Burk: Into Darkness Villain ‘Tailored’ For Cumberbatch + Film Fits With Roddenberry’s Vision

In a new interview Star Trek Into Darkness producer Bryan Burk talks about how the new movie progresses on from 2009’s Star Trek. He also explains how the role of the villain was tailored to actor Benedict Cumberbatch as well as saying that even though ‘darkness’ is in the name the film is still part of Roddenberry’s vision of a brighter future. See excerpts below.

 

Burk Talks on ‘progression’ since ST2009, Harrison villain and how dark is ‘Into Darkness’

Speaking to IGN at the Star Trek Into Darkness press event last week producer Bryan Burk covered a number of topics, the following are some of the highlights.

Bryan Burk on the time setting and character arcs for Star Trek Into Darkness…

If the last film was about the crew and family coming together, this film is about them learning who they are and starting to work together. We kind of left the last film with Kirk and Spock not hating each other, but they are by no means best of friends going into this film. So it feels like it’s a good progression in the series

Burk on John Harrison and what Benedict Cumberbatch Brought to the role

I think he’s a great villain because he’s ridiculously smart and calculating and a real adversary for Kirk…

[Benedict Cumberbatch] kind of made Harrison his own. Particularly when we cast him – the writers went back and specifically tailored it for Benedict.

Burk also addressed the ‘darkness’ of Into Darkness, saying…

The film is not a dark film per se. It’s not post-apocalyptic dark – it’s still within the realm of what Roddenberry had wanted, which is this positive view of the future. However the stakes are significantly greater, and personal. The characters – particularly Kirk – are going to a much darker place emotionally. I feel like the experience the audience has going through it will be a much deeper emotional experience. And on top of that the spectacle will be significantly bigger than the last film.

Visit IGN for the full interview and more from Burk.


Bryan Burk (R) with Alice Eve and Benedict Cumberbatch at London Star Trek press event (December 14)

Sort by:   newest | oldest
rogerachong
January 8, 2013 1:46 pm

Same ol’ same ol’.

James Cannon - Runcorn Trekkie UK
January 8, 2013 1:46 pm

Looking forward to Cumberbatches villain being more in depth than Nero.

Aurore
January 8, 2013 1:47 pm

Bien..bien…

Please, proceed.

Al
January 8, 2013 1:49 pm

Sounds a bit like Harrison was a rewrite when they failed to get their first pick actor

John Whorfin
January 8, 2013 1:52 pm

Well there you go…

“Particularly when we cast him [after failing to cast Benicio del Toro for the role] – the writers went back and specifically tailored it for Benedict.”

…which is the closest confirmation I’ve heard that the character was indeed originally Khan (which we know was the plan since they talked about inserting a coda shot of the Botany Bay at the end of ST’09), but reworked into one of the other genetic supermen (maybe Joachim, maybe not).

And yes, those are clearly hibernation tubes (with frost-covered windows) in the trailer, not coffins.

Ensign Ricky
January 8, 2013 1:54 pm

I like pie!

Aurore
January 8, 2013 1:57 pm

I like candy.

:)

Ted C
January 8, 2013 1:59 pm

I like when people don’t make nonsensical comments just to be funny!

Aurore
January 8, 2013 2:01 pm

I like it when people take the time to comment on nonsensical comments.

THAT is funny!

:)

January 8, 2013 2:26 pm

i like Reeses!

Ciaran
January 8, 2013 2:57 pm

yeah, nothing new here at all. come back when you have something more interesting to say, Bryan. Specifically, something we HAVEN’T heard before.

dmduncan
January 8, 2013 3:55 pm

“[Benedict Cumberbatch] kind of made Harrison his own. Particularly when we cast him – the writers went back and specifically tailored it for Benedict.”

Uh, yes, of course they did. Because John’s original name was Joaquim (Joaquin…however you spell it), and the character was Latino, which is why they looked at Benicio Del Toro, Edgar Ramirez, and Jordi Molla to play him.

John Harrison was born after Cumberbatch was cast.

dmduncan
January 8, 2013 4:03 pm

5: “…which is the closest confirmation I’ve heard that the character was indeed originally Khan”

Nope. He was NEVER Khan. He was Joaquim. And Joaquim and Khan are not the same characters. They are not interchangeable.

And the fact that they changed the role to make it fit Cumberbatch more, also proves what I’ve been saying about this team from the start: That believable casting MATTERS.

Khan is accepted as being Indian and a Sikh. They wouldn’t cast Cumberbatch as an Indian and a Sikh. They wouldn’t even cast Del Toro as one. They aren’t going to repeat the casting culture of the 1960’s in the second decade of the 21st century.

It’s just NOT who they are as filmmakers.

crazydaystrom
January 8, 2013 4:07 pm

5. John Whorfin – January 8, 2013
“Well there you go…

“Particularly when we cast him [after failing to cast Benicio del Toro for the role] – the writers went back and specifically tailored it for Benedict.”

…which is the closest confirmation I’ve heard that the character was indeed originally Khan (which we know was the plan since they talked about inserting a coda shot of the Botany Bay at the end of ST’09), but reworked into one of the other genetic supermen (maybe Joachim, maybe not).

And yes, those are clearly hibernation tubes (with frost-covered windows) in the trailer, not coffins.”

OR-

The attempt to cast del Toro or another Hispanic actor was all along JJ’s plan to lead us into thinking Khan was the villain. Not a bad idea actually. But maybe a Bad Robot Idea (see what I did there). In any case ‘confirmation’ is not an applicable term here IMO.

As to the ‘hibernation tubes’, that shot could even be from an ‘after credits’ scene for all we know teasing, Khan for the third movie. I remember people on a Prometheus board, after seeing a trailer, saying certain shots were OBVIOUSLY from the end of the movie. Those shots turned out to be from the very first scene! Thing is, we don’t know. It’s all guess, conjecture and speculation for now. Albeit delicious speculation! I think there are a lot of surprises to come. Great ones hopefully.

crazydaystrom
January 8, 2013 4:11 pm

@5
Also-
“John Whorfin is dead. He fell on his head!” ;-)

Emperor Mike of the Empire
January 8, 2013 4:15 pm

Kirk in Trek 5. I want my Pain. I need my Pain.
I bet that is something Bob Orci used in helping write for Cumberbatch against Pine Kirk.

John Whorfin
January 8, 2013 4:18 pm

13: Well, we don’t know that, do we? Maybe they wanted BdT for Khan, maybe Joachim – who knows – but I’ll concede your scenario is certainly plausible. Either way, the end result seems to be the same: that BC is playing a reworked genetic superman character that serves the same plot function.

14: You’re seriously postulating that the trailer includes a shot from a post-credits bonus scene from the movie? Seriously? Well, heck, by that logic maybe they’re putting shots in the trailer that aren’t even in the movie just to throw us all off. Yeah, that’s the ticket. ;-)

January 8, 2013 4:29 pm

Hmmm. Perhaps meeting Benicio (or Bardem for that matter) was to negotiate to have them play Khan in the NEXT film, as the last scene from Into Darkness may be Khan unfrozen and walking away from the Kryo-tubes room to get all us Trekkies in a frenzy of anticipation for the next film.

Could be pretty good.

:)

crazydaystrom
January 8, 2013 4:49 pm

17-
“You’re seriously postulating that the trailer includes a shot from a post-credits bonus scene from the movie? Seriously? Well, heck, by that logic maybe they’re putting shots in the trailer that aren’t even in the movie just to throw us all off. Yeah, that’s the ticket. ;-)”

Hell, I’m seriously postulating that Cumberbatch’s Harrison might be SYBOK! I think waaaaay outside the box. Call me crazy…Call me maybe.

:-))

Aurore
January 8, 2013 4:51 pm

On an interview available online, here is part of what Mr. Abrams had to say about John Harrison and James Tiberius Kirk:

“….There’s a kind of *shared story* between Chris Pine’s character and Benedict Cumberbatch’s character…and part of the fun of seeing this movie play out…is…you know…watching that tension between the two of them…”

“…The interactions between them are not just brutal…they are complicated…and they make you stop and question everything…”

Personally, I never thought the villain would be Khan or any of his followers.

Even less so after listening to that interview.

(*Emphasis mine.)

crazydaystrom
January 8, 2013 4:54 pm

18. SPOCKBOY-
That’s what I said. Sorta.

BulletInTheFace
January 8, 2013 5:17 pm

#12: “Uh, yes, of course they did. Because John’s original name was Joaquim (Joaquin…however you spell it), and the character was Latino, which is why they looked at Benicio Del Toro, Edgar Ramirez, and Jordi Molla to play him.”

All fine and dandy… except that Joaquim wasn’t Latino.

Gary S.
January 8, 2013 5:37 pm

Aurore, just curious which statements ?
I agree with you, I just wanted to know which quotes in particular.
Also has Del Toro said anything about theSTID Negotiations?
Anything at all?

Curious Cadet
January 8, 2013 6:07 pm

@20 Aurore,

Where can the interview be found?

That’s what I’ve been hoping to hear, that Harrison is connected to canon in some interesting way but not a direct character like Khan which carries too much baggage. A shared story is a perfect way to connect Harrison.

Aurore
January 8, 2013 6:25 pm

@23. Gary S. – January 8, 2013

I should not have checked on the site before going to bed….

It’s getting late!

…Anyway, regarding the “statements” see my post @ 20. The site covered the story weeks ago.

About Benicio Del Toro, what I read amounted to rumours ; apparently he did not like the part .

Don’t quote me on this though; I have no links.

However, when asked what happened with regards to the sequel some time ago, he answered this:

“You can’t always get what you want…”

(Link if authorized here:)
http://www.empireonline.com/interviews/interview.asp?IID=1558

Gary S.
January 8, 2013 6:31 pm

Rereading your last post Aurore, I think that I get where you are coming from
But I am also curious where this interview can be found.

Gary S.
January 8, 2013 6:35 pm

Okay, got it .
Sleep well.

Aurore
January 8, 2013 6:38 pm

Link if authorized here:

http://screen.yahoo.com/j-j-abrams-discusses-vision-163000026.html

Good night, gentlemen.

:)

Commodore Adams
January 8, 2013 6:50 pm

I am excited to hear that it will be more emotional for the audience. There is nothing like a movie that can really make you feel. Feel for the characters, the innocent, hell even the villain, not to mention the poor ships :( The 2009 movie had laughter and joy but that aside I am curious how the new movie will top the emotions of the opening scene and the destruction of vulcan, both pivotal emotional scenes.

dmduncan
January 8, 2013 7:02 pm

22: “All fine and dandy… except that Joaquim wasn’t Latino.”

Prove it.

Michael
January 8, 2013 7:17 pm

Still Khan

BulletInTheFace
January 8, 2013 7:52 pm

#30: Not necessary since it’s obviously true. I also don’t plan to prove that I breathe oxygen.

What’s it matter? Even if it IS Khan, the previews have proven they’re doing something completely different with him. His name might as well be Bobo.

dmduncan
January 8, 2013 8:23 pm

32: If it was “obvious” then it wouldn’t be so easy to make the Latino interpretation, and you wouldn’t now be arguing in a circle to someone who doesn’t accept your premise that he’s obviously not a Latino character.

BillyBoy
January 8, 2013 9:14 pm

>>>
They aren’t going to repeat the casting culture of the 1960′s in the second decade of the 21st century.
It’s just NOT who they are as filmmakers.
<<<

Really? Explain why a 40 year old Korean actor from Harold and Kumar is playing a YOUNGER version of George Takei's 1960s Sulu? The only thing John Cho and George Takei have in common is that they're both Asian.

Curious Cadet
January 8, 2013 9:26 pm

@28. Aurore,
“Link if authorized here: http://screen.yahoo.com/j-j-abrams-discusses-vision-163000026.html

Thanks for that link.

The fact that Abrams said: “There’s a kind of shared story between Chris Pine’s character and Benedict Cumberbatch’s character” CONFIRMS for me that Harrison will NOT be Khan or an augment. He will have some connection vis a vis canon with Kirk, something very unlikely to occur with a member of the Botany Bay crew, unless some form of Space Seed previously happened, which as far as we know hasn’t. On the other hand, the countdown comic could well be a re-telling of Space Seed to set up this movie.

The biggest problem with an augment story is that it runs the risk of a re-telling of TNG episode: “The Hunted”, which is kind of how it’s shaping up based on everything we know assuming Harrison’s an augment.

January 8, 2013 10:08 pm

This has nothing to do with Khan or his family and there is no suggestion of any sort that it is.

This is about someone who is a member of starfleet who ends up being a villain.

L4YERCAKE
January 8, 2013 11:40 pm

It’s still Khan!

L4YERCAKE
January 8, 2013 11:40 pm

And I like the Wizard Of Oz. :)

Tomi_SI
January 9, 2013 1:34 am

Just the other day i rewatched ST09 and Nero had jus 5 lines of tekst!? And sat the whole time Looking grumpy in the backgroud. Its a shame they didn’t include the deleted scens on Rura pente. Good thet i read the IDW Comic so i knew the motivation of Nero.

Aurore
January 9, 2013 2:24 am

Mr. Abrams had concerns over the casting of John Cho for the role of Sulu.

However….

“Takei retold story about JJ Abrams was concerned about casting a Korean for Sulu in Star Trek (2009) and he re-assured Abrams by pointing out Roddenberry’s vision was for Sulu was to represent all of Asia, being named for the Sulu Sea instead of using a specific country-specific name.”

http://trekmovie.com/2010/07/25/video-george-takei-on-star-trek-vi-captain-sulu-to-the-rescue-john-cho-shatner-feud-more/

The story is also available on other sites.

Marja
January 9, 2013 3:26 am

Aurore thank you for that … Roddenberry called Sulu an “Asian” in “The Making of Star Trek”. It was only when ST novels were written that an author decided Sulu was Japanese, probably because Takei is.

I SAY LET HIM BE KODOS

: )

Marja
January 9, 2013 3:28 am

*red face*

John Harrison, I mean. Let HIM be Kodos.

razzo
January 9, 2013 5:32 am

Ok, some people are insanelly attached to this “joaquin” whatever concept.
Would anyone care to explain to me where the hell did they get this from?

I’ll do my own research now, to find out which was the fantasy name of this movie and its characters, while in pre-production. Because honestly there is too much misinformation around here, something must have a real origin.

(edited)

T'Cal
January 9, 2013 6:00 am

Can’t wait!!!

Sonak
January 9, 2013 6:01 am

Even if his performance is great, it’s still the second film in a row about someone feeling he’s been wronged and seeking revenge on a Federation planet.

I would not have thought they could run out of ideas so quickly.

T'Cal
January 9, 2013 6:04 am

33. Shilliam Watner (Click for Trek Ships Poster) – January 8, 2013
What’s it matter? Even if it IS Khan, the previews have proven they’re doing something completely different with him. His name might as well be Bobo.

If so, I’m just happy they didn’t call the movie “The Wrath of Bobo” or “The Search for Bobo” or “The Undiscovered Bobo” or …

BulletInTheFace
January 9, 2013 7:19 am

#40: “tekst?”

BulletInTheFace
January 9, 2013 7:20 am

#44: What are you asking? Your question, with all due respect, is difficult to follow.

January 9, 2013 8:11 am

So excited! I agree with the person who thinks this villain will be more “deep” than Nero. I think that’s really important to the success of the film. I’m happy to hear that they don’t start off with Kirk and Spock as best friends, that we get so see a lot of that progression :)

Also I think the Batch was perfectly cast.

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