action scenes]. Those were 17-hour days, running from imaginary monsters!
“It’s really unbelievable the tricks the camera can play,” Pine said of those action scenes. “And what technology can bring us.”
But, as Saldana’s mother was quick to remind her daughter, to stay true to the original “Trek” they’d have to be careful to never allow the eye-candy to overshadow the brain-candy. “She’d leave voice mails as I was driving to set, and she speaks with a very cute Spanish accent. She’d be like, ‘Zoe, so for this scene when you are in front of Spock, Uhura has to be stoic because she is elegant and remember she’s a translator so she is very sociable. OK?’ ” Saldana remembered with a laugh. “She would leave these messages and I was like, ‘Who is this lady? She’s such a sci-fi geek!’ ”