IGN has two separate interviews of interest to Trekkies today: one with Star Trek director JJ Abrams and one with co-writer Roberto Orci. Abrams spoke about why he chose to direct the film and how he thinks it will make Trek ‘relevant’ again. Orci talked about how the origin story in Star Trek is one you haven’t seen before and that they put their all into it and ‘didn’t save anything for later.’
Excerpts from Abrams interview…
IGN: How big a decision was it to do Star Trek and how did it go?
J.J. ABRAMS: It went incredibly well. It was such a big movie and such a spectacular experience because the cast was just… When you look at a movie like this in the form it’s in now, which is incredibly rough – we just started editing – and a lot of times, it’s hard to find. But because the cast is so good, you watch the scenes now and you’re not looking at the green screen over there or that missing shot there. It’s like they inhabited these roles so completely. So all I know is the characters are wonderful and the actors are… Like, you want to be one of the crew. You want to be with them, you know? The decision to do it was a big one, but I read the script and as a guy who really, I liked Star Trek, but I was never the rabid fan, it was really just that Alex [Kurtzman] and Bob [Orci] wrote a great script and that I felt like I would be so agonizingly envious of whoever stepped in and directed the movie and I just thought I’ve got to direct this.
IGN: What do you feel you’re up against?
ABRAMS: The honest answer is I think you tell a good story. I feel like Star Trek or not, if it’s something entertaining and exciting and emotional, despite it being Star Trek or whatever the franchise, it will work. But honestly, I’m not sure that the majority of the public is as aware of Star Trek as one might think, or even aware that there are 10 movies. I guarantee you, if you went around and asked randomly, ‘How many Trek movies were there?,’ people might say five or six. I don’t think people realize there are ten movies. I feel like in a way, the way Trek has sort of existed over the last several years, I honestly feel that it doesn’t really seem as relevant as it might, when you consider it’s number 11 and there have been X number of hundred hours. So my feeling is, I think we are poised to introduce people who have never even seen Star Trek and to give the fans of the series this incredibly fun, exciting ride. Mostly, I feel like we’ve got the goods. I feel like we’re in a great place when it comes out, and I think we can make it as good as I pray we can in editing. I think we’re going to be in good shape.
IGN: How intimidating was it to direct Leonard Nimoy?
ABRAMS: Well, the intimidating thing was going up to him and saying, ‘Here’s what I think you should do,’ because I’m like, ‘Who the hell am I to tell you what to do? You’re Spock!’ The truth is, he would literally grab me and say, ‘Look, tell me, tell me, tell me.’ When I say he was a sweetheart… Working with him was like working with the greatest person you’d ever work with. He was just open and curious and hungry to be better and that ended up being a pure joy. I love Nimoy.
More from Abrams at IGN.
Excerpts from Orci interview…
IGN: How tricky is it to come up with a story that will appeal to the old fans, and yet do the business of bringing in the new fans that it has to?
ORCI: It’s tricky, but we thought that it was an amazing opportunity, which is there’d never been an origin story of how this original crew of Kirk and Spock and Bones and everybody, how they met. So when we went back and started thinking about it, we realized goodness, that’s never been covered! That’s not even a remake. There simply has not been a story that told how they got together. So when we realized that, we thought well, that solves the introduction problem, because this will literally be an introduction to these characters that everyone knows, but not everyone knows how they met. So we knew that we could tell a story that was still viable for Star Trek fans, because it’s not a retelling. It’s a new story. And we knew that for those who don’t know Star Trek, it’s going to be an introduction to the world. So we kind of leapt at it, in that it hadn’t been done before.
IGN: The biggest problem with origin stories is that every time they’re a hit, the director or the writer, when they’re talking about the second one, says, ‘Well, the first one did its job and introduced its world.’ How do you go about making an exciting first film?
ORCI: I can tell you right now, we need not make any qualifiers like that. This is not something like, ‘Oh, just sit through the first boring one, and then we get to the fun.’ This one, I’m telling you, it’s an origin story that’s… We didn’t save anything for later. We wanted to make sure that it was great for the fans, but a general audience, they’re not going to be able to rely on that they love Kirk or they love Spock. They have to love it on its own merits. Like you said, Transformers and Star Trek are very different things. However, I don’t think anyone would say that the first Transformers somehow is like waiting for the second one to happen. Our goal is always to not be arrogant enough to think that you’re going to get more than one movie. Make one good movie and if that movie’s good, then hopefully you’ll get another one. Don’t save anything for later. Don’t plan on the sequel. That’s a mistake. And that’s how we approach it. Just make one good movie and god willing, we get to do another one
More from Orci at IGN.