shadows features Having fun in the darkness
JJ Abrams and his cast swap jokes about Star Trek... • Page 2 of 2
world premiere
At the world premiere: the cast and crew (above). Meet the Press: Quinto, Pine, Abrams and Cumberbatch at the press confrerence (below)
saldana and quinto

franco and weisz

19.Jun.78 • Passaic, New Jersey
The Words (2012)Colombiana (2011)
Takers (2010)The Losers (2010)

14.Feb.70 • Gloucester, England
Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012)A Fantastic Fear of Everything (2012)
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

7.Jun.72 • Wellington, New Zealand
Dredd (2012)Priest (2011)
RED (2010)Star Trek (2009)

6.Feb.82 • London
Men in Black 3 (2012)The Raven (2012)
Sex and the City 2 (2010)She's Out of My League (2010)

B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Star Trek Into Darkness What was the biggest challenge in making this film?
Everything was bigger about this film: the spectacle and the story. In the first one we got a chance to establish these characters and who they were and kind of paint with more primary colours. This story for each of us I think gives us a real chance to explore many different sides of our characters that we didn't get to beforehand. So for me, for a character who's so genetically self-assured, it was trying to find the flip side of that coin and to find the fragility and vulnerability in that kind of man. That was exciting and difficult all at the same time.

Urban: For me probably the biggest challenge was working with Chris Pine. No, I guess the biggest challenge was to come into this and to not repeat ourselves, to deliver something that was bigger, better, more dynamic and more character-driven. And to be true to those characters that everyone fell in love with.

Cumberbatch: Which way to do my hair was the hardest thing. Straight or curly, or long with bangs, or a pony tail. Or maybe no hair! It was a whirlwind for me from beginning to end. And in all seriousness, the hair was part of the journey, establishing the look of him.

I was intrigued by the idea of a version of
Star Trek that would appeal to me.

Quinto: There's a general challenge for me playing Spock: to cultivate an inner life and to convey actually the fact that there is quite a deep well of emotion in this character. But I would say shaving my eyebrows takes the cake! And I've got the bangs covered, so you don't have to worry about that.

Saldana: I think it was learning my lines and saying those big words - that JJ speak. That was the hardest challenge. And for me it was also waiting four years to come back and work with the same people I've remained friends with.

Abrams: I think one of the biggest challenges for me was Benedict's hair! There were a lot of challenges in terms of the production, because the action and set pieces are so enormous. Despite having a healthy budget we had to figure out how to make these sequences come to life and look authentic. We didn't want to do a green-screen movie where it felt like people were acting in front of nothing, and you couldn't feel it and taste it. But the biggest job day to day was the tone, balancing the epic scale of the action with the intimacy, the comedy, the emotion. And that was largely mitigated by our extraordinary cast, 57 of whom are on-stage today.

Eve: I suppose my biggest challenge was keeping up with JJ, whose mind moves at warp speed. That was kind of an amazing experience to watch taking place and to be a part of. And then in practical terms, it turns out that I'm a terrible runner on film. So I really had to work on that endlessly.

I got to carry a phaser this time. If I could have stolen that I would have.

Pegg: I think as the oldest member of the crew, the challenge for me was to remember to take my arthritis medicine and to insert and remove my catheter, for which fortunately I had an ally in Alice. Yeah, it's a physically demanding job, and I am thirty - erm - four now, so it's tough. But I got through it and I think that shows on screen!

Did you keep any props?
I smuggled back the entire Enterprise piece by piece and rebuilt it in my garden. No, on the first film, every day we'd hand back our badge, our Starfleet ring, communicator, phaser - you'd hand it in to an armed man at the end of the day as you leave the set. It was all very strict. But on this one day I stole my badge! Yeah, what're you gonna do? It was on my costume when I got back to my trailer, and it's a beautiful little brass thing. The production design on this film is extraordinary. The set details are beautiful and every prop is like a wonderful toy. I got to carry a phaser this time, and that was like a dream come true. If I could have stolen that I would have. But I was wrestled to the ground by a large woman.

Quinto: During the first movie, similar to having to hand in our accessories at the end of the day, we would also cut up every pair of ears that I wore and throw them into the garbage. Which I felt was just so wasteful! So on the second movie I asked politely and kindly if I could preserve a couple for my own collection of ephemera, which I did! So I have a couple of pairs of ears. In particular one pair that I wore during the fight scene that we had on the trash barge, which is speckled with green blood. Nice.

It can be overwhelming if
you try to fulfil everyone’s expectations.

Benedict, it must have been fun to play John Harrison as a grey-shaded villain.
Yes, there's a lot of motivation and reasoning behind what he does. He has a moral core, but his method is pretty brutal and abhorrent. You know, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter", and I think there's an ability to sympathise and empathise with his cause. It was there in the script, and it was a beautiful thing to be asked to play, this sliding scale of someone who could be trustworthy and understandable and also on an out-and-out mission of revenge, trying to bring about what he sees as justice and a change in the order of authority. You should be able to move between sort of abhorring him and feeling something for him.

Abrams: Not only am I grateful to the writers for writing a script that celebrates and exploits ambiguity, and allows the bad guy to live in a place that's compelling and not entirely clear and certainly not one note. I'm also very grateful to Damon Lindelhof, who said I should check out Sherlock. When I saw it I was of course blown away, and then called Benedict, we spoke, and Benedict famously auditioned on an iPhone. And it was a 100 percent clear we had found our man. Working with Benedict frankly exceeded all expectations. I think that everyone on the set sort of stood a little bit taller when he was around.

After Sherlock and The Hobbit, this is a third iconic character for you. How do you approach that side of a role?
I think it's best to try and start with a blank canvas. And a lot of trust goes to the people you work with. Rebooting Sherlock and giving a modern day twist to a much-loved Victorian hero sounds like a cheesy spin-off idea, and yet in those fanboys' hands it's done with authenticity and respect for the canon. I think Star Trek is being done the same way, which does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. It can be overwhelming if you try to fulfil everyone's expectations, so I try to trick myself into believing that no one has ever gone there before.

I don’t know if I
was smart enough to get
Star Trek.

JJ, do you think your Star Wars and Star Trek films will begin influencing each other?
When I was a kid and saw Star Wars the first time it blew my mind. Around the same time I had friends who were huge fans of Star Trek, and I don't know if I was smart enough to get it, or patient enough. What I loved about Star Wars was the visceral energy, the clarity, the innocence and big heart of it. Star Trek always felt a little more sophisticated and philosophical, debating moral dilemmas. It really took working with all these guys and actually working on Star Trek to fall in love with that. So my hope was that we could keep the integrity and spirit in which Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek without throwing away the critical stuff: the characters, those archetypes, the dynamic between the characters, an aspect of what it is to travel and explore and come up against, in the case certainly of Benedict's character, some incredibly insidious and unthinkable evil. But the key was to also infuse it with energy and pace and adventure, so the movie has the balance of both the action and thrills but also what Star Trek was in its early days - the stuff Zoe's mother loved. And in terms of Star Wars, it's early days and going forward, but obviously it's a completely different universe and it feels like a very different tone and history and characters. And I don't feel that there's much of a Venn diagram overlap of the two.



© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall