Interview With Zachary Quinto [UPDATED]

At Comic Con I had moment to chat with Zacharay Quinto, the new Spock for the 2008 Star Trek film. Quinto provides some clues to the film and also discusses working with Leonard Nimoy and his thoughts on the Trek franchise and fans (and Shatner).


click more for the interview… What was the process like for getting the role?

Zachary Quinto: My first meeting was April 15th, then I left the country for almost two months. Then I got back on June 2nd, met with J.J. [Abrams] June 5th and they offered me the part the role in June 7th. So it was very compacted Do you know if you were up against other actors?

Zachary Quinto: I am not able to answer that question, I don’t really know. The fact that I am the first one that they cast in the movie suggests that I came in relatively early on. Was [Heroes co-star] Greg [Grunberg] involved at all in this process?

Zachary Quinto: I don’t really know. Greg and J.J. go back to kindergarten and I am sure they have had a conversation about it. I am sure Greg came to my aide as a character reference. I certainly extended my gratitude to Greg for his support through this process as I extend it to the entire Heroes crew. I mean I would not be able to do this and in this situation if it wasn’t for Heroes and that isn’t lost on me. The fact that Tim [Kring] and Dennis [Hammer] and Allan [Arkush] got behind this idea from the beginning. Tim and I had one talk about this in Paris a couple months ago and he got behind it and stayed behind it and that is why it is happening. So how much of a fan of Trek were have you been?

Zachary Quinto: It is actually limited. I am familiar with the series, certainly watched the series and saw the movies I was always interested in it peripherally. But I never really got too deeply involved in the mythology of it, which is part of what excites me about doing the movie and being part of this re-imagining of the franchise. But you have talked in the past about how you were interested in the film and specifically the character of Spock as far back late last year. Where did that interest come from?

Zachary Quinto: It comes from the complexity of the character and the experiences that I have had personally and professionally in the past few years leading me to a point where I feel like I identify with a lot of aspects of what this character is going through in terms of the structure of the movie and the story structure that [screenwriters] Alex [Kurtzman] and Bob [Orci] have created. So that is really where it came from for me when I found out they were doing the project. Also to learn about it. To become a part of something that is so steeped in history and is so iconic and has such a following is such an honor. What can you tell me about the Bob and Alex script?

Zachary Quinto: It is a really exciting imagination of the genesis of these characters and their convergence. I felt inspired by them and the whole creative team. …by ‘the characters’ do you mean Kirk and Spock?

Zachary Quinto: Ya…and all the characters too, but I am not at liberty to discuss anything about the story. There is humanity to it. There is definitely an honesty to it that I think people will be really drawn to…whether they are a big fan of the series before or not. And that is something I really responded to. How are you going to juggle things with Heroes? Aren’t you going to have to start doing some prelim work and tests for Trek?

Zachary Quinto: I imagine…I am sure they will have to find the right texture for my latex ears right? I don’t know their schedule, I am pretty sure it starts in November. Heroes wont be done by then but they have made the commitment to work it out. So they aren’t just going to kill you off on Heroes?

Zachary Quinto: Well you know what…you always run that risk when you leave one project to work on another. And if that serves the story by the time the movie is done filming and there is no way for me to return to Heroes that would be incredibly disappointing, but I should hope we could be able to find a way for it to work out. The writers have talked about this film being the beginning of a new series, so are you up for more Trek movies?

Zachary Quinto: Ya there is potential for that down the line. If they want me to be part of one I will be happy to jump on board. I think only time will tell. J.J. [Abrams] says he is looking for ideas for casting Kirk, have you given him any ideas?

Zachary Quinto: Well we talked a little bit about it. I said I would put my thinking cap on. I certainly have a wide resource of actor friends and contemporaries that I have known and worked with for a long time so I will certainly give it some thought. So he wasn’t being coy…he is really searching now?

Zachary Quinto: He wasn’t being coy…they are really looking. And I think that is a great thing. I think that is going to open up the role to someone to really make it their own, and I think that is what it needs to be? What about Abrams comment about wanting William Shatner, but not sure it can work. What do you think about Shatner being in the movie?

Zachary Quinto: I am total concurrence with J.J. I feel what ever is best for the movie. I mean Bill Shatner is an amazing actor and is responsible for the success of this franchise for the last 40 years as much as anybody who has been a part of it. So if it works out organically and it serves the story then and it makes it a better movie I would be thrilled and honored to meet and with him. Have you talked to [Heroes recurring guest star] George [Takei] or other actors who have worked in Trek about what happens once you play in Trek? It now guarantees you a spot on the convention circuit for the rest of your life.

Zachary Quinto: I guess so [laughing]…right? Do you think you will have an opportunity to reach out to the fans over the next year?

Zachary Quinto: I am sure I will. The fans are what kept it alive this long. To be a part of that is an incredible honor and not one I take lightly. I feel like there is a great responsibility into stepping in to this role and I have some really big shoes to fill. The fact Leonard [Nimoy] is involved and that I have his blessing, I couldn’t ask for anything more…it is really an opportunity of the lifetime. What are your thoughts about working with Leonard Nimoy?

Zachary Quinto: The thing that excites me as much as working with J.J., Damon [Lindelof], and Bob and Alex is working with Leonard Nimoy and getting to know him as a person. To learn how this experience has effected his life. I think he is an incredibly sensitive and profound artist and not just and actor. I think that this experience has had a lot to do with shaping that. I feel truly honored and humbled to experience it with him and not just taking it over or stepping into it. It is really going to be an experience I share with him and that is a real gift.

Quinto with his predecessor and co-star Leonard Nimoy


UPDATED: More Quinto interviews
Quinto gave some shorter interviews to a few other outlets at Comic-Con..

check em out: SciFi Wire  |  IESB (Video)  |  KNSB (Video)

(Photos: TOP: Anthony Pascale, BOTTOM: Al Ortega) 

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