The latest special movie edition of Star Trek Magazine contains 7 interviews with the cast: Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin! Keep reading for excerpts…
Chris Pine interview extract:
Chris Pine explains how he brought his own take to the character of James T. Kirk.
I hope I brought everything that I could to the role. J.J.’s mandate to us all in the beginning was to re-imagine these characters, to think of these characters as our own, and by giving us that freedom in the beginning, I never felt an overbearing responsibility.
I certainly felt a responsibility to do justice to what Mr. Shatner did, but I never felt like I had to in some way impersonate the Kirk that he embodied. Really, at the end of the day, I think I would have been doing an injustice to the story, and to my fellow actors, if I was trying to figure out some genius way of impersonating William Shatner, because then it would become an impersonation, not an original incarnation. My version of the character people would have been taking apart to see how I was trying to achieve that perfect mimicry, whereas it shouldn’t be like that. It should be about the story, so I had to throw caution to the wind and say, “Screw it, here it is, here’s my version of it.”
I understand that it’s a lose-lose situation in many ways, because I know some people are going to want to see a younger version of Mr. Shatner. I am not that, because I am simply not William Shatner. I’m my own person.
Karl Urban interview extract:
Karl Urban is quite adamant about his feelings regarding the authenticity of the new Star Trek film. “There wasn’t anything in the film – not the sets, or the props or anything – that I felt was out of place,” he maintains. “To me, everybody had done an extraordinary job of recreating this world.”
It’s a world that Urban knows well. Even before he gained the role, he had been watching the box sets of the original 1960s series with his young son, instilling in him the same affection for the characters of Kirk, Spock and McCoy that he has had since he watched the show as a young boy himself.
“There’s a magic about it,” he says fondly. “You have to understand that Star Trek was always a cult of personality more than science fiction. The very core strength of Star Trek was that it was about characters: about their differences and how when confronted with a common issue or problem, they can work together and solve it to the benefit of everybody involved to the best of their ability. The longevity and the success of the franchise is really a testament to the strength of those friendships.”
It’s something that he sees as central to any iteration of Star Trek. “It has always been an entirely character-driven show, and I think in this new version, that is delivered in spades,” he explains. “That comes down to a bunch of reasons: Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman’s fantastic script, J.J. having the most spot-on vision and assembling the most talented and incredible cast. I feel so blessed to have worked with these guys.”
Anton Yelchin interview extract:
Anton Yelchin accepts that he’s playing a younger version of Pavel Chekov in the new Star Trek movie, but he queries whether it’s fair to describe him as brash. “Maybe there is some brashness, but only in the confidence he has to go run and save the day,” he agrees. “But that didn’t affect my thinking in how I was going to be affected by the original. I just really thought he was such a wonderful character, and it would be so sad to lose that. I worked hard to bring that humor, warmth and lightness to it, even in the way he walks.”
For the scene where Chekov is racing through the Enterprise corridors because he knows he can transport Kirk and Sulu back to the ship, Yelchin developed a special way of moving. “I loved running down the hallways,” he admits. “I was always very interested in the way that Chekov walked. It’s just a little more ‘up,’ a little bouncier – but not too much. It was interesting to bring that to the run. You never got to see Chekov run that much before so it was great to see a physical embodiment of that Chekov spirit.”
Leonard Nimoy interview extract:
It’s fair to say that Leonard Nimoy never seriously expected to be donning Spock’s ears again – after all, his last appearance in the role was in a 1991 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Intriguingly, the actor doesn’t necessarily see Spock as being on a direct line from the character he played in TNG’s “Unification.”
“My sense is that the last time we saw Spock, he was deep in the Romulan Empire on an ambassadorial mission. In this movie, there’s no direct connection to that, but I have a very strong feeling about the emotional line and that personal development of the character, which I’m most comfortable discussing.
“The most fascinating thing for me about working on this movie was not only to see all these young actors who are portraying the original Star Trek series characters, and watch them work extremely well, but also to work with them myself as Spock from another time plane. I see them, and have a wider view of who they are and where they’re going. I know more about them in a way than they know about themselves. There’s a kind of omniscience about the character.”
The most interesting change for Nimoy is that “I think I found a certain peace with the character. The character I play as Spock in this movie is a character who is at peace with himself, whereas the Spock that Zachary Quinto has to play is in a condition that is prior to what we saw in the original series, and not quite as evolved as he was in the original series. He’s in the process of finding himself. He’s putting together the building blocks of his character that will arrive at the character that I portrayed in the original series. During the course of this particular movie, he finds a peace as Spock, and grows into the Spock that I portrayed in the original series.”
Simon Pegg interview extract:
Simon Pegg on Scotty being used as light relief amidst the high drama of the new Star Trek movie…
I think Scotty always was a lighter character in some respects. He was kind of quirky and a brilliant eccentric. The picture that always stuck in my head was of Scotty playing the bagpipes, which was hilarious. Scotty is a wit: he’s smart and tenacious, and [when we meet him] he’s also at his wits’ end because he’s being punished for trying to push technology forward.
The great thing is the character is very much himself. That’s who he is. He’s not cynical: I think he looks at his lot in a slightly humorous way. And he’s a Scot, and they’re notoriously gung-ho and humorous about stuff. He’s certainly not a comic figure, but his character does bring some light relief.
I’m doing Tintin at the moment, and Spielberg told me that J.J. had shown him Star Trek. He felt that the point that Scotty gets introduced is the right point for that mood to come in. There has been some extremely affecting stuff, and some major things have happened. It just enables you to move forward without being too morose.
I also love the irony for me, as an actor and as a fan of the show, to have Leonard deliver that line to tell me who I am because he knows me, and he shares a history with my character. I can’t describe the magnitude of that for me simultaneously as a fan and as an actor. I was watching Star Trek when I was seven or eight years old, and to then be interacting with the character – not even the actor, but the character… I’ve known Spock all my life, and to have him speak to me was quite a bizarre thing.
Zachary Quinto interview extract:
“The whole story for me was a joy to get into,” says Zachary Quinto of his experience playing the half-human half-Vulcan first officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise in the new Star Trek movie. “I like to look back on it as a lot of fun and excitement.”
If he has to single out one aspect over all others, Quinto unerringly talks about the originator of the role of Spock, Leonard Nimoy, with whom he spent a great deal of time in the months leading up to the shooting of the film. “Getting to know him is what will stick with me the longest,” Quinto says. “Leonard is an incredible guy, and I really am honored to be able to consider him a friend. I’ve really come to know him, and look forward to continuing our relationship after the movie settles.
“All the relationships and friendships that I forged in making this film would also classify,” he adds. “I feel like getting to work with J.J. and getting to know my fellow cast members are the things that will transcend the project itself.”
It mirrors the fact that for Quinto, the heart of the movie is the relationships forged between the characters. “The world in which the story takes place can at times seem secondary to what’s actually happening to these characters, how they’re dealing with it, and how they’re relating to one another through it,” he notes, but quickly adds, “That said, the story is still very much rooted in the world of Star Trek, and exceptionally so from an esthetic point of view.”
Zoe Saldana interview extract:
Zoe Saldana is certain that Star Trek fans are going to be impressed with Chris Pine’s performance in the new movie. “His approach to the character, the kind of Kirk that he and J.J. created, is so much fun,” says the actress who plays Uhura. “He’s so sexy, so entertaining, and at the same time such a leader. This Kirk is no different than the original one: definitely a flirt, and the cockiness is overbearing at times, but it makes him who he is. There is a lot of fun stuff!
“And there’s an intriguing sensitivity about him – Uhura’s a person who’s done everything by the book up to this point, then here comes this renegade who is just gifted. As a cadet, he doesn’t really do the work, he’s lazy as hell, but he was meant to do this. That is something that raises her attention and her awareness of his presence, and there is a lot of flirtation – but Kirk isn’t the character who’s drawn her attention.”
In one of the movie’s more surprising turns, it’s actually Spock to whom Uhura is drawn – but Saldana doesn’t think that the relationship should be such a surprise to the audience.
“When I was doing my research I was trying to see, based on all the facts about Uhura that we know, who she is as a person,” she adds, “and I was drawn to certain conclusions. I would think that she is a perfectionist – and that’s very similar to Spock. She’s not there to have fun. Ever since she was a little girl she felt she was meant to be on that Enterprise, and nothing was going to get in the way of that. That being said, these qualities about her gave me the sense that she would always be fascinated by men who were somewhat older than she was, men who were more mature and had more authority. Spock appears to have all these qualities when they all meet.
Star Trek Magazine
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