Pre-production on the new Star Trek feature film is in full force right now. Most of the Bad Robot team including director J.J. Abrams have moved onto the Paramount lot in the last month and according to sources their little golf carts can be seen speeding all over the place. Most design work is complete and construction has been on going since September on a number of Paramount stages, including 4, 8, 9, 14 and 15…all of which have seen past Trek productions. Stages 8 and 9 have the most Trek history, having been in almost constant use for Trek films and TV from 1978 (Phase II/TMP) through 2005 (ENT). The production is also still expected to use some stages on the Universal lot as well.
A word you hear a lot from those working on this film is ‘epic.’ A source tells TrekMovie.com that this film will have more sets than any other Trek film to date. That being said, the source also said that Abrams wants to do a lot of location work for the film. Apparently Abrams wants the film to "feel as real as possible" and if there is a scene in a building or a cave Abrams wants to use a real building or cave (with appropriate set dressing). The Star Trek shoot starts November 5th and will run to next March making it the longest Trek shoot since Star Trek The Motion Picture. There is still a tentative plan late in the shoot to do two weeks in Iceland (which itself will also be a Trek first). Rehearsals are slated to start next week.
Big budget…but not that big
For a long time the TrekMovie.com Star Trek 2008 Info Page had the budget stated at $100+ Million, and it was later updated to an estimate of $120 Million both of which were based on studio sources. The flux may be attributed to the fact that the film’s budget itself has been in flux (and apparently still is to an extent). Moviehole is now reporting that Paramount and Abrams have settled on a budget around $150-$160 Million. However, a source close to the finances tells TrekMovie.com that the number is "somewhere in between" our earlier $120 estimate and the Moviehole’s $150 Million. Regardless, the new Star Trek film will be the most expensive Trek film to date, coming in at twice as much as the last film Star Trek Nemesis. The most expensive previous film was actually the first (Star Trek: The Motion Picture), which cost around $110 Million in today’s dollars. Even though the new Star Trek is in a whole new ballpark for the franchise, the budget will still be less than J.J. Abrams’ first Paramount film Mission Impossible III. It is also less than this year’s Transformers which was written by Star Trek’s co-writing team of Orci and Kurtzman. But Paramount are clearly expecting Trek to be one of their two mass market tentpoles (along with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) for 2008.
Pike and Mr. & Mrs. Kirk…no Garrovick
Last January TrekMovie.com reported that Captain Chris Pike and Kirk’s brother George Samuel Kirk would make an appearance in the new Trek film. In their story about Cho as Sulu, The Hollywood Reporter has now confirmed Pike will be in the film along with both of Kirk’s parents. It isn’t clear if Kirk’s brother is in the current draft and the confusion could be that Kirk’s father may share the same name as his brother (if the writers used the non-canon books reference for Kirk’s father’s name). According to THR Pike and Kirk’s parents have not yet been cast. The January TrekMovie.com article also stated that Capt. Garrovick (Kirk’s commander on the Farragut) would be in the film, but apparently that was from an earlier version of the script and is no longer the case. Check the updated cast page for the list of known characters and actors.