But one Star Trek original is back for this origin story: Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy reprises his role as Spock in a surprising twist you'll just have to see the film to understand. Joining his new young co-stars in LA for a press conference, Nimoy showered praise on these new Star Trek players and the film's director, J.J. Abrams.
Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana and Bruce GreenwoodYou had a chance to appear in Star Trek: Generations and that didn't work out. Why was this the ideal chance to bridge the old Star Trek with the new Star Trek?
Leonard Nimoy: "These people are, the makers of this film, I think, re-awakened in me the passion I had when we made the original film and series. I was put back in touch with what I cared about, what I like about Star Trek and why I enjoyed being involved in Star Trek. So, it was an easy way to come on home."
So, the other opportunities did not spark that passion?
Leonard Nimoy: "Yeah, it went off in a direction that I didn’t relate to very well. That’s the simplest way to put it. They said things and showed me things, and demonstrated the sensibility that I was very comfortable with and I think that shows in the movie. I like it."
Zachary, when you were young did people tell you you looked like Spock and what was it like working with Mr. Nimoy?
Zachary Quinto: "Uh, no. I never really heard it, although I certainly was sporting a Spock bowl cut when I was 12. I have pictures to prove it; I might dig them out at some point. And obviously working with Leonard was an incredible honor and the whole experience for me was so fulfilling beyond my wildest expectations, in terms of just getting to know him and understanding how this character has formed his creative processes and life and it was great fun. I got asked a lot if there was pressure because of Leonard’s involvement, and my response is always to the contrary, actually. Having him as a resource and such a generous available support system made it much easier for me to step into the experience."
Did you study how to move?
Zachary Quinto: "I didn’t, really. I mean, in preparation for production I did not go back and watch the original series or films. Leonard and I watched a couple episodes together and talked about his experience shooting those episodes, but aside from that, I felt that it was incumbent upon me to determine my own relationship with this character. That was the mandate that JJ [Abrams] set forth very early on in the process. We were expected to use the foundation as a point of entry into our own experiences with the characters."
Karl, were you a fan of the original series? When you look back at the old shows, how did you find that rhythm to play him?
Karl Urban: "Yes, I would define myself as a long time fan of the original series. I watched it as a boy, religiously, every Saturday morning. About two years before I found out that they were making this new Star Trek, I bought the entire DVD box set and watched it with my son. So, you know, sort of about the time that they started casting, I didn’t necessarily need to go back and study up. I felt that I knew the characters and the archetypes and the relationships really, really well. And so, for me, I feel a little bit like one of the lunatics that gets to drive the bus in the asylum. So, it was a wonderful experience."
Zachary Quinto: "If I may just follow up on that. Karl actually stole his son’s model Enterprise and carried it with him on tour."
Karl Urban: "I did."
Zachary Quinto: "He didn’t steal it, but he did have it with him."
Karl Urban: "And it broke so I need to get a new one. But, it was mine. It was my Star Trek toy when I was a kid and I took it around to all these locations around the world that we went to and we put it in photographs with all the cast members… You had to be there."
During the movie did you miss William Shatner? Did you want him to be in the movie with you?
Leonard Nimoy: "Bill and I are very, very close friends and we have been for a very, very long time. Did I miss him? I can’t honestly say that that’s the right word to describe my feelings about this process and have him not being in the movie. I was aware that he wanted to be in the movie. I was aware, I think, that the filmmakers, JJ Abrams and the writers spent time with him to try to find a process where he could be involved. But, it didn’t work out. I don’t know exactly why. I wasn’t involved in those discussions and meetings. I didn’t see the material presented to him, if they did. I pointed out to him that we’re even now, because he acted in one of the Star Trek movies that I was not in, and he had to admit that that was true. And, we’re over it. I think it’s history."
"I think he genuinely wants the movie to be a success. He spent time with all of us last night at his charity event in Burbank. I admire him a lot. I think he’s done a great job with his career. He was a handsome leading man and became a very good character actor - very successful character actor. And we have a great friendship, and it continues to be a great friendship."