Interview with 'Star Trek' director JJ Abrams
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I was sitting a few rows behind you at the premiere and it looked like, at the end of it, you got a little bit emotional.
I was so overwhelmed about the fact that it was finally over and that people were clapping. It was amazing. It was very touching, it really was amazing. And I had a drink or two. But it was really sweet and incredibly cool moment.
You weren’t originally slated to direct, were you? But there came a point where you saw the script and thought, I can’t let someone else direct…
As a non-Trek fan, I was happy to produce it and help revitalise and reintroduce it, but I never said I was going to direct – but when I read the script I was like, Oh my God. It actually was all these things I love about movies . . . I gave it to my wife, who’s not a Trek fan either, and she said, “You have to direct this movie”. And I went, Yeah, fine.
Can you tell us about your memories of the original Star Trek series?
I always felt like I missed the way in. I enjoyed the idea of it. I thought the notion of this group collaborating, various cultures and races and species working together, not conquering but exploring and discovering – there was something inherently, obviously interesting but… I felt like, Well, you missed me. ’Cause I’m none of those guys: I’m not Kirk for sure. I’m not Spock. I’m not Bones. I wasn’t really Chekhov. I’m not Uhura. Zulu’s not me. I didn’t have me in there, so it was a very objectified experience watching that show.
Most of the time these remakes and reboots fall pretty flat, but it seems like you’ve got the balance right.
I think the key was not having insane reverence for the original material. I felt free to make choices that were right for a movie, not for ‘Trek’. But we had a writer [Robert Orci] who was an avowed Trekkie. Bob’s awareness of what we needed to adhere to was sort of the safety valve for the movie – but it wasn’t the master we were serving. And to me that’s the thing.
What was it like having Leonard Nimoy involved in the project?
He was the definition of gentlemanly. He was supportive and graceful. He wasn’t just helping pass the baton away from the Trek that people are familiar with to the new Trek – he was really passing on this role to this other actor [Zachary Quinto] – and encouraging him, befriending him.
Someone commented last night that you’re sort of the Spielberg for the new generation…
It’s obviously an insanely complimentary thing to hear… but you know, it’s like, you can’t hear that. You hear that and all you want to do is hide. But it’s very kind, and whoever said that obviously doesn’t know all of my work.
Star Trek opens in Australian cinemas on May 7.
You can view the Star Trek movie trailer here on TheVine, as well as a photo gallery from the Star Trek world premiere in Sydney.
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