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Behind the Scenes at CBS Digital

The folks at CBS Digital were kind enough to let TrekMovie.com visit CBS Television City to get a behind-the-scenes peek at how they are breathing new life into Star Trek.   Getting chosen as the effects house to create the new CGI effects for the remastered Star Trek was quite the coup for CBS Digital. As Craig Weiss, Director of CBS Digital says "it is huge deal – the biggest thing we have done so far.” Every single one of their twenty artists does at least some work on Trek, with over half of them dedicated full time. CBS had to bring on about 8 new people in order to meet the rigorous work schedule. Most of the new people are crowded into a single dimly lit (to avoid glare) room that used to be called ‘the morgue’. It is quite a thrill to look around the workstations and see the various bits and pieces of recognizable Star Trek elements being worked on. It is clear from just a quick visit that  each member of the team is dedicated to their craft and to digitally recreating the magic of Star Trek.  





Abrams Talks Kirk and Spock With TrekMovie.com

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…


New Enterprise Premieres In ‘Trouble With Tribbles’ Remastered…See Promo & Sneak Peek

Two weeks ago TrekMovie.com revealed that the CBS Trek Remastered team were working on a new model for the Starship Enterprise..and it arrives this weekend. CBS Digital was kind enough to let TrekMovie.com visit their offices and we can say that the new model is a big improvement, here is a little peek. (click for a closer look) 



Cruise Trek Rumor Denied

It looks like Tom Cruise won’t be beaming up. As we reported yesterday there is a new rumor about Tom Cruise and JJ Abrams being in talks for a cameo role in Trek XI. TrekMovie was skeptical so we looked into it and so far cannot find any corroboration. Paramount insiders say they know nothing about it, and Arnold Robinson, a publicist for Mr. Cruise, tells TrekMovie.com "that story is not true." As yesterday’s article stated, WENN (who first reported the rumor) don’t exactly have the best track record on these things. However WENN’s Editorial Director Kev Lewin tells TrekMovie that they stand by the story, but also stated "we are not on that story anymore, that is yesterday’s news."


CBS Is Future Proofing Original ‘Star Trek’

According David La Fountaine, exec-producer on Trek Remastered and Exec VP at CBS Paramount, there there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the Star Trek Remastered project. As everyone knows, each week the CBS digital team send out a new digitally remastered CGI-enhanced version of the Star Trek: Original Series for broadcast syndication. La Fountaine tells TrekMovie.com that what we are seeing is only one of the many different versions of each episode that the team is making. The first version they make an unedited or ‘network’ version without any CGI enhancements but with all the digital remastering from the original source. Then they make the CGI enhanced version of the full length version, and then edit it down for syndication. This means that some of the new CGI effects being done are not being seen in the syndicated versions. Plus all 3 versions are being done in both High Definition and Standard Definition. In addition all the new CGI space shots and matte paintings are being done in 16:9 wide-screen, so every time you see a new shot in Trek Remastered there is a bigger HD version waiting in the wings. 



Trek XI Update: Abrams Already Auditioning Actors – On Track To Start Shooting In Spring

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’.



Producer: Trek Remastered Is Getting A New Enterprise

TrekMovie got some time with Trek Remastered Producer David Rossi to talk about how the project is going and where they are going next. Like any Trek endeavor, the CGI-enhanced Trek Remastered project has spawned much discussion. In general the show has been well received. The re-recorded theme and the digital transfers get a lot of praise. Much of the CGI work like the new matte paintings and planets have gone over quite well, and some of the live action touches have been pleasant surprises.  However, much discussion has focused on how CBS have been digitally recreating Kirk’s classic Enterprise. Many seem to feel that the team have not got it quite right yet, but what may surprise the critics is that the producers at CBS agree. "It is not that we are unhappy with the work, but it is not yet the Enterprise as we want to see it" says Dave Rossi, going on "we want it to be there as much as everybody else does." And this is not just talk; the team has a plan…and a new model.


Interview: Grace Lee Whitney Talks Past and Future Rands

Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand) only appeared in 8 episodes in the first season of Star Trek before being let go amid some controversy. But fans remembered Yeoman Rand and she came back (as Lt. JG Rand) for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. She went on to appear in three more Trek films (III, IV & VI) and even an episode of Star Trek Voyager (‘Flashback’). She is again reprising her role for the new independent Trek film ‘Of Gods And Men’. TrekMovie chatted with the actress about playing Rand again as well as her thoughts on a new Rand for Star Trek XI.


Review: “City On The Edge Of Forever” Remastered [w/ new pics & vids]

Captain Kirk Meets The No-Win ScenarioThe Enterprise crew discovers an alien time machine on an uncharted, lifeless world.  In a fit of drug-induced paranoia (it’s an accident, kids  — I can’t stress this enough; don’t do drugs, stay in school), "Bones" McCoy leaps back into 1930s New York and alters history such that the "Star Trek universe" never happens.  Kirk and Spock go back in time themselves in order to fix history; in a twist familiar to anyone who has read much of Harlan Ellison’s work, a blameless young woman who loves the protagonist has to be killed in order to make Everything Okay Again.



Shatner Plays Kirk Again For Commercial…Plus Hosting New Gameshow

In the last week a new DirecTV commercial has shown up that features William Shatner playing a movie era Captain Kirk. The commercial is part of DirectTV’s new ‘fourth wall’ campaign were they show scenes from popular films re-edited to have some of the actors talk to camera about the clairty of DirectTV. Previuos commercials featured Vern Troyer from ‘Austin Powers’ and Ben Stein in ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’. The new Trek commercial uses footage from Star Trek VI. Walter Koenig and Leonard Nimoy are also featured, but it appears their footage is taken from the original film. And here it is… download wmv


‘Of Gods And Men’…The Other ‘Trek Movie’

TrekMovie visits with Of Gods and MenThe crew for the independent Trek web mini-series ‘Of Gods and Men’ (henceforth referred to as OGaM) did some location shooting in L.A. last weekend and TrekMovie.com was there. The first thing you notice when pulling up to the location is that this does not look like the proverbial ‘bunch of fans in a barn’ scenario. The scene looked like a typical L.A. filming location complete with honey wagons, equipment trucks, trailers, P.A.’s running around screaming into their headsets and extras milling about. What was different about this is that most of the extras had pointy ears. OGaM has turned a little corner of the San Fernando Valley into the planet Vulcan.



Trek XI Writers Hold ‘Write A Line’ Contest For Transformers Movie

Next summer Paramount Pictures is bringing the Transformers franchise to the big screen in a live action movie. The film is directed by Michael Bay and written by Trek XI scriptwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Weeks ago we covered their streaming video Q&A session where they mentioned an upcoming fan contest. This week marks the start of the contest where they are letting fans submit lines for their script. 10 entries for a line of dialog will be recorded by star Peter Cullen (the voice of Optimus Prime) with the winning entry ending up in the final film. Paramont along with Orci and Kurtzman are to be applauded for their fan outreach on Transformers. With Orci and Kurtzman also having exec-producer credit for Star Trek XI we can only hope that this kind of feedback and involvement will be in store for Trek fans as well. The Transforms film is just finishing up principal filming and will be released on July 4th. The official website promises to provide many goodies like pictures, video, blogs, etc but so far it all says ‘coming soon’ Go to the Offical Transformers Site to Enter in the Contest



Siddig, Sulu, Singer, and Spaceballs In A Slow News Day Smackdown

TrekToday interviewed Star Trek DS9 star Alexander Siddig and it appears that he has put Trek behind him. Siddig talked about his successful post Trek career and only said "next question" when asked if he would be interested in getting a call from Trek XI’s JJ Abrams. He also said that he doesn’t think his Syriana co-star Matt Damon would want to even be in Trek XI, telling TrekToday "Damon would be a great Trek captain, but I’d be a little surprised if he has agreed to do it, frankly."  Check out the full interview for more. We still dont know if a new Sulu will be in StarTrek XI, but it seems the old Sulu is getting one more shot. Star Trek’s George Takei will reprise his role as Sulu for the popular online fan film "NewVoyages" which is shooting a new episode this week. With his usual humility Takei tells AP "My coming back is crucial to the existence of the Enterprise…It’s classic drama, and it’s rip-snorting good." More coverage on the TrekFan Film phenom at Forbes.


HDNet Not Interested in Trek Remastered, Is Interested in Trek Movies

A week ago HDNet began showing Star Trek: Enterprise in HD. This makes it the sole source for any Star Trek TV in HD, as the new Trek Remastered is not being broadcast in HD (story).  Since they currently have a monopoly on Trek in HD, TrekMovie.com contacted HDNet to see what is next and owner Mark Cuban himself answered our questions about the future of Trek on HDNet. Cuban tells TrekMovie.com that HDNet has spoken to CBS Paramount about the new Star Trek Remastered in HD but they are not interested in the show presently. Cuban did say he was open to HD version of other Trek series (like TNG) in HD if they become available, telling TrekMovie.com "It depends on the response to this series. If we find a lot of people are subscribing to HDNet to see Enterprise, we will of course look for more." But for the 10 Trek feature films in HD, Cuban is ready to go, telling TrekMovie "we are in discussions about them." Cuban and HDNet did not give any further details on when we might see the feature films in HD and our sources within Paramount and CBS are still trying to figure out where in the vast former Viacom empire deals with HDNet are struck.



The Myth of the Star Trek Fan

Sociologist John Tenuto shares some preliminary findings from his study of scifi fandom… The concept of the Star Trek fan is a myth.Those attending Star Trek conventions see a variety of people that questions the simplistic view that all Trekkers are the same. Star Trek fans are multifarious in political views, occupation, demographics, and shape. Yet, the myth persists that all Star Trek fans are similar. Similarly geeky. Similarly minded. Similarly shaped. Similarly bereft of social relationships. This is not true. Never has been. Probably never will be.


Remastered Devil in The Dark Airs Today…See the Preview

Week 2 of Trek Remastered gives us Devil in the Dark. Don’t expect much in terms of new space effects with Kirk and a few red shirts hunting Horta. That being said this week will mark a Trek Remastered first with some redone (and possibly animated) versions of the old matte paintings. Check our listings for your station and showime (if your local time is not there then send us a tip to add it).  Promos are already airing, here is one from Chicago (thanks to a loyal reader) TrekMovie.com will have screenshots and a review up this weekend, and if you see any promos for Trek Remastered let us know. but you don’t need to wait for that to tell us what you think of Devil in the Dark Remastered.



Trek Remastered A Hit In Chicago, A Miss In NYC

Because Trek Remastered is syndicated the airtimes are based on the local broadcaster, with the show often being aired in the wee hours of the morning. Some stations are taking a different tack and Chicago’s WWME is a perfect example. Up until recently Star Trek Enterprise showed at 11 am on WCIU in Chicago, the nation’s third largest media market. When Star Trek Remastered was announced Weigel Broadcasting, who had the conract for Enteprise, took it as an opportunity. They decided to move the show to 6pm Saturdays and put it on WWME (also known as ‘MeTV‘) with a rerun on the following Sunday night at 11 pm.  "It is a much better time and a pefect fit for MeTV," says Sean Long Program Director for Weigel. MeTV almost exclusively shows reruns of classic TV shows and starting next week Trek will be preceeded by the classic scifi show Lost in Space. "We are really excited about the the show and especially the new effects," said Long. They were so excited about new Trek they issued a press release and have been heavily promoting the show (see previous story). "We expect better ratings for the show in its new slot," said Long. WWME are already happy with the results telling TrekMovie.com that their overnight ratings showing a 550% improvement for the timeslot (previously airing back to back episodes of Batman). "Enterprise never really found its audience, but the classic show is for everybody," said Long. WWME plan on continuing to promote the show and said they would even be interested in showing Trek in its uncut form if CBS made that available.


Shatner Tired Of Talking Trek – Jokes He Doesn’t Know Who Abrams Is

On Thursday, William Shatner breezed into Richmond BC for an event so far off the radar it didn’t appear on his website’s official schedule. Shatner was in BC to host the first ever Canadian Awards for the Electronic Arts and Animation. Prior to the show there was a "Champagne Reception" and it was here that Shatner fielded all manner of Trek related questions. The press gaggle was on him like an EF Hutton commercial peppering with questions, however Shatner did try to stay on message about Canadian animation. As a result, many of his replies to Trek questions were brief and often showed his trademark sarcastic wit. On how he he celebrated the 40th anniversary of Trek Shatner quipped, that he and "George Takei spent some time alone together but I’d rather not go into details."When asked by one reporter about his years as Capt. Kirk, he said: "I’m all done talking about that stuff." He did say that he thought that the role of Captain Kirk should be played by somebody very handsome, "just like in the original series," being careful not to endorse Matt Damon when the interviewer mentioned his name. When asked about JJ Abrams, he quipped in reply, "JJ Abrams? Who’s he?..is he an actor" — still apparently stinging from the"odourous gas" comments earlier in the week and trying to dodge any further controversy.  When asked if he was involved in the production of Star Trek XI he replied "I haven’t been asked for input on the new movie".