Pine’s Kirk Inspired By Harrison Ford?

Last week Chris Pine, Star Trek’s new James T Kirk, told the USA today that he was “not trying to copy” William Shatner’s portrayal of the original character. Now comes news that the actor may be looking to another famous action star actor for ideas. When asked where he looked for inspiration, Pine told IGN “Harrison Ford in either Indiana Jones or Star Wars.”

So why Harrison Ford?

What Harrison Ford is so great at doing is bringing that quality to his characters that if they could be anywhere else in the world they would be there, but he is not, he just is in the middle of s*** and he has to figure out a way of dealing with it so that he can go back to doing whatever the hell he was doing before the film started…
I’ve always loved that quality about him in Star Wars, this sense of absolute grumpy manner; the accidental hero. Not to say that I modeled my version of James T Kirk on anything in particular but I think I definitely have wanted to bring that kind of Harrison Ford humour to Kirk.

More at IGN

Indiana Kirk? just ran a story in which Star Trek scribes Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman described how the Indiana Jones movies have influenced their work. Here is more from Kurtzman on Harrison Ford:

I would go as far as to say that literally nobody plays action like Harrison Ford. Nobody. I can’t think of anybody who is able to make you feel that the stakes are real, and also make you laugh in the middle of that.

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Captain Chase
March 10, 2008 8:37 pm

slap to the face

March 10, 2008 8:38 pm

Conceptually, the Kirk on the original series was a professional military officer and explorer, doing what he had trained and dedicated his life to doing. He was an exceptionally intelligent and focused individual

That was forty years ago, of course.

the king in shreds and tatters
March 10, 2008 8:40 pm

Now I’m picturing Harrison Ford in eyeshadow running around shouting “I’M CAPTAIN KIRK!”

J.D. Lee
March 10, 2008 8:43 pm


March 10, 2008 8:46 pm

Those comments by Pine are going to raise a few a few eyebrows and cause a some temper flair ups from some of the core Trekie audience Just what we need more controversy, Oh Well thats half the fun of this website, let the games begin, again.

March 10, 2008 8:49 pm

errrr I’m not sure how I feel about that. Although I do admire Harrison Ford, and especially love the Indiana Jones movies, and completely agree with Pine’s take on Indy, I don’t think that’s James Kirk. I always felt that Kirk thrived on being in the middle of this sh*t.

After all, Kirk did say “risk is our business.”

March 10, 2008 8:50 pm

The way I see it, if he’s going to draw his inspiration from somewhere other than Shatner, it may as well be from somewhere good … and Harrison Ford is somewhere good. So, I’m cool with that; sign me up for the team that gets our houses egged by the purists ;)

March 10, 2008 8:55 pm

oh here we go again..

Someone get the lifejackets… the hardcore group will see this and go overboard again.

Spock with a Crowbar
March 10, 2008 8:56 pm

The Kirk I know is a far cry from wanting to “be anywhere else in the world” than on the bridge of the enterprise solving problems : (

Gary Seven
March 10, 2008 8:57 pm

This troubles me. Han Solo, the grumpy, reluctant to help guy, is simply not Captain Kirk. Kirk is a hero, a dedicated officer. I hope this is some dumb offhand comment, but I worry it is a misunderstanding, and serious underestimating, of the Kirk character.

March 10, 2008 8:57 pm




Spock with a Crowbar
March 10, 2008 8:58 pm

I’ll take that lifejacket, I guess.

March 10, 2008 9:01 pm

ugh, no. this is bad news :(

March 10, 2008 9:06 pm

That Photoshoppery, by the way, is almost supernaturally creepy, in an “evil wax dummy that comes alive when the wax museum is closed” sort of way.

March 10, 2008 9:06 pm

This is the kirk I know:

He never hesitated from being down to a planet because there might be snakes…

Justin Scherrep
March 10, 2008 9:08 pm

It will be just fine!!!!!!

March 10, 2008 9:13 pm

Well, the perhaps the YOUNGER James T. Kirk could have had that Harrison Ford quality to him.

March 10, 2008 9:16 pm

neither hero went looking for trouble, but did what they had to do when trouble found them.

It will be fine.

Chaz McMarketing
March 10, 2008 9:20 pm

At this point, I think we’d be better with Picardo’s Emergency Command Hologram.

March 10, 2008 9:21 pm

like I said… break out the lifejackets

Denise de Arman
March 10, 2008 9:24 pm

The Indiana Jones (or Han Solo, for that matter) character I know would not be caught dead as captain of a starship in a military organization, especially responsible for the lives of 420 crewpeople. Perhaps Pine is considering the character from a much younger perspective; however, even given this contingency, why would a command cadet at a prestigous military academy ever respond with a “grumpy humour” in emergency situations? William Shatner always responded to given situations in a believeable, appropriate acting style. Command candidate training at an institution such as Westpoint emphasizes strategy, psychology, logic, fierce discipline, etc. Methinks the lad needs to do some emergency homework of his own on military training institutions and high-level command requirements. Indiana Jones and Captain Kirk – two entirely different characters, genres and acting philosophies.

Katie G.
March 10, 2008 9:26 pm

Well, bless his little heart for being honest, but maybe that wasn’t the best thing to share. Does that mean he wishes that he got Shia LeBeouf’s part? OMG – – this is like a Soap Opera. What’s next?

Stay tuned, Trek lovers, same Trek time, same Trek channel…

(Oops, wrong catch phrase). Um, Red Alert!! Uh, Phazers on stun! No – – Beam me up, J. J.



March 10, 2008 9:27 pm

i have added a poll

March 10, 2008 9:28 pm

why do these actors always catch foot in mouth disease?

March 10, 2008 9:35 pm

#17 – I was thinking the exact same. As much as we want to see an accurate portrayal of Kirk as he “should be” comparing to the movies, remember the crew is younger, could be less experienced than what we’ve seen in the Original Series and the movies. Perhaps Kirk really is accidentally thrown into a situation he doesn’t know how to handle yet and finds out he’s actually good at it, therefore bringing about his affinity to lead and be able to captain the Enterprise.

Its not entirely surprising that Pine has an affinity for a star like Harrison Ford and his Indiana Jones and Han Solo roles. I have faith in Pine and in his abilities to bring a younger Kirk who’s got the qualities, yet still needing the sense of scope and the means of bringing it out while aboard the Enterprise.

Katie G.
March 10, 2008 9:36 pm

Re: #21. Denise

Maybe he means the characters’ abilities to think on their feet – – to think quickly and keep your head in an unexpected, bad situation. All of them had that ability – – Han Solo, Indiana Jones and James T. Kirk. At the core, they were really sharp and savvy. Hey, he’s a regular MacGiver!

Okay, okay, sorry, sorry – – didn’t mean to complicate things by throwing another option in there. Xai, I’m going to get a lifejacket. Should I grab one for you?

Hah! Oh well… I’m getting blurry. Time to go to bed.

I’ll be back…


Katie G.
March 10, 2008 9:38 pm

Thanks, Anthony!!! You’re a really fun host!!


I Love My Moogie
March 10, 2008 9:41 pm

It’s clear Pine doesn’t ‘get it’ and just confirms that the dangers of recasting the iconic James T. Kirk. I guess using The Shat as a templette for Kirk would be silly, huh?

March 10, 2008 9:42 pm

We won’t know whos got what in their mouth until the movie opens.

March 10, 2008 9:58 pm

Chris Pine should just be himself- there’s no point in trying to imitate Shatner.

But what he can do is focus on the qualities that made Kirk such a science fiction icon: brains, bluff and brawn; Kirk is a ladies’ man, charming and funny at times but tough when the situation demanded it.

Kirk has a commanding presence in which he always takes charge of things and is a natural leader; he also makes use of his crew in the best way possible (Picard and the succeeding captains never did this), he listens to his subordinates and takes their suggestions (Spock’s logic and Bones’ common sense humanity) and adds to it to make an unbeatable combination.

As for the bluff part- Kirk is an excellent gambler, he takes calculated risks and is willing to lie, cheat and steal his way through if the situation demanded it. As for the brawn part, well he just has to be willing to slug it out against the baddies (as opposed to just standing around like an idiot and let them attack him- like what Picard does)!

March 10, 2008 10:00 pm

It’s funny. All the other actors have said they will be borrowing from what the original cast had done. Quinto has gone as far as being somewhat mentored by Nimoy. Pegg has said that he is literally doing Dohan. Even the new Chekov will say Vessels.

Pine was the one that worried me. I’m not saying do an impersonation of Shatner like Jim Carrey or some other comedian, but do Kirk not Han Solo or Indiana Jones.

Now I’m a bit worried.

Denise de Arman
March 10, 2008 10:02 pm

Actually, the John McLaine (Bruce Willis – Die Hard) and Indie characters have more in common than Kirk would ever have with either them or Han. I haven’t been this concerned since the rumour that Kirk would have some girl rig the simulator FOR him (I’m still praying that is an unqualified, off-the-cuff remark by a not-so-good source). In Shore Leave, Kirk said to McCoy, concerning the academy: “…Grim. I was positively grim…”. In Where No Man…, Gary Mitchell refers to Kirk, at the academy, as a “walking stack of books” and the audience learns that Kirk actually taught classes at the academy, probably akin to graduate students teaching at more established universities. Mitchell also tells Kirk that the other students warned him “…in Kirk’s class, you either think, or sink.”

I have been so looking forward to Abrams and Orci’s vision of ST – I only hope Pine’s portrayal of this beloved character is a younger version of the captain we recognize, not a young Indie or Han.

March 10, 2008 10:02 pm

This is one of those things people are just going to read too much into.

A lot of people (myself included) tend to look at Harrison Ford as the greatest action hero of all time because he’s the “thinking man’s” action hero. He would be a good influence for anyone doing a big movie like this. one Pine does say he didn’t model his Kirk on anything particular, but implies he wants to bring the kind of humanity to Kirk that Harrison Ford would bring to a film.

Its going to be okay.

I Love My Moogie
March 10, 2008 10:14 pm

Pine should use model his Kirk after TJ Hooker.

Denise de Arman
March 10, 2008 10:34 pm

Max#33- Beg to differ with you Max; nothing Pine said indicated bringing any particular “humanity” to the role. What he did say concerned Harrison’s take on an action hero wanting to be anywhere else but there during the situation at hand. Kirk’s career path places him in danger, constantly; as a matter of fact, the Kirk character seems to thrive on the unknown, desperate situations “his ship” brings his way. This is a personality which is A-type, driven, disciplined and adept at complex problem-solving. He wants the excitement, the passion – he would no more utter the words, “Klingons – it had to be Klingons” than Indie would say “Risk is our business”. If Kirk lived in the 21st century, he would be jumping out of planes to snowboard in the Andes on the weekends and flying the latest top-secret spy planes for the government during the week. Would Indie?

March 10, 2008 10:39 pm

Wasn’t Han Solo sort of a space pirate… A smuggler like Cyrano Jones? Just the sort of chaps Kirk would love to throw in the brig. Not exactly Starfleet material or proper role models for cadets.

And certainly not good inspiration for anyone portraying Kirk.

I am curious as to who is playing Kirk’s old academy rival Finnegan from the “Shore Leave” TOS episode in the new film. If the computer pulled Finnegan and Ruth out of Kirk’s mind on the amusement park planet in the Omicron Delta system, they clearly played some major part in his past life.

Or has this too been overlooked by the New Young Einsteins in charge of the franchise?

March 10, 2008 10:42 pm

I think Pine needs to find his own Kirk. It’s going to be his character now so I’m for letting him find his niche and hopefully he’ll give us a good performance. I honestly don’t want a Shatner clone. Let it be faithful to the original but also original in it’s own right.

Mickey MET
March 10, 2008 10:49 pm

>>35. Denise de Arman – March 10, 2008
. . . If Kirk lived in the 21st century, he would be jumping out of planes to snowboard in the Andes on the weekends and flying the latest top-secret spy planes for the government during the week. Would Indie?<<

No, Indy would be in his classroom and still be trying to figure out what the words are on the girls eyelids in the front row. . . . :)

(Kirk would just go over, grab the girl by the shoulders and well. . . you know the rest)

March 10, 2008 10:49 pm

Guys, gals, nerds, friends – calm down. The only thing in Pine’s comment you need to read is that last sentence: ” Not to say that I modeled my version of James T Kirk on anything in particular but I think I definitely have wanted to bring that kind of Harrison Ford humour to Kirk.”

He’s speaking about one aspect of a mutli-faceted character. There’s no need to run for the hills in fear that we’ll get Indiana Kirk. Okay?

Gary Seven
March 10, 2008 10:50 pm

Kirk is my favorite character in all of ST, and a big reason I love the show so much. Pine doesn’t understand Kirk, or he couldn’t have said the things he said. And the filming is almost done, I believe.
I am all for Pine’s interpretation of Kirk being influenced, but not an imitation of, Shatner. But this is serious. Some people above tried to rationalize how this is going to be “OK.” Well, he made these comments and they are so off base that it is clear he doesn’t understand the character. I have been looking forward to this movie, and with an open mind. Bend ST for todays time; I get it. That doesn’t mean BREAK it. Now, I’m seriously worried.

March 10, 2008 10:54 pm

Sooo….he’s not gonna look to Shatner’s Kirk for inspiration. Instead, he’s looking to Harrison Ford….makes a lot of sense to me…………

Xplodin' Nacelle
March 10, 2008 11:08 pm

Pine seems to be the only main actor of the “main 7” that is really resistant to imitating his predicesor. I hope that he does at least a few nods to the Shat or it’s gonna take me right out of the story. It’s the same thing that happens when I watch New Voyages/Phase II. That guy that plays Bones really makes me cringe everytime he’s on screen. He just doesn’t seem to capture anything that reminds me of De. Ugh!

March 10, 2008 11:09 pm

Its neat to see what the differences really are between characters like Kirk and Han Solo, and I agree they are pretty dissimilar.

March 10, 2008 11:11 pm

The young Kirk that I remember was a swashbuckling rebel who didn’t listen to the rules. He hated the whole regulation thing, and didn’t mind bending them to get done what he wanted. If Pine tried to imitate the side of Kirk that was very dedicated to his job, I would be disappointed. That was one of Kirk’s charms, was his rebellious flare.

He’s Captain Kirk, not Captain Picard…

March 10, 2008 11:11 pm

Obviously the character is written more like Han Solo than Kirk in the script otherwise I doubt Pine would model the character that way.

March 10, 2008 11:14 pm

I don’t like it. Kirk looks for for adventure. He thrives on it because he’s a man’s man. Loves the ladies, loves the thrill. He was happy to be demoted from Admiral back down to Captain because he knew it meant getting back into the chair and out into the black. Kirk is epic.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Jones and Solo characters, and i don’t know that anyone could do them with the same panache that Ford brings to the table, but both of those characters are reluctant-heroes.

Kirk goes back for seconds of hero and eats with both hands.

March 10, 2008 11:14 pm

People are looking into this too much. Pine is going to be Kirk. ‘Nuff said…

Buzz Cagney
March 10, 2008 11:18 pm

oh dear- I had such high hopes for Pine in the role.

March 10, 2008 11:20 pm

George Lucas who wrote Indiana Jones was mentored by and influenced by Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek. So it is possible that Star Trek and Kirk helped develop the character Indiana Jones . Not that Chris Pine would know that but if he is influenced by Indiana Jones and Lucas was influenced by Gene and TOS then in some ways, Indiana Jones and Capt Kirk are like distant cousins. :-)

Gary Seven
March 10, 2008 11:24 pm

Great. Appearing as James T. Kirk, James T. Kirk’s distant cousin.
Just Great.
What an idiotic statement by Pine.