Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana and Bruce Greenwood Star Trek Press ConferenceDid you give some tips about Spock to Zachary, since you’ve played this character for years? What did you discover about Spock during this film?
Leonard Nimoy: "I think that he [Zachary] made some choices that I thought were wonderful surprises to me, in playing the Spock that he played in this film. We did not talk about specifics, like, 'Do this,' or 'Don’t do that.' We had very general conversations about the philosophy of the character, the psychology of the character, the philosophy of Star Trek, the fans' reactions to various aspects of Star Trek. But, there were no specific instructions. There was no need for that, there was no call for that. But watching him in the film, I’m very proud of what he did."
"I loved the idea that he is doing the character, that he did it so well. And I think we have book-ended the character. He has created a Spock that comes before the Spock that I portrayed in the series, and I’m playing a Spock that comes much much later and much more resolved, and is, I think, much closer to who I actually am today. So, I think it works extremely well. And I admire his talent."
You managed to get the essence of the characters without making caricatures. Could you talk about that a little bit? Zoe, did you talk to Nichelle Nichols? How much research did you do?
Zoe Saldana: "I did speak with Nichelle a couple of times and the response was completely overwhelming, and we would talk about that sometimes on set. We felt completely supported and the pressure was just removed the moment Mr. Nimoy stepped on set. And Nichelle, I was able to meet her, and there was this overall happiness and excitement that Star Trek was coming back and that we were stepping into the family. It made it much easier for us to approach this character, not only remembering the fundamental essences of all of them, but also not to be afraid to add any innovation. That’s where JJ comes in. I thought it was incredibly witty on his behalf to make the beginning, to show them as young people, that they’re not comfortable in their own skin. They’re meeting for the first time and they’re kind of starting off with a clean palette. And you know that they need to end up the way that they are in the series, but it’s completely different. It says nothing about how they’re going to start. They could be lost, they could be found, they could have all these relationships, all these battles within themselves and each other and they’re still going to complete these missions on the Enterprise. So, sometimes knowing the end can give you a better perspective on where to start."
What did you think of Uhura's relationship with Spock?
Zoe Saldana: "If there was a camera showing you guys when I was in that office… They locked us in the office at Bad Robot and we had to read the script and I dropped it and I grabbed my Blackberry and I kept saying, 'This man’s crazy! JJ’s out of his mind. I’m not that aware about Star Trek, but I do know that they never mingled. It’s crazy!' And then once I finished the script, it made so much sense. They have the most similar characteristics. I almost feel that she had this sort of admiration for Spock because he was older and sort of this teacher, that it was this crush or a platonic infatuation with someone that’s wiser, wittier, handsome, pointy ears… It’s just, 'Why not?'"
Zachary, tell us about that fine line of playing a character that is supposed to be emotionless but does have some emotion, and not overdoing a lack of emotion. There’s a very fine line to find that rhythm.
Zachary Quinto: "Well, I think it’s a common misconception that Spock doesn’t feel emotion. I think he feels emotion very deeply, but he’s just restricted in the ways that he can express it. I think actually, to speak on the earlier question about the relationship between Spock and Uhura, that dynamic provides a lot of levity and humor between Kirk and Spock, between Kirk and Uhura. But between Spock and Uhura, I think it actually represents a depth, whereby Uhura is a canvas on to which Spock can project the emotion that he is not able to express himself. For me, it was about cultivating a deeply rooted inner life and not being able to do much other than to hold on to it. Which can be frustrating as an actor, especially when around me, my fellow actors are emoting and running about having a good time. Obviously, it’s a formidable challenge, and one that I was really excited to be faced with."
Have you already had some memorable or outrageous fan encounters with Trekkies?
Karl Urban: "I think after the second day I found out I was given the opportunity to be in this film, I was driving down the road in Santa Monica and stopped at a random set of lights and a gentleman in a Star Trek outfit walk crossed the road. And I think it was just on a random day! It struck me at that point: the effect of this wonderful series has had in our popular culture. I personally feel very, very grateful that there is an entity of fans out there that have such a deep admiration, respect, and love for Star Trek. We’re very blessed to have them. And, indeed, if it wasn’t for them, the original series would have been canceled after the second series. So we hope this movie that we have made, that we are proud of, that we love, that we had such fun making, is received and appreciated and loved by a those fans, because there’s a lot in there for them. At the same point, though, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen a Star Trek movie or TV series before. You can go along to this movie and enjoy the phenomenal ride and the wonderful characters, and really get in on the ground level. So, kudos to JJ."
Page 3: On JJ Abrams' Words of Wisdom