On Tuesday April 14th, J.J. Abrams, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoë Saldana and Eric Bana all came to the Hotel Parc Hyatt in one of upscale districts of Paris to talk to the press about Star Trek. Unification France has provided TrekMovie with an exclusive report from the event, with photos and a transcript of the Q&A. We also have a report from the French screening of the film for the press (no spoilers).
Report: French Press Conference
submitted by Eric Saussine of Unification France
Paris ‘Star Trek’ press conference
Question: Did you feel free when you worked on Star Trek ?
J.J. Abrams: It’s a challenge to work on a 50 year old series. I adopted a non-fan approach. I wanted to do a good entertainment which wouldn’t be insulting to the fans. I wanted to do my version of the original series, to have fun and to go back to Kirk and Spock. But the movie was essentially aiming at widening Star Trek’s audience.
Question: Was there a passing of the baton between you and William Shatner ?
Chris Pine: When I knew that I got the role, I wrote him a letter to introduce myself, to tell how much I respected his work et how much I would try my best to be respectful of the character. We were to meet but he was very busy shooting the end of the season of Boston Legal so it didn’t work out, we didn’t meet. I hope to have the opportunity to do it soon.
Question: Cloverfield is a tribute to the fifties monster movies, Mission : Impossible III and Star Trek are adaptations of TV series. Is it impossible for movies to be original today?
JJ: I would never have thought to do another sequel to something that was started fifty years ago by Leonard Nimoy. Then I was told there were ten movies before!… You know, doing Star Trek again is no cynical decision – The last two Star Trek movies and the last TV series didn’t work as well as expected. Star Trek is dead in many countries and not in very good shape in mine. But I love the characters and I thought that there was enormous emotional potential in bringing these characters back.
Question: What was your approach in bringing a series from the sixties to the screen today ?
J.J. Abrams: The question we asked ourselves was ‘is the sixties vision of the future still relevant today?’ We asked that question for the sets, the uniforms, the communicators that look like today’s iPhones… So we didn’t want to change everything but we took a series of small decisions everyday on every aspect of the production. But technology is not the main point and, like Gene Roddenberry, we paid attention to the characters who are the most important part of Star Trek.
JJ Abrams and Chris Pine face the French media
Question: Eric, you love beautiful cars and produced a documentary about one of your own recently. What do you think about your ship in Star Trek ?
Eric Bana: Compared to the Enterprise, Narada is a tougher-looking ship. Her bowels are visible. You have cables everywhere. She has a very audacious design. She’s like a living animal. Let’s say they have the Mercedes, I have the Lamborghini!
Question: How was it to work with Leonard Nimoy?
Zachary Quinto: It was a privilege working with him. He had first look on who was cast for the part. I was surprised at how gracious he was. I always felt supported, I never felt judged or having to please his expectations. We’ve become friends. Recently we exchanged e-mails about how he felt after the Austin premiere.
JJ Abrams: Even for a non-fan, working with Leonard Nimoy was such an experience. I was terrified giving him notes. I mean… who was I to give notes to the guy who created such an icon? But I found out that he wanted to know. He grabbed me and said: "Tell me, tell me!" Then I just realized he was an actor before all. I have to imagine how emotional it was for him to play a role he didn’t think he would play again.
Eric Bana and Zachary Quinto face the French media
Question: How did you feel following in the footsteps of Nichelle Nichols?
Zoë Saldana: After I got the part, I felt like totally paranoid. I didn’t watch the series, I didn’t watch the films. I didn’t want to reproduce what Nichelle did because I would have been no good. When Nichelle came to the set I was too shy to go and and have lunch with her and J.J. I later met her on the set and I discovered such a graceful, simple, elegant woman. From that moment I wanted to be like her as a woman, not just to mimic her character.
Zoe Saldana at Paris press conference
Zoe and Zach and Chris all striking poses in Paris
Report from French press screening + mini-review [no spoilers]
Last Friday morning, the French press gathered at the beautiful Gaumont Opera movie theatre, ten meter’s away from Paramount Distribution France headquarters, next to the famous Paris Opera House. The press was invited to screen J.J. Abrams’s latest epic. Our special envoys found that some of Paris’ most elitist reviewers came out happy from the screening, which may say a lot when reviews are in print. What was surprising was that at the end of the screening the audience of jaded French journalists and critics applauded, which extremely for this type of film, especially for Star Trek which is often mocked in France.
For a more review critique of Star Trek (in French), visit unificationfrance.com
Star Trek opens to the public in France on May 6th (and will also have an advance screening at the Jules Verne Film Festival on April 26th).
All Photos are from Unification France, except where noted.