Abrams On Shatner and Star Trek Audience

JJ Abrams called into the the Adam Carolla Show on Thursday morning to talk Cloverfield and Star Trek. In the interview Abrams joked you might need Dramamine to deal with Cloverfield’s shaky cam style. He also talked about the origin of the film title. Regarding Trek he discussed why Shatner has not been cast and how he is approaching the new Star Trek film. Details and audio below.

Abrams described Cloverfield as ‘Blair Witch meets Godzilla.’ He revealed that he always wanted to do a monster movie, but wanted to do it differently and chose to do it from ‘that guys point of view.’ Apparently that the name of the film evolved from them using a ‘shell company’ within Paramount called ‘Cloverfield’ to make the movie and keep it secret…and the name just stuck.

Carolla took a few swipes at Shatner’s recent complaints about not being in the Star Trek film, but Abrams came back saying that Shatner was ‘an icon’ and ‘an amazing guy.’ He then went on to say that he wanted to find a way to put Shatner in but it was ‘tricky’ because Kirk is dead.

Abrams went on to say that he has been a fan of the show, but not ‘insane’ about it (like he is for The Twilight Zone). Regarding the targets for the film he made it clear they have a wide mandate:

You don’t have to know a thing about Star Trek to get on board and love the characters. We are making it for the fans on the one hand, but the truth is that we are making this movie for people who don’t know a thing about Star Trek.

Listen to the Adam Carolla interview of JJ Abrams (Trek bit starts around 5 minutes in)
[audio:abramscorolla.mp3]

Audio courtesy of The Adam Carolla Show

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Kirk, James T.
January 18, 2008 6:12 am

Abrams knows what he’s doing – im a fan of Star Trek, a newer fan, loved the original and love the sound and look to this new film – reminds me of blade runner in the look of the trailer – a real gritty sci-fi drama, lets hope the film doesn’t let up!

Robert April
January 18, 2008 6:13 am

Still trying to find a way to fit him in?

Admiral_Bumblebee
January 18, 2008 6:18 am

It WAS tricky? ;)

Really, no Shatner, no money from me.

VulcanBabe
January 18, 2008 6:22 am

Sounds more like Abrams didn’ t care to try too much…but the trailer does look good, I must admit!

cugel the clever
January 18, 2008 6:24 am
It’s clear from the care and respect with which he’s approaching this film, that Abrams is a fan. However, it’s also clear that he’s not an expert on the franchise because there are several ways that he could have used the elder Kirk (and therefore Shatner) in the film. Here are a few examples ….. 1. The TNG episode “Parallels” showed that in Star Trek canon, there are an infinite number of variations on the general star trek theme – all of them are valid. Just as in some realities, Picard was dead and in others he was alive, the same could be true of Kirk. The film could have been made in a star trek “reality” that was almost identical to the canon with which we’re familiar, with the minor change that Kirk didn’t die (perhaps this was a reality in which Picard died – this would certainly please the TNG haters around here!). 2. Picard was able to visit Kirk in the Nexus. Who’s to say that the new movie couldn’t also show him in the Nexus or have Spock or other characters contacting him there. 3. The script could have been written to use the Kirk character from the post- Undiscovered Country and Pre-Generations time. If I can think of three perfectly plausible ways of bringing Kirk/Shat into the movie, I’m sure that others can think of many more. There must be another reason why Shat’s not in the film. Probably they didn’t offer him enough money… Read more »
Chris Roberts
January 18, 2008 6:26 am

It Isn’t a good thing to compare Star Trek to Casino Royale.It threw out any contunity the bond films did have.Now it just amages me how anyone can call It Bond 21,and the next film Bond 22.Bond was more of a jason Bourne rip off.And consider those who praise Danial Crag and bash
Pierce Brosnon(Even though he saved the series after Timothy Dalton)
and how would you feel for people to say Chris Pine Is better than
William Shatner the way some claim Craig Is better than Sean Connery.

cugel the clever
January 18, 2008 6:29 am

In fact, further to point# 3 in my post, it would have been a very nice tie-in to Undiscovered Country, to have Kirk and Spock, on the final voyage of the Enterprise; reminiscing with the crew about the time they first met and their first voyage together.

Danpaine
January 18, 2008 6:34 am

….I’m beginning to think more and more that I’ll wait for the DVD to come out, then rent it before I think about buying it.

VOODOO
January 18, 2008 6:34 am

They never wanted Shatner.

Such creative people would surely have found a way if they truly wanted him.

Yendis
January 18, 2008 6:48 am

ahem,

even if they wanted to include Kirk, they couldn’t becvause that would require a rewrite. As there is currently a strike, there can be no rewrites.

Also, if they made mistakes, they’re stuck with them.

Ensign Ricky
January 18, 2008 6:48 am

Regarding the “Kirk is dead” thing….. I’ve often wondered if this is really the case. In ‘Generations’, Scotty watches as Kirk supposedly dies on the Enterprise B. Later in the movie, Kirk supposedly dies for real, but this is witnessed by only Picard…Scotty isn’t there.

Fast forward 80 or so years to the time of the Next Generation. Scotty is rescued from the USS Jenolan that has crashed on the Dyson sphere. So what are the first words that he says upon learning that the ‘Enterprise’ is the one that rescued him? “I bet that James Kirk himself brought the old girl out to save me” (to paraphrase). In Scotty’s mind, it is still the 23 century but it is still *after* the events of the Enterprise B incident.

In other words, Scotty saw Kirk die, but yet was convinced that he was still alive enough to rescue him. I’ll admit that probably was a writing continuity error at the time; never the less, doesn’t that imply that Kirk somehow survived and Scotty was aware of that?

Just my 2 cents.

January 18, 2008 6:51 am

Has anyone thought that maybe this whole “Shatner isn’t in the film” is a big joke on us?

Yendis
January 18, 2008 6:51 am

As there always remained a Guinan in the Nexus even when the real Guinan was rescued, wouldn’t there always remain a Kirk in the Nexus?

Scott
January 18, 2008 7:01 am

Is there still hope of Shat being in the film?

Benjamin
January 18, 2008 7:03 am

#6- James Bond was making film history while Jason Bourne was still in diapers. Who stole ideas from who now?

This is like saying that The Motion Picture stole ideas from Star Wars just because it came out second. Star Trek, and Bond, were the ones breaking barriers, not the other way around.

Casino Royale was the 21st James Bond movie… and Star Trek will be the eleventh. Thus “Star Trek XI.” It being set earlier in time doesn’t erase the previous movies. Where’s the problem here?

As for actors…. Daniel Craig is a far better *actor* than Sean Connery, who essentially played the same character all through his career. That doesn’t take anything away from Sean as a classic icon. It builds on it.

So will Chris Pine be a better Kirk than Shatner? We’ll wait and see. It doesn’t matter if he is — Shatner’s legacy is secure, don’t worry.

AJ
January 18, 2008 7:05 am

Blecch. If they even mention the Nexus in this film, I’ll barf.

“Relics” was made before ST:G, so it was not an intentional error.

January 18, 2008 7:07 am

13,

Yes I always thought that – there is a “version” of Kirk still in the Nexus as time is not linear in the Nexus or may not even exist at all (quantum string theories have even stranger multiple universe/dimensional realities with time anomolies that are even more wierd than sci-fi!). As his Shatness himself said, this is science fiction and there could well be some way of writing this around. But I guess such a thing would interrupt the narrative of the screenplay as it stands…? Bob..?

Uncle Twitchy
January 18, 2008 7:08 am

Everything that has happened in the Star Trek universe post-GENERATIONS has been Picard’s Nexus fantasy anyway, so it really doesn’t matter.

justcorbly
January 18, 2008 7:08 am

Any effort to use Shatner-Kirk in the film would require so much convoluted plotting to explain how and why he isn’t dead that most of the movie would have been about that. At that, only hard-core fans would have an inkling of understanding what all the fuss ia about. Why? Because only hard-core fans know and care that Kirk died.

Of course, if they just skipped the explanation part, every reader of this site would jump at them with knives.

If it was my movie, Shatner would not be in it because i do not believe he can any longer play a credible Captain Kirk. The only way I might use him would be in a brief reunion scene with the other remaining TOS actors. They could all gather around someone’s grave or bed for 30 seconds of white-haired schmaltz.

justcorbly
January 18, 2008 7:11 am

#6: Good movies with bad continuity are better than good continuity with bad movies. Plus, why would anyone be emotionally invested in aguing that one actor is better than another in a role? It’s all pretend.

Jay
January 18, 2008 7:12 am

I for one am happy about everything I hear from abrams on this movie. I love the fact that he’s focusing on a larger, newer audience. I’ve always wished that someone would bring some serious money and commitment to Star Trek and make it all it could be. I’ve always been disapointed in the movies after the first 2. Too many of them seemed like nothing more than a 2 hour tv episode shown in a movie theater. No ground breaking special effects, or camera angles. No new cool ideas. No real connection to our reality, or the idea of this being our future.

They just seemed too much like mass produced movies, much like the production value of a tv episde. Made on small budgets with a pre-calculated return based on the certain number of fanatic Trekkies that will go see it no matter how bad it is.

This movie looks to break that mold and THANK GOD!!… Hopefully we will finally see all of what Star Trek could be.

Chris Roberts
January 18, 2008 7:20 am

This film can be called number 11 because It will fit Cannon.There Is no way you can claim Casino Royale fits with earlier Bond films.Now while the earlier Bond films probally Influenced the Bourne novels there Is no doudt the bourne films Influenced Casino Royale.Now while Casino Royale was not as bad as what Ron Moore did with battlestar galactica I generally don’t like restarts and If the Casino Royale comparsions are allowed to hold soon some will be prasing the new actors and bashing the originals.

Michael Foote
January 18, 2008 7:24 am

I still say that if you want Shat in the movie, use the butterfly effect. You know, if a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil, it rains in New York. Romulans change time, Spock changes it back, Butterfly effect of time changes, Kirk didn’t die on Veridian III.

me
January 18, 2008 7:36 am

No Shatner!

He became too thick for Kirk

Superman
January 18, 2008 7:41 am

#3

I’m with you, Admiral.

This film could be Oscar-worthy, but I’ll not see it if Bill’s not in it.

\S/

dalek
January 18, 2008 7:45 am

They knew this before they scripted the film. Lame excuse if this means he’s never going to be in it.

I see no evidence whatsoever that they are “desperately” finding a way to include Shatner, like they previously stated.

Vulcan Soul
January 18, 2008 7:54 am

No need to fit that crying teenie attention whore really ;) A little humility is what that guy really needs!

Robofuzz
January 18, 2008 7:54 am

18: I have been saying that for years. Picard did not actually leave the Nexus and save the Enterprise D crew. He is still trapped in there living a fantasy – just like how he saw his wife and children.

January 18, 2008 7:58 am
response to #6 **It Isn’t a good thing to compare Star Trek to Casino Royale.It threw out any contunity the bond films did have.Now it just amages me how anyone can call It Bond 21,and the next film Bond 22.Bond was more of a jason Bourne rip off.And consider those who praise Danial Crag and bash Pierce Brosnon(Even though he saved the series after Timothy Dalton) and how would you feel for people to say Chris Pine Is better than William Shatner the way some claim Craig Is better than Sean Connery.** Excuse me? Are you kidding? Do you know ANYTHING about James Bond… at all? Obviously not much, from that ridiculous statement. First off, Bond continuity went out the window when Roger Moore continued playing Bond well into grandfather time. Each time Bond is replaced by a younger actor, continuity is disrupted. Brosnan was a KID whenever he saw Goldfinger in the theaters, so therefor HIS Bond could not have battled Auric Goldfinger or the forces of SPECTRE by the timeframe of Goldeneye. There is no way you can continue having a James Bond in his 30’s-40’s, with the stories and plots taking place in modern day time, and connecting it to his exploits battling bald, cat loving villains from the 60’s. So continuity and “cannon” do not work with James Bond. And how is JAMES BOND a JASON BOURNE rip off? Are you referring to the re-booted Bond franchise? If so, and I hope you are, then you… Read more »
The Master
January 18, 2008 8:05 am

HMM, Casino Royal was a remake of the original Bond Film by the same name. If Memory serves James Bond at that time was played by someone who was not Connery. Connery first played 007 in Dr. No. In the original Casino Royal Bond was a minor character, If memory serves. the Franchise started with Dr. No.

dalek
January 18, 2008 8:05 am

#29 “As for the rest of you… the idea of putting Shatner in this film is ridiculous and stupid. Kirk is D-E-A-D. Get over it.”

You mean the majority of TrekMovie visitors who voted in a poll a few months back that they wanted him in the film. Sorry, but loud as you are, statistically you’re in the minority there.

CW
January 18, 2008 8:13 am

It will probably be a Fast and The Furious 3 moment: Spock in his hi-tech EVO, pulls up next to Shat in his Plymouth SuperBee. Shat calls him ‘Kid’, something about having all the time in the world and ZOOM!!! Off they go…….

January 18, 2008 8:17 am

30, Casino Royale 2006 was NOT a remake of the 60’s CR which was made seperately from the Bond franchise and was a satirical comedy starring david niven. The two films are not related. at all. And until that particular film, Royale was made into a TV movie in the 1950’s before the film franchise and also has no relation to the official films.

and 31, I could give a rats ass what a TrekMovie.com poll says. I may be in the minority, but that is where sensibility lies. So neener neener neeeeeener.

Closettrekker
January 18, 2008 8:19 am

#3 and #25–That’s unfortunate. Star Trek was always much more than the sum of its cast. It is a positive look at a utopian future for humanity. Shatner was great as Jim Kirk from the 60’s-80’s(Kirk was my TV hero), but at some point, he stopped being William Shatner as James Kirk, and started playing James Kirk as William Shatner (IMO).

#16–I’m with you. I hated that movie (but not as much as I hated STV).

#21–Although I liked STIV, as well as the first 2, I hear what you are saying and I agree. I think everything (filmwise) after STIV is unworthy. I hope Star Trek can get back to being Star Trek. We’ll see. I’ll give it every chance to succeed in my eyes.

Jupiter1701
January 18, 2008 8:20 am

Groan, not another William Shatner thread . . .

(Closes lid on laptop, with two hands slams computer repeatedly against head.)

dalek
January 18, 2008 8:22 am

#33 :P to you too lol

Trek and Bond are chalk and cheese. It’s like comparing X-Files to Superman. Continuous myth vs revisionist interpretation.

Chris Roberts
January 18, 2008 8:22 am

James Bond fans have long ago been willing to pretend Bond Is an ageless character.
With Casino Royale you can longer pretned that.It Is not fair to call it the 21st bond film.and the next one Bond 22(It should be called Bond 2) and you do realaze that Sean Connery Himself was not a perfect adaption of the Bond of the novels.Bond was super serious In the novels.Much of the action Sequenzes In the film were Invented by the film makers,and Bond was not a rookie In the Casino Royale novel.The fact remains If we want any Cannon perserved for Star Trek Casino Royale Is not the film that should be compared to.

trekee
January 18, 2008 8:23 am

@20 – “It’s all pretend.”

Nope, sorry – you’ve lost me there…

January 18, 2008 8:25 am

I share other’s dissapointment that William Shatner will not be in the film, but we have to have faith, and trust that since the people who are making this film are also Trek-fans, I’m sure they had good reasons for the choices they made.
At the same time, this IS Star Trek, and, apparently, some degree of time-travel is involved in this new film. So, perhaps “old” Spock will inform “young” Spock to watch out for Kirk in the future, thereby saving him… and maybe – just maybe – Shatner will appear in the next film. (I can’t be the only one who thought of this, right?)

YUBinit
January 18, 2008 8:33 am

On JJ… BS! If Spock can die and come back so can Kirk. Might take somone clever to do it… OH, nvm.

The Enemy
January 18, 2008 8:36 am
Right…ok, here is the thing: 1. If anything Bourne in itself is a rip-off of the novel Bond, in which Ian Fleming made Bond a heroic, dashing, but cold-hearted bastard, who cared for nothing save for Queen and Country and the mission. Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne is just a re-hash of this exact same charatcer, but the only difference is that the identity of Bourne can be put on like a mask, when needed. Ludlum himself, has cited Fleming as the spark that made him want to write spy novels. 2. Call it what you want, but CR was the first and, in my humble opinion, the best adaptation of the charatcer that first sprang from the pages of the novels. Props to Connery and eveything else, but Craig was THE personifcation of Bond that was needed for the REBOOT of the series. Haggis, in an interview during press for CR, said that he wanted to return Bond to his roots as a character and strip down all of the cartoonish aspects of him that had come up in the films, and in doing so he returned the character to the Bond of the books. and 3. Kirk in this film would destroy everything, and I mean everything, that Abrams is attempting to do with this film. Like TheBigJig said, an entire film or half of a film would have to be devoted to this idea and story of the resurrection. Personally, I wouldn’t see it. I have seen the… Read more »
Katie G.
January 18, 2008 8:37 am
29. TheBigJig – January 18, 2008 and 31. dalek – January 18, 2008 Don’t make me come up there… :-) Everyone is so passionate about their Star Trek. Let’s make room for opinion, okay? For example, I would LOVE to see Captain Kirk again but it doesn’t seem logical (sorry) to include him because of the complicated situation he’s in, um, being, he’s dead. Plus he is almost 77 and it would be rather difficult to make him look like he did in “Generations” Even if they finally did find a way to write him in, could he pull off hitting the gym and losing the bloated look caused by underlying health issues? (Sorry guys, but you gotta admit he does look a bit “puffy”.) I love him for bringing his “Kirk” to me, but I think his time has passed. Ow that hurt. I hate to say it, but I think it may be true. With all of the resources he has, why hasn’t he pulled everyone together to make a “Trek” movie? If anyone could pull that off, couldn’t the great Willam Shatner? Just a thought… (Or has he tried that and failed? I’ve heard rumblings that the rest of TOS cast weren’t too fond of him.) It’s a shame that Kirk can’t be in it but in keeping with the way McCoy has said it many times, “you’re dead, Jim”. Moving on… I hope this installment doesn’t come out looking like a “Twilight Zone” episode given that… Read more »
The Enemy
January 18, 2008 8:40 am

Leave it to the only chick that posts on here to make everything right again…

Tox Uthat
January 18, 2008 8:42 am

Assuming time is involved in XI:

Current Spock finds out about the Romulan plan (assuming this is the general idea) to kill young Kirk. Spock decides to take action and travels back in time.

Current Spock travels back but make a stop in the 23rd Century a few days before the launch of E-B. He wasn’t in contact with Kirk at that time and never had closure. As a plot device, during the conversation, he unknowingly picks up a bit of information.

Spock continues on his mission and deals with young Spock, which in turn uses the then unknown information to the benefit of the mission.

Mission success, Kirk contributes to his own past and Shatner is in the movie.

In any event, looking forward to XI.

January 18, 2008 8:45 am

I don’t disagree that there’s anything wrong with a change in tone, per se, but the way some people here talk about it, they seem to be trying to convince themselves more than anyone else. The idea that changing a formula or tone is always valid has been proven wrong by any number of TV programmes that become crass or boring (e.g. Friends or The Simpsons) when they start to drastically change their approach. It’s also stupid to think that turning Star Trek into something action-driven is going to improve it; Classic Star Trek was always more about ideas, relationships and dialogue.

Captain_Neill
January 18, 2008 8:47 am

Abrams has admitted he is making this for the non fans more so than the hard core fans, I hope he does not alter all we know and love about Star Trek to get that mainstream audience

Closettrekker
January 18, 2008 8:54 am

“Corolla took a few swipes at Shatner’s recent complaints about not being in the Star Trek film, but Abrams came back saying that Shatner was ‘an icon’ and ‘an amazing guy.’ He then went on to say that he wanted to find a way to put Shatner in but it was ‘tricky’ because Kirk is dead.”

Sorry, guys. I had to.

justcorbly
January 18, 2008 8:55 am

There’s a cannon preserved at the battlefield memorial down the road.

You’d think people who are going to fixate on canon would at least be clever enough to spell it correctly.

justcorbly
January 18, 2008 8:58 am

#40: It took an entire movie to bring Spock back. I don’t wanna wacth an entire movie devoted to bringing Kirk back.

Besides, if, at the time time, Nimoy had been 30 years older (and looked it) and 70 pounds heavier, Spock would have stayed dead.

Dr. Image
January 18, 2008 9:01 am

To state the obvious:

Abrams has to make money for Paramount.
Abrams probably laughs out loud when Roberto reports to him that fans keep mentioning, “canon.”
Abrams is pulling exactly what Berman did, but this time, with far LESS respect for Trek history. (And frankly, I’m shocked.)
Above all, Abrams knows that ultimately nobody really cares, and that everyone will end up falling into lock-step anyhow.

You all are proving him right.

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