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JJ Abrams Put Uncharted’s North Into Star Trek Sequel + Tried To Get Chess Master Carlsen

Star Trek producer/director may a big Hollywood mogul, but he is still a nerd at heart. Case in point comes from two reports (confirmed by TrekMovie) on people he personally reached out to for roles in the Trek sequel. Abrams successfully got Nolan North (voice of the hero in the "Uncharted" games) into the film and tried (but visas couldn’t be worked out in time) to get Norwegian chess grand master Magnus Carlsen too.

 

JJ Abrams puts ‘Uncharted’ game actor into Star Trek sequel + tried to get #1 ranked chess grandmaster

Nolan North, Nathan Drake in the "Uncharted" series of video games, has a cameo in JJ Abrams Star Trek sequel. North tells Eurogamer that it was director JJ Abrams who made it happen, noting:

“The reason I did that movie – it’s a very small role – but it’s because he and his son are huge fans of Uncharted. I met him doing some work on Super 8 and he said ‘We’re doing Star Trek, you wanna do it?’ And I said I’d love to." "He’s a huge fan of gaming and he was telling me how people just don’t understand [the medium] yet, but they’re going to catch up.

JJ Abrams is well known as a big fan of gaming, so it is no surprise he finds talent there. In fact, Abrams’ long-time collaboration with composer (now Oscar-winner) Michael Giacchino began with his love of Giacchino’s music in the Medal of Honor games, leading to an offer to do the music for Alias (Giacchino’s first big non-gaming job).

To get a look at North, here he is in a video "unboxing" promo for the collector’s edition of "Uncharted 3: Drake’s Fortune."

Another person Abrams wanted in the movie was 21-year-ol Norweigan chess grand master Magnus Carlsen, who is currently the number one ranked chess player in the world. In April, Carlsen was being interviewed on Norweigan television (via ChessBase) and revealed that Abrams reached out to him after "becoming fascinated" following his appearance on the CBS news show 60 Minutes. According to Carlesn, who also does some modeling, Abrams wanted him to play a "chess player from the future" in the Star Trek sequel, however the deal fell through because a work permit couldn’t be arranged in time. The young grand master tells VGN "The inquiry was completely unexpected. It would have been a fun experience, so it’s a shame that it will not happen."

Carlsen did still do a tour in the USA in April. The video below features Carlsen visiting with  (known Trek fan) Stephen Colbert.

Flashback: Abrams gives inspirational professor dream job in Star Trek

This isn’t the first time Abrams reached out to offer roles to people that inspire him. Back in 2008 JJ gave a part to the Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch. Like many, Abrams was inspired by the late professors "Last Lecutre" series, which he gave after learning he was terminally ill.

Pausch was a life-long Star Trek fan who made references to the series in his teaching. For the movie he played a crewmember on the USS Kelvin who even got a line ("Captain, we have visual"). Unfortunately he passed away only a few months after filming. Here is a clip of Pausch in 2009’s Star Trek.

 

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Azrael
May 21, 2012 1:21 pm

Umm, I thought Pausch was the guy on the Enterprise who said he couldn’ distinguish Rommulan from Vulcan.

There is also a typo in the statements from Nolan North,

I met him doing some work on Super 8 and he said ‘We’re doing Start Trek, you wanna do it?’ And I said I’d love to.”

I’ve never heard of Start Trek, is it anything like Star Trek? I keeed.

johnbijl
May 21, 2012 1:23 pm

“You know you Norwegians play a most irritating game if chess?”

May 21, 2012 1:27 pm

Cool. And thanks for showing where Pausch appears. I remember the stories at the time of his filming a scene, but never knew exactly where his cameo appeared.

AJ
May 21, 2012 1:50 pm

Jeez, Couldn’t JJ have just taken a few large out of petty cash for Carlsen? I mean, how can Vulcans and Klingons work visa-free in California, and not Norwegians?

Phil
May 21, 2012 1:57 pm

Apparently Norwegians have an issue crossing the Neutral Zone, unlike the Vulcans and Klingons, AJ.

Azrael
May 21, 2012 1:58 pm

Did some more checking and I guess I was wrong about where Pausch appeared, so disregard that part of my previous post.

Phil
May 21, 2012 2:00 pm

Future chess player – maybe this is a remake of TWOK and independence Day….JJ needed Jeff Goldblum’s character to look at the countdown clock on his tri-corder and say “checkmate” as Khan’s stolen starship starts blasting away at Enterprise…..

May 21, 2012 2:22 pm

Here’s hoping JJ gets his hands on Uncharted as a potential film(s). I know they were in development..but its been halted, last i heard. With JJ on it, Uncharted could become an indiana jones type series.

Azrael
May 21, 2012 2:28 pm

Nolan also does a voice or two on Young Justice, along with other past and present Star Trek actors including, Greenwood, Spiner, and Sirtis.

Kirkadoo
May 21, 2012 2:38 pm

Maybe he’s going to Iceland to get Carlson on film there.

Nano
May 21, 2012 2:42 pm

I wonder who will be the computer voice with the passing of Majel?

Neumann
May 21, 2012 2:48 pm

11- I’m big on in-jokes so I would suggest Jennifer Connelly as the computer since her husband, Paul Bettany, is the voice of the computer in “Iron Man.”

Magnus Carlsen- I can easily imagine a scene starting with him and Spock in a Three Dimensional Chess game. Kirk: “I play the winner.”

I Wish I Was Spock
May 21, 2012 3:02 pm

@1 – That was actually Oz Perkins, the son of legendary actor Anthony Perkins

Quatlo
May 21, 2012 3:08 pm

Mr. Pausch’s scene is notable also as one where Captain Robau’s uniform did not have the classic Trek logo on it.

TrekMovieMadeMeWonder*
May 21, 2012 3:20 pm

Thanks Qualtlo,

An excellent example of how Trek stroytelling is overlooked by the overhyped importance of celebrity.

CarlG
May 21, 2012 3:33 pm

I thought that was an incredibly sweet gesture of JJ to give Professor Pausch that part in Trek.

It would have been cool to see Spock trounce an actual chess master in 3D (chess, not the movie!). Oh well.

Nolan North is in EVERYTHING.

Ensign RedShirt
May 21, 2012 3:36 pm

Uncharted 2 is the Raiders of the Lost Ark of the video game genre – constant thrills, great character development, and perfect pacing.

Nice touch by JJ to bring in North.

Red Dead Ryan
May 21, 2012 3:44 pm

I played the first two “Uncharted” PS3 games. They are great, especially the second one. Still got to play the third.

Vultan
May 21, 2012 3:51 pm

The new computer voice should be Tom Bodett from the Motel 6 commercials.
“You beam down and we’ll leave the lights on for ya.”

And boy, are there plenty of lights!

:D

David
May 21, 2012 5:11 pm

Boborci

Just one simple question for you: I know you can’t give details about the film away but in the most general terms, will there be much emphasis on space exploration this time or will it mainly be about conflict between Kirk’s crew and the villain?

I would love more of an emphasis on exploration of new worlds as this has never really featured in any of the Trek films. The fact you are filming in Iceland whets my appetite for that kind of thing.

Captjake
May 21, 2012 6:36 pm

Still don’t see why wouldn’t be feasible to continue to use Majel as the voice of the computer. its pretty easy to edit all those hours and hours of dialogue she has previously recorded as the computer and reuse them in the new film. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she isn’t still the voice of the computer in Trek XII

Harry Ballz
May 21, 2012 7:08 pm

Enough with the non-actors doing cameos!

I want to see charismatic talent from every person depicted on screen!

Example; in the last movie, the woman who commanded Dr. McCoy to sit down in the shuttle. A small role, but, boy, did that actor ever nail it!

Imagine if they had allowed some flake, a person notable in another profession, to speak that part……it would have been CRAP!

VZX
May 21, 2012 7:48 pm

Cool. Cliffjumper.

May 21, 2012 8:23 pm

I’m glad to hear that J.J. Abams likes video games. Let’s hope that the Star Trek game will be done as well as Mass Effect which had plenty of action but some serious ideas on morality and the definition of life. If the Star Trek game does well, it could help the movie.

Lostrod
May 21, 2012 8:30 pm

#22

Excellent point, Harry!

Regards.

Harry Ballz
May 21, 2012 8:56 pm

25.

Thanks, Lostrod!

MJ
May 21, 2012 9:31 pm

Never heard of this North guy. If he can get in the movie, I think I have a shot. Here is the scenario:

JJ: Bob let’s do something interesting for that secondary role on the Volcano planet and get somebody from fan from that Trek web site that you are always wasting your time on.

Bob: Great idea, there are a lot of really pleasant people there we could pick from.

JJ: That would be boring. Get me the biggest know-it-all ass you can — is there anybody like that?

Bob: I have just the person in mind for you, JJ…

And so, I get a role in the sequel!

Majicou
May 21, 2012 10:39 pm

Nolan North:Now in EVEN MORE of everything.

Adam
May 22, 2012 1:14 am

The reference to Nolan North’s voice acting got me thinking – I wonder who they’re going to get for the computer voice for the new film? Stock samples of Majel Barrett’s voice or a new actor/actress?

If they decide on a new actor, I’d love them to try for Judith Light from Ugly Betty.

alphantrion
May 22, 2012 2:31 am

How about William Shatner as the voice of the computer? :))

Azrael
May 22, 2012 3:12 am

The SpaceX Falcon rocket carrying the ashes of James Doohan has successfully launched, just thought everyone would like to know.

rm10019
May 22, 2012 6:11 am

I would hope JJ’s love of gaming bodes well for the upcoming PS3 game and the future of Trek gaming in general. It would be a great platorm (pun intenteded) for JJ to hone his skills, let’s make some great Trek games!

Oz
May 22, 2012 6:23 am

Way back when everybody on here was pouring out their wishlists for the script, one of my items was “Kirk and Spock playing chess”. I’m thinking this attempted recruitment of the chess master is a good sign.

VZX
May 22, 2012 7:03 am

30: No, it should be a female voice. I’d say Nichelle Nichols or Marina Sirtis.

VZX
May 22, 2012 7:04 am

31. Yeah, man! Scotty finally got beamed up!

Jinn-Jinn
May 22, 2012 9:09 am

@34 I like the way you think!

Red Dead Ryan
May 22, 2012 9:47 am

I don’t want Marina Sirtis as the computer voice….that would be too obvious. The only reason people suggest her is that she played a daughter (Deanna Troi) of Majel Barrett (Lwaxanna Troi) who happened to be the original computer voice.

No, if they still have extra dialoge recorded by Majel, they should use that. Otherwise, they should get Nichelle.

RenderedToast
May 22, 2012 10:07 am

I hope Marina did, or does, the computer voice not just because she played the daughter – although that is a legitimate reason for doing it – but because her voice kind of sounds similar anyway, and the computer on Trek should be Trek alumni just for the sake of continuity – it’s always been Majel, now for the first time it’s going to be someone completely random? Marina is the best option.

LizardGirl
May 22, 2012 10:59 am

If I heard Nichelle Nichols’ voice I’d lose it completely! They should go with her! She’s one of the original TOS cast members, and a very gracious one at that. It would be a clever way of giving her a cameo on new trek.

Marina wouldn’t be a bad runner up for the part though, simply for the fact that she was in a Star Trek franchise and I like her and her voice. Say if they don’t use Majel’s voice, but one of these actresses instead. Nichelle could voice new Trek trilogy, and Marina could voice Computer in a new tv series! These choices would definitely boost the buzz for the movie and hopefully a tv series later on.

VZX
May 22, 2012 11:59 am

I agree with LizardGirl and RDR: I would prefer Nichelle Nichols. But, if they can’t get Ms. Nichols I would be happy with Ms. Sirtis.

Michael Hall
May 22, 2012 12:25 pm

@22 Harry Ballz–

“Example; in the last movie, the woman who commanded Dr. McCoy to sit down in the shuttle. A small role, but, boy, did that actor ever nail it!”

Definitely agreed. Small as she was, if she told me to sit my ass down or she’d do it for me, I’d have believed her, too. Great scene, in fact, for all of the actors involved (the ridiculous Trek V-ish bumping-head-on-conduit-slapstick aside).

That said, I always appreciated the classiness of putting Pausch in the film, and only wish he’d lived to see it.

Keachick - rose pinenut
May 22, 2012 1:31 pm

I agree about the way the actress delivered the lines to Dr McCoy – “Sit down or I’ll make you sit down!” Small scene, but memorable. Quantity isn’t everything, as this scene shows.

Although the scene just before with (Pine)Kirk bumping his head on the conduit did for a second remind me of the Scotty scene in Star Trek V, it was a different scene somehow. It didn’t seem like slapstick at all. The way it was played by Pine was that it was a natural reaction of anyone hitting their head like that and who may not have been paying as much attention to his environment as he should have been.

Harry Ballz
May 22, 2012 1:40 pm

42.

Keachick, also, in all fairness, young Kirk was suffering from an early morning hangover, so it’s no real surprise that he might bump his head.

Michael Hall
May 22, 2012 1:41 pm

Well, it was better-directed, no doubt. I guess you could even say that it played to the idea that Kirk wouldn’t have been very familiar with the interior of a shuttle at that point in his life, and thus would be character-based humor, and not slapstick. So okay, I guess the head-bump does make more sense in that context. :-)

Azrael
May 22, 2012 1:42 pm

For those not familiar with Nolan North and his work here is a small selection of things he has been in, or is in now.

Assassins Creed series, main character voice,

Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes series, numerous voices,

Young Justice, Superboy, Superman, voices

Pretty Little Liars,

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Batman Arkham City, Penguin, Black Mask,

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Green Lantern

Dragon Age: Origins, many voices

Wolverine and the X-Men, Cyclops

Like I said that is just a small sampling of things Nolan North is in, there is much more, most of you have probably heard his voice several times, especially if you have kids.

MJ
May 22, 2012 1:59 pm

@44. And of course there was never any slapstick in TOS. Take the ultra-serious hard science fiction episode, The Trouble With Tribbles — perhaps the finest example of what a serious Trek story should be about.

MJ
May 22, 2012 2:02 pm

It would seem to me, given there are so many recorded example of Majel’s computer voice in Trek episodes and movies, give this to some real creative computer geeks who work with audio technology, and create a simulated of Majel’s computer voice that could be used for all future Trek movies/series.

Red Dead Ryan
May 22, 2012 4:34 pm

I didn’t mind the scene where Kirk bumped his head. At that point, he was pretty sure of himself and excited to go to the academy. He probably had a lot on his mind which distracted him from watching where he was going.

On the other hand, Scotty bumping his head in “The Final Frontier” just came off as slapstick comedy. It always brings a smile to my face whenever I watch that, because Shatner, quite clearly, overstretched his boundaries when it came to writing and directing. I know I shouldn’t laugh at that scene, but man, it was so ridiculous in an already ridiculous movie!

Michael Hall
May 22, 2012 5:00 pm

@46–

Actually, much like the scene under discussion the humor in “Tribbles,” while ostensibly slapstick, is in fact entirely character-based. For the first (and, really, last) time the audience gets to enjoy the experience of seeing James Kirk, intepid explorer, ladykiller and savior of the galaxy, in a situation where he’s entirely put-upon and out of his element: having to answer to a bureaucrat he despises, fencing with the Klingons, disciplining crew members for getting into bar fights (decidedly not over his honor), and dealing with an infestation of cuddly critters that everyone but him and his humorless First Officer seem to love, before finally getting buried under a pile of the things. If that’s slapstick, it’s inspired, and (as “Trials and Tribbleations” amply demonstrated) still just as funny for modern audiences as it was forty years ago.

(OTOH, the humor in Trek V, or the “Mickey Mouse Hands” and “Scotty in the Water Tubes” scenes in Trek ’09, the functional equivalent of Kirk slipping on a banana peel? Not so very funny.)

MJ
May 22, 2012 5:22 pm

Huh? Scotty in the water tubes was fracking hilarious — one of my favorite bits of humor in the movie, along with him asking for a towel on the bridge afterwards.

Sheesh, Dexter, you are really uptight, aren’t you? :-)

PS: Remember, the “Mickey Mouse Hands” was a repeat of the same scene in Top Gun. LOL

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