Kurtzman and Orci: From 'Transformers' to 'Trek'

By Michelle
July 2, 2007 - 10:41 PM

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci continue to make the rounds of publicity for Transformers, and they are inevitably asked about writing the upcoming Star Trek feature screenplay as well, refusing to give a definitive answer to the questions "Is it a prequel?" and "Is it a reboot?" while saying they believed they had maintained Gene Roddenberry's vision updated beyond the Cold War metaphors. Some highlights:

  • Hispanic writer Orci told The Latino Review that he hopes writing Transformers has been "like a workout at the gym" in preparation to write Star Trek, which he said was not precisely a prequel yet served as an introduction to the world of the franchise. "'Transformers' is gonna get us nice and ready for the fans on 'Star Trek,'" he explained. "We don’t have the advantage or the luxury of the fact no one has ever seen it. People know what ‘Star Trek’ is." Because of that, "we are more protective of that story because the intellectual property that is, the surprises of that story are, in a way, the spectacle of it...if you’ve never seen ‘Star Trek’ or anything about ‘Star Trek,’ this is for you. And if you’re a fan, you’re going to see a different movie because you’re absolutely going to see references."

    Orci added that he was "a diehard fan" growing up and called writing partner Kurtzman and director J.J. Abrams "like mid-level fans...it pleases all of us, I think, what we’re doing, and hopefully that’s going to be the litmus test that it’s going to prevail." He added that he expected there to be casting announcements at ComicCon and said that writing the Star Trek script was "a breeze" compared to Transformers.

  • Meanwhile, speaking to Geekheeb at JewishJournal.com, Kurtzman admitted that he hasn't seen a Star Trek film since The Voyage Home but added, "For the 'Trek' script a lot of it was what 'Trek' meant to us as kids...what it felt like to be in the theater and watch 'Wrath of Khan' for the first time was what we wanted people to experience...that kind of an emotional ride. An incredibly great bad guy against an incredibly high-stakes story that’s just emotional." Asked whether he considered the script a reboot or traditional Trek, Kurtzman ducked the question, as he did a question about whether Kirk's love Carol Marcus might appear in the movie.

  • Despite recent rumours that William Shatner (Kirk) would not appear in the film, Kurtzman and Orci told MTV that they were hoping to include him in the shoot, "because we have nothing but reverence and awe for the man." Asked whether the young Kirk who will appear in the movie will used mannered speech like Shatner's, Orci added that the pair were still trying to figure out how faithful to be to the original: "It's tough, because so many of the people that portrayed the characters in 'Star Trek' were distinctive...a lot of the writing created Shakespearean-type characters, such that you could imagine it going both ways. You could imagine it being open to interpretation, or you can imagine it being really faithful."

    Asked whether the pair had gotten chills while working on the script, Kurtzman said, "Oh my God, are you kidding? Every day. It's been surreal and an amazing process to inherit something that you loved as a kid. It's a dream come true." Because the Cold War humanism of the original series era is no longer the same, Kurtzman said the pair had also made some adaptations to the overarching theme. "The world's changed, but it also hasn't," explained Kurtzman. "We live in a world where it's about ultra-paranoia of others, and that is as it was back when Roddenberry invented 'Trek.' In a way, it's more timely now than ever to be doing this...we're living in a very parallel environment right now."

  • SuperHeroHype interviewed the writers as well, learning that they had been approached about writing a Star Trek script before Abrams was officially on board for the project. "It's like winning a starship on "The Price is Right" or something," Orci explained, saying that between themselves and the producers, they had rewatched most of the original series and movies: "We'd been kind of doing the homework all of our lives on various levels."

    Kurtzman agreed that being hired was "like [the] greatest dream come true ever" and said that because they had been "deep fans before", reading the books as well as watching the series, "between our subconscious, our childhood having loved the movies and then going back into the stuff", they felt prepared to tackle the franchise.

  • And The IESB has a video interview with Kurtzman and Orci at the Transformers premiere, asking whether the film will be a reboot. "It's in the eye of the beholder," Orci said. "We can't really give a definite answer." Kurtzman added that they were required to sign an oath of secrecy in blood and said they had written the script with certain actors in mind with the hope that they would respond, but the pair refused to answer questions about any of the more popular names bandied about and said that the producers had looked at some less-familiar names as well.

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