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‘Star Trek’ Headed To Long Beach December 11, 2007

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Star Trek (2009 film) , trackback

It appears that JJ Abrams is certainly making good on his plan to do as much location shooting as possible for the new Star Trek movie. In their first 5 weeks of filming they have been to at least four different Southern California locations, with the latest being a hangar in Orange County. Now the Long Beach Press Telegram is reporting that Long Beach City Hall (pictured right) may the next stop on the Star Trek road trip.

From the Press Telegram article:

Filmers are busy building things and otherwise getting set to shoot scenes at the sort of retro-space-agey 1976-era building for what appears to be the latest entry in the crazily popular “Star Trek” feature-film franchise.

Trek to Caprica
The Press Telegram could not get city officials to confirm that preparations were for Star Trek, but TrekMovie.com has confirmed that Trek is indeed headed to Long Beach. This will not be the first stop in L.B for Star Trek. The first days of shooting (starting November 7th) were done in a warehouse in Long Beach. This is also not the first sci-fi shoot at the Long Beach City Hall. In 1978 it stood in for the location of the Caprica peace conference in the pilot of the original Battlestar Galactica . No word yet on what the Star Trek crew are planning on using it for.

Long Beach city hall (on the right) in BSG’s TOS


1. Lostrod - December 11, 2007

Maybe I’m first, maybe I’m not, but …

This is interesting. A connection between Galactica and Star Trek.

2. MvRojo - December 11, 2007

Awesome…location shooting.

I’m glad this movie isn’t going to be stuck in soundstages. The Nemesis wedding with the tarp for the Alaskan background was really crappy.

3. Chapman - December 11, 2007


4. Danya Romulus - December 11, 2007

I agree that location shooting for buildings and planets and stuff is often preferable to sets, but am I the only one who is a little WORRIED about all the location shooting we’ve been hearing about? Because I really hope this is still primarily a “space adventure.”

5. MvRojo - December 11, 2007

#4 – There’s still three months left of filming, and one of the earlier articles mentioned that it would be front-loaded with location shoots.

6. CanuckLou - December 11, 2007

@4 These locations could be on different worlds.

7. tholianhata - December 11, 2007

The building looks like original Trek to me, in the long-distance shot, anyway. I like it.

8. =A= - December 11, 2007

i think better off show pictures because spoil information. keep private til dec 25th.

9. Rick Sternbach - December 11, 2007

One of the coolest buildings in Orange County was the Fluor Corporation campus (yes, the spelling is correct). Big shiny modern steel and glass with corner “turrets” like an massively updated castle. We were thinking of using it for a Starfleet location in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but BSG beat us to it. :) – Rick

10. Paul - December 11, 2007

Original Star Trek spent more time on planet surface than any other Trek, and I’ll be glad to see this tradition renewed. Let’s hope for even more location shooting!

11. Pete359 - December 11, 2007

Starfleet Academy maybe? Though the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant always looks cool as SFA.

12. diabolk - December 11, 2007

#9 Rick! I am not worthy to share the same message board with you. But I am honored to do so!!!!

13. Michael Hall - December 11, 2007

Ditto for #12. Nice to hear from you, Mr. Sternbach. :-)

14. Xai - December 11, 2007

(waving frantically…)

I have an interesting building! I have an interesting building!
Shoot here, shoot here..

I’ve a friend in Long Beach, maybe I can bum a room.

15. Anthony Pascale - December 11, 2007

Yes it is true, TrekMovie.com reported in October that the production team were ‘front loading’ the schedule with a lot of location shooting (but not exclusively location shooting). From January – March they will be primarily on the lot at paramount where the Enterprise sets and and other more sci-fi type set are.

16. Kirk's Girdle - December 11, 2007

Wow, Mr. Sternbach. Welcome! You never know who will drop in.

I’m also reminded of Century City being used in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Still, the problem I often see with location shots is that it can really pull you out of the film if you recognize the structure, no matter how dressed up it is for filming.

17. the king in shreds and tatters - December 11, 2007

that building’s pretty retro-modernist

18. Orbitalic - December 11, 2007

I am betting that the building will be dressed up via CGI not only around it, but possibly adding to the structure

19. TrekMadeMeWonder - December 11, 2007

20. Craig - December 11, 2007

Maybe that will be the Starfleet HQ building?

21. Lostrod - December 11, 2007


Welcome to the forum, Mr. Sternbach! Your amazing vision of the future is the kind of thing that makes science fiction such a passion for many of us.

Thanks for your contribution to the Star Trek universe!

22. Woulfe - December 11, 2007

So Six Degrees of Trek will now cross BSG for part of the game ?

Best thing about new actors is adding more dgrees of seperation to the game ;)

Not that we need to link to Heros useing Zach as we got that link with George & now Nikky as well ;)

– W –
* It’s all about, location, location, location *

23. DavidJ - December 11, 2007


I know what you mean. It was frustrating as hell seeing the big climaxes of Generations and Insurrection taking place in the desert or mountains instead of out in space where they belonged.

Hell, the TOS movies were almost ENTIRELY stagebound, and yet they still managed to be much better movies overall.

I’d still love to see a few epically huge alien vistas and planetscapes in this new movie though.

24. girl6 - December 11, 2007

This is so great. Downtown Long Beach has all these crazycool 60s/mod buildings that will be so true to the “futuristic” look of TOS.

For years, I thought “Operation: Annihilate” was filmed on location at the Long Beach Convention Center, not TRW in Redondo Beach. The buildings look a lot alike.

25. Rick Sternbach - December 11, 2007

#21 et al; thanks for the nice words. As for the shoot, I’ll be interested to see how it all comes together next Christmas, and how it compares to the various bits of architecture (real and otherwise) seen in other Trek films and series. Sure likes they’re still pouring cement for the next few centuries for some of it. :D


26. steve623 - December 11, 2007

Star Trek and location shooting is good, as long as no dune buggies are involved.

27. RTC - December 11, 2007

Let the canon debate begin:

Will Trek stars face the original-series Cylons, or the new Cylons?

: )

28. C.P. - December 11, 2007

Wonder if the scaffolding is for lighting and stuff or to veil what will be shot inside from those pesky paparazzi. It’s to “encircle” the entire base of the building?

29. Jupiter1701 - December 11, 2007

Jimmy Kirk’s shag-pad on Earth?


Where One Man Has Come Many Times Before.

30. Scott - December 11, 2007

I’m glad they’re doing extensive location shooting, but I wish they could have used some Eero Saarinen or Saarinen-inspired (think Jetsons) buildings to stand in for Federation HQ or Starfleet Academy, etc. Many of the tables and chairs on the Enterprise in TOS were Saarinen’s classic “tulip” designs.

Scott B. out.

31. Kirk's Girdle - December 11, 2007

I figured the scaffolding was for privacy/security. Of course, they could also throw a green screen up too.

32. girl6 - December 11, 2007


Long Beach has this cylindrical apartment building that’s like, 20 stories high. Looks just like the Jetson’s pad. They also have the “Spruce Goose” hangar that looks like half of a 10-story golf ball sitting inthe water.

Long Beach is a good location.

33. Pragmaticus - December 11, 2007

29 – That’s my thought.

34. MvRojo - December 11, 2007

#29 – Wow….just wow. :)

35. tony pieta - December 11, 2007

am i the only one who wouldn’t mind a return to the old TRW campus ala Deneva? the current company name eludes me at the moment. I just remember that when I first saw it, in early syndication, say, about 1973 or 74, it seemed like that the coolest, most futuristic location shoot i had ever seen.

36. miguel - December 11, 2007

#2, what are you talking about? it’s every woman’s dream to get married in front of a crappy alaskan-themed tarp!!!

Just kidding. I totally agree.

37. The Vulcanista - December 11, 2007

#30, Scott:

So TOTALLY agree! I grew up with Saarinen furniture and a love for all good things Mid-Century Modern that continues to this day. I even have the white 90″ round Formica Tulip dining table and two small round side tables that predate Trek by a good 10 years. My parents had the oval Saarinen conference table (walnut tabletop) featured in TOS and TNG as their dining table for years. They still have the Tulip chairs, dammit! Won’t give ’em up!

And let’s not even get into Warren Platner (Parents got some of that too!), whose designs made their way into TNG: http://tinyurl.com/258rel. When my family and I first saw TNG, we were all amazed that we had 24th century furniture in our living room!

Though designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, I’ve always thought the S.C. Johnson Admin building, in Racine, WI, would be a great ST location.
Here are some thumbnail images: http://tinyurl.com/2z6q2n

Can you tell I LOVE Mid-Century Mod, Mod, Mod? :-)

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

38. Bobo - December 11, 2007

I hope they don’t mind the pee stench from the homeless folks there. I used to live right by there and it reeked ! There is definitely a retro vibe there. A large area in front as a sort of courtyard with this retro future sculpture.

39. Gene L. Coon (was the Better Gene because he) was a U. S. Marine - December 11, 2007

#9 Hey Sternbach! Good to have you aboard. You worked on both TMP and STV, no? Doc was on here the other day and was talking about how there are no plans as yet for TMP-HD, or a sprucing up/editing of STV. Who do we need to “convince” over at Paramount? We’ve got your back!

And I mean “convince” in the Soprano style, if you get me, Oxmyx.

40. FYI: "First" is LAME. - December 12, 2007

If I didn’t know better, I’d think that the BSG set pictured up there, from 1978, was CGI.

Only, it looks too good to be CGI.

It has this strange, elusive quality, which, for lack of a better term, I’d call “realness.”

41. Cranston - December 12, 2007

“at the sort of retro-space-agey 1976-era building”

Retro-futuristic. Love it.

42. trektacular - December 12, 2007

Sternbach worked on Trek for a steady 15 years, he got fired along with Berman, Zimmerman et al. once Paramount got rid of them and made way for Abrams.

43. Lendorien - December 12, 2007

#41 Nice. Really Nice.

Anyhow, it’s a neat looking building. It’ll be interesting to see how it shows up.

44. DIGINON - December 12, 2007

Like some ppl already guessed the scaffolding could be to put up green screens (or blue screens) to change some aspects of the building in post production. That is if they plan to shoot people moving in and out of the (changed) building.
On the other hand, they could also be using the scaffolding to build something around the base for real :-)

45. Pat - December 12, 2007

Vulcanista– I agree about Johnson Wax!

It’s nice to see this production seems to have some architectural knowledge by having already filmed in the E. Fay Jones chapel earlier in the production and now with this building in Long Beach.

I hope it is Jimmy’s shag pad, jupiter. It is feels kinda like the building we saw out his window in Star Trek II

Location shooting kicks ass!

46. TJ Trek - December 12, 2007

if zimmerman really got “fired” rather then quit after so many years in the business, then thats a shame. Becuase, Zimmerman is one of like four or five main reasons that Trek movies were good. I mean look at the Baku village, or the Stellercartography set, or…. the Klingon court room in VI, and you will see that he was great at what he did. A shame if it is true

47. DIGINON - December 12, 2007

@46 TJ Trek: The way I understand is that the “old” STAR TREK is over. All the creative people involved during the Berman era were let go after Nemesis / the cancellation of Enterprise.
Now we have a new regime with JJ Abrams. The new producers also assembled a new production team, art department and everything. So unless Mr. Zimmerman got hired by the new team, he’s out, unfortunately.

I don’t know if you can say he got “fired”. His TREK just ended.

48. Scott - December 12, 2007

#37 – Hey Vulcanista (fellow Atlantan, yes?) – I’ve always been knocked out by the Johnson Wax bldg. interiors. Good call.

The thing I think is so appropriate about that “Jetsonian” architecture is that it’s so “ad astra” — optimistic, going boldly, zipping skyward. Star Trek was, in the beginning anyway, about seeking out new life, seeing new vistas, going one step beyond. That’s the sort of future vibe I’d like to see in a fresh (but respectful) take on classic Trek.

#32 girl6 – Thanks for the vote of confidence in the location. Despite my sighing, I do think these folks are making some very right decisions about how to pull off this production.

Scott B. out.

49. Rick Sternbach - December 12, 2007

#42; nah, wasn’t fired, just finished up Voyager and wasn’t invited to work on Enterprise because they already had their art dept. up and running. That’s the biz.

#39; It might be a little more difficult to do TNG in HD, but there was talk even when we were still doing the show that hi-res might be coming. I’m sure they’ll do a fine job if they get over the techy hurdles without having to recomposite everything.

Personally, for STXI I’d love to see people transport tubes like in Futurama.


50. Diabolik - December 12, 2007

I’d like to see a futuristic society with moving sidewalks, moving stairs and doors that automatically open… where everyone carries a personal communicator, and you can have a widescreen TV in your house.

Oh, wait….

51. danbramum - December 12, 2007

@47: I hope that the general change in the creative staff won’t mean that Trek loses its character of being progressive on a social level. 60s Trek was unique because it dealt with social change in a time the mass market desired for visions of technological progress, but social change was still a bit irritating for many. TNG was a child of the socially progressive era of the 80s, so the writers had much more freedom. The core personell stayed until a few years ago. Although many things already changed with Enterprise, and new ideas got scarce, the new film could become a much bigger break for the franchise. I hope for the better: that it will reanimate Trek’s progressive roots, and not become too much adjusted to the mainstream audience because of the large budget (I know that a few adjustments will be inevitable). But I’m confident they’ll find a good way.

Regarding the location shooting: The budget of the first films (except TMP) was not biggest, sometimes they had no other choice than filming on soundstage. Always loved the Khitomer building in ST6 or the Alaska parts – great, original atmosphere! Much better to spend the money on location shooting than on the salaries of stars!

52. Kev-1 - December 12, 2007

I hope they don’t spend a lot of time on futuristic apartments and buildings and such, especially on Earth– because that will take this out of being “Star Trek” and push it more towards 23rd century soap opera. But I expect this movie to have many more generic scenes in it that could be in any movie– not solely Trek– than the previous films. Hardly a frame of any Trek film (TOS) could be mistaken for anything else. Even though the sets in STII through VI were not super expensive, they had an unmistakable Trek vibe and feel to them.

53. Captain "Northern" Pike - December 12, 2007

“Personally, for STXI I’d love to see people transport tubes like in Futurama.”

I’d love more of that sort of golden agey SF touches. The look of Futurama always reminds me of the Gold Key comic Magnus Robot Fighter as drawn by Russ Manning. I don’t think we’re going to see that. The use of locations rather than “designed” sets seems more of a Star Wars approach rather than Star Trek aesthetic.

54. Crusade2267 - December 12, 2007

Star Trek has always done locations, though. There were heavy location shoots in both Star Trek 4 and Insurrection.

55. Doorchime - December 12, 2007

Personally, I’d love to see some outside shouting. With the crew being outide and all, the make-up department even could get a break in providing a healthy blush :) . So location is the word and by the looks of it, Long beach will be grand.

And to #25 mr. Sternbach: what a sweet irony that Star Trek is able to get back to the original Starfleet location, isn’t it? Patience is a vitue. And good to see you on this board. I’m in love with your work on Star Trek AND Solaris (that is one very well designed film! Thanks!)

And off course, with the PADD’s you will always be the guy who designed the iPhone before the iPhone ;)

56. Kirk, James T. - December 12, 2007

so when is Star Trek heading out to Iceland???

57. DIGINON - December 12, 2007

@56: I think I read some time ago that only a second unit crew is gonna go to Iceland. Probably none of the principal actors.

58. VulcanBabe - December 12, 2007

Does anyone know what budget Abrams is working with?

59. Rick Sternbach - December 12, 2007

#55; Heh – Jonathan Ive’s got nuthin’ on me. That PADD was waaaayyy ahead of its time. Though I never did get the idea that someone had to have a desk piled high with PADDs when one would do (I know, I know, it was for the humorous effect). I’m waiting for the iPhone that unfolds into a big SuperPanavision-aspect screen. :)


60. Bill - December 12, 2007

I have to say, I am really charged to see them use retro-futuristic buildings like they did for BSG in 1978. I was just watching a couple of old episodes of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and despite the campy clothes and those groovy Disco rhythms, they did some fine work with matte paintings and the use of futuristic architecture.

BTW Mr. Sternbach, I still have my original copy of Star Trek Spaceflight Chronology from when I bought it as a kid in 1980. (complete with the cover falling off!).

61. TrekGuide.com - December 13, 2007

I don’t understand why Paramount never licenced the original communicator prop as a cell phone design. It would be cool to have a functional, exact replica of a communicator, complete with sound effects, blinking lights, and an Uhura-style Bluetooth earpiece.

I laugh every time William Shatner’s cell phone makes a classic communicator “chirp” on “Boston Legal.”

62. Doorchime - December 13, 2007

#59 Ya damn right :) let’s see Apple develop an Argoshuttle :)
On the display, we’re getting there it seems: http://tinyurl.com/2bk3w9 :)


63. Jackson Roykirk - December 13, 2007

#37 Vulcanista

Speaking of Frank Lloyd Wright designs, the Marin County Civic Center is worthy of a Star Trek filming location. It looks like a TOS matte painting of a cityscape:


64. petrovalovsk kamchatsky - December 13, 2007

yup they’re filming in the loading dock of city hall as we speak.
lots of extras wearing black raingear-like uniforms and with those margie simpson’s bee hive hair for the ladies.

65. The Vulcanista - December 13, 2007

#63 Jackson,

You’re right! That is some groovycoolness!

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

66. bill - December 13, 2007

If anyone is interested, the scaffolds are up, green screens attached to those on the north-west corner of the building and privacy tarps around the other sections of the circular base. Glass doors are covered and guards everywhere to keep out the curious. HUGE number of vans, trucks and a large portion of the small Lincoln Park fenced off to create a tent city for cast and staff.

67. The Vulcanista - December 13, 2007

#66 Bill

Thanks for the report. Let us know if you see anyone *really* interesting.

I wonder how the LB city hall worker bees are handling all this? Did they shut down the Long Beach city gov during the shoot? Enquiring minds want to know!

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

68. Dee Dee Dee - December 13, 2007

to tell you the truth #67, i wish they did shut down city hall, so us city hall worker bees can be away from this intrusion. people hushing us while exiting elevators, we ignore em, and we’d continue talking. lame ass security guards demanding for our city id once we pass their post, we just walk right pass them and ignore em. we’re beyond tired of all this stupidity. hollywood peeps you’re not above us. you’re in LBC suckers! dee dee dee!

69. The Vulcanista - December 13, 2007

#68 Dee Dee Dee

I feel your pain. I’ve experienced trying to be a normal person trying to live life during a location movie shoot before (“Breaking Away”, Athens, GA, late ’70s.) They damn near shut down downtown Dawgtown for a good month. It sucked, and their superior attitudes didn’t help.

They’ll be gone soon.

(but in the meantime, let us know if you see anyone cool! ‘Kay? :-))

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

70. bill - December 14, 2007

#67 Vulcanista

No sightings as of yet but the attempt at secrecy about costumes is beyond silly. Actors are in costume but when in public areas they wear grey full length choir robes to hide the outfit. As they wend their way to the shooting site, guards are always pulling up blue tarps to hide the actors going by. People on their little walkie-talkies talking about the stair well being clear and other such nonsense.

The guards actually stopped the Assistant City Attorney and told her she would need to take off her shoes or wait to prevent the sound of her heels from showing up on the sound track. I heard from her that some sort of senior guard came out and told the younger chap that it would be okay for her to go to her car.

It can be annoying with some many attitudes running around but you just have to out-attitude them and they get real docile. :-)

71. theWOLF - December 14, 2007

Well – if anyone is interested – spend the past 3 days working in Long Beach City Hall basement – surronded by all the happenings! It appears most – if not all of the filming was done inside the Council Chambers.

72. The Vulcanista - December 15, 2007

Thanks Bill, the WOLF!

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

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