Simon Pegg 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.
Do you remember the moment when you first found out you were doing ‘Star Trek’?
Simon Pegg: I sat down because I got an email from J.J., I’d just landed from a flight to New York and I opened my phone and the first email that popped up was from J.J. and it just said, “Do you want to play Scotty?” I was totally aware of the project and was very excited about it and I thought it would be great. I didn’t for a second expect to be involved (laughs). So, when I got that very straight forward and blunt kind of request I literally sat down and asked the plane to take off again so I could think about it. To be honest, I was like, “What do I say? I can’t just say ‘yes’. It feels like we should have some kind of romance. Can I be on tape or something or maybe we could go out for dinner and have a movie and then I might say ‘yes’, you never know?” I felt like kind of a slut just saying ‘yes’. So, I took three days of pretending to think about it. I was like, this is such a huge commitment and I asked whether we’d be doing it for a long time. But J.J. said, “The worst thing that could happen is that every couple of years we’d get to spend some time together and have a lot of fun.”
And how was it spending time together with the whole crew again for this sequel….?
Simon Pegg: It was very exciting to get to play Scotty again, just because we’re a crew now and we’re all together again. We became such great friends on the first one, even in the four years since ‘Star Trek’ we still stayed in contact. It really formed a bond between us, it’s a great family unit. The last time we were all meeting up and we were sort of finding our way together. Now we’re a team from the start, so from day one it was great to just hang out. I love these guys, it’s a real fun bunch of people and we enjoy being together. And it was nice to be Scotty from day one on ‘Star Trek Into Darkness,’ and also play that knowing everyone a bit better now – but not too much, he still calls Checkov “wee man” (laughs), he doesn’t know him that well. Plus, he’s not that sure of Spock and Kirk’s his oldest friend out of all of them so playing that was fun.
As an actor, what is it about J.J. Abrams as a filmmaker that you really enjoy….?
Simon Pegg: I love J.J., and that’s not an understatement. I just think he’s an inspiration to be around. He’s such an engine for a shoot, he really does drive the whole thing and it’s his sort of enthusiasm and positivity and inventiveness that keeps everyone on their toes and makes it a fun job – and it should be, we’re making a film, we’re not curing anything. We’re making a film and it’s a fun film so it should be light, but nevertheless a hub of invention and creation and J.J. is all about that. He’s incredibly gifted; his mind seems to be processing multiple things at once all of the time. He has a fantastic eye and it’s great to see him work a shot out, and when you hear him describe it, it all makes sense in your head. He has that clarity and depth of understanding of his craft that has put him where he is. It’s really inspiring to see and he really inspires you.
And why do you think his work appeals to so many fans of movies and entertainment in general?
Simon Pegg: For this, I think the vital thing for J.J. is that the audience that goes to see it can relate to it, so it’s important that even though it’s set far into the future, it still is utterly relatable in terms of it being about emotions and friendships. When you strip away the technology and the science fiction aspect, you’ve got a story about loss and friendship and budding love, all things that are in our day-to-day lives. That’s what’s clever about what J.J. does, he keeps it very human. And this film, it’s relentlessly action packed (laughs), and it’s a ride – as it should be. You invest yourself in the characters, you care about everybody, and you kind of know everybody. And it’s like that with everything he does.
What is it about Scotty that you particularly enjoy playing?
Simon Pegg: Scotty is like a fiercely intelligent mechanic. I think in a perfect world he’d just tinker with the warp core all day. So, when things get crazy he always reacts like, “What the f?!” He’s always shocked and amazed when everything… he doesn’t really take it in his stride and I like playing that because that’s how you would react to a Klingon on your starboard bow. It’s fun to be the every-man of the crew. Scotty is always amazed by his predicaments and that’s fun to play (laughs).
As a big fan of ‘Star Trek,’ did you keep any props from the shoot?
Simon Pegg: I smuggled back the entire Enterprise piece by piece and rebuilt it in my garden. On the first film, every day we’d hand back our badge and my Starfleet ring and communicator phaser. You’d hand it in to an armed man at the end of the day before you could leave the set. This one, I stole my badge – what are you going to do (laughs)? It was on my costume when I got back to the trailer. It’s a beautiful little brass thing, I’ll bring it back to the next one. But I put it in my bag.
The production design on this film is extraordinary, it’s so detailed and beautiful. Every prop is like a wonderful toy. I got to carry a phaser this time and that was like a dream come true and if I could have stolen that I would have. But I was wrestled to the ground by a large woman.
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