Nicholas Meyer Wanted 'Hornblower'-like TrekBy Michelle
October 16, 2006 - 9:04 PM
Nicholas Meyer, the writer and director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan who along with Harve Bennett is credited with overhauling the franchise at a critical time, spoke about his experiences making the film and how he wanted to create a Star Trek movie that reminded him of the Hornblower series.
Meyer was introduced to Bennett by a childhood friend working at Paramount. "I told her: 'I've never watched Star Trek, I don't even know what it is. It's a guy with pointy ears, yeah?'" Meyer recalled at Twitch Guru. Bennett showed him some of the original series episodes. "I was completely stoked on this idea of making my outer space opera, and I began to think that I had some kind of idea, which was Star Trek was really the outer space version of a series of novels I used to love as a kid, which was the Captain Horatio Hornblower novels...I wanted to do that."
Unimpressed with early drafts of the Star Trek II screenplay, Meyer brainstormed with Bennett and eventually persuaded the studio that the Genesis project and the return of Khan would make a good story. "I decided we should put Spock in it so we could kill him," he added. He learned from the first Star Trek motion picture, which he calls "very easy to criticize" but believes was an asset to the later films:
I certainly don't think my first Star Trek movie would have been as good if I hadn't been able to watch that and sort of learn things you shouldn't do. I thought its self-inflated solemnity was off-putting, and I didn't like the way it looked.
Meyer's film changed the look of the ship and uniforms more nearly to the style that would remain for the next five original series films. The Wrath of Khan had a very small budget, $11.2 million, "and I think in some places you can see it. But it didn't matter because everybody loved the movie." He believes that the importance of special effects have been overstated - stimulating the audience's imagination is more important, even with trivial things like the question of why Khan only wears one glove. Though he was bothered when Paramount insisted on leaving Spock's death open-ended, with the possibility of his return, "in retrospect, I thought, well, maybe no harm done."
The fans have impressed Meyer, who believes that to dismiss Trekkies as geeks "is unwise and unfair. There are so many of them, there's all kinds of personalities...you can find minutia obsessed fans, and you can also find people that are working at NASA." He added that he remains proud of his Star Trek connection and remembers the production with satisfaction.
The full interview is here.