Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Justin Lin Talks Rescuing Star Trek Beyond

In an interview with Film Journal International print edition (scan at TrekCore), Star Wars Beyond director Justin Lin discussed his last minute
"rescue" of the project and why he decided to take the job. Previously Roberto Orci was set to write and direct the movie but something went seriousily wrong as he went from the dual role to basically participating in the project in name only, removed from even working on the TV series after he and his long time partner Alex Kurtzman went their separate ways for also unknown reasons. The only remnants of their decade or so collaboration is contractually required executive producer credits on TV shows and movie sequels that the pair had worked on before the partnership fractured. The problem was Paramount had a release date and a signed cast many of who were busy so moving start dates was a non-starter but no director and script. Into that came Justin Lin so the use of the word "rescue" isn't really an exaggeration. With that context in mind, here are the highlights from the interview with additional support from Roberto Orci on

How recruited for the film:
“It was definitely not a project I sought out. I got the call from J.J. and he kind of laid out the mission. ...It was J.J.’s call that jarred something in my head, and I realized that Star Trek is a big part of me. Our business is one where commerce and art collide, and this was a personal choice, not a business choice. It was something I was invited to do, and I was happy to accept.”
On the rescue:
“For lack of a better term – and I think this is out in the open – it was a bit of a rescue mission. I think something had gone wrong and they wanted to start over. ...I’ll be very clear: I don’t know what came before me. We basically had to start over, and that was one of the selling points for me. That was the mission and the challenge, and once Simon [Pegg] and Doug [Jung] came on to write the script, we started completely from scratch. A clean-up mission wouldn’t have excited me. Even though this was going to be a very compact schedule, it was one where I knew I’d be going in contributing to what the next chapter would be.”
His fandom level:
“Well, there are levels of fandom, I guess. I don’t want to offend anybody, but I’m not a Trekkie or a Trekker. It was part of my life, though. I grew up watching the original series in reruns with my dad and family. Channel 13 in L.A. at 11 pm every night – that’s what I grew up on.
Why destroy the Enterprise early in the film (technically a spoiler but the trailers make it pretty clear):
“Talking with Simon and Doug, one of the things we felt was that with this being the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, let’s deconstruct it and hopefully rebuild it in a way that reaffirms why we’ve loved it for half a century. That conversation went a lot of different places, and one of the most interesting places was the Enterprise itself. I remember watching Star Trek as a kid and saying, ‘That’s a cool looking space ship, but it looks really lanky. Is it built for combat?’ It took me a while to realize that they’re not out there to fight. It’s an explorer’s ship, so of course it looks like that. Just having that discourse about what it means to be on the Enterprise provides us with issues we can explore on a character level.”
Leonard Nimoy's death will be acknowledged in the film:
“It’s something you’ll see in the film. [Nimoy’s death] obviously affected everybody, because he’s been a big part of our lives. There’s an attempt [in Beyond] to acknowledge that in some way.”
On Idris Elba's big bad character:
“His character has a very valid point of view, and it goes back to our original concept of deconstructing Star Trek and the Federation itself. And to do that, we have to question what the Federation is about, why it exists, and is it truly a good thing?”
It is one and done for him:
“I feel like this is probably it for me. Fast and Furious was different; I was trying to build something. I feel like when I’m done with this film, I’ll be excited to see where the franchise goes. To be able to be a part of this and not wear out my welcome is great, as well as to be able to contribute something to the franchise. Because I know Star Trek is going to be there when I’m gone.”
Roberto Orci comments on the interview:
“When a movie destroys a franchise, they don’t continue it. They reboot or start over. So [your] analysis of [Into Darknesss] continues to be wrong. As for the rest, I agree. They brought [Justin Lin] in to start over because I was only willing and able to tell the story we had generated”

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