Vanguard – April 20, 2009

‘Star Trek’ actors spill beans on upcoming flick
Rodney Thompson

“Not your parents’ ‘Star Trek'” has become the new tagline for the upcoming reboot of the famous franchise, directed by action junkie J.J. Abrams. Judging from the content of the previews, that statement could not be any more accurate.
The new release takes the suffering franchise and injects it with action, infuses it with adventure, and marinades it in top-of-the-line special effects. It is shaping up to be a non-stop roller coaster of excitement that is sure to appeal to hardcore fans and general audiences, alike.
This film takes the audience back to the origins of the original crew, telling the story of the rise of James T. Kirk and the dynamic that builds between Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the famous ensemble of characters.
Casting is a buffet of familiar faces including Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, and even the notoriously hilarious Simon Pegg, as Scotty. It will be interesting to see these guys take on these roles, as this is definitely the biggest project any of them has participated in. This movie could prove to be a career-changing vehicle for any of these actors.
Additionally, the success of this film, in light of the failure of the last two “Star Trek” incarnations, will be a deciding factor in how much life is left in this franchise.
With the movie scheduled to release May 8, The Vanguard got the opportunity to join up with Zachary Quinto (Spock) and Chris Pine (James T. Kirk) for a phone interview that shed a little light on the guys’ personal experiences with the film.
Rodney Thompson, The Vanguard:The “Star Trek” franchise has a huge following, and with you personally Zach, Leonard Nimoy (the original Spock) was in the film.

Do you guys feel like there was a lot of pressure stepping into the shoes of James T. Kirk and Spock?
Zachary Quinto, actor: I didn’t really feel that pressure because Leonard was involved actually and was so supportive of me from the beginning and because I had such faith and trust in J.J. and the creative team behind the movie. I sort of just chose to focus more on — on my task at hand, which was doing my work — which was really the only thing that’s in my control. So I didn’t really and I still don’t really concern myself with that stuff because I don’t really have any control over it. So it doesn’t really serve me personally or creatively.

Chris Pine, actor: Yeah. I think Zach really said it. There’s not much control you have over how people view our performances and these new incarnations of these characters.
And I think it’s really a credit to J.J. that he always created an atmosphere on set where I don’t think any of us ever felt encumbered by a sense of responsibility or living up to expectations, even though protecting the legacy was always on our minds, but it was never at the forefront.
It was always about making this particular version of the movie as great as we could — as best as we could make it.

V:What would you say was the biggest challenge for you guys working on this film?

CP: I think for me it was just the physical aspect of it. I don’t think I was really prepared for the physical toll.
I mean when you read the script and there are all of these pages of description of these action sequences, you fail to realize that what takes you minutes to read on the page will take months of actual shooting.
And I think it was the stunts and it was the working with the green screen and stuff that probably threw me most.

ZQ: I think for me it was a matter of finding the emotional life of this character with the restrictions of not really being able to express that emotion as freely as human beings do.

V:In order to prepare for your roles, did you guys do any character research to try and channel the original performances of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy?

CP: In the beginning I got the box set of the series, so I was midway through watching the first season of the original series when I kind of realized that what I was doing was really setting myself up for disaster. What Mr. Shatner did was so unique and specific and wonderful.
And what he did was such a great job. I just felt that it actually served me more to just really pay attention to the wonderful script we were given by Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman and really trying to live up to the great writing that they gave us instead of trying to immerse myself in the minutiae and the details of the original series — as great as they are and as much as they might have helped other actors.
I found I was placing an undue burden of creating an impersonation rather than an original incarnation.

ZQ: I obviously utilized Leonard to a great extent and engaged him in many, many conversations about the character. And I also had the advantage of being cast really early.
So I immersed myself in a lot of reading about the world of Star Trek and the mythology. And worked with a good friend who has subsequently become my business partner who is arguably one of the biggest “Star Trek” fans certainly that I know, to sort of guide me through the questions that I had in preparation for starting.

V: How did you guys come about being casted for the lead roles in such a huge summer blockbuster?

ZQ: I found out they were making the movie just as I was doing publicity for “Heroes” when my character was introduced on the show.
And the very first interview I gave was with my hometown newspaper. The journalist asked me if there were any other projects in which I was interested and I took that opportunity to say yeah, I heard they’re making a new Star Trek movie.
And then it sort of snowballed. That article got syndicated and then subsequent interviews that I gave journalists would bring it up. And it sort of escalated really for me.

CP: I auditioned for it in the spring. I didn’t get it and many months went by. And then I had done two films over the summer and my agent said do you want to go up for Star Trek again?
And I said I thought I already went out for it and was hesitant to do so because I felt like there’s no need to subject myself to further rejection. I decided really to go back in because I wanted to meet J.J. so badly and was so happy that I did. Because once I walked in the doors of the audition and realized who was behind this film I just realized that we were a good fit and that he was someone that I could really trust and I think trust is clearly the biggest factor between an actor and a director.

V: Just to wrap things up, how do you guys feel the general public, of non-“Star Trek” fans will react to the film?

ZQ: I actually think now that the movie is starting to screen and we’re getting feedback I think the thing that I’ve heard most consistently is from people who have not been “Star Trek” fans who felt exhilarated and connected to these characters much more than they expected to be.
That’s probably the most consistently encouraging feedback that I’ve gotten. So the hope is that the movie itself transcends the connection to “Star Trek” for people that might not have exposure to it.
And J.J. has said openly and many times that he didn’t necessarily make this movie for “Star Trek” fans. He made this movie for future “Star Trek” fans. And that’s something that I think comes across in the film.

CP: Yeah. I think really quite honestly it has to do with relationships and good characters.
It doesn’t matter that again it takes place in the future and on a spaceship and things that could potentially alienate people that don’t care about either of those or big spectacle movies.
At the heart of this are really accessible characters and situations, feelings and emotions that we all go through. And it just happens to take place in this different space.