Interview with Eric Bana (Nero):
Writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have noted that their successive iterations of the movie script beefed up the character of Nero, but for Eric Bana, many of the ingredients were in place from the start. “Essentially, I was trying to draw on an incredibly tragic and brutal past,” he says. “For me, that was the most important thing about him. I felt like Nero had this incredibly tragic back story, and had become a villain as a result of the things that had happened to him. That was more interesting than just him being born as the villain. To me, he was just a Romulan who had had a lot of amazingly treacherous things done to him, so whilst he wasn’t human, I felt there was some sort of characteristics there that humans could definitely relate to, and I wanted to draw on that.”
Bana agrees that the days have gone when audiences will accept two-dimensional bad guys. “I always like it when we have a reason to know why our villain is the villain, and not just have to accept that he’s the villain because we’re told that he is.” However, that initial reading did flag up one potential problem. “I guess the only concern I had initially was that I identified the fact that Star Trek was definitely a ‘heroes’ movie’ not a ‘villain’s movie,’ and the danger would have been to not have given enough to Nero,” he says. “But J.J., Robert and Alex were already attentive to that, so that really came along and was being really well serviced by them. They gave me enough to play with!”
One element really attracted him. “I was fascinated by the notion of Nero being in jail on Rura Penthe for so many years, him biding his time, and being unbelievably patient in enacting his vengeance,” Bana says, adding, “Some of that is not played out in the film, because it’s not in the final cut, but it’ll be out on the DVD.”
Interview with Star Trek Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci:
Where did you come up with the idea of making this film a genesis story for the original crew, or was that a no-brainer as far as you were concerned?
Alex Kurtzman: When we were first asked in the broadest sense if we would ever consider doing Star Trek, it was like someone had just punched us in the solar plexus – just the idea that we would be able to inherit something like that. Before we even had any specific conversations, the idea of joining the legacy was so intense – and frightening, frankly, because it meant so much to us as kids. The fear of messing it up was the first feeling that we had. But talking about it, that’s when we realized that’s exactly why we had to do it. When something is that important to you, you have to protect it. The immediate answer for all of us was that the only way we were interested in this was to do Kirk and Spock, going back to the genesis of the ship. We weren’t interested in The Next Generation. This is where we wanted to live in it.
But we faced an immediate problem: we knew the fate of all the characters. Roberto Orci: It occurred to us very early on that the show began on the five-year mission, and we realized that we hadn’t actually seen all these characters meet and go on their first adventure. That became an obvious place to explore because the goal was to make sure that we had a Star Trek that made new audiences learn why fans like Star Trek. It couldn’t rely on a previous knowledge of Star Trek. The fact that the origin story had not been covered, and that’s what you’d naturally want to do to get new fans, just made it seem like a perfect thing to do.
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