Student Life recently got to join in on a talk with “Star Trek” stars Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. Pine plays James Tiberius Kirk, the rebellious Iowa farm boy going full speed to nowhere. Quinto plays his opposite, Spock, the emotional half-human outcast on planet Vulcan—a world where emotions have long before been eradicated. Read on as the two actors answer questions about the movie that chronologically precedes 726 episodes, 10 movies and a legendarily loyal fan base.
Student Life: How would you describe the characters?
Zachary Quinto: I think, it’s specific to this iteration of the story because I think if you ask Leonard, that you’ll have a different answer obviously because of his relationship to the character and because his character existed in a different sort of time. My version of Spock is definitely a little bit more unsettled. He’s less in control of the duality that exists within him. He’s much more in conflict.
Chris Pine: I think that this version of Kirk is a bit more brash and arrogant, and young essentially. We get to see this character before he becomes the confident commander of the later years, where he’s dealing with what he’s going to do with his life, whether or not he wants to face up to this challenge that’s presented to him by Captain Pike of joining Starfleet, whether he’s going to face his fears or be a victim to them.
SL: Chris, you’ve mentioned in the past a desire to do your own thing with Captain Kirk as a character. Specifically, what are some of the things that you wanted to do differently and what did you feel was essential to keep the same?
CP: It’s a difficult question because it wasn’t as if I have like a sheet of Shatner-ian characteristics that I wanted to keep and then a sheet of new things that I wanted to do in the character. There’s certain things that are just characteristics of Kirk that happen to be the same from the original version to the version that you all will see…He’s decisive and confident and can be arrogant at times. And he’s a flirt.
SL: Your characters obviously come into conflict in this film. How did you channel that conflict off-screen to make it real and believable?
ZQ: We fought a lot. We would have fistfights…
CP: Boxing, knife fights…
ZQ: No. Chris and I have known each other actually before we did the movie. We have, overlapping social circles. We live in the same neighborhood in L.A. So it was really easy for us. I think the chemistry element of any sort of duo like Spock and Kirk can only succeed if it’s effortless.
And luckily we had come from similar backgrounds of theater and understood and respected the way each other worked. And so all of those things sort of added up to make it work out for us onscreen.
CP: Yeah. When I auditioned for it, I was in the waiting room and obviously, nervous as anyone is before they go in to audition.
And Zach happened to come in and was there reading the script or something. And I got a chance to talk with him before I went in…And then talking with Zach, the guy that I was going to be working opposite with, seeing what a wonderful guy he was, I realized I was in great hands.
SL: What can diehard “Star Trek” fans look forward to, as well as newcomers?
ZQ: There is a Tribble. There is a Tribble somewhere. It’s almost like “Where’s Waldo?” or “Where’s the Tribble?”
CP: You gave it away.
ZQ: Yeah, but they might not have found it.
CP: Who the hell do you think you are?
ZQ: No. I think there are things like that that diehard “Star Trek” fans can really look forward to. And I think that non-fans can look forward to the fact that this is a movie that’s much more about relationships and characters and challenges than it is about, you know, planets and starships and aliens…
SL: You both were at the Australian premiere of the film. How did it feel to watch this project completed?
ZQ: It was unbelievably exciting to be in the Sydney Opera House, one of the most iconic buildings in the world, watching this movie that we are so excited about…Sometimes when you’re promoting a movie you’re not 100 percent on board or you don’t like how it came out in the end. It was so exciting to be involved in something that I know I, myself, am really proud of and genuinely so.
SL: Chris and Zach. You guys, as Kirk and Spock, versus Han Solo and Luke Skywalker: Who wins?
CP: We do, we win all the time.
ZQ: We kick their ass.