Four days ago we reported Leonard Nimoy had told the Toronto Star ” I do, by contract, have the right to approve the casting” (for a recasted Spock). Well this bombshell ran around the internet and raised 4 key questions:
- Is this true?
- Does it apply to Shatner too?
- Is this an old contract?
- What power does he (do they) really have?
According to a Paramount source it is indeed true: “I can tell you what Nimoy said is accurate, and it applies to Shatner too”. The source also confirmed that no other Trek actor (including ones no longer alive) has the same deal, just Nimoy and Shatner. For the third question, a reasonable assumption would be that these must be old contracts from their heyday in the 80s or maybe during the run-up to Star Trek VI (the last time Paramount considered recasting Kirk and Spock). As it turns out, according to the source, the contracts are brand spanking new and related specifically to Star Trek XI. Which begs the obvious question…why on earth would Paramount and JJ Abrams go out of their way to hand over casting veto power to William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy? This is a question that our studio source either could not or would not answer. To make things even more confusing a source inside William Shatner’s inner circle tells the Trek Movie Report “Bill says he has no power, Paramount makes all the decisions.”
It’s all about PR
Although this seems very confusing, in talking to the various people around this it becomes a bit clearer. It is likely this is all about publicity. When it became clear to Paramount that they would be recasting iconic characters based on living actors, they made sure those actors were going to be part of the team. So yes there are contracts, but can Nimoy or Shatner stop Abrams from casting a certain actor?…apparently not. They can however back out of their deals to promote the film if they don’t like Trek XI produer JJ Abrams choice, but it is unlikely that Abrams would ever let that happen. Paramount do not want Shatner or Nimoy to run around and start spouting off about this film and creating negative buzz. Having them on board is a way for the studio to reach out to the fans and show that they care about Trek history…and that is a good thing. Can this relationship go beyond promotion to actual involvement? It is certainly possible, we know Shatner is ready to go and Nimoy seems open to the idea. At the very least expect a press conference some day with Shatner, Nimoy and the new Kirk and Spock all shaking hands and playing nice.
Oh and one more thing…Trek XI WILL BE about Kirk and Spock
The evidence is becoming overwhelming and this pretty much clinches it. Paramount aren’t going to go out and sign contracts with the old Kirk and Spock if they are doing another movie about Riker, Data, Janeway or even Pike. If the JJ Abrams designed poster and the other hints weren’t enough to convince you, these contracts should be the closer.
But since Paramount and Abrams have not confirmed it, the Trek Movie Report will continue to sprinkle our articles with ‘probably’ and ‘likely’…but if Trek XI isn’t about Kirk and Spock I will eat my hat.
(note to self…buy a hat)