There could not have been a more perfect locale to catch up with Star Trek Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams and cast members Simon Pegg, John Cho, Alice Eve and Peter Weller than the California Science Center in Los Angeles. In the shadow of the Space Shuttle Endeavor, recently added to the center’s collection, Movie Fanatic chatted up all things Star Trek and the arrival of the Star Trek Into Darkness DVD, Blu-Ray and digital.
The locale’s importance was not lost on the film’s director. “It’s an amazing thing. It’s one thing to make a big fantasy action adventure movie. It’s another thing to be humbled by the actual ship that has traveled into space as many times as this has. It’s an incredible thing to remember that this is not just all fantasy… this happens,” Abrams said.
As it is rumored that Abrams will hand over directing duties to someone else for the third Star Trek chapter in his trilogy, we asked Abrams if he never films another frame of Star Trek, what he felt he accomplished and what the “endeavor” meant to him.
“I feel lucky to have been involved in something that has meant so much to so many people,” Abrams admitted. “You can’t please everybody all the time but we did the best we could to tell a story that was funny and exciting and surprising and full of adventure that tried to honor the things that came before it but also blaze a new trail.”
As seen in this Star Trek Into Darkness DVD clip, Abrams put supreme importance on building elaborate sets to not only enhance his actors' performances, but the enjoyment for the audience.
“The most important thing is that it makes it feel more real when you’re actually shooting something that is real. There’s a tendency to use green screen and then put things in later. It was quite important to us that we, as much as possible, have practical sets because our eye can tell when something is tangible and real and when it’s not.”
Pegg, who plays Scottie, swung by to talk, and the man who has found recent success with his The World’s End that he co-wrote with longtime collaborator Edgar Wright, may just be almost prouder of his time on the Enterprise -- particularly getting in on some action in this one, as seen in the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer!
“I love a bit of action. It’s always fun as an actor to get in on it and to break a bone, to feel skull cracking underneath your knuckle,” Pegg said and smiled. He is kidding, right? “Not always on purpose!”
Gathering at the California Science Center was nice for Pegg who just completed traveling the world for The World’s End and will ship off to Australia tomorrow to start filming Kill Me Three Times. “It’s nice to get back together,” Pegg said of the Los Angeles gathering. “We all get on very well. We all relish each other’s company. We all do different stuff and we come back together and it’s a little reunion.”
Sulu himself, Cho, was the next to stop by and he shared his most treasured moment of the entire Star Trek experience. “One of the best things I did that was associated with the movie was a Google chat with actual astronauts. They all said they were fans of Star Trek,” Cho said.
Well, then there’s also the chance to collaborate with someone he believes is a once in a lifetime filmmaker. “J.J.’s a very complete storyteller, the most complete I’d ever met. From the script, relationships with actors and the tech stuff, I’ve never known someone who was a born storyteller as him.”
That was something reflected in our Bruce Greenwood exclusive interview too!
Eve, new to the franchise as Dr. Carol Marcus, upon getting the part in the sequel to Star Trek said she immediately dove into the world that spans decades. “To be part of the universe like Star Trek has been phenomenal. And the interest and obsession with the world that Roddenberry created has actually been understandable for me after learning so much about it, because it’s so well constructed,” Eve said.
When it comes to why Abrams is such a wizard at sci-fi (after all, Abrams is directing Star Wars Episode VII), Eve can pinpoint why. “He can fathom the future in a way that a lot of people find hard, myself included,” she said and laughed.
Finally the film’s true villain, in our opinion, Peter Weller came by and extolled the virtues of why after so many decades, Star Trek tales still tantalize. “The magic is in the story,” Weller reported. “When you have a story that transcends just the genre of science fiction, and deals with sanctity, safety, family and war politics, then it’s not just about special effects.”