‘Star Trek’ cast discusses lofty expectations

Andrew Fingerett

Chris Pine (Captain Kirk)’ and Zachary Quinto (Spock) sat down for a question-and-answer session to discuss their characters and pressures from fans to live up to high expectations.

Q: You’ve mentioned in the past a desire to ‘do your own thing’ with Captain Kirk as a character. Specifically, what are some of the things that you wanted to do differently and what did you feel was essential to keep the same?

Chris Pine: I think it’s a difficult question because it wasn’t as if I have like a sheet of characteristics that I wanted to keep and then like a sheet of new things that I wanted to do in the character.’ It was more about really paying attention to the script that I was given, making sure that I did my best to bring that character that I read there to life.’
And there’s certain things that are just characteristics of Kirk’hellip; you know, he’s decisive and confident and can be arrogant at times. And he’s a flirt, and all these kinds of things. It wasn’t like a conscious thing on my part.’

Zachary Quinto: I was in a little bit of a different situation because I feel like there are aspects of the character of Spock that are just inextricable. You can’t really separate, you know, an actor from the character. In certain ways, he is defined by his cultural makeup and so I had to really connect to his circumstances personally so that I could make them my own’hellip; and, you know, my version of Spock is definitely a little bit more unsettled. He’s less in control of the duality that exists within him. He’s much more in conflict.’

Q: What can die hard ‘Star Trek’ fans look forward to, as well as newcomers?

Zachary Quinto: There is a Tribble. There is a Tribble somewhere. It’s almost like Where is Waldo or Where’s the Tribble? I think, you know, there are things like that that die hard Star Trek fans can really look forward to. And I think that non-fans can look forward to the fact that this is a movie that’s much more about relationships and characters, and challenges than it is about, you know, planets and starships and aliens.

Q: What is it like to go into your large-scale project and are you prepared for where that will take you?

Zachary Quinto: It’s a whole hell of a lot of fun. It’s fun because it’s – you get the best of the best. So the team of people that we had working on this film were just about the best in the business from Michael Kaplan who did the costumes to Scott Chambliss who did the Production Design’hellip;. It’s like – it is playing make-believe but with all the tools and everything handed to you.

Q: Given that fan boys are obviously going to be comparing the two crews, what sort of pressure did that put on you when making the film?

Zachary Quinto: I didn’t really feel that pressure because Leonard was involved, actually, and was so supportive of me from the beginning and because I had such faith and trust in J.J. and the creative team behind the movie. I sort of just chose to focus more on – on my task at hand which was doing my work which was really the only thing that’s in my control. So I didn’t really and I still don’t really concern myself with that stuff because I don’t really have any control over it.

Chris Pine: There’s only you know – there’s not much control you have over how people view our performances and these new incarnations of these characters. And I think it’s really a credit to J.J. that he always created an atmosphere on set where I don’t think any of us ever felt encumbered by a sense of responsibility, or living up to expectations, even though protecting the legacy was always on our minds.

Q: What would you say was the biggest challenge about maybe preparing for the film or working on the film?

Chris Pine: I think for me it was just the physical aspect of it. I don’t think I was really prepared for how much – how much – the physical toll. I mean when you read the script and there are all of these pages of description of these action sequences you fail to realize that what takes minutes to read on the page will take like months of actual shooting.

Zachary Quinto: I think for me it was a matter of finding the emotional life of this character with the restrictions of not really being able to express that emotion as freely as human beings do.

Q: What kind of research did you do to prepare for your respective roles?

Chris Pine: In the beginning I got the box set of the series, so I was midway through watching the the first season of the original series when I kind of realized that what I was doing was really setting myself up for disaster’hellip;. What Mr. Shatner did was so unique and specific and wonderful.

‘ Zachary Quinto: I obviously utilized Leonard to a great extent and engaged him in many, many conversations about the character. And I also had the advantage of being cast really early. So I immersed myself in a lot of reading about the world of Star Trek and the mythology.