Star Trek Interview from the Vault – Salty Popcorn interviews Captain Kirk and Spock

Happy Star Trek Into Darkness Day – today marks the Australian release to the general public of the film and the joy is about to begin. If you haven’t read the Salty Review of the STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS THEN CLICKETY CLICK RIGHT HERE. But in honour of all things Trek I thought I would start transferring over our interviews from the first Star Trek film. Here is our interview with Chris Pine (Captain Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock).
Star Trek Into Darkness - Chris Pine
Star Trek Into Darkness – Chris Pine
After our much priveleged attendance at the official World Premiere of Star Trek we were given the uber honor of interviewing a lot of the main cast plus the director. It was such a joy to meat such talented people. If you haven’t read our full review of the film please follow this LINK

Chris Pine is about to become a household name and sexual god of worship. He has managed to embody all about Kirk that we love plus add a modern personalised and humanised centre to the character. He is also a damn fine actor who we are all about to witness grow very quickly into the A list of people to hire. With rumors abound of him about to don the lycra costume of Green Lantern and mega fame about to embrace him with the release of Star Trek he is riding the rollercoaster of fame and I wish him all the best for it. He is very friendly and was easily the better spokesperson out of him and Zachary.

 

 

Zachary is the bohemian actor of professionalism we all know as Sylar out of Heroes and the dark side to his character is also evident in his actual presence. He is the arty person who is wholly absorbed in all his characters and I think jet lag effected him way more than the others. He walked around in the interview devouring every food and condiment left in the room and made the mistake of dipping a sweet biscuit into the savoury dip. Something he wanted to share with us all mid interview. He was may more interesting than Chris due to his depth of personality and I believe Zachary is about to go HUGE also. I think he is all about the acting and does not find the promotional part of it very exciting where as Chris could run for President. He could sell ice to Eskimoes with that smile and chiselled jaw.

 

 

This interview was a round table or in this case round shape of couches with Zach and Chris on one side. In our interview was:

Of course David Longo and Myself (Jason King) from Salty Popcorn.

Gerri and Marlene from Women Talk Sci Fi

Pete Wells: 

Matt Pejkovic: 

The Guy from…….

THE INTERVIEW: – it should be noted all spoilers have been removed.

With Pine and Quinto sitting in front of us, the questions were to be asked in a anti-clockwise direction, as Matt from Matt’s movie news was seated to the immediate right of the actors, he went first:

MATT: Were either of you fans of Star Trek prior to being cast in the role?

CHRIS PINE: I was familiar with Star Trek, but I wasn’t a fan. I was more of a, you know, a kid of the Star Wars generation. Um, but my grandmother was a big William Shatner fan; so she babysat me a ton so, I’d watch T.J. Hooker with her, and I think on Sundays there were reruns every night or something, I’d catch a couple, but it just wasn’t my cup, um, but I really didn’t start watching it until I got the part.

ZACHARY QUINTO: I similarly was not a fanatic but you know, was familiar with it growing up and then I didn’t watch any of the episodes in preparation for the role, I just watched them once we started shooting, and I had the advantage obviously of Leonard (Nimoy)…(he grabs a bowl of crackers and dip from the service table in the corner) Excuse me I’m just getting some crackers (everyone laughs loudly)…It’s lunchtime!

CHRIS PINE: If anyone wants some please help yourself.

ZACHARY QUINTO: So yeah, I actually immersed myself in a lot of literature, there is no shortage of writing on Star Trek. So cool, there you go. (Everyone laughs).

PETE: The first thing I notice with your performance of Kirk was the amount of physical comedy throughout, was that in the script itself? Or did you and J.J (Abrams, the films director) work on that together?

CHRIS PINE: I don’t know. I was thinking about that last night, I think it came out of…. well there was humor built into it, and the extent to which and how far or how broad we could take it…. most of it came out of in the moment on set and talking to J.J, and J.J is incredibly funny, and with an incredible sense of humor, and I had an incredible amount of fun making him laugh, so um, again it was just degrees and talking about it on the day but, and especially you know the stuff in the beginning with Karl (Karl Urban who plays McCoy). I had so much fun working off of Karl, we just had, and um, you know, I don’t know, I think um, the humor, the broad comedy or whatever you want to call it; the physical comedy comes out of the fact that we had a lot of fun doing it, I think, hopefully that energy translates onto the screen.

 

 

STAR TREK FANSITE: You guys have probably been asked this question a very lot…..

CHRIS PINE: Probably not.

STAR TREK FANSITE: Are you guys worried about being type cast, because there is this tendency for Star Trek actors……

At this point Quinto interrupts:

ZACHARY QUINTO: That was a cookie!

It turns out he has just dipped a cookie into his dip instead of a cracker.

ZACHARY QUINTO: That was a cookie by the way not a cracker!

Everyone bursts out laughing.

CHRIS PINEA butter cookie!

ZACHARY QUINTO: It was just awful. Not a good combination. Just so you know: if you guys are going to have any.

MARLENE: You should have a drink!

ZACHARY QUINTO: No, no, I’m good. Uh you know the typecasting question. I think that it’s er, I come from now, the last two projects I’ve worked on have been heavily rooted in the science fiction world, so for me to go from Heroes to Star Trek has been, in a lot of ways a natural progression, but know, as an actor, it is incredibly important to me to make sure that I diversify my experience, I mean I come from a theater background, so does Chris, I mean we both come from the training ground where the mandate was, you know, you do everything, you know I’ve played fifty year olds, a father in college, a comedy, you know what I mean?

So I’m really eager to have those other experiences to invite my science fiction fan base to join me in exploration of other kinds of genres and other kinds of work, um, but I don’t really feel like these characters, like the experience of these characters I don’t think it has the same kind of impact that it had on Bill Shatner (Original Kirk) and Leonard Nimoy (Original Spock) forty years ago, cause I don’t think science fiction has the same kind of stigma attached to it, that was attached to it then, and I also think, I frankly don’t think that peoples attention spans are what they used to be, I think people are really eager to move on from something onto something else, I don’t really worry about it so much, but you know, it’s something that is now our responsibility to make sure that it doesn’t happen.

MARLENE: So where you in anyway intimidated by taking on these iconic roles? I mean there is this amazing fan base out there that has been waiting for this movie to come out.

CHRIS PINE: Yeah, I was intimidated at first, but I think it was only natural to be, because unlike any other fan community Star Trek takes the cake in terms of the passion and protectiveness that the fans have over the material, um, but it’s really a credit to J.J that I never felt encumbered by the responsibility in having to live up to expectations of fans, as much as we had the fans expectations and desires in mind, including when we were making it. But J.J created an atmosphere on set that was really….. never felt like you were making a big budget studio film, and you never felt, again the weight of responsibility, you just had a lot of fun. And J.J, I don’t know if you have met him yet, but he is….he told me the other day he was you know, we were talking about this whole experience and what a trip it has been, that we will be flying all over the world and promoting it and he said you know, I would make movies If I wasn’t getting paid anything, i’d make them in my backyard on the weekends, even if I were an accountant, and that is not hyperbole, that is the truth, that is J.J to a T, he loves what he does and that passion, positivity…….that’s the kind of atmosphere that is on the set and you just feel like…..

ZACHARY QUINTO: And that also defines the people that work with him, so it’s like, you know, you just think that a thousand people worked on this movie, and all of them shared his vision and his passion, and he really infuses the experience with a tremendous humor, he respects everybody equally and so everybody respects the experience equally and there is this really, really unusual dynamic I would say, I mean from….

CHRIS PINE: It’s an unusual dynamic given any film.

ZACHARY QUINTO: Right.

CHRIS PINE: An extremely unusual dynamic a film this big.

ZACHARY QUINTO: This big.

CHRIS PINE: And again it’s J.J, you know it’s interesting the team behind it, you have J.J, then you have Bob and Alex, Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman who wrote it, they all kind come from an independent background, or rather a smaller character driven background, Regarding Henry, J.J’s first script, Bob and Alex began in smaller films, Felicity (Abrams produced TV show) I mean you have these guys that come from a real character: a place of character, you know; building relationships in movies around them and building spectacle, and I think coming from that base once you add on all the spectacle it has that much more gravity, otherwise it’s just you know, stuff exploding, while it might look pretty it won’t have any meaning and that, that’s their power.

 

 

GERRI: I just want to congratulate you guys on your performances and your portrayals of Kirk and Spock.

CHRIS PINE: Thank you.

ZACHARY QUINTO: Thank you very much.

GERRI: Being a Trekkie, and an old Trekkie…..

MARLENE: One that remembers it.

GERRI: I’m showing my age. It’s my birthday.

ZACHARY QUINTO: OH! Happy Birthday!

CHRIS PINE: Happy Birthday!

GERRI: I just had to get that in there.

ZACHARY QUINTO: Belated, very belated.

GERRI: Thank you very much. Zachary you’ve showed that Spock has a lot more human side. The human side characterization of Spock came through to me more, probably because as we’ve seen and we know, we see this as being an alternate universe of Star Trek….

ZACHARY QUINTO: Right.

GERRI: because it sort of comes through as that. Kirk of course, Chris, you portray him as being a ladies man, I’m not going to complain about that, but you did actually get, built it up a bit more than what good ol’ Bill Shatner did. But if there is something you should tell J.J about is next time make sure you don’t get beat up all the time….but you did you actually get to make the characters your own.

ZACHARY AND CHRIS: Thank you.

GERRI: Did you, as you said, you have spoken to Leonard Nimoy in the past, Chris did you get to speak to Bill Shatner a bit?

CHRIS PINE: Well I wrote him a……

GERRI: Well did you actually sort of, did you hint……

CHRIS PINE: Well I wrote him a letter and introduced myself early on in the process after I had gotten it just to, just to do that, to introduce my self and say I am the new kid on the block and you know, and because I heard there was some acrimony between he (Shatner) and the studio and I just wanted to make sure the he knew that I was like any other actor searching for a good role, and I found a good role and it just so happened that it was after something he created and been a part of and was the guy for forty years and you know, again my job was just to do a very brief moment in this characters journey, which is that first part of the arc, and all I was trying to do was add to that characters journey.

He was very nice, we didn’t really meet properly because he was very busy completing the final season of Boston Legal and we’ve yet to get together, but I would love to meet him because I loved meeting and getting to know Mr. Nimoy.

ZACHARY QUINTO: Leonard and I hang out. I love him. I saw him right before I left for this trip, I just emailed him this morning because he was in Austin, he was the surprise there, I think he was really glad to do that as well, I think it’s really appropriate that he be the sort of, I don’t know, It was nice that that happened in the way it did, and it’s very J.J that they sort of did….

GERRI: Well in the movie you sort of said I you know……

ZACHARY QUINTO: I can be in two places at one time.

GERRI: well yes that’s right.

Here GERRI proceeds to explain the ending of the film to the two actors, which I cannot repeat here.

ZACHARY QUINTO: Yeah, yeah, yeah it’s nice. You know there are a lot of echoes of the characters relationships in Leonard; and in me and Chris; it’s nice to see it all come together. I’m glad that he had that experience in Austin.

CHRIS PINE: That’s what is really cool about that **** scene, how human Nimoy is allowed to become, in that moment, and I love how *** **** **** ***, again it’s a wonderfully human connection. It was great.

ZACHARY QUINTO: We like it a lot.

ME: What physical preparations did you guys go through to get into your characters?

CHRIS PINE: Steroids.

Everyone laughs.

CHRIS PINE: They clearly didn’t work at all.

More laughter.

CHRIS PINE: No, we had about two months of Star Trek boot camp, which consisted of about three hours (I believe Pine means per day) in this huge soundstage on the Paramount lot that they converted into a, like own private gym, and we got to work with two of the best stunt guys in the business, Robert Alonzo and Joey Box and it was fun you know, they crafted these, not martial arts but they crafted the combat for each person, and it was very particular and specific to their characters, so mine, you know, Kirk, becomes the brawler; this kind of throwing you know, Haymakers everywhere, whereas Spock, his martial art is more again logical and clear and precise and clean, Sulu’s is very…well he’s a swordfighter, kung fu or whatever the hell it was.

Everyone laughs.

CHRIS PINE: But, Well anyway, it was a lot of fun, you know, we’d fight each other for three hours a day and one of us would be coming in, and you know John would be on Jump Rope and Zach is kicking Robert’s ass in the background. It was a lot of fun. It was great fun.

ZACHARY QUINTO: Yeah, I agree.

Everyone laughs.

ZACHARY QUINTO: There is also a physicality to Spock that you know, aside from the stunt work or aside from the combat stuff, there is a physicality to the character that I think is really pivotal, and sort of inextricable to who the character is, so, you know, there is that. It’s all about stillness, it’s a lot about containment and it’s all about reservation; the way he holds himself and you know Leonard did a lot of hands behind his back and he sort of you know….so I tried to modify it a little bit, you know, also because the thing you said the more human side of Spock, it’s less to do with the alternate timeline and more to do with this iteration of the character; he is just not as settled in his duality inside of himself, so I tried to find ways in which that could reveal itself, certainly after the scene on the bridge when Spock sort of goes…and then he’s walking down the hall, you know, it’s also in the Vulcan Counsel at the very, very beginning, you know, I sort of adopted hands in the front, more than in the back, and I just tried to change it up.
But I didn’t have that much wiggle room, you know what I mean, there is only so much you can do before it’s not true to the character anymore. So that line for me, walking that line was always very interesting and I love that the physicality of it pertains to the work, but it’s also oftentimes on stage much easier because it’s a whole journey, but on film it is sort of fragmented, it’s also much more about you know, changing it up.

DAVID: Can you guys take us through a typical day on the set?

CHRIS PINE: There was not a typical day at all! It varied. From anywhere from like the ice planet scene, that was a month and a half on location somewhere, and the bridge stuff was a whole different era in filming.

ZACHARY QUINTO: Yeah, totally. But yeah I can take you through a typical day because it started two hours earlier for me, than for everybody else, because I had the ears…..

At this point Chris pulls out an imaginary tiny violin and begins playing it. 

Everyone laughs uproariously.

ZACHARY QUINTO: What’sThe violin!

CHRIS PINE: It’s my little violin; I had better put it back in its tiny case.

He mimes putting it back in its cage.

 

 

ZACHARY QUINTO: (In pleading child voice) can you make it a little bit bigger!

Everyone laughs more. Quinto returns to normal.

ZACHARY QUINTO: But no, but my days started before everyone else’s just because I had to go through the make up process, which was about two hours um so my day….but it was great actually because it was a period of time where I could really center and you know, prepare myself for the day ahead, and I spent a lot of that time in silence and other people where just working around me, sometimes I would sleep.

Everyone laughs.

ZACHARY QUINTO: I would! And they would just do their thing. And then depending on where we were in the day and how physical the sequence was, but there was about a month stretch when we were shooting the stuff on the bridge of the Enterprise were everybody was there and that was really fun, they were really long days, we would do like sometimes sixteen to seventeen hour days.

DAVID: What was the director to actor relationship Abrams like? What was the process?

ZACHARY QUINTO: Very collaborative he……

CHRIS PINE: Well a couple of things strike me about J.J. First of all, especially on a set filled with newbies in a way, I mean Zach and Karl, everybody was kind of, but clearly we are all in a state in our careers that to be a part of a big movie like that, a lot of times you just feel so grateful that you are a part of it that you feel like you have an equal voice and J.J, like Zach said is so collaborative.

One of the first things I remember was him telling me he knows that a hundred heads are better than one, so he knows that the smarter director, the smarter general knows that he needs all the smart minds that he can get, and to have that sense of equanimity on set, to have that sense; the feeling of mutual collaboration was fantastic on top of which, you know, here is a man that who can be on his seventeen inch Mac Book showing you, he’s picked apart like Sgt Peppers, multiple tracks of it, and he’s remixing it himself. He’s talking to the set designer, the CG/ digital effects guy, and also talking to you about what is happening in the scene, in a really, very present way, his level of multi-tasking is really remarkable and I couldn’t have asked for a better actors director, he knew exactly how to talk to us I think.

ZACHARY QUINTO: Yeah I concur completely. He is a magician. You know he is literally; he actually does magic tricks sometimes, truly.

There is laughter.

ZACHARY QUINTO: but also just it is. It is really unfathomable to me that someone who is so accomplished and so talented and responsible for so many different really impossible series and films can be so authentic. And so accessible, it’s so very impressive. I spent the first three or so weeks just figuring out how to be like him, but the process is just so really enjoyable, it was a really, really nice experience.

MATT: The amount of secrecy that surrounded the project was quite incredible. Was that a frustrating experience to keep that…..

ZACHARY QUINTO: It wasn’t hard for us to keep it….I mean, my first day we shot at a cemetery about thirty miles outside of L.A. so you know 35 to 40 minute drive with no traffic, so it was a commitment to get there, and we were shooting in a chapel that had a big bay window and we had been given these, almost like this (makes a hood movement) to wear over our costumes when we were walking from our trailers to the set, and before the end of the day J.J came to me with his phone and showed me a picture of us in that room that we were standing in a that moment that had been taken earlier in the day and was already up online, so the next day we showed up and this (points to his “hood” changed to a floor length vinyl fireman’s jacket with a hood and we had to get into golf carts immediately from our trailers and get lifted with these carts, we called them ‘pope mobiles’, and all of our base camps were surrounded by you know, obscure fencing, it was really…..we understood it because there is this insidious and insatiable desire for people to have information now, they want to know what it’s going to be, and in like, you know, unfortunately in this day and age and in our culture it diminishes the experience, you think you want to know, but why? It’s just going to ruin it for you so, there was a lot of that but you know, we took it, and we are excited because now that people know what we look like, if we do another movie, hopefully we will be able to walk from our trailers and not worry about it or anything.

CHRIS PINE: It was you know yeah, a pain in the ass, but you know just for going to the bathroom you have to suit up.

Everyone laughs.

ZACHARY QUINTO: Remember the time you didn’t suit up and there were paparazzo!

CHRIS PINE: Yeah! There was one scene, you know right after I get accused of ******* and all that shit happens and whatever, and I’m that big huge room and I’m called up and whatever. So that was a huge day and required a lot of extras, and I had to go to the bathroom so badly. The first AD (Assistant Director) would not let me go out because there was just a lot of preparation, but I finally just said ‘screw it’ ran outside without my cloak…….and dagger.

Everyone laughs.

CHRIS PINE: And um……

ZACHARY QUINTO: Peed against the side of the building!

CHRIS PINE: Peed against the side of the wall! I think it’s fine, relieved thank god, I got to go back inside and finish the day, and then the next day as I’m getting ready at five A.M, it was like the FBI knocked on my door; it was all the suits, they said: (he points on a deep and hush-hush FBI voice): “Did you hear about the pictures?”
Some guy had had a telephoto lens was on a dirt burn, two hundred yards away; it was like you know, Delta force recon or something.

There is more laughter from everybody.

CHRIS PINE: But um, I you know, appreciate the secrecy, because I appreciate J.J .We talked about him being a magician, he loves magic.

ZACHARY QUINTO: That’s true

CHRIS PINE: And I think what he loves about it is exactly that, the mystery, the AHA moment, he wants to wow people and I think he wants to protect every part of you, he is so aware of the movie experience as a whole from the first time you hear about it, to that second piece of information to what the first trailer….I assure you that every single thing you guys have seen coming up to this moment has been meticulously gone through; I mean everything. How you guys see what the poster looks like, that’s all J.J. He has got his hands in everything, because he wants that magic experience that I think now has kind of been because of the Internet and because of the freedom and how easily the information is dispersed throughout the Internet ether; mystery has been kind of lost and I appreciated that about him.

ZACHARY QUINTO: Yeah definitely.

At this point the Paramount Lady comes in and politely declares that our 25 minutes are up.

ZACHARY QUINTO: Oh! Thank you all!

CHRIS PINE: Thanks guy.

The two actors offer a final handshake to everyone personally, and then pleasantries were exchanged and that was the end of the interview.