For J.J. Abrams, the key to falling in love with Star Trek was finally being able to relate to the characters.
The forty-three-year old Abrams, a Star Wars fan, originally couldn’t find anything in the characters of Star Trek to which he could personally relate. “I didn’t feel like I could relate to any of the characters,” he said. “I didn’t feel cocky or self-confident like Kirk. I wasn’t as logical or rule abiding as Spock. I wasn’t grumpy as Bones or as wide-eyed as Chekov. I didn’t have the intelligence of Scotty or the reliability of Sulu. I knew I wasn’t Uhura. I was none of these characters. Looking at the whole group, they were all wonderful archetypes, but I didn’t feel a bond with any of them.”
That changed after working on Star Trek XI, but it took a while. “But working on the movie, I fell in love with all of them,” explained Abrams. “The torment of Spock. The full-of-potential-but-unrealized Kirk. The strength of Uhura, the wit of Scotty, the bravery of Sulu, the innocence of Chekov, I loved them all. It took working on it for a long time to not just love them, but become them.”
Abrams credits his work success to his partnership with Bryan Burk, Matt Reeves, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. “It’s very easy working with them,” he said. “We have a great shorthand. Things get done quicker working with them because we speak the same language and have enough of the same references. Like any great collaboration, they push you to places you never expected and get you’re the results you wanted but couldn’t have achieved on your own.”