Playboy – May 2009

“I was in New York recently, in the audience at a few Broadway shows, and I really wanted to bust out the nerve pinch on some people around me, just to put them to sleep and shut them up,” admits Zachary Quinto on Spock’s ability to deploy the neck nerve pinch. “As an actor who comes from the theater, I realized I might have inflated ideas of who we do theater for. The disregard brought my delusions of grandeur crashing down. I take theater seriously, and I was fascinated and repulsed at people’s casual, cavalier attitudes and behaviors in the audience. Opening candy packages, screaming and talking in the middle of the show—it was really alarming. I was galled by the nerve.”

Quinto, who stars as Sylar in Heroes will soon to be seen on the big screen as the young Spock in Star Trek, hitting theaters on May 8th. In preparation of his new film, the dashing actor sat down with David Rensin for Playboy’s 20Q.

On spending time with Leonard Nimoy: “Leonard is actually the same age my father would have been if he were still alive. He died when I was seven. Through getting to know Leonard, I’ve discovered aspects of myself that I might not have found otherwise—and that I didn’t have from a relationship with my father. But the great thing about Leonard is that he’s just himself. I’m sure he doesn’t think he is somebody to give advice. For me, it’s about seeing the sum of his life, really. If I can live a life half as realized as his—well, maybe three quarters as realized and fulfilled—then I would be really happy.”

On Trekkies reaction to his performance as the young Spock: “I don’t want to sound callous if I say I don’t care, but I don’t care. [laughs] I feel I brought the character as much heart and respect for Leonard Nimoy and the journey of the franchise as I could. I’ve done it with regard for them, and that’s all I can do.”

On sporting a unibrow: “I lost the unibrow in college when I was preparing to go into the acting marketplace. My eyebrows do require some attention. I had to shave three quarters off each to play Spock. I don’t know if they’re my favorite feature, but they’re certainly my defining characteristic. My older brother and I refer to ourselves as the Brow Brothers sometimes.”

On using an alias at Starbucks: “Sometimes I’ll use Rex. It’s easy, it’s quick. It’s three letters, and you can’t misspell it. Then I just have to remember the coffee’s for me when they shout ‘Double latte for Rex.’”