Orci and Kurtzman on writing Trek

The Los Angeles Times has posted a profile of the screenwriting team of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Much of the article focuses on how the pair met and forged a partnership that has lasted through such projects as TRANSFORMERS, THE ISLAND, FRINGE, etc, but they do get around to saying a little bit about their upcoming STAR TREK film, directed by J. J. Abrams, which opens on May 8.

In crafting the new cinematic adventure about the Academy days of a young James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock — before they hopped on the U.S.S. Enterprise to boldly go where no man has gone before — the writers saw something familiar in the characters who represent fiery emotion and cold logic. [...]

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“Kirk and Spock are opposites from two worlds. That’s us in a nutshell. We’re drawn to each by what each of us lacks. The story of this film is about two guys who are such opposites that they might end up strangling each other but instead they bond and thrive together. That’s us. We can go warp speed together.”

The article recounts the effort to get Leonard Nimoy signed back on board – a strategic move to earn good will among the Trek fanbase:

With “Trek,” the pair and Abrams are trying to win over the famously passionate fans of the venerable franchise with a whole new cast playing the crew. No matter what they do, some die-hards will walk out of the theater grumbling, but the team has one ace in the hole: Leonard Nimoy is back as Spock (Zachary Quinto of “Heroes” plays the younger version of the Vulcan in the film). In fact, Nimoy is the only familiar face from the franchise returning for the Paramount reboot, and winning over the 79-year-old actor was a huge hurdle for the writers, who with Abrams went to visit him at his home.

When they arrived, Nimoy was giving off a ” ‘Who are you guys and what are you up to?’ ” vibe, Kurtzman said. “It was incredibly intimidating. By the end it was very emotional too. We told him that we couldn’t do it without him. We told everything and how he was the key to the movie, that the story doesn’t work without him. There was a very long silence and he got misty.

“He had retired and turned down many offers to return to this character, so this was asking the greatest gunslinger to strap on the pistol one more time. . . . His wife told us later that he didn’t get out of the chair for several hours [and] that he was overwhelmed by all of it and the decision.”

And Kurtzman and Orci talk about the tone of the new TREK movie, which will be anything but reverent:

 There’s a lot of humor in the film and a certain sexiness that is already stirring debate on fan websites, which Orci and Kurtzman read religiously. Orci is a zealous fan of the franchise with a deep knowledge of its history, and the pair put plenty of traditional touches in the new film, such as the furry and troublesome Tribble that makes an appearance.

“It was scary to try to be funny, but we felt confidant that we had to go for it,” Orci said. “In the original series, humor and sexiness was a key part of the show. It was in the middle of the 1960s and this liberation of the young. And it was funny too.”

About the Author

Steve Biodrowski

Cinefantastique's Los Angeles Correspondent from 1987 to 1993 and West Coast Editor from 1993 to 1999. Currently the webmaster of Cinefantastique Online, I also run a website called Hollywood Gothique that covers Halloween Horror and Sci-Fi Cinema Events in the Los Angeles area.

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