June 2007

Star Trek (Again) Tops TV Guide List Of Top Cult Shows

For the second time TV Guide has put together a list of the top 30 ‘Cult Shows’ of all time…and Star Trek again tops the list. In fact the top 4 remained the same from the last time they did a list in 2004 (Trek, X-Files, Buffy and Farscape). J.J. Abrams’ Lost is a new entry at number 5, pushing Monty Python down to 6th. See TVGuide.com for the full list.  

Kurtzman Sees Parallels Between New ‘Star Trek’ and Wrath of Khan

Adam Wills of the Jewish Journal recently interviewed Star Trek 2008 writer Alex Kurtzman and has put up part an interesting Star Trek tidbit from that interview on their GeekHeeb Blog. Kurtzman says that for their new Star Trek  they drew inspiration and hoped to replicate the experience the classic Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. For the “Trek” script a lot of it was what “Trek” meant to us as kids. We’ve been enormous fans of “Trek” since we were little kids. And what it felt like to be in the theater and watch “Wrath of Khan” for the first time was what we wanted people to experience … [want to recapture] that kind of an emotional ride. An incredibly great bad guy against an incredibly high-stakes story that’s just emotional. “Trek” for us is about family and friendship.

Cloverfield Teaser Update

We have another follow-up on the rumors of a JJ Abrams teaser trailer running with Transformers (opening wide July 2). It is confirmed that there is a trailer, but it is definately not for his new Star Trek movie. In actuality it is for the mysterious JJ Abrams horror/monster movie project called ‘Cloverfield’ (possibly just a codename) which we reported on in February. People at Paramount still will not talk on the record but sources tell TrekMovie.com that the buzz about the film is all part of a kind of viral marketing push. Cloverfieldmovie.com was redirecting to Paramount, but now it is not anymore (the domain was purchased earlier this year shortly before word of the project was first leaked). [UPDATE: Abrams will produce the film along with Bryan Burk. Drew Goddard (Buffy, Angel, Alias, Lost) is writing and Matt Reeves (Felicity) is directing).] Here is a description of the trailer[UPDATE plus a link to a leaked version]:

[UPDATE] Iceland Production Companies Fighting Over ‘Star Trek’ – Production Said To Be ‘Big’

It appears that there is more to the recent story that the new ‘Star Trek’ film will be doing some shooting in Iceland. Today in an article titled ‘Two Production Companies fight over Star Trek‘ the Reykjavik newspaper Frettabladid is reporting that a company called called Pegasus is competing with the previously reported firm (Saga Film) to work with Paramount on ‘Star Trek.’ Both companies are currently scouting multiple locations in Iceland along with people from the studio. Neither film would provide a comment and Frettabladid noted "the Hollywood men are very cautious and want the staff at the production companies to keep this quiet and so the travel plans are top secret." It also looks like there might be a substantial amount of shooting in Iceland. The article states it could be ‘bigger than Flags of our Fathers,’ the recent Clint Eastwood film that did much of its shooting in Iceland. The black sand beaches (pictured right) of Iceland stood in for Iwo Jima (Japan would not allow the shooting of battle scenes on the island).

There Is NOT A ‘Star Trek’ Teaser Showing With Transformers

There is another one of those rumors on the internets that there is a ‘Star Trek’ teaser trailer attached to the Transformers film, premiering next week. I can categorically say that this is 100% not true. There is however a possible kernal of JJ Abrams truth to the rumor. Apparently there is a teaser trailer for the JJ Abrams produced horror movie ‘Cloverfield’ that is out there and apparently will be shown with Transformers [see previous story]. Although it has been confirmed by sources that Cloverfield is a real JJ Abrams project, Paramount are still not even acknowledging that the film exists and apparently this whole hubbub is all by design (it is still not even certain if ‘Cloverfield’ is a real titled). It seems they are trying to build some sort of buzz for this ‘secret’ project. Anyway…no more need to send in any more tips about this ‘JJ Abrams’ trailer…mystery solved. Once the film is officially released next week we will hopefully have more information on the trailer and the project. The first ‘Star Trek’ teaser’ is a long way off.   MORE: Click for ALL Cloverfield coverage

‘Star Trek’ Writers Talk Shatner, Kirk, Spock & Terrorism

In a new interview with MTV, ‘Star Trek’ writers (and executive producers) Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman respond to the recent rumors that William Shatner is upset that he will not appear in the film. "We were very surprised about that" said Kurtzman. Orci followed up saying "We’re certainly hoping to include him in the shoot, because we have nothing but reverence and awe for the man." If true and if ‘in the shoot’ means ‘in front of the camera,’ then it could be inferred that the final draft of the script has a part for Shatner (although that does not mean it would be playing Kirk necessarily). With regards to the casting of the new Kirk and if he should….speak….like…..Shatner, Orci replied: It’s tough, because so many of the people that portrayed the characters in ‘Star Trek’ were distinctive. A lot of the writing created Shakespearean-type characters, such that you could imagine it going both ways. You could imagine it being open to interpretation, or you can imagine it being really faithful. We’re trying to figure out how to do it.

Review: Star Trek: Klingons — Blood Will Tell #3

Klingon High Council member Kahnrah and his granddaughter, K’Ahlynn, continue their discussion of Klingon experiences with the Federation. When espionage fails miserably as a tool for expanding the Empire (Blood Will Tell #2), the Klingons begin a campaign of conquest by subterfuge on the planet Neural (TOS, A Private Little War). Kinsman Krell, commander of the IKS Korthos, visits Neural on a regular basis and plants the seeds of conquest firmly in the hearts and minds of the village people after selecting Apella, a hapless villager, to be his liasion. In spite of Earther interference with the hill people, Krell is successful. K’Ahlynn finds little to admire in the Federation’s response to Krell’s efforts, but Kahnrah needs to know if humans can be trusted, and still hasn’t made a decision about Gorkon’s plan. Stardate: After 9521.6, following the explosion of Praxis, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country with a flashback to 4211.4, Commander Krell’s Log Entry #3854, IKS Korthos

‘Star Trek’ Scouting Iceland For Location Shooting

According to the Reykavik-based newspaper DV (via Trek Today), Paramount are scouting locations in Iceland for their upcoming new ‘Star Trek’ movie. No further details on what kind of location they are looking for, but it is reasonable to assume it would be some kind of alien landscape. Iceland is often used for commercials and films (such as Batman Begins pictured right) for it’s desolation and beautiful vistas.  Apparently Paramount are using a company called Sagafilm to assist them, check out their ‘showreels’ to get an idea of what Iceland offers. TrekMovie.com has already reported that the producers plan on using a large stage at Universal for alien planet shots so it is possible that the location shooting would be ‘2nd unit’ establishing shots (like the Alaskan glacier standing in for Rura Penthe shots in Star Trek VI). If it isn’t second unit, then JJ Abrams is already familiar with location shooting. Lost is shot almost entirely on location (especially the pilot which Abrams directed). On Mission: Impossible III Abrams shot all around the world, including China and Italy.

Kurtzman Talks About His Respect For Trek’s Past – ‘Star Trek’ Not a BSG-style Reboot

In the last week we have heard a lot from Star Trek co-writer Roberto Orci, but now in a new audio interview at Voices From Krypton we hear from Orci’s other half Alex Kurtzman. Kurtzman noted that over the years many writers have contributed to the character of Trek but that the show was "very much Roddenberry’s and it always has maintained a optimistic and hopeful universe about exploration and ultimately also about friendship and family." He spoke about how much he and Roberto have been influenced by the many people involved in Trek’s past… It is an honor to be part of it now and to inherit that mantle, but I feel like we couldn’t have really been doing that without the instruction that everyone else has given us and the road map that has been laid out for us.

Orci & Kurtzman: Balancing geekery and nongeekery

Yes…even more on Orci and Kurtzman. Today the pair of Star Trek (2008) writers are profiled in the New York Times in an article titled ‘Character-Driven Films (but Keep the Kaboom).’ The piece covers their biography and discusses how they are just a couple of fanboys who made it big (interesting fact…Orci had a phone shaped like the USS Enterprise). Orci talks about what it is like balancing fandom with business: You can never be just a fanboy in the eyes of other fanboys, because you’re also, in a way, the establishment. You’re like, ‘No, but I’m you.’ But you’re accountable for all your decisions, and inevitably you can’t please everybody.

Writers Talk About Process for ‘Star Trek’ Screenplay

At a writer’s workshop in Santa Monica on Thursday, Star Trek co-writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman talked about the craft of writing. Most of the discussion and Q&A topics were very ‘inside Hollywood’ discussions about making pitches, drawing characters, doing research, etc. However the subject of Trek came up every once in a while while describing how things work for them. For example they said while making the Star Trek script there came a point when they were falling behind and the studio was saying ‘we need the script – we need the script’…so Kurtzman says "we locked ourselves away for a good two months actually and didn’t take calls and finished it. And they got the script and it was greenlit the next day…which was most satisfying."

Orci & Kurtzman Working On New TV Pilot w/ Abrams + ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ Movie + New Info on Abrams ‘Cloverfield’

At a writers workshop held in Santa Monica on Thursday, Star Trek co-writer Alex Kurtzman said that he and writing partner Roberto Orci are writing on a new TV pilot with JJ Abrams. The three worked together in TV before on the show Alias and it would be the writers first time back on TV since that show ended. Abrams has a multi-million dollar TV production deal with Warner Brothers, but so far has only announced one show for HBO (a medical drama). After the event Roberto Orci told TrekMovie that it was not a Star Trek show and that they still don’t know if the show is for network TV, HBO or cable. He did say it will probably have some sci-fi/genre elements (kind of like Lost and Alias have some genre elements but are not ‘spaceship scifi’), but they are still working out the details. If the show follows the usual pilot season schedule then it wouldn’t really kick into production until Spring of 2008, which would be after Star Trek enters its post production phase.

Rumor: Shatner Jealous Over Nimoy?

There is a new rumor from the Gossip page of the NY Post stating that William Shatner is upset that Leonard Nimoy has been offered a cameo in the the new Star Trek film and he has not. Last week we reported on the Shatnervision segment where the Shat said he had not heard anything from Paramount and ‘it made him sad’. It is possible the NYP has convoluted that into Shatner being ‘furious.’ The report is denied by Shatner’s manager Larry Thompson and his office tells TrekMovie.com they have nothing else to say on it. No comment is available from Paramount either. The notion that Shatner has not been cast or even contacted but they are casting Nimoy cannot be confirmed. It is also worth noting that both actors have said they were not interested in unsubstantial ‘cameos.’ For now it is just another one of those rumors (remember the one about Tom Cruise playing Spock). If we hear anything more we will provide an update. 

Rossi Talks Upcoming TOS-R Episodes

In the latest issue of Star Trek Magazine (out now in the UK and elsewhere, in the US next week) TOS-R producer Dave Rossi talks about progress on the project. He says that the team are ‘really proud’ of the work and jokes that ‘the mini skirts look really good’ in HD. Rossi acknowledged that the biggest challenge is time, but noted that now that they have a ‘cache’ of 90 new shots of the Enterprise they can re-use (more than the 17 TOS used), they can focus on episode specific shots. Regarding those he talked about a number of episodes (some of which have already aired), but also gave some hints at what we can expect in four unaired episodes…detail below.

Guardian Premise Selected for Kirk v Picard ‘Fanisode’ Contest

The votes are in and the ‘Guardian of Forever’ premise is the clear winner and will be the jumping off point for the Star Trek Kirk vs Picard fan fiction contest (I am sure it was the endorsement from TrekMovie.com). Now that they have the device that brings Kirk and Picard together in conflict, mission director Andre Bormanis has set up the first ‘scene mission’ for the writers. The scene starts on the Guardian planet with Kirk and crew dealing with a freaking out Guardian causing serious problems in the space time continuum…and soon enough Picard and the Enterprise D show up. On the official blog for the event, Bormanis explains why he chose to have it start with Kirk. I sincerely hope there are some TrekMovie.com readers who are participating in this event as writers, and even as reviewers (either way you can win some prizes). I should note that after I covered the event in my previous article and interview with Bormans, I got to talking to the FanLib people they asked me to build and run the official blog for the event.

Review – “Plato’s Stepchildren” Remastered

It’s one thing for television producers to torture their fictional characters, but it’s quite another when they torture their hapless viewers. Unfortunately, that’s the result of this pointless, turgid, plodding episode. “Plato’s Stepchildren” is among the “bitter dregs” of the third season, if not the entire series. Here’s the plot: The intrepid Enterprise crew responds to a distress call from a small society of aliens with psycho-kinetic powers who torture Kirk and Spock to force McCoy to make a permanent house call. The crew discovers the chemical source of the aliens’ power, juices themselves up with a super high dose, and beats them at their own game. The end.

Orci: New ‘Star Trek’ Film To Bring In New Generation – May Lead to New Trek on TV

Yet even more on Star Trek from Mr. Orci’s press tour for Transformers. In the second part of the IESB interview with Orci there is one Trek question related to the future of the franchise and if it will ‘re-establish’ the universe. Orci replied: Absolutely, it’s gotta bring in a whole new generation, it’s gotta bring in people who don’t know Trek so it absolutely trying to re-establish what this universe should be…

Star Trek Reference/Cameo in Tranformers

[MINOR SPOLIERS]Transformers is sure to be one of the big blockbusters of this summer. The mainstream action movie is full of pop culture references including one nod to Star Trek.  The reference comes from the character of Bumblebee (pictured right). Bumblebee is probably the most realized Transformer in the film and certainly gets the most screen time. He befriends the movie’s hero Sam Witwicky (played by Shia LaBeouf). One of the running gags is that the radio in Sam’s Camaro (aka Bumblebee) tunes into all sorts of things all on its own.

Orci: Big Budget – Maybe Not Big Stars [UPDATED]

In addition to talking to TrekMovie.com, Roberto Orci also talked to other members of the geekosphere at the Transformers event. The Star Trek co-writer opened up on Trek a bit more to IESB saying that he and writing partner Alex Kurtzman were ready to write the film because they "been researching that [Trek] all our lives…we read the novels, we just had it down cold." Regarding which series were favorites he said that he was partial to TNG and that Kurtzman favored TOS. The co-writer and executive producer also said that they wrote the script with a ‘big’ budget in mind. However Orci said they are not yet set on having big named stars and felt that you do not need them…: I don’t think so, because the star of the movie is Star Trek, you know,so another way to think of it is we feel confident in what the material is and what the paradigm of the movie is that we’re not trying to shove an Academy Award winner down your throat to sell it. Which doesn’t mean that we might not end up there but its not our first place to go there with that. more excerpts from IESB, IGN and SciFi Wire below…

Roberto Orci Talks ‘Star Trek’ and Fandom with TrekMovie.com

TrekMovie.com had a chance to sit down with the co-writer of the new Star Trek film Robert Orci at a promotional event for his latest film Transformers. The event was mainly for Transformers, but I was able to ask some Trek questions. Regarding his and (writing partner) Alex Kurtzman being fans of the franchise Orci stated “obviously we have been fans of Trek forever." The writer said he couldn’t really talk about the plot for the new Trek film, except to joke “we trek through the stars…and it’s in the future.” (I guess that rules out another Star Trek IV style time travel plot). He did mention that the character of Kirk is in the film (which was already announced by Abrams last month). When asked if Kirk had a big part in the film he wryly smiled and said "maybe." Orci (who also shares an Executive producer credit) did offer a status report saying that they are currently in pre-production and casting with shooting planned for November (which is a month later than previously reported). He also confirmed that the working title for the film is just ‘Star Trek’ and that he is "pretty sure" the simple title will end up to be the final title, saying "how do you deny it?…they might pretend it is not the official title but what else is it going to be?”