Exclusive Interview: Leonard Nimoy – Part 2

In the second part of our exclusive interview with Leonard Nimoy, we talk to the veteran actor and photographer about his history (and possible future) with Star Trek. We also discuss Eddie Murphy’s almost-role in Star Trek IV, Mr.Nimoy’s books, photography and his relationship with William Shatner.


TrekMovie.com June 2008 Interview with Leonard Nimoy, Part 2

TrekMovie.com: We were talking about Star Trek IV earlier, and it has come back into the news recently. Eddie Murphy has been out promoting his new movie Meet Dave, which has a sci-fi feel to it. And he has been talking about how he was going to be in Star Trek IV, but he ended up not liking the character because it was too much like his [Beverly Hills Cop] Axel Foley character and how he really wanted to play a real Star Trek Vulcan Starfleet guy. Did you support the idea of Eddie in the film or did you think it was stunt casting?

Leonard Nimoy: I was called by Jeff Katzenberg, who was head of the studio, when I was prepping Star Trek IV. I remember his words very specifically. He said "I have either the best idea in the world or the worst idea in the world, Eddie Murphy said he would kill to be in a Star Trek movie." And I said, "I think you are right it is either the best or worst idea in the world." [laughs] I had several meetings with Mr. Murphy and what I said to him: "we are very flattered you want to be in a Star Trek movie, we admire you, you admire us, neither of us want to do any harm to each other, so we will work on a script. So if we could develop a script that would work we would do it, and if not we will say thank you to each other and let it go." And that is pretty much how it went. He made a movie, The Golden Child, instead. And I think he said later that he wished he would have done the Star Trek movie.

TrekMovie.com: I think he did say that. And now he is saying that he really wanted to play a Vulcan…

Leonard Nimoy: You know something Anthony, this is really interesting, this is the first I have heard of that. I didn’t know that.

TrekMovie.com: It could be retroactive…

Leonard Nimoy: No I believe him, but the fact is that that idea never got out on the table. So we were looking to use him as a fun human guy who was interacting with these guys from outer space. And we couldn’t get it to work in a way that he and we were satisfied. So I guess he was right in that it was a character that he had played before in some way. That is interesting. I had no idea that he was looking to play an entirely different kind of alien or Vulcan. We still admire Eddie Murphy and I hope he still admires us.

TrekMovie.com: Maybe JJ can put him in the next one, he is still a fan.

Leonard Nimoy: Who knows, who knows?

TrekMovie.com: Speaking of that, and I know the other actors have talked about how they acre signed on for more possible movies, do you feel that your Star Trek journey is now complete? Or are you open to more possibilities?

Leonard Nimoy: Oh you should never say never. I don’t have any reason to believe there is going to be more, and then again there is nothing that happens to me in this movie that would prevent me from doing more. It is not like the end of Spock necessarily. So I don’t know, we will see.

TrekMovie.com: Taking that same question back to the 60s, were there any stories that maybe you and DC [Fontana] talked about, or concepts that you really wish they gave you a chance to do on The Original Series.

Leonard Nimoy: I don’t think so. My memory is that I was constantly pleasantly surprised at the subject matter that we were dealing with. I thought we had some extremely talented and imaginative writers working for us. We didn’t always ring the bell. I am the first to admit that we made a number of turkeys, but considering the budget that we were working with and the time constraints, and that we were breaking new ground constantly, by and large the writers, directors and production people gave us wonderful stuff to work with and I was always pleased. Everyone once in a while I would get really frustrated and would say "Gene [Roddenberry], this script is really a problem" but you just get through it and hope the next one would be better, and often it was.

TrekMovie.com: Bill [Shatner] just released his new biography, Up Till Now. Your last biography was in 1996 with I Am Spock. Was that the last word, or is there a possibly a I Am Spock Again in your future? 

Leonard Nimoy: I don’t have any plans for another ‘Spock’ venture or book. Something might occur to me or someone might present me with an idea, so again never say never.

TrekMovie.com: Speaking of books, any more poetry books?

Leonard Nimoy: No, all of my creative process is involved with photography. I have two books out there, The "Shekhina" book which has been out there for several years and is still selling well and the new book "The Full Body Project," which I am really proud of. It brings up an important subject. 

TrekMovie.com: Regarding that book and project. It got a lot of media attention and a lot of that focused on the subject matter and your models and their size. I was wondering, did the media miss the point or get the point, by focusing on that?

Leonard Nimoy: I think both. Some got the point and some didn’t. I think what is important is that the book is out there and it is a book that makes a comment on what the culture’s values on what is beautiful. Beauty comes in all sizes and shapes. There are many many people, particularly women, who will never look like the models that are selling them the clothes. It is genetics or god or whatever that didn’t make them that way, but they can still be considered beautiful people. This book raises that issue. I know some people deeply affected in a positive way by it and I am very proud of that.

TrekMovie.com: Have you started working on your next photography project?

Leonard Nimoy: Yeah, I am on another project and deep into it, but it is premature to talk about it. I will just say it has to do with ‘identity.’

TrekMovie.com: Did you have a chance to see the Annie Liebowitz photos of the Indiana Jones movie in Vanity Fair? She did a lot of behind-the-scenes, with Lucas and Spielberg and Harrison Ford.

Leonard Nimoy: Yes. I think I saw some of that.

TrekMovie.com: My first thought when I saw that was ‘I wonder if Leonard Nimoy brought his camera to the set?’

Leonard Nimoy: No, I did that once. For Annie Leibowitz to do that, that is a very professional situation where she is hired to come in and do a photo essay on a movie being made and that is part of the business and we understand that. I did it once, when I was acting on a movie with Yul Brenner in Spain, and on a day that I was not filming I came to the set with a camera. And I realized that as soon as I pulled my camera out and pointed it at people and actors who were relaxing, they immediately went into some kind of role and pose as if they had to perform for my camera. And I realized that is an experience I have had too. When I am an actor and people are shooting candid snapshots, I feel a sense of responsibility and I didn’t want to impose that on these actors. I feel it is unfair and an invasion of their private movements. So I never did it again. If someone is hired to shoot and help promote the movie, that is a different situation entirely and we know that. That is part of your job.

TrekMovie.com: That brings up an interesting point. There are new DVDs of the digitally remastered Star Trek. On them there is a special feature with Billy Blackburn, who carried a camera around. So are you saying that when Billy pulled out his camera you guys were all posing.

Leonard Nimoy: Yeah he did, you are right. It dips into that territory. I don’t hold it against Billy, it is OK, it is alright. We like Billy and it is OK, but as a general rule I think it is an invasion.

TrekMovie.com: You talked about the promotion of this new movie. You  get interviewed all the time, but starting about nine months from now, the marketing for this movie is going to be huge. There is going to be lots more  interviews and you are going to be on all the TV shows. How do you feel about going back into that publicity blitz?

Leonard Nimoy: I am looking forward to it! I am very excited about this movie and I want to be as supportive of it as possible. And I look forward to the day they call me and say they need me to go to work to get this movie out to the public.

TrekMovie.com: I understand you were a guest on Bill’s new talk show [Raw Nerve].

Leonard Nimoy: Yeah, we had a wonderful conversation. I think we spoke much longer and he got much more material than he needed for what is a half-hour show. We talked for a long time. I thought it was a very new and special and rich conversations. We touched on subjects that were never touched on before as well as reviewing some of the things we have talked about before. I think it is going to be quite wonderful to watch and I am looking forward to seeing it myself, but it is going to be edited so I don’t know what to expect. But I got a very nice call from Bill a week after we had done it thanking me and he felt we had got into some wonderful stuff.

TrekMovie.com: So it will almost be like a follow-up to "Mind Meld?"

Leonard Nimoy: That is right, something like that exactly.

TrekMovie.com: In an interview later, he said he was afraid to ask you if you had read his book. So I am going to ask you, did you read his new book?

Leonard Nimoy: [laughs] That is very funny. He was afraid to ask me? I didn’t think Bill Shatner was afraid of anything. I will have that conversation with him personally.

MORE: Read Part 1 of our July exclusive interview with Leonard Nimoy

See Leonard Live!
Leonard Nimoy will be appearing live at Creation’s Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas.


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Whew, Spock lives. Thank God.

Of all the things Shatner could be afraid of, it turns out to be Nimoy?

Oh, that’s rich….

Good 2nd part.

Great interview with a classy gentleman.

Can’t wait to see him in the new film!

Nimoy is pure class all the way!*

*(and this from one of the pickiest bastards on the planet)


I can’t wait for the television interviews to start rolling–Leonard and Zachary will be doing quite a few, I think (since they seem to be getting most of the attention already).

And I’m SOO glad that Raw Nerve is going on–I can’t wait!

“I didn’t think Bill Shatner was afraid of anything. I will have that conversation with him personally.”
~ I wish I could hear that conversation…

Its great to know that we may still see Leonard Nimoy as “Spock” once more.
I would love to see Shatner and Nimoy together one last time.


That was a very good interview! I have so much respect for Leonard Nimoy. He is such a brilliant man. Thank you for doing this!

“I didn’t think Bill Shatner was afraid of anything. I will have that conversation with him personally.”

Good parry Nimoy

Best interview yet, guys…both parts.

Great interview. Thank you for putting it together. Nimoy is a class act all the way. I love him.

I’m glad they’re not killing off old Spock as I’ve heard others speculate. It would have been too depressing for a movie that’s supposed to revitalize the Trek Franchise.

Very good interview, well done

~ I wish I could hear that conversation…

Right – I’d really like to be a fly on the wall, too.

And I’m looking forward to hearing this “wonderful and rich conversation” they had for Raw Nerve. It’s fantastic to hear that people still can have that kind of conversation, that after such an immensely long career and friendship with ups and downs there’s still so much left to say.

“…there is nothing that happens to me in this movie that would prevent me from doing more. It is not like the end of Spock necessarily.”

MAJOR spoiler!
We now know “Old Spock” get’s through this okay.

Nice. I always, always like to hear what Leonard has to say, fascinating. Thanks!


please refer to #12!


Yeah true. Learn from your mistakes. If not, Berman’s!!

Anyway, if Spock’s noit going to die, then that;s means we could still do the BRING BACK KIRK movie!!


– Anyway, if Spock’s noit going to die, then that;s means we could still do the BRING BACK KIRK movie!! –

Exactly, listen to what the man said: …doing *more*…;) Your most important mission is still waiting for you, Spock!

All right, I’ll shut up for now. :)

>> there is nothing that happens to me in this movie that would prevent
>> me from doing more.

This brought a smile to my face, I have to say.

If Nimoy does another Spock book it should be called ‘I am Spock, but so is Sylar’.

Nice interview, which gets the possibility of a major downer in the Movie out of the way now. At least the makers don’t seem to have killed him off in this. This should ideally be an uplifting Movie. Glad Leonard gave that one away! ;)

Whoever during the original 1966-69 run of Star Trek who came up with the concept of Vulcan’s long life over humans…we have to thank them most wholeheartedly. Star Trek LIVES and Spock LIVES!!!!!!!

Nimoy’s Spock is still alive at the end. I am more intruiged than ever about this film!

It seems there are always possibilities – More Nimoy and Trek? Yes!!!

Along with the coming “publicity blitz,” it will be.. fascinating to “experience” the inevitable commercial marketing blitz. No doubt one of the leading fast-food franchises will buy into the act. I can already hear the clamoring for “Star Fleet Academy Happy Meals” and the collectible toys inside. “I’ll trade ya’ this Nero Beverage Mug for that Orion Slave Girl Figurine.” – Of course young kids might get excited over it too.

Hey! That was a great Interview and thank you for posting it. mr Nimoy is a true class act and It will be so cool to see him on the big screen once again.Spock will always live long and prosper and so will Leonard Nimoy.But at least we know now what the Shat is affraid of and thats the Nimoy. Pretty cool stuff. Now what would Leonard be affraid of. Gotta kinda wonder.

Interesting if old Spock doesn’t die in the movie. I’ve been thinking all along that he would, but it a way it does kind of ruin the future possibilities of Spock knowing he’s going to die later on. Everyone watching any future movie or tv show with Spock would just feel sorry for him knowing when and how he’d die. Creatively, it make make Spock a tragic figure in Star Trek lore, and he was never supposed to be tragic figure.

Does anyone think that in 250 years, Paramount will be making contemporary movies about a real Starfleet crew on a real Enterprise exploring the galaxy, actually filmed in space? Like a documentary, just like “Carrier” on PBS?

It could happen.

We are so fortunate to have this man bridging this new film for us. Thanks for the interview Anthony!

Thank for a great interview Anthony. I’m looking forward to seeing him chat with Bill onhis talk show.


You can’t be all that picky. You’ve called me your friend, from time to time.

Very enjoyable interview, AP. You know a guy like Nimoy, at this point, has been asked everything and heard it all about Star Trek. It must be satisfying to hear him tell you that something you mention or ask is the first he’s heard of it.

You know, I HATE spoilers, but I’m SOOOO glad that Leonard gave away the fact that Spock makes it through alright.

The world watched him die once… I’m glad we don’t have to do it again.

If Nimoy’s Spock is alive, they should use him again in a TNG movie.

14 – Iowagirl:

Have you been able to get your hands on a copy of Mind Meld? If not, get it as soon as you can! If you have it, then I think you’ll agree that its probably one of the best Trek-related videos ever made!

What you said about their careers and having a lot to say sparked my thoughts about this video. I found it on a table at a con, and it was probably one of the best purchases I’ve ever made at a con!

Two men, who have fueled so many imaginations for so long, just sitting back and talking, and the viewer being in on the conversation as if you were sitting at dinner with them is simply stunning.

Now, I gotta go back and watch that video!

20. Perhaps a better title might be “We Are Spock” (after which I can see “Resistance if futile”!)

32. Perhaps they could remake the ending of “Generations” and have Spock keep that damn bridge off the captain!

I’m impressed with this interview. Someone said it before me, but it is the best one that’s been done for this site. Good questions. Thanks.


Yes, RaveOnEd, I have a copy of that wonderful conversation, and it still fascinates me to listen to those two guys who gave us their portrayal of Kirk and Spock as a gift. I think it provides some truly touching moments. Enjoy!

One would think that going back to old Spock in a second movie with the new cast would be going back to the well one too many times.

Nice to see that the writers for this movie did not have the same urge as Braga and Moore to try to do something bold for the sake of doing something bold: Like killing off Kirk, and trashing the Enterprise D.

(And on a side note, I expect Ron Moore to kill of Adama and destroy the Galactica in BSG.)

DOWN WITH CREATION – UP WITH FAN RUN CONVENTIONS! Creation is a money hungry monster. It took over one convention that I went to, and it was absolutely LOUSY! You get your ticket for a seat, and you have to STAY in that seat or you LOSE IT! There are no panel discussions, you’re in ONE LARGE SPACE where you can barely even see the actors! And if you want to be able to see them you have to shell out an ARM and a LEG to do it for a “reserve seat.” Creation apparently had decided that VEGAS is the only place that can make them money. I HATE CREATION! They care nothing for the fans. All they care about is making money. They don’t care about the fans. I can’t afford to pay for a plane fare, hotel for several days, AND convention fees (what they charge) on top of everything else. Some people may think it’s worth it, but in truth, without panel discussions, being able to sit where I want, and have other forms of entertainment, just seeing the actors is not enough.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d LOVE to see Leonard Nimoy, but NOT at the prices where I would have to mortage my house to do it.

“I’ll have you checkmated…your next move.”

Thank you, Mr. Nimoy
Thank you, Mr. Pascale

“Leonard Nimoy: Oh you should never say never. I don’t have any reason to believe there is going to be more, and then again there is nothing that happens to me in this movie that would prevent me from doing more. It is not like the end of Spock necessarily. So I don’t know, we will see. ”

YES!!!! – Great to hear!

… the adventure continues…

I was thinking of the number of flies that will be on the wall when Bill and Leonard are having that private conversation… the two of them in a room, where all four walls are completely covered with flies…. and I will happily become one of those flies if that will allow me to be there when the conversation takes place!!! XD

I thought this is a great interview Anthony, its so refreshing when the questions are well thought. Thanks!

Nimoy’s comment that “there is nothing that happens in this movie that would prevent me from doing more” makes me wish that this would be the last scene of the new movie:

Spock (Nimoy version): My job here is done.
Spock (Quinto version): What do you mean? You didn’t do anything.
Spock (Nimoy version): [chuckles] Didn’t I?
[beams out]

(With apologies to The Simpsons),
Scott B. (beaming) out.

Thanks so much for the great interview, both parts. As a middle-aged guy who has loved Star Trek and Spock since I was a little boy, I’ve loved Leonard Nimoy as much as I would a favorite member of my family. He’s like a distant uncle you don’t really get to see much, but you admire him from afar.

I just regret the one time I got to meet him face-to-face, I was so stunned that I was actually with him that I froze and could only stammer out “what a great thrill it is to meet you.”

Ah, Leonardo
Mine ear is much enamored of thy note.
So is mine eye entralled to thy shape.
And thy fair virtue’s force perforce doth move me
On the view to say, to swear, I love thee.

LOVE the interview Anthony. Stupendous job.

It brings a little bit more light in my world, just to know, that Spock won’t die again.

Thank you, Mr. Nimoy for giving that away and for being such a wonderful Person over all these years.

I’d like to know why there wasn’t a special edition for the ST3 DVD. Supposedly, there were different takes, some of which showed on the network airing of the movie. Additionally, ILM did a different explosion of the Enterprise that got scrapped because it looked too much like the Death Star explosion in the previous year’s Return of the Jedi.

As such, there are lots of extras that were excluded that were not included in the DVD. Maybe when the HD DVD version comes out, these will be released..

I’m looking forward to that episode of Raw Nerve for sure. Mind Meld is one of my most prized possessions in regards to Star Trek.

So unless Nimoy is trying to fool us, which I don’t think is his style, Spock doesn’t die at the end of this movie as some of us thought as a possibility. J.J. probably wishes he didn’t say that, but at least we won’t have that on our minds the whole movie.