Nimoy On Passing the TorchBy T'Bonz
January 28, 2009 - 3:40 AM
Original series actor Leonard Nimoy is pleased with Star Trek XI, feeling that J.J. Abrams understood what Star Trek was all about and knew how the characters should work.
Star Trek Magazine: What was your reaction when you learned that J.J. Abrams was going to be in charge of the new 'Star Trek' movie?
Leonard Nimoy: I was very pleased. I am familiar with his work, I'm a fan of his work. I think he's an extremely talented gentleman. We had a very successful meeting, myself with J.J. and a couple of his writer/producers. The conversation went extremely well, because I got a sense immediately that we were on the same page in terms of what Star Trek' could and should be about. I thought they had a very strong grasp of what the characters were about, and how the chemistry between the characters should work. I was very pleased.
Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman have admitted that had you not been interested in going ahead on the basis of the story that they had, they would have had to go back to the drawing board. Were you surprised that they had made it so contingent on your involvement?
I wouldn't say surprised. It made sense in a certain way because they did feel that the story they had in mind was Spock-centered. I wouldn't say surprised: I was pleased and flattered that they had chosen to do a story where Spock was so significant. We had had several projects prior to this where Spock had been marginalized and I wasn't particularly happy about that. I found in this film that Spock comes back into focus in a very wonderful way.
Would you describe this as a back to basics approach?
Definitely! Very definitely. I'll tell you what: my description of this movie is that it's a gigantic production, several times larger in scope than any 'Star Trek' movie that has been made prior to this. The production values are enormous. But right at the core of it is great heart. And that heart comes from the characters, and the use of the characters, and their relations with each other. That is 'Star Trek' at its best: a large idea with heart at the center of it.
Is this bigger than Robert Wise's original 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture'?
I really think it is. As large as that movie felt, and it did feel large, I don't think it achieved the on-camera production values that this film has. It was a different kind of movie, a different look, a different feel. Scene after scene in this movie you see very large scale production values which I don't think we’ve had in any of the movies prior to this.
With all due respect to Robert Wise's movie, it did not have the humanity of the characters at the core of it. I think that's the profound difference between that movie and this.
Did you have any involvement at all with the casting, particularly with Zachary Quinto as Spock?
Only when J.J. was considering Zachary Quinto as Spock. He sent me some footage of Zachary's previous work. I immediately saw the value. He looked to me to be believable, but probably more important, he showed great intelligence as an actor, and a great internal life, which I think is terribly important for the Spock character. I called J.J. immediately and said "I think you've found a wonderful choice."
It was mentioned at the Las Vegas convention that you have a number of scenes with Simon Pegg as Scotty. Did it feel odd working with someone playing that character that wasn't Jimmy Doohan?
Well, of course, nostalgia plays a big part in this whole story, and memory and history. I dearly loved every one of the actors that was part of the original crew, the original cast, I really dearly loved them. It was very touching to me to see very talented people take the torch and carry it on. I think Simon Pegg is a wonderful actor, with a great comedic sense. Chris Pine as Captain Kirk – they're all wonderful. I'm so pleased.
My wife, who is not a major science fiction fan, sat with me and watched the present cut of the movie about two weeks ago. We saw it in its present condition, which is still unfinished. It’s still a work in progress, there's still some special effects to come, and so forth. But about 20 minutes before the movie finished, she turned to me and said, "I don't want this movie to end." That’s how much she was enjoying it.
It's the best compliment for a storyteller...
Quite right. It's a wonderful movie.
Read the full article in issue #15 of The Official Star Trek magazine. Subscribe now HERE!