Star Trek XI stunt coordinator Joey Box explains what it took to create the scene where Kirk, Sulu and doomed redshirt Olsen skydive down to the Romulan drill to attempt to disable it.
As reported by Titan Magazines, the skydiving scene was a challenge to produce. “There were a lot of unknowns,” said Box. “That was all stunts, with a little bit of visual effects. Our fantastic visual effects director, Roger Guyett, added to it tremendously.”
The scene was done without any real skydiving though. “That made it a bit more difficult,” explained Box, “because if the photographer is skydiving alongside people falling through space, there’s a lot more opportunity as far as movement goes. When you start putting wires on people, you can lose the natural body movement that you get in space. However, by shooting it as little set pieces, it did evolve a little bit, and at the end of the day we got a realistic sequence.”
“I didn’t feel that we were going from seeing a stuntman skydiving to an actor. You never break out of the sequence for the whole time, from the moment they leave the shuttle.”
Box explained the process used. “The first thing we did was mock up the landing,” he said. “Then we took the actors and put them on wires. We got them into position and then started to train them. We got their brains and eyes used to being thirty-forty feet up in the air, then got them into flight position and took them through it.”
According to Box, the actors did the bulk of the work on the “skydive.” “At the end of the day, you want your actors to do as much as possible, otherwise you’re seeing half-profiles and heads turning away unnaturally,” he explained. “I’d say that on that sequence eighty to eighty-five per cent of everything was done by the actors. They didn’t do the very dangerous landing, but even so, we were dragging Chris Pine across the platform of the drill. He was a real sport. He’s a tough guy. All of them were fantastic. You couldn’t have got a better group of actors. Chris and John Cho were in there the whole time.”