Zachary Quinto Interview For ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’
When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.
Chris Pine (Captain James T. Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), John Cho (Sulu), Bruce Greenwood (Christopher Pike), Simon Pegg (Scotty), Karl Urban (Bones), and Anton Yelchin (Pavel Chekov) reprise their roles from the 2009 ‘Star Trek’ original, with new parts for the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Noel Clarke, Nazneen Contractor and Peter Weller. ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ is directed by J.J. Abrams with a script by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof. The film is opening on May 9th in the UK, while the film bows in the US on May 17th. The May 9th opening date will see the film in IMAX 3D, 3D and 2D theaters. ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ will arrive in US IMAX theaters from May 15th.
For different reasons, two key relationships for Spock in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ are with Kirk and Uhura. The film really explores his Vulcan-Human duality and his significance in terms of the divergent Trek timelines…
Zachary Quinto: Yeah. I think Spock and Kirk are two characters who exist on opposite ends of a spectrum of perspective. I think each of them has a very fixed point of views: Spock of course being very cool-headed and logical, and Kirk’s being very emotional and instinctive and hot-blooded sometimes. I think this film in particular, and the journey these characters take on its course, it’s about each of them learning from the other and gaining from the perspective that the other has to offer. Having to face in themselves points of real challenge in order to be the fullest versions of who they can be and ultimately in order to save one another and help triumph against a tremendous force of evil.
And then with Spock and Uhura in this film, it was such a surprise in the first movie for the audiences to be faced with the fact of that relationship. I think in this one the writers done such a great job of taking us in yet another unexpected direction, where the convergence of work and personal relationship actually provides more conflict than either of these characters would ever have expected, and are comfortable with (laughs). There’s a lot of upheaval in this film, and all of us have to deal with it in our own unique ways. I really liked those relationships.
And how was it having Zoe Saldana and Chris Pine as your sparring partners to play out and explore these relationships….?
Zachary Quinto: Zoe Saldana is such an angel, she’s got such an openness and vulnerability on camera and yet such great strength. She can kick ass with the best of them (laughs), but then she can soften and open up in a way that is magnetizing whether you’re watching her on set or on screen – she’s got a real power to her. I love her, we’ve known each other for years and it’s great to come back to that kind of familiarity, especially when you’re working with such intimacy.
The great thing about working with Chris is that we really check in with each other creatively and personally. We’ve both gone through a lot of stuff since the first movie come out and it’s really nice to be able to connect with him about that, and bring it to our work together. There is an implicit trust, and I think something that happened to both of us in this film, we both came to realize the impact that being a part of this franchise is not only going to have on our careers, but on our lives. And it’s always a blast, Chris is an incredibly hard working actor, he’s enormously talented, he’s very serious about what he’s doing. He’s really able to bring the bravado of this character and complexity of this character to life in a really exciting way.
Spock has some extremely physical scenes in this film, was there one in particular you found the most challenging?
Zachary Quinto: I remember having to show up the morning after the Academy Awards, which I was fortunate enough to attend that year because of a film that I worked on as a producer, and then having to fight Benedict Cumberbatch for 15 hours that morning after…. after what was a pretty significant party (laughs). That wasn’t the most pleasant experience that I’ve had (laughs). That particular sequence took about 11 or 12 days to shoot, it was the most exciting part of the experience for me physically. So I was able to chalk it up and take one for the team that day (laughs).
What is it about J.J. Abrams as a filmmaker that really appeals to you, and why do you think he appeals to so many fans of movies and entertainment in general?
Zachary Quinto: J.J.’s obviously such an incredibly gifted director and storyteller, and I think a bit part of that has to do with the emphasis he places on humanity and character. And so I think that’s what sets him a part, he doesn’t just do things by the book, and that’s one of the things that draws me to him as an actor and also as an audience member of his projects and his stories. ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ takes all of the things that J.J. does so well. He takes an epic, blockbuster, tent pole, spectacle, and he anchors it in real character relationships and emotion and heart. And this one, it just exists on a whole next level to the first one.
I’ve never worked with somebody who does so many things at once and operates on so many levels. And J.J., he treats every single person with the same respect. He relies on the people he surrounds himself with to guide him and there’s nothing about him that is arrogant or expectant, it’s all about collaboration and doing good work and telling the best story that he can tell, and that’s why I think he’s such a legend in his own time. The way that people will look back on J.J. as a director and a contributor to the entertainment industry is certainly the way they’ll look back at people like Steven Spielberg – and that’s really exciting, you know?
I thought some of the sets and costumes were incredible….?
Zachary Quinto: What Scott Chambliss (production designer) created was incredibly rich and multi-dimensional environments for us to play in. To be supported by the ships that he builds, the Enterprise and also the Volcano set they built – the stuff that they made happen out of nothing (laughs). And then Michael Caplin (costume designer) is such a visionary, and has so much integrity in his work. It’s really all about, for us as actors, it ultimately becomes about “fabric”, that’s the word that comes to mind. It’s like, “How much fabric do we have to stitch together our performances and our understanding of the world that we’re in?” When you’re in a sci-fi story and so much is ultimately left to the imagination, the more practical, tangible things that we have to work with, the more beneficial. With those guys it’s really just tonnes and tonnes to work with, it’s pretty remarkable.
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