Tuesday, January 6, 2009

WSJ Talk to Pine, Quinto

The Wall Street Journal spoke briefly with the stars of Star Trek, Chris Pine (Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock) about Trek and their iconic roles. No new revelations or information to speak of.

Chris Pine
J.J. Abrams has said he's making the movie for future fans, not necessarily veterans. What's he doing to freshen the story that might rattle Trek fans?
I'm not well-versed in the Trek canon, but we're venturing into territory that's only been covered in these paperback novels they sell. It's definitely not going to please everyone. There's a scene where my character is in a bar and he's definitely inebriated and under the influence of his own arrogance. It's him becoming the Kirk everyone knows. In my book that makes the journey a little more interesting. If he's a clear-cut leader from the beginning, you don't have anywhere to go.

Why has this character become so mythic?
Kirk is still a little elusive to me. But what I think is so unique about this story is that, unlike other genre movies, "Star Trek" has always represented an incredible amount of optimism. In the late '60s, in a time of unrest, it represented this utopian world. As opposed to "The Dark Knight," which I enjoyed, but was so bleak and didn't speak kindly of humanity. Kirk is so iconic because he's the head of this fantastical utopian team. They aren't superheroes, they're men and women trying to achieve something good.

A lot has been made of the differences you bring to the Kirk character, but what aspects of the original did you keep?
There's a lot of humor, arrogance and decisiveness. I tried to bring in these qualities, but with this new element of a young man coming into his own -- he's a leader who doesn't know he's a leader yet. But the speech pattern? Absolutely not. In that territory it becomes an impersonation. I can only do my version of it.
Zachary Quinto
With Spock there's very little outward physicality to the role. How do you make him seem placid without just looking blank?
It's an interesting challenge. The life of this character exists deeply within. For me it was about containment. But it was a matter of finding that baseline and exploring how far you can go away from that.

Does that mean you injected more edge or emotion into Spock than he's shown in the past?
As Leonard portrayed the character he was much more grounded, but my experience with him is a bit different; he's younger and hasn't mastered the acceptance of these dualities in himself as much as he does later.
Are you talking about the tension of being half human, half Vulcan? I hesitate to give anything away. It's completely rooted in how he feels alienated from himself and those around him. He's not one thing or another.

What kind of things did Leonard Nimoy tell you about Spock to help you understand him?
It's been such an indelible mark on his life and he's metabolized it so gracefully. We spent some time watching episodes but it was an all encompassing experience. We'd go to his house. We'd meet sometimes at Paramount. I'm seeing him before the holidays. He's an advanced mind and heart and I want to hang out with him as much as possible.

A lot has been made of the differences you bring to the Spock character, but what aspects of the original did you keep?
Especially with Spock, more so than Kirk, there are characteristic movements. It's established in the mythology, this stillness and economy of movement. There are ways one holds oneself, such as the hands behind the back.

Why has this character become so mythic?
In this archetypal way, people respond to someone who's able to contain himself. He operates from a place of logic, but always with the betterment of others in mind. He's able to endure things and experience things from a place of balance.

How did you wear the Spock haircut off the set?
Begrudgingly. I made do. I was very rarely seen last year without my giant black glasses. My hair I could usually muss it up. I underestimated the impact of that haircut. It engendered a sense of alienation in me personally, which probably influenced the part.

You felt like an alien?
I just felt like a nerd. I felt like I was 12 again. You look back at those pictures and you see the bowl cut. There's no question I was born to play the Spock role. I was sporting that look for a good four or five years.

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