EXCLUSIVE: The teaser trailer for the new Star Trek starts off with the face of a rugged welder…and as it turns out he wasn’t just acting! TrekMovie.com spoke to the ‘welder’ actor and got the lowdown on what it was like to shoot the new Trek teaser.
Like almost every other actor in LA, last fall Anthony Vitale went in to Paramount to audition for the big sci-fi film "Corporate Headquarters." Vitale had no idea that was a code name for JJ Abrams new Star Trek feature. After reading some lines Casting Director April Webster pulled him aside and asked him the fateful question "do you know how to weld?" Little did she know that Vitale had only started acting 3 years previously after being laid off as a marine carpenter and welder. Needless to say he was soon on Stage 25 at Paramount decked out in a full genuine welding outfit and ready to be the first man shot for Star Trek in years, something the actor is rather proud of.
The very first frame of film for principal photography on the teaser trailer was my close-up with the goggles on. When the cameras first turned on to start Star Trek XI, it was Anthony Vitale’s close-up.
Vitale sets the scene and it is clear he was the man for the job…
There was real steel there for the welding. I was using a genuine welding tool…specifically it was a mig welder — the technical term for that type of welding is gas metal arc welding. I was actually standing on concrete and there were some special effects going on behind me but the sparks that you guys see in front of my face, those are real… I was actually welding
Although what Vitale was doing was very real, of course there was a lot of movie magic going on…
Half the stage had a green screen and a green floor. Plus on the backlot there it was shot in front of a giant greenscreen. A good portion of it was real, but as far as the ship itself, there was just partial columns that were painted the color of NCC-1701. It gave them a starting point, I imagine, to CGI the remainder of the ship..
Often teaser trailers are shot by assistant directors, but in this case Vitale found out that he was to work with the man himself…
J.J. Abrams came in and directed my scene and then the first AD [Tommy Gormley] directed the rest of the stuff with everyone else. So I had the opportunity to work directly with J.J. Abrams. He is a very, very nice guy, really down to Earth. And to be honest with you, I was quite in awe because of his success. To have worked directly with him – you know, it’s just a short scene, it’s just a teaser trailer, but I was ecstatic, to say the least.
At this point Vitale doesn’t know if his teaser scene is going to be in the final film, but says there was ‘mention’ of him being brought back for the principal photography phase on the film itself (in a different role). Right now Vitale is riding high on getting onto the big screen in a big way. Like many actors he had no idea if what he shot would end up on the cutting room floor so like all the fans he went to see Cloverfield over the weekend to catch a glimpse…
Everything’s been so secret and under wraps, I had no idea what kind of finished footage was gonna be left in the teaser. But, [that] night is when it really sunk in… when I saw my face on the big screen for a huge film with a very loyal following. And I was very excited about that.
Plus it turns out, Vitale has always been a Star Trek fan who has been watching it since his childhood. When asked which Trek was his favorite he quiped "I want to believe Star Trek XI is my favorite."
Anthony Vitale…welder and actor
Hailing from Hailey, Idaho, Viscale was a professional marine carpenter/welder until he was laid off from his company on November 18th, 2004. Having been theatrically trained as a child, he turned to acting. Since then, has made appearances on several television series, including Days of Our Lives, Passions, and Numb3rs. He also worked with Star Trek: Voyager‘s Jeri Ryan on the pilot for Shark and appeared on The Nine, starring Enterprise‘s John Billingsley. In addition, he has four films due out in 2008. Currently, he is in rehearsals for a remake of The Night of January 16th at the Royal Theatre aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California.
Mr. Vitale extends gratitude and thanks to J.J. Abrams, all of the producers, and casting directors April Webster and Alyssa Weisberg for allowing him to be a part of the Star Trek phenomenon.
Full TrekMovie.com Coverage of the Star Trek Trailer:
HD Version of Teaser + Viral Site + Screenshots
Fan-made art inspired Trek teaser
TrekMovie.com Roberto Orci Q&A On Teaser
Review – Star Trek Teaser Trailer [w/TRAILER VIDEO]
First Official Image of the USS Entperprise
Review – “Cloverfield”