Science fiction has come a long way in the fifty-odd years since Leonard Nimoy first acted in a sci-fi film.
In 1952, a twenty-one-year old Nimoy played his first sci-fi alien, a Martian zombie who along with two others of his kind, wanted to take over Earth, a typical theme in the early days of sci-fi movies.
“Science fiction has become much more sophisticated and complicated than the science fiction that I worked in many, many years ago,” said Nimoy. “My first science fiction work was in a series of short films called Zombies of the Stratosphere in which three of us came from Mars, landed on Earth, and stole a pick-up tuck and a couple of revolvers and announced we were going to take over Earth and knock it out of its orbit because Mars has an orbit of lesser equality. We want the orbit that Earth has. It was a very simplistic, fantastic notion.”
As every sci-fi fan today knows, science fiction has come a long way from the “conquer the Earth and/or destroy humanity” days. “What we’re dealing with today is much more nuanced, and much more sophisticated,” said Nimoy. “The writers are doing fascinating work. The scripts show it. The production values are much more complex and much more sophisticated than what we used to be able to do, because of the advancement in the technology.”
Nimoy has wrapped up his acting career on a science fiction show, Fringe, which he described as a “very complicated show.” According to Nimoy, that is what makes it so successful. “It’s intriguing, constantly intriguing,” he said. “There’s no question you can answer in any definitive way that doesn’t lead to another question.” His character Bell is a strong and complicated characters, nothing like the Martian zombie. “[Bell’s] disarmingly unpredictable,” said Nimoy. “He keeps saying, ‘Trust me,’ but then you’re not quite sure if you should. That is probably the most interesting thing about him. He’s obviously a man of great intelligence and a powerful figure, but most intriguing is what his intentions are. What is his agenda? What is he really after? What’s he trying to accomplish?”