Boldly going where no Star Trek film has ever gone before, “Star Trek” opens in theaters May 8, and for the first time ever, James T. Kirk will not be played by William Shatner. Leonard Nimoy will still be donning the familiar eyebrows and pointy ears as Spock, but so will actor Zachary Quinto.
The iconic character, James T. Kirk, will be played by Chris Pine and this, along with the rebooted storyline, is what has a few Trekkies’ spandex suits in a bunch.
During a phone conference to promote the “Star Trek” movie, Pine and Quinto talked about their approach to becoming Kirk and Spock, working with director J.J. Abrams and the pressures of dealing with a protective fan-base.
“[My] version of Spock is definitely a little bit more unsettled,” Quinto explained. “He’s less in control of the duality that exists within him . I think he’s struggling with a lot of deeply felt emotions, passion, fear, anger and the struggle. The core struggle for me was containing all of that . and not really being able to express it so humanly was a really fascinating challenge.”
Pine stressed the fact that his character is not Capt. Kirk, but the young James T. Kirk “before he becomes the confident commander of the later years.” Pine adds that his version of Kirk is “a bit more brash and arrogant and young, essentially.”
Their qualifications for playing the two icons, however, were called into question by fans who were bothered by the fact that neither actors, nor the director, were Star Trek fans to begin with.
A comment made on www.scifiwire.com rhetorically asked, “What fool at Paramount put people who were not fans in charge of this movie and in the lead roles?”
But long-time Star Trek fans should take into consideration the fact that the storyline was written by devoted Trekkies Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who by-the-way were also the writers behind last summer’s blockbuster hit “Transformers.” You non-Trekkies may want to take note of that part.
Orci and Kurtzman were looking to breathe new life into the Star Trek franchise, all the while sustaining continuity with the foundations of the original story lines. And with non-Trekkie director J.J. Abrams, Orci and Kurtzman felt they would get “100% translation from script to screen,” according to Wired Magazine.
“J.J. [Abrams] has said openly and many times that he didn’t necessarily make this movie for Star Trek fans,” noted Quinto. “He made this movie for future Star Trek fans.”
Pine does add that current fans will also enjoy the movie. “[We had] these great protectors of cannon like Bob Orci and Damon Lindelof that were making sure that what we were doing, you know, paid tribute and homage . to the minutiae of the original series and to . the themes that Gene Roddenberry expressed in the original.”
And for the non-fans, Quinto shared feedback he had gotten following screenings of the new movie.
“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,” said Quinto.
History has shown that reboots of movies and storylines that have a highly protective fan-base tend to meet with much opposition and lead actors tend to get the brunt of extremely harsh critiques by (mainly) fans.
Daniel Craig is surely no stranger to the viciousness that can come from such a following. Many James Bond fans were opposed to Craig as the next Bond simply because he was blond, and Bond is not blond.
But now, following the huge success of the Bond reboots, many of those same fans are admitting that they couldn’t picture a more qualified actor to play Bond than Craig, even with his blond hair.
So, with the chance of “Star Trek” becoming this summer’s blockbuster hit, and a possible successful addition to the series, City Times asked Quinto and Pine if they would be ready, and willing, to take on what could possibly become a life-long commitment to the characters, just as Shatner and Nimoy have synonymously identified with Capt. Kirk and Spock.
“Yeah,” announced Quinto, “a lifelong association with these characters would be a great thing if the movie is successful, and certainly something that Chris and I have talked about. But . I don’t think either of us plan to only be associated with these characters.”
Added Pine, “I think as an actor, you strive for longevity and diversity . But I could not be anymore proud of the movie that we’ve made. And if I were to be associated with this for, you know, the extent of my career . I would be a very [content] man.”