Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Orci and Kurtzman Talk Sequel

In an interview with Sci-Fi Wire, Star Trek writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman discuss their suprise at the success Star Trek is writing and which path to take when writing the sequel. Sections below, the full article is here.

"I think the major lesson we learned is that fans were willing to accept differences and surprises, provided that they were somehow echoes or inspired by canon," Orci said in an exclusive interview earlier this month. He added: "We still have to be true to Star Trek the next time around, but we've also been blessed with being able to be unpredictable. And that doesn't mean we can just be shocking for no good reason and just throw everything away. ... It still has to echo everything that Star Trek has been."

Tell me about your reactions to the reactions to Star Trek. What surprised you, what were you pleased with, what were you disappointed with?
Kurtzman: Well, you know, it was sort of stunning for us, actually, because ... we did not know how people were going to react to the movie in general. ... The last version of Trek was fairly unsuccessful at the box office, and, ... in talking to people, there was such a stigma against Star Trek [and] sci-fi: how polarizing it was, it wasn't accessible to women, it was too cold, any number of things that people have to say about it.

So in aiming to make a movie that both reached a broad base and ... satisfied the fans, ... A, we weren't sure we were going to be able to accomplish both, and, B, we just didn't know if people were going to show up. And the tracking for the movie, which we all watch religiously right before the movie comes out, was telling us that the movie was going to do fine but not great.

And usually, in our experience, tracking has been extremely accurate. You know? Like within a margin of, like, a couple of million bucks. It's pretty close. So we were told that we were probably going to be on track for, like, a $50 million weekend, which frankly was going to be a disappointment to the studio. And, you know, we were bummed. The movie was a labor of love for us, and we tried very hard to make it work.

The night before the movie came out, literally hours before, there was a 36 percent spike in tracking.

It was, like, shocking. And all of a sudden, ... everyone went, "Wow. Now we have no idea what kind of a number we're going to have this weekend." So by Friday night everyone kind of knew where we were going.

Orci: It was the fact that people were reacting well, and it was impossible to [predict]. It was the first time we had seen word of mouth in action, so that was fascinating. And we're so grateful that most of the fan base was open about it, and that new people were willing to risk being in a room with people who speak Klingon. ...

In thinking of a story, the inclination for a fan would be to see a new version of a story that's been told in some fashion. Or to pick up tropes from one of the TV episodes or the films and maybe combine them. Or is your inclination to do a completely original story this time?
Orci: Well, that is the debate, literally. And that is going to be one of the first conversations that we have. But that's exactly the question.

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