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Having fun in the darkness
JJ Abrams and his cast swap jokes about Star Trek... • Page 1 of 2
At the UK press junket: outside (above) - Pine, Pegg, Abrams, Eve, Quinto, Cumberbatch, Sandana and Urban - and inside (below).
27.Jun.66 • New York City
26.Aug.80 • Los Angeles
2.Jun.77 • Pittsburgh
19.Jul.76 • London
|B Y R I C H C L I N E
Before the film's world premiere, virtually the entire principal cast and crew of Star Trek Into Darkness attended the press junket in the spaceship-shaped London City Hall. The slanting glass window overlooks the Thames and the London skyline, which is echoed in its 23rd century incarnation in the poster art on the front of the table. Everyone enters looking remarkable refreshed (these events usually feature badly jet-lagged Hollywood types), groomed for the press conference and ready for tonight's premiere. They're also in a very good mood, joking as they face the assembled journalists...
What was the first thing you did when you found out you were working on Star Trek?
Simon Pegg: I got an email from JJ after I landed on a flight from New York, and I opened my phone and the first email that popped up was from JJ and it just said, "Do you want to play Scotty?" I was totally aware of the project, and I was very excited about it - great, JJ's doing Star Trek! It's going to be great! I didn't for a second expect to be involved, so when I got that very straightforward, blunt request, I was a little bit like, "What'll I say? I can't just say yes! It feels like we should have some romance, you know. Go on a date, go for dinner, have a movie and then I might say yes, you never know!" I felt like such a slut, just going "Yes!" I spent three days pretending to think about it. Well, it's a huge commitment, and we're going to be doing this for such a long time. And JJ said, "The worst thing that can happen is that every couple of years we get to spend some time together and have a lot of fun." And it was just a no-brainer from that point.
Alice Eve: I was a little more romantic. JJ phoned me up and gave me a preamble for a good 20 minutes. He asked me if I was committed, if I was interested in Star Trek and if I understood what the costumes were and what the requirements were. And I said yes to all of it, and then I didn't still know if he was asking me if I'd like to be a part of it, or if he just wanted to tell me what he was going to do. So I said, "I'm sorry, are you offering me this job?" And he said, "Yeah, I think that's happening."
Zachary Quinto: I reached out to a friend of mine, a good friend from college who has been to no less than 50 Star Trek conventions. And I asked him to compile a booklet of information on the history of Vulcan and the life of Spock and the family tree. And we began to enter into a session of tutorials, which lasted only until the time when it was announced that I was going to play Spock, which was maybe two months later, and that's the first time that I met Leonard Nimoy. And then I fired my first tutor and went with the second, who has subsequently become someone who's enormously important in my life both personally and creatively.
Chris Pine: I had auditioned for JJ and didn't get it, and then I was called back in and was a little less enthused because my ego was burned. It's the most vulnerable position an actor can be in: going into a room and you're basically selling your wares and seeing if people like you. But it was such a comfortable room, and it was so much fun. It had been such a long time since an audition had been fun and not terrifying, and I thought if the audition can be this much fun I can't imagine what actually making the thing is going to be like.
Benedict Cumberbatch: Well I got an email and, a little like Alice, I didn't pick up on the signals. The email said, "Do you want to come and play?" And the penny slowly dropped. It was about 2 in the morning, and it had been so frenzied over Christmas getting myself on tape. I'd done it and then compressed this little file and sent it off, and I got a note back that said, "JJ's on holiday." I just hadn't got the tape in before the holiday. So I waited and tried to forget about it. And I was just over the moon. I'm a huge, huge fan of the film, and it's such a rich experience to be in JJ's hands - a storyteller's hands where you're taken on a journey of high emotion, comedy, adventure, romance and then back through all that again. I knew it would be a riot.
Zoe Saldana: I was shooting Avatar I got the call from my agent that JJ wanted me to come in and read for Star Trek. And my first reaction was like, "Why?" Obviously being of the generation of Star Wars, I look at my mom and what Star Trek represented was just what old people used to watch! And I knew very little about the show. But everybody kept coming up to tell me he's really excited to meet you. And that made me very nervous. So I came in and I read my scene once, and he told me, "I don't need to hear any more." And I was like, "Oh my God, I tanked this." Then two days later I'm on set, and James Cameron tells me, "I have a surprise for you." I look over and JJ was visiting the set, and I felt so happy and humbled and, well, I must have booked the part. And then obviously that was the beginning of me sitting down with my mom and picking her brain in terms of what Star Trek really is and what it represented to her and to everybody that is devoted to the show.
Karl Urban: I met with JJ and thought the meeting went horribly. Absolutely terribly. JJ asked me, "Do you have any questions?" Yeah, what's the story? "I can't tell you." So I walked out of our initial meeting thinking, "Well, that was fun! I'm never going to see this guy again!" And then he invited me to test for the role of Bones, and halfway through JJ is laughing. And it threw me. What the heck's he laughing at? And JJ said, "You've got it. That's Bones!" I remember being completely thrilled, elated, excited, and then just the most terrifying horror came over me that now I was going to have to deliver this and figure out how to make it work. Because unlike many of these cast members, Simon excluded, I was actually a huge fan of the original show.
© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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