In the recent story about comments from Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman we noted that Variety had stated that JJ Abrams was ‘slated to direct’ Star Trek XI. This of course would be newsworthy if it were true because just recently Abrams told TrekMovie he had not yet decided and would not decide until the script was complete. Some other sites have taken the Variety article as confirmation from Dauman that Abrams has made that decision, but it appears that this is a bit premature. TrekMovie has a transcript of Dauman’s comments to the CSFB conference and he made no mention of Abrams at all. The ‘Abrams directing’ line was added by Variety, something which they have done before and to which Abrams has noted they were wrong on. TrekMovie has also checked with a source inside Paramount who attributes it to ‘lazy journalism’. Although everyone assumes Abrams will be the director, it is still officially undecided.
In speech to investors, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman named Star Trek in his list of key components of Paramount’s future. Apparently JJ Abrams really sold the new cheif of Viacom on Trek when he spoke to him last month (story). Specifically on Trek the executive said "we’re revitalizing it in a new and interesting way." This shows how Trek has again moved to the front burner for Viacom and Paramount. Also of note is how the article states a Trek XI release date as ‘2008 or 2009’. It also claimed that Abrams would be directing the film. Abrams recently told TrekMovie that he still was not sure if he would direct and that they will start shooting in Spring 2007 to meet a Summer 2008 release date. TrekMovie will try and clarify these two issues, but it is good to see that Trek has support all the way to the top.Full story in Variety UPDATE: Abrams still not Confirmed To Direct
Apparently last week’s TrekMovie.com interview with Trek XI producer JJ Abrams is causing a bit of a stir. Both IGN and Cinematical have taken the interview to mean that Star Trek XI is ‘falling behind’ or running into ‘scheduling problems’. This is based on our discussion with Abrams about how the script is still in progress even though in August writer Roberto Orci said they planned on finishing the first draft by the end of October. This analysis takes things out of context and ignores other comments from the team. From the interview it was clear that Abrams wasn’t aware Orci’s ‘end of October’ estimate, and he didn’t seem to be worried that the script is still in progress. A source inside Paramount tells TrekMovie.com that the first draft should be in around Thanksgiving. Furthermore Abrams confirmed that they plan to start shooting in the Spring, which is actually an accelerated schedule based on Orci’s original estimation of a Summer start to shooting. The Paramount insider said that if things continue to progress there is nothing preventing Trek XI from being a Summer 2008 release, but cautioned that of course things can change. So it appears that IGN and Cinematical are just being a bit overly nervous about Trek XI’s progress.
JJ Abrams was in Beverly Hills Wednesday to present an Atrios Award to his longtime casting director April Webster. TrekMovie.com was there and got a moment to talk a little Trek XI. Abrams confirmed our earlier story on the film’s current status and Spring 2007 production start. He also explained why he hasn’t yet committed to direct and talked a bit about why he thinks Kirk and Spock continue to endure…see the (shaky) video. video removed full transcript for the TrekMovie.com Abrams ‘mini interview’ below…
TV Guide has an interview with JJ Abrams that focuses on M:I:3, which is released this week on DVD. However, they do throw in a couple of Trek questions TVGuide.com: Changing topics, where do you stand on the Star Trek feature? Is there any framework in place, a setting, characters…? Abrams: The framework is firmly in place, the script is being written now, and we are incredibly enthusiastic about it.
With so much reporting on other things, thought we should update you all on that other little Trek project Although Trek XI is still just in ‘development‘ there already is quite a lot of activity going on. According to studio insiders the assumption is that Trek XI will get a greenlight and will be one of Paramount’s tentpoles for Summer 2008. Apparently the first draft of the script is due shortly and the Abrams team are already seeing actors for the major parts. Although no names are available, TrekMovie is told that "many A and B listers have been in and out of Abrams offices" (which are actually still on the Disney lot). One Paramount source tells TrekMovie that it is possible there will be a casting announcement even before the script gets final approval and the film gets the greenlight (which should be sometime in December/January). "Although it hasn’t been greenlit yet, it is as close as you get around here," said the source. Still unclear how many TOS roles are being recast, but another source indicates that the treatment included the characters of McCoy and Scotty in addition to Kirk and Spock. The ‘Kirk’s first Mission’ plotline (which TrekMovie first reported in August) still seems to be the prevailing assumption amongst those TrekMovie has spoken to, but still nothing firm so it is still in the realm of ‘rumor’.
Recently some video popped up of Garrett Wang (VOY: Ens. Kim)talking at a con about the future of Trek and long-time Trek producer Rick Berman‘s place within it. Wang said of Berman "his contract is almost up and Paramount is waiting for that contract to end before they proceed with the next Star Trek television creation, because they don’t want him there anymore". Marina Sirtis (TNG: Cmdr. Troi) is also on the video and appears to be agreeing with Wang’s assessment. This meme is something that has been seen around fandom and is something that TrekMovie.com has heard from a few Trek insiders, but more as a ‘rumor’. When TrekMovie.com contacted a studio source who is working on Trek XI about this, the source said it is not true and and made it very clear that Rick Berman does not (and will not ever) have anything to do with Star Trek XI. TrekMovie.com has also confirmed with CBS that Rick Berman has nothing to do with Star Trek Remastered. It is true however that Rick Berman’s contract ends later this year.
In Hollywood, movies don’t truly get started until there is a script. Our studio sources have been telling us that only the ‘story’ (or ‘treatment’) for Star Trek XI has been completed. Now, according to Trek XI executive producer and co-writer Roberto Orci, it seems that Halloween is the target for the first draft of a script with filming starting as early as next summer. Orci revealed the schedule in response to an online query about the Trek XI time frame this Wednesday, saying: Just started writing it. First draft by end of October, second by x-mas and hopefully shooting in summer or fall. If all goes REALLY well.