Trek Welder Talks Teaser Shoot

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! 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


About Anthony
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.

For more on Anthony Vitale, see his pages on MySpace and IMDb.

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 Coverage of the Star Trek Trailer:

HD Version of Teaser + Viral Site + Screenshots
Fan-made art inspired Trek teaser Roberto Orci Q&A On Teaser
Review – Star Trek Teaser Trailer [w/TRAILER VIDEO]
First Official Image of the USS Entperprise
Review – “Cloverfield”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Pretty sweet!

I loved the teaser and the fact that so many folks got to see it this weekend.

That’s show business, man. Vitale’s story is a movie in itself. This picture just gets better and better.

Oh, and nice scoop, Chuck.

This makes me wonder if ANY of the trailer is going to be in the film.

Wow, all my imagination for the teaser and what it could be has been broken down into green-screen, CGI, the actors involved and who directed it. I need to stop reading this stuff but I am too interested. UGH!

What a nice break for this guy!! Why could’nt I be in that place..maybe as a Starfleet janitor or garbage man??

Cool stuff! I want to work on a Star Trek Movie!!! :-D

i posted this earlier, but this entry seems more appropriate and less populated so far, so…

does anybody know the identity of the second welder shown in the trailer? it looks like carl lumbly from ‘alias’, which would be appropriate…

Good to hear the bloke in the teaser is genuine Star Trek fan and was genuinely excited just to be part of the teaser. Excellent story!

I found this Teaser to be the best for Trek. I love all the other films but thier trailers feel cheesy except for Trek VI and Trek VIII. This felt well realy classy and well thought out. Not bits from other Trek movies.

Good for him, way to go. Silly me, I was under the impression that the welder was actually this guy…

Every time I hear a story like this about this movie, I get a good feeling. The producers draw inspiration for the trailer from a fan produced image, a professor who has a terminal illness will be in the movie as a crew member, and now Mr. Vitale, a fan of Trek has his chance to be a part of this whole phenomenon. Well done JJ and team, Trek is in good hands. I look forward to December!

What an expression on his face. They chose the right guy. They should give him a cameo appearance.

cool. best of luck to this guy. Hope it leads to bigger and better things for his future.
Awesome trailer, by the way.

Very cool, I wish I was in the trailer.

Wow. Interviews with the guy who barely appears in the teaser trailer. I’m impressed with the thoroughness of this site. Very impressed.

Good luck Mr. Vitale!

In that headshot he looks like the love child of Matt Frewer and Bruce Willis.

He’s Vitale to the production!

17…we leave no stone unturned here!
Especially Chuck…he is the one that found Mr. Vitale while I was still trying to figure it out. Most impressive my young padawan

18…OMG you are right!

He could pass as Jeffrey Hunter. Have they cast Christopher Pike yet?

What a loyal group of fans!!! Thanks for having me.

You know he has the look of a TOS actor.

I could picture him as a Lt. type working security but not a red shirt!


Mr. Vitale,

From one mig welder to another, welcome aboard! Best of luck with your acting career – break a leg!

Thanks hopefully this career will have less smoke!!!

I think he would be a good red shirt… how’s your dying, Anthony?

how’s this look on your resume: “First Red Shirt to die in star trek in 39 years” ?

So cool! I can only imagine how I’d feel if I went into the teaser for a Trek movie and found out that I’d made it into it. (Okay, so seeing my face on any big screen would be cool…but especially Trek!) Hope you get into the film itself as well, Anthony!

Having a stunt background as well, I was last killed by Eric Roberts in the film “The Butcher” I’ve been told “you die well”!!!!!

My hope as well………………..

Thank you Mr. Trotter!

Re: 26. Anthony Vitale – January 21, 2008

“Thanks hopefully this career will have less smoke!!!”

Indeed. I do so love welding during an August day, you? It’s not just the heat but the smoke tends to linger a bit more than usual.

im wondering.
hopefuly we get to see Vitale listed as welder, regardles if the trailer footage makes it to film or not.

That is why I chose the marine industry, more heliarc/stainless as opposed to stick welding galvanized fence posts!!

Thanks Enc!!

oh i forgot.
cause we fans can be such nerds some times.
you know what would have been cool? if they had Vitale welding an actual part of the set. It dosent matter what set or if its seen. just that it be a part of the set.

Yay, Anthony, very cool.
love you,

RE: 35. Anthony Vitale – January 21, 2008

“That is why I chose the marine industry, more heliarc/stainless as opposed to stick welding galvanized fence posts!!”

I’ve done my share of stick welding over the years, it wasn’t a joy to say the least. I prefer mig welding overall.

Thanks again everyone for your enthusiasm and without our fans we are nothing, I shall never forget! Thanks for being one!

yeah because in the 2200’s we’d be using welding materials from the 1920’s

Maybe Anthony could be a bad guy… i could see him getting death-gripped by Spock… that would work.

re: 41. patio – January 21, 2008

” yeah because in the 2200’s we’d be using welding materials from the 1920’s”

I doubt that the physics of metal to metal bonding are going to change soon.

Ah Anthony…it wouldn’t be a genuine experience with Trek fans if someone didn’t come in and nitpick!…by the way if anyone asks you about ‘nacelles’…just smile and say ‘i love star trek’

Re: 40. Anthony Vitale – January 21, 2008

“Thanks again everyone for your enthusiasm and without our fans we are nothing, I shall never forget! Thanks for being one!”

And a big thanks to you for taking the time out to interact with us geeks. :)

Sleep well – I’m off to bed.

Take care all!

Ahh, the Vulcan Death Grip… you aren’t Romulan are you?

Excellent article to start the day with guys, and Kudos to Anthony V for being there right at the restart, obviously he’s had a reall kick out of it…

Honestly, I thought that they’d found another role for Jeffery Combs!

Great job, though, Anthony! The teaser’s great!

@44 – who us? Surely not….


41 – So pretend it’s a fusion torch. ;) After all, it might be a little more exotic than just plain welding to secure tritanium/duranium plates together.

Anthony V., congrats on getting a prime role as one of the first people to be seen acting in connection to the new Trek! For me, the irony of all this is, just a few hours ago, I’d downloaded a nice resolution version of the trailer and was watching it, wondering, “Okay, now who is this guy?” And I check back here just before going to bed, and voila’! An article, with an interview, and “this guy” is posting in the talkback, bantering with us. Now how cool is that? :)

Reading some of the really neat stuff about this film and the people involved with it, it’s hard not to come away with a warm feeling. Enthusasm like thuis is infectious, and I hope it can be sustained through 2008, ’cause we may have a real treat next Christmas to cap it all off!

Very, very nice.