Interview With Leonard Nimoy – Part 1

In a exclusive, Leonard Nimoy talks for the first time about returning as Spock in the J.J. Abrams new Star Trek film. In this first of two parts the original Spock talks about the script and new team, why he didn’t appear in Generations and why he decided to come out of retirement for this film.

click more for the full interview I know you first talked to J.J. Abrams and his team late last year, but when was it first clear to you and them that you were going to be in the film?

Leonard Nimoy: When I first read the script…which was about three months ago. I immediately contacted J.J. and said “I think it is terrific…I think you guys have done a wonderful job. There is still work to be done, but it is very clear that you and your writers know what you are doing and you know how to do this movie and know what it should be about….and I am very interested.” Then as time went by we worked things out with Paramount, but the most important things were J.J. and the script. I can tell you is that they have a very fine script and that J.J. is an awesome director and they have done a wonderful job of finding Zachary Quinto who not only is going to look enough like me to make it work, but is also the perfect actor. I am very pleased about that and I am very comfortable with where this is going. I think the writers have done a terrific job. They have a real sense of the characters and the heart of Star Trek and what it is really all about. and I think we have a chance to make a really fine movie When you say a sense of the heart of what it is really all about, what do you think that ‘heart’ of Star Trek is that they have captured.

Leonard Nimoy: It is the camaraderie…I am talking the original Star Trek, I can’t speak for The Next Generation or Enterprise or Deep Space Nine or any of them. I am talking about the original concept of the camaraderie between these people. The professionalism of these people. Their sense of humor…which I think is terribly important. And the idea that these are very professional people that work together to solve problems. And the problems are not between these people and amongst themselves, but the problems are from outside forces of various kinds that they have to encounter and deal with. These are people who you enjoy rooting for and you have confidence in and I think that is terribly important. And also to know that when they joke with each other it is out of respect for each other – they respect and admire each other and count on each other. All those elements I think are available and [co-writers Bob] Orci and [Alex] Kurtzman understand that and J.J. certainly understands that and has a grasp of that. You mentioned humor. Humor was a key part of The Original Series and of course the films you were most involved in…especially IV. So is this movie funny?

Leonard Nimoy: [laughs] I think it is going to have its share of humor. It is going to be a great adventure. I think the idea of the origin of these characters is going to be wonderfully handled with great sense of respect and a light touch. I expect they are going to do it very well. Many Star Trek fans have voiced concerns over the new film and its place in Star Trek’s so called ‘canon.’ From what you know, do you think the film fit within the Star Trek universe?

Leonard Nimoy: Yah…I don’t have any qualms about that. I think these writers and J.J. have taken great pains to see to that they honor the Star Trek history and the Star Trek canon. I don’t think there is going to be any problem with that at all…this is not an issue. I have seen quibbles on the Internet with people very nicely concerned. Saying “who else can play Kirk and Spock…it is not possible.” Well it is possible. Don’t worry. Once people see this film and see how good it is all those quibbles will go away. Are they respectful? Are they trampling on history? Will the canon be intact? None of that stuff is going to happen. back in 1993 you were approached to be in Star Trek Generations along with Bill [Shatner] and you declined…

Leonard Nimoy: [interjecting] There was no Spock role in that script! There wasn’t?

Leonard Nimoy: There was not a Spock role….there were five or six lines attributed to Spock in a scene with Chekov and Uhura and Kirk and whoever else was there, but it had nothing to do with Spock. They were not Spock-like in anyway. I said to Rick Berman “you could distribute these lines to any one of the other characters and it wouldn’t make any difference.” And that is exactly what he did. There was no Spock function in the script. I have always tried to make a contribution to these movies. There was no contribution to be made in that movie. It was just sort of ‘lets get Nimoy in here too.’ I said there is nothing here I can do so I said “thanks, but I’ll pass.” Now in the case of the new movie you have been retired from acting for years. What was it about this one that made you want to act again and go through the make up again? What was it that made you say ‘I really want to do this?’

Leonard Nimoy: You are right, this is a special situation. First it is Star Trek and so I have to pay attention. I owe that to Star Trek. Second place is that it is J.J. Abrams who I think very highly of, he is a very talented guy. Then came the script and it was very clear that I could make a contribution here. The Spock character that I am playing, the original Spock character, is essential and important to the script. So on the basis of those three elements it was easy to make the decision. So those three things: Star Trek, J.J. Abrams, and an interesting Spock role. So you have a meaty role in this film?

Leonard Nimoy: I would not refer to it as a cameo, it has been referred to as a cameo in various press and I wouldn’t describe it like that. Cameo is a brief appearance in one scene. This is a functional role in the film. So you have multiple scenes in the film?

Leonard Nimoy: Yes Could you say if they are woven throughout the film or are they bookends or just at one end or the other?

Leonard Nimoy: Don’t push it [laughs] After working as a director, is it at all difficult to be an actor and take direction again?

Leonard Nimoy: No…particularly when I have respect for the director like J.J. I am looking forward to this film much more so than I  have looked forward to acting in anything for a long time…I really am. Because I have a great expectation that the character is going to play well and that it is going to be extremely well directed with a sense of what the characters are all about with a sense of how to create drama in a scene. I am looking forward to being part of that I really am.


Part 2:  CLICK to read part 2
Mr. Nimoy talks more about his role, Zachary Quinto, William Shatner and J.J Abrams as a director 




(PHOTOS: Albert L. Ortega)

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August 1, 2007 1:26 pm

I have tears in my eyes. This is going to be incredible.

August 1, 2007 1:29 pm

Sweet!! Already looking forward to the movie!!

August 1, 2007 1:29 pm

Awesome, simply awesome! What a catch for trekmovie :D

Roberto Orci
August 1, 2007 1:33 pm


I get chills, too.

August 1, 2007 1:33 pm

I feel a lot better about the whole canon thing. I was kinda worried it would be kinda a “reboot” or “re-imagining”, but it sounds like that wont be the case.

Thanks Mr. Nimoy! Can’t wait to see him back on the big screen.

August 1, 2007 1:34 pm

Great interview! looking forward to part II

August 1, 2007 1:36 pm

This is why I love this site!

I am gratified to hear Nimoy open up a bit more about his feelings on the script, the new band in charge, etc. I know that, at ComicCon there was only the chance to get in a very brief amount of information…

That Nimoy thinks so highly of this project continues to bolster my hopes for the new film. As I said in a previous thread, I haven’t seen anything that the creative team has done previous, but I’ll really be looking forward to this flick.


August 1, 2007 1:40 pm

Isn’t it just absolutely superb to hear Nimoy so enthusiastic about this project? I’m honestly thrilled, I think these guys might just do it and give us a Star Trek story to be proud of once again.

August 1, 2007 1:41 pm

I can just see it now… Anthony gushing like a little girl.

Now, if we could get ILM to do the SFX for that gushing, we might have something…

Aaron R. (Spock is the man and Nimoy is ten times as awesome)
August 1, 2007 1:41 pm

Simply amazing… Anthony how do you get these great interviews! It warms the heart to hear his confidence. I mean I know that with any actor in a situation like this their would be a ammount of BS coming out you know the new actor is great perfect to replace me I have so much faith in the process etc etc… But then Nimoy isn’t known for that is he. We all know that if the script was bad or that he didn’t dig the part no ammount of money could bring him in and get him to say those things…

Aaron R

August 1, 2007 1:45 pm

THANKS and Cheers to Leonard Nimoy!

August 1, 2007 1:46 pm

Is there something wrong with gushing?
I love that he’s in more than one scene. I don’t know if that means bookends, or something more elaborate, but I suspect JJ will play greatly with the story structure. I love that. I have long felt that the Trek movies were too linear, too predictable. That’s very noticeable when they play in the same Googleplex as movies like “American Splendour,” “Flags of Our Fathers,” and even “MI3.” Storytelling doesn’t have to follow the paradigms of 1960’s TV. (Gad, did I just say paradigm? I can’t even pronounce it.)
Anyway, nice to know Spock reads our rants.
Hello, sir! Nice to have you back onboard!

billy don't be a hiro
August 1, 2007 1:46 pm

My hat is truly and justly off to you this time, Anthony. This is quite an achievment for the site. Huzzah. Huzzah and kudos.

Floydhead Max!
August 1, 2007 1:49 pm

THIS is why I come here for my Trek news FIRST!!

What a great interview!

Any concerns I’ve had in regards to this movie, (and I must say that considering whose producing and directing, there aren’t really very many), are pretty much allayed at this point. Not many people know Star Trek better than Nimoy. I don’t believe in million years he’d be a shill for it if it sucked, (as the Q&A regarding Generations attest), so if it passes the Nimoy smell test, that’s good enough for me!!

I can’t wait for next Xmas!! Other than a new reunited Pink Floyd album, (which ain’t gonna happen! LOL!) this is the best X-mas present I could want!!!

Looking forward to Part 2 of the interview!

Keep up the excellent work,

August 1, 2007 1:50 pm

I for one am relieved to know that his part IS important and they just aren’t throwing him in there. Leonard seems like a great guy and I am TOTALLY pumped about this here movie.

billy don't be a hiro
August 1, 2007 1:51 pm

“I am talking the original Star Trek, I can’t speak for The Next Generation or Enterprise or Deep Space Nine or any of them.”

And the petty TOS-first fan in me loves that he couldn’t even be bothered to think of, let alone mention, Voyager. :-D

Big E
August 1, 2007 1:51 pm

Excellent! Simply excellent!

star trackie
August 1, 2007 1:52 pm

Very comforting to have the blessing of Nimoy. He “gets it”. The only thing that can hurt this thing is the casting of Kirk. I’m so glad they aren’t rushing into it and now can pair up any likely candidates with Quinto to check the “Chemistry” factor.
The last hurdle, casting Kirk, is the largest.. I’m crossing my fingers, toes, and everything else, that the perfect choice for Kirk will surface and Trek can scream into theaters in 2008, reminding everyone that Trek is back, it’s cool, it’s funny, it’s exciting. And most of all, finally, after all these years, it brings back the fun.

August 1, 2007 1:55 pm

Nice interview, having Nimoy as enthusiastic as he is about the new movie gives me lots of confidence in it!

August 1, 2007 2:01 pm

cool to finally read something more specific regarding the movie

August 1, 2007 2:01 pm

Nice interview, Anthony! I especially was pleased to see you bring up the “Generations” thing. I personally suspected that his role must be more than a cameo for him to be involved after he passed on Generations, and it’s nice to see him confirm that.

Even if it’s a small, bracketing role or something similar, it will be great to see Nimoy one more time.

August 1, 2007 2:07 pm

Excellent interview, Anthony!

I can practically hear Nimoy’s gravely voice coming through in his responses too. And “Original Spock” plays a role in the new movie. Fascinating.

August 1, 2007 2:10 pm


Anthony, congratulations on the “dream-come-true” interview ih Nimoy. All your hard work has paid off, and then some.


August 1, 2007 2:10 pm


Anthony, congratulations on the “dream-come-true” interview with Nimoy. All your hard work has paid off, and then some.


August 1, 2007 2:12 pm

Good stuff, gentlemen. Good stuff.

Well done!
August 1, 2007 2:13 pm

Anthony proves yet again that is the best Star Trek site on the ‘net.

J.J.. – if you’re reading any of this, please allow Anthony to visit the set during filming. Knowing your penchant for guarding production secrets, you can establish an agreement about screening anything before Anthony posts it. Let’s see a stronger connect between the filmmaking process and the fanbase via this site. With a year and a half to go, you don’t need to spoil the plot. Just hearing a soundbite on this site of you saying “Action!”

You want a multitude of geekgasms and ever-increased excitement about this film? That’s a great way to do it. :)

August 1, 2007 2:17 pm

Anthony, Thanks. I was wondering who you were hinting at earlier.
Excellent, excellent.

Harry Ballz
August 1, 2007 2:19 pm

Yowza! We’ve gone from being STUMPED (not knowing if it’ll be good), to being PUMPED (Nimoy’s assurance of quality). Star Trek lives again!!!

August 1, 2007 2:20 pm

Awesome interview, can’t wait for part 2! I agree with other posters, if this movie was a dog, Nimoy would have nothing to do with it. Granted, a lot can happen along the way to undermine a good script, but it’s looking very promising.

August 1, 2007 2:28 pm


Chopped liver?

No they were a delicious…


Kudos, Anthony and nice job.

How the hell am I gonna get any work done when the site keeps pulling me back?

August 1, 2007 2:29 pm

Wow, you are ‘besting’ even yourself in this insightful
interview with Nimoy !!

Well done, my son !


August 1, 2007 2:34 pm

17. “I am talking the original Star Trek, I can’t speak for The Next Generation or Enterprise or Deep Space Nine or any of them.”

And the petty TOS-first fan in me loves that he couldn’t even be bothered to think of, let alone mention, Voyager.

Oh my god…I thought the exact same thing. :D

August 1, 2007 2:35 pm

Great job, Anthony! If Nimoy likes it, I would say there is a fair chance that the movie is going to be tremendous. It is so wonderful to have a positive feeling about Star Trek’s current state. At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, I am so totally geeked out about how this movie is going and it’s only in the preliminary stages. To have the high level of Star Trek posters on this site paying attention to what we think makes it feel like it has been worth it to be one of the “regulars” here.

I probably would have screeched like a 13 year old girl if I had a chance to talk to Nimoy. I am grown up man, but in this I am afraid I would not be able to keep my dignity. Fanboy.

August 1, 2007 2:40 pm

“And hey we had Orci and Quinto this week….what are they chopped liver? ”

haha … certainly not. Nice to see Roberto shares your chills on this board as well. Thanks.

Nimoy’s involvement excites me to no end. The peak of my Trekdom had to have been his appearance as Spock in “Unification”. It looks like I may be in store for yet another peak of excitement …

August 1, 2007 2:40 pm

*bows repeatedly*

We’re not worthy!

Seriously, I am thrilled that Nimoy is returning. I do hope Shatner is able to return, as well, but if he can’t, at least they tried and at least they have Nimoy.

Tim Handrahan
August 1, 2007 2:42 pm

This just keeps getting better! Nimoy’s enthusiasm for the script is amazing! They have to get Shatner in now!

Sleeper Agent X
August 1, 2007 2:45 pm

Fantastic interview, Anthony!

It really is exciting to see that Nimoy is enthused about this project. I respect him so much, and the fact he’s eager to take part in this movie is more thrilling than any poster or casting rumor.

August 1, 2007 2:46 pm

Congrats. I am so jealous.

August 1, 2007 2:46 pm

Who’s your next exclusive interview with? God? ;)

August 1, 2007 2:47 pm

I hope Kirk’s demise in Generations has nothing to do with the Shat not having a role. Can’t you guys just… reimagine that never happened? :D hehe

Harry Ballz
August 1, 2007 2:47 pm

Somebody tell Shatner to stop holding out for megabucks and kindly accept whatever Nimoy is getting! Last call for Outer Space…ALL ABOARD!!! Whooo, whooo! Chooo, chooo, chooo……..

August 1, 2007 2:49 pm

Yeah Nimoy on board is good.

Nimoy on board and HAPPY with the script is even better!

Looking forward to reading the next part of the interview.

August 1, 2007 2:55 pm

Orci and Quinto are celebrities. Leonard Nimoy is a god.

What I mean is… Those guys, Orci and Zach, are essentially going out on a first date with Trekkies. We’re interested, we’re even attracted, but we’re also wary and so are they. We don’t know each other yet. Hopefully it will blossom into something beautiful, but, for now, that’s all mere potential. Much of what we say is either flattery or small talk, and it’s hard for the other to discern the one from the other.

Even though our relationship with Nimoy has been tumultuous, with mistakes on both sides (cough “I Am Not Spock”), it all began with a generation of teenaged girls swooning over him and continued right through our tears of grief at the end of Star Trek II until his final appearance in “Unification.” We love him dearly and we have for forty long and wonderful years. The excitement generated by an interview with him for us can not be compared to interviews with another living soul except Jim Kirk. Er… Bill Shatner.

All the interviews this week were examples of Trek reporting I wouldn’t have imagined getting as little as six months ago, and all were fantastic. But Nimoy is of a caliber unto himself.

Great article.

August 1, 2007 2:57 pm

I’ve expressed doubts, but if Mr. Nimoy says it’s great, than I accept his word. He is abrilliant actor, director, and photographer and I think I speak for all Trekkies everywhere when I say that I am extremely pleased that he’s going to be in the next movie.
I respect his opinion highly because he has always delivered quality.
Many thanks to Trekmovie for presenting this interview. It was fascinating.

I feel I must echo his statements about Generations- there was no Spock role, the lines could have been given to any character.
There was no Kirk role in that movie either and for exactly the same reasons. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Genreations, but I have always felt it was the weakest of the Trek movie outings.

August 1, 2007 3:03 pm

Sounds cool.

I am so happy to see Mr Nimoy back in Star Trek.

August 1, 2007 3:05 pm


Once again, many thanks for this great site that has quickly become the #1 Star Trek site on the net.

August 1, 2007 3:09 pm

It’s just so freakin awesome…. that feeling I used to get when Trek was 25 years old… it’s back, and for that, I am so grateful. I feel like a kid again!

August 1, 2007 3:13 pm

The magnitude of Nimoy jumping aboard isn’t lost on me (or anyone, methinks) – if he’s that high on the concept and quality of the story, and The Shat is champing at the bit for a proper encore, TWOK could have some competition for ‘Best Trek’ crown. I’m beginning to think this may be one helluva ride. But, this is coming from someone who thought Star Trek V was way under-rated. LOL