Back home from his global tour promoting Star Trek, JJ Abrams came to the Paley Festival in LA tonight to talk about his TV show Fringe, and he brought along his fellow Star Trek/Fringe team of Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Bryan Burk, along with show stars Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson. One of the subjects of the Q&A was Leonard Nimoy. [FRINGE spoilers below]
Abrams and Stars talk about Nimoy on Fringe
As we reported earlier in the month, Leonard Nimoy will be appearing in the finale for Fringe "There’s More Than One of Everything" which airs May 12th. He will be playing William Bell, a mysterious character from Walter’s past who runs the even more mysterious Massive Dynamic Corporation.
During the panel, the moderator asked Abrams if casting Leonard Nimoy would ‘paint them into a corner’ because it would not be expected for Nimoy to become a show regular. Abrams didn’t agree, noting that they expected to have the veteran actor back next year. Here is a transcript of what Abrams had to say about bringing Nimoy onto Fringe and how it ties into Star Trek.
Abrams: First of all he hasn’t just signed up for one episode, I wont say how many. The thing about working with Mr. Nimoy on Star Trek is that it was an insane honor. In the first meeting with him we pitched him the story for Star Trek and he didn’t commit to the movie, but he was thoughtful about it. We were very lucky and working with him was intimidating and wonderful. And I tend to work with the same people again and again and again [Bob interjects ‘thank god1’] But honestly it didn’t even occur to me that we would get to work with him again…So we were thinking about who would play William Bell and then one day Bryan Burk emailed us and said "what about Leonard" and it was one of those moments — it was such an impossible dream that this legend would work wtih us on the show. I called him up and talked, he was interested, it was the same kind of thing as Star Trek, so we sent him the script and suddenly we were shooting the scene and we are honored
to have him. Not necessarily a regular, but part of the cast.
Fringe showrunner Jeff Pinker chimed in on Nimoy’s portrayal of Bell:
On top of which he does the role and he talked about and he does these things, and you are like "now I get it…now I get why he and Walter were lab partners." He does it in way that is kind of unexpected and you go "oh my god I know see why these two men simpatico", even though one went in an insane asylum and one went on to be one of the richest men in America.
The actors also chimed in. John Noble revealed that he did not have the chance to work with Nimoy in the finale, but was working forward to working with him next year. Anna Torv (Olivia) did reveal that she had a scene with Nimoy and she said she was "really nervous" meeting him.
NOTE: I will add a couple of images from the event when I get back home, until there check out this crappy one I took with my iPhone.
Nimoy has already ‘appeared’ on Fringe
Leonad Nimoy is slated to appear in the finale, but in this week’s epsidoe "Bad Dreams" there was a small cameo from Nimoy, if you listened closely. At the end of the episode Walter watched a video and you can hear the voice of his former lab partner William Bell, which was clearly the voice of Leonard Nimoy. Here is a recap of the episode, skip to 3:43 to hear it.