TrekMovie.com had a chance to sit down with the co-writer of the new Star Trek film Robert Orci at a promotional event for his latest film Transformers. The event was mainly for Transformers, but I was able to ask some Trek questions. Regarding his and (writing partner) Alex Kurtzman being fans of the franchise Orci stated “obviously we have been fans of Trek forever." The writer said he couldn’t really talk about the plot for the new Trek film, except to joke “we trek through the stars…and it’s in the future.” (I guess that rules out another Star Trek IV style time travel plot). He did mention that the character of Kirk is in the film (which was already announced by Abrams last month). When asked if Kirk had a big part in the film he wryly smiled and said "maybe." Orci (who also shares an Executive producer credit) did offer a status report saying that they are currently in pre-production and casting with shooting planned for November (which is a month later than previously reported). He also confirmed that the working title for the film is just ‘Star Trek’ and that he is "pretty sure" the simple title will end up to be the final title, saying "how do you deny it?…they might pretend it is not the official title but what else is it going to be?”
…on ‘The Island’ and action movies
Transformers is unashamedly an action movie. I have seen the film and it is a complete success at being a summer blockbuster popcorn movie thrill ride (will provide a full review here and at Geek closer to release). Orci and Kurtzman’s previous collaboration with Michael Bay was The Island, which came to mixed reviews. Many felt The Island was disjointed between a slower paced cerebral sci-fi Logans Run kind of first half with a fast paced mindless action movie second half. Apparently Orci agrees, saying "If that movie had cost $75 million it would have been OK. I personally still like that movie. The action seemed to be too big for that movie, it wanted to have less of that spectacle." Last summer’s M:I:III (also written by Orci and Kurtzman) was more successful in mixing character stories into an action film (it actually toned down the mindless action from previous MI films).
Being that it was a Transformers event most of the discussion was about that film, but some of his answers are telling about his process and views of fandom. When asked who he wrote the film for he stated "we wrote it for ourselves, for [director Michael] Bay, and [Executive Producer Steven] Spielberg trusting that if we hit all three it would be for the audience.” However he also acknowledged that during the process he felt it was important to reach out to the Tranformers fanbase for feedback. Apparently they made changes to the script based on comments from his regular chats with fans on Tranformers sites. I asked him what he learned from his experiences dealing with fans and he said "I learned that we are going to continue to engage the fans, that closing them out is a mistake…don’t be afraid of the fans, don’t be afraid to engage, don’t be afraid to defend your paradigm.” Orci also acknowledged that at times it can get quite heated on the net. He joked that his writing partner Alex Kurtzman has trouble with it, saying "it effects him and he can’t sleep..anytime someone says that we ‘raped their childhood’ it is hard to hear.”
No more ‘Star Trek XI’
Based on Orci’s confirmation of just ‘Star Trek’ we at TrekMovie.com will try to no longer refer to the new film as Star Trek XI or Trek XI. We have been told by a studio insider that director JJ Abrams actually does not like to hear the film referred to as ‘Star Trek 11’ and everyone on the lot just calls it ‘Star Trek’ so we might as well get in the habit too. (it makes sense, Star Trek stopped using roman numerals in 1991 with Star Trek VI) For now TrekMovie.com is going to go with ‘Star Trek (2008)’ or ‘Star Trek (2008 film)’ or ‘Star Trek (film)’ to differentiate it from TOS or any other Trek film or TV show. Technically Star Trek is still just the working title, but it appears that this one will stick. Personally I think it is a smart move to go with just simple ‘Star Trek’ as it signals a restart for the franchise. After Orci said the film was probably going to be just named ‘Star Trek’ I noted back to him that colons (in movie titles) are uncool now – to which he replied "exactly."
UPDATE: Memory Alpha (based on this article I assume) have changed their listing to ‘Star Trek (film)’. Wikipedia have been doing the same thing for a while. IMDB use ‘Star Trek (2008)’
NOTE: Orci’s writing partner Alex Kurtzman could not attend the Transformers event due to a new baby in his family. So congrats Alex for bringing a new Trekkie into the world!
VOTE: what do you think the title should be?
We know it won’t have a roman numeral but do you like the simple title or prefer one with something else (like they did with Batman Begins or Superman Returns) or a title with no ‘Star Trek’ in it like the Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight or recent Bond prequel Casino Royale. Poll in right column.
Transformers opens July 4 (although it will open a day earlier in some places)
Image courtesy of StarTrek.com