Bennett & Meyer Talk 'Khan'By Christian
August 10, 2002 - 6:01 PM
'Wrath of Khan' executive producer Harve Bennett revealed Thursday that he was elected to produce the second Star Trek film because he wasn't afraid to criticise the first one.
According to the official site, Bennett explained to an amused audience that he was asked by studio chief Charles Bluhdorn whether he had seen 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture,' and what he thought of it. Meekly, Bennett said he felt the film was boring. "And I figured my career was over at Paramount. He said, 'Could you make a better picture than that?' 'YES,' I said! He said, Could you make it for less than 45 ****ing millions dollars?!' I said, 'Sir, where I come from, I could make five movies for that.'"
Although he'd seen 'Star Trek 1,' Bennett hadn't watched any of the Orginal Series's episodes, and so he first watched all of them in a Paramount screening room. "I saw 76, 77 episodes I guess," Bennett said. "I staggered out of the projection room, and I vividly remember that I thought that one-third were absolutely brilliant, and one-third were okay, and one-third were forgettable. But of all of them, there was one I could not put down - that was 'Space Seed.'"
Thus the idea of 'The Wrath of Khan' was born, and the movie's enduring popularity was proven Thursday when the American Cinematheque hosted two sold-out 20th Anniversary screenings of the film's original edition at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. In attendance was Harve Bennett, director Nicholas Meyer and actors George Takei (Hikaru Sulu) and Walter Koenig (Pavel Chekov).
At the event, Meyer said that his work on the DVD had led to new thoughts on his own work on the film. "I approached this really - you should pardon the pun - from an alien perspective," Meyer said. "I didn't really understand this until I saw it last week, but the whole movie was an attempt to explain this universe to me. And it began with my putting that title, 'In the 23rd century...' [at the opening of the film]. I said I was doing this for my father, because he won't know what the hell it is unless I explain it to him. Then I realized last week that it wasn't just my father that needed the explanations - it was me trying to reconcile my somewhat flatfooted worldview."
More thoughts from Meyer, as well as quotes from Takei and Koenig, can be found in the full StarTrek.com report of the screening. Although the screening was held to promote the new 'Khan' DVD, the version showed was the original 1982 edition, rather than the recut Director's Edition. Fans who want to see this edition can of course order the 'Wrath of Khan' DVD at Amazon.com.