Pegg: Star Trek Getting Back To What Made It Good

Simon Pegg is definitely the geek insider of the new crew for JJ Abrams Star Trek. of the bunch. Although others are fans, Pegg knows his franchises, just recently correcting the record on if the film is a ‘remake.’ In a new interview with our friends at Hardcore Nerdity, Pegg goes into more detail on his approach to Scotty and how the film works within Trek. 

 

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW  at the Hardcore Nerdity podcast

some select quotes

Pegg on taking on Scotty
Was he intimidated or is it just like taking on Hamlet?

James Doohan, he owns that role and he always will. He was an amazing, a brilliant character. Such a sort of layered and interesting guy…it is not like Hamlet, there has only been one Scotty, really. I thought the best thing I can do as a tribute to him was to approach it from scratch and try and figure out the same thing he did when he picked up a script for the first time. I didn’t want to do an impression of him as that would be disrespectful and also not only to James, but to the franchise and to the show, so like everyone, we got back to the roots of the character and we all did our portrayals like that. I think Zach Quinto as Spock, for him he obviously had to study Leonard Nimoy’s character just a little bit because he is such a specific character and also because Leonard is in the movie, so there has to be that similarity. But for the rest of us, we just took it from from the description of the character up.  

Trek optimism works today? + comments on production design
Does Pegg agree that Trek’s optimism didn’t work in the post 9/11 world…

I don’t know, I think it’s a shame if that’s the case, because I think that is what marked it out when it first started. Gene Roddenberry created this vision of an integrated universe–it was way ahead of its time. It had the first interracial kiss, on television, was on Star Trek. The very notion of — I love the fact that the engineer was Scottish, because Scotland has a history of incredibly innovative engineers. And he did paint this really clever future-verse. I think that to suggest that we can’t still get there is just kind of giving up. So, I hope that’s not the case.  Obviously, JJ [Abrams]’s Star Trek is going to have JJ’s stamp on it. It’ll be be contemporary, and gritty, but it’s very much Star Trek. The bridge was the bridge, it was incredible, but somehow it didn’t look like it was built in the ’60s. The production design was so cleverly pitched, in that it was completely credible, but still very much like you’d expect. It’s very clever.

Bringing back Trek + getting the details right
Will Star Trek revitalize the franchise like Casino Royale and Batman Begins?

I think it’s very much in that vein. It’s very much about getting back to what made it good in the first place. That’s what both those films have done, in Casino Royale and Batman Begins. They stripped it back down to the beginning and what appealed at the very conception. What happens with things that exist for a long time is they become augmented and gimmicky, and things change, and they kind of–they’re added to and added to–to try and make them better–and it ends up just toppling over under the weight of its own sort of self-parody. Whereas this is really getting back to it. I know there’s some consternation within the fan base, but they’re going to see new Star Trek with the original [characters]. I don’t know what’s not to be fucking excited about! I am, and I’m in it. And it’s in the hands of a person who really cares about it. We had advisors on set the whole time. If we needed to know what happened on a–if there was an away mission and only a certain amount of people went, then who carried the tricorder–we got it all from the people that really know. And JJ was absolutely at pains to make sure that it’s totally and utterly–and there’s a lot in it for the fan. There’s a lot of little ironies in there that you’ll pick up on if you know the series and you know the mythology. It’s going to be crackin’!

More from Pegg on Sean of the Dead and Trek at hardcorenerdity.com.


Pegg cleans up on some swag at an 02 Silver Clef Awards party
in London in July

 

 

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I’m excited for this movie!

“You know, at first I didn’t think I was going to like him.” – Odo

I love Pegg talking about the film. It’s always something positive.

“Och. T’be or not t’be. That be’s the question. The answer is always inflated by a factor of four t’help enhance ye reputation as a miracle worker!”

for the horde!!

dammit jim , im a doctor not an Orc

I really like this guy, he knows what he’s talking about.

It’s interesting to read what the actors are thinking and relate it to their first interviews about Star Trek.

I’ve purposefully avoided watching Pegg’s movies, or Quinto’s, or Cho’s, or Pine’s, and so on, with the hope I can watch the new Star Trek without picturing them in other roles. After I see the new Trek, I’ll probably go watch ’em in something else.

But I have to admit, Pegg’s the most impressive of ’em thus far. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to seeing him as Scotty.

if james doohan owns the role and always will then why attempt it? i still believe all these good intentions are destined to crash and burn.

you. can. not. recast. icons.

Sean Connery will always own Bond but that doesn’t mean other actors haven’t done a fine job with the role and made great 007 films.

I also remember in 1987 when people said the the Next Generation could never live up to the TOS.

#9
That’s. Your. Opinion.

10-I liked TNG, but it really did not live up to TOS in my humble opinion. What could? Then again there are those who hate TOS and love TNG. To each his/her own. Hope JJ gets this right.

#11—And one which has no basis in truth whatsoever.

#9

Yes.they.can.

See: Superman. Batman. James Bond. Battlestar Galactica. Bewitched [just the Darrins from the series, the movie was bad]. Lassie. The Griswold kids.Dumbledore- the list goes on and on…

The only thing you don’t mess with is Coca-Cola [see: Coke 2]

The more the new Trek actors tell us how good this film is going to be, the more I don’t believe them. Instead of posting these stupid interviews on trekmovie.com, why not just show us a real trailer! Come on JJ, let’s see it!

It’s not about the actors, it’s about the characters.

If the characters can be portrayed right and show a resemblance to the characters we already got to know this movie will work and then it doesn’t matter which actors play them. At least that’s my opinion… and I’m also aware that when the characters are supposed to be younger… they’ll not be exactly like the characters we got to know in TOS, because they’re still lacking some of the experiences that made them to who they are in the series. People change over time, it’s not any different for Kirk&co.

I’m mildly reassured, but I’m still waiting for them to SHOW US THE DAMN SHIP ALREADY!!

Ya know James Doohan lost a couple of fingers on D-day 1944..and he/Roddenberry avoided filming his hands all the time…just like JJ avoids
letting out any secrets about the plot of this movie…I can’t wait

Mr. Pegg does a lot to keep the faith. Glad to know there are people at work on this who truly love and respect TOS.

#8 …lighten up. They’re ACTORS for a reason. Hey, I’ve got an idea…see Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Pegg is totally different and very funny in those.

#12 – I agree. TOS is my personal favorite. But TNG did become a great show in its own right.

And I can remember the speculation at the time that Star Trek fans would never be able to accept a new crew.

I sure miss Doohan and Kelley. Such fine gentleman and it’s a shame they didn’t get to see Trek live on.

And I think they ought to let Pegg do the talking from now on…this is the best comment I’ve heard so far:

“It’s very much about getting back to what made it good in the first place. That’s what both those films have done, in Casino Royale and Batman Begins. They stripped it back down to the beginning and what appealed at the very conception. What happens with things that exist for a long time is they become augmented and gimmicky, and things change, and they kind of–they’re added to and added to–to try and make them better–and it ends up just toppling over under the weight of its own sort of self-parody.”

#22—-That bit was great, but this part really made me smile:

“I know there’s some consternation within the fan base, but they’re going to see new Star Trek with the original [characters]. I don’t know what’s not to be f***ng excited about! I am, and I’m in it. And it’s in the hands of a person who really cares about it. We had advisors on set the whole time. If we needed to know what happened on a–if there was an away mission and only a certain amount of people went, then who carried the tricorder–we got it all from the people that really know. And JJ was absolutely at pains to make sure that it’s totally and utterly–and there’s a lot in it for the fan. There’s a lot of little ironies in there that you’ll pick up on if you know the series and you know the mythology. It’s going to be crackin’! “

Although I hope they don’t say “away team” instead of “landing party”.

>.That bit was great, but this part really made me smile:

Yup. I like the “going to be crackin” line but then I like Pegg’s sense of humor in general. Course “consternation” might be the PC way of putting it. Hee!

This movie needs to be totally accessible for the average movie-goer but it would be nice if it’s got some goodies for die-hards like me.

#9- Recasing roles sucessfuly has happend and will happen with Star Trek! #14 I aggre with everything you have said on this post….an #23 I agree.

“The bridge was the bridge, it was incredible, but somehow it didn’t look like it was built in the ’60s. The production design was so cleverly pitched, in that it was completely credible, but still very much like you’d expect. It’s very clever. ”

WOW!

Sounds like it’s gonna be the same basic design, just with a good amount o’ tweaks in all the right places!

EXCELLENT!

#25–“This movie needs to be totally accessible for the average movie-goer but it would be nice if it’s got some goodies for die-hards like us”.

I can’t imagine that (being written by fans,especially) it would not, and Pegg seems to confirm that with those comments. And you are right…he should be out in front doing quite a bit of the talking (at least when the “talking” is being aimed at geeks and Trekfans).

There are going to be two or three very different marketing strategies, IMO:

1) aimed at established fans to comfort them over their fears

2) aimed at dispelling decades of preconceived notions about Trek on the part of average moviegoers

3) aimed at enticing young movigoers with the promise of special effects and action sequences beyond what they have seen before

Of all the articles and interviews I’ve read re: this movie this is the first one that genuinely excited me.

Doubters doubt all you want. Something special is going to happen next May.

Can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait…..

#10

George Lazenby and Daniel Craig were better.

9. Decious

You convinced yourself. Don’t like the thought of it, don’t see it. Simple.

Wake up. Bad day. Come home. Check trekmovie.com.
“Another Pegg… hmmm….” (reads article)
“Oh yeah… thats why the world doesn’t suck! Star Trek is coming out in seven months!”

I think I need a life…

When I read Mr. Pegg’s remark “They stripped it back down to the beginning and what appealed at the very conception,” it made me think of how much Star Trek had really changed over the years. There was certainly NOTHING in the first Star Trek films that looked like the series — the ship changed a little, the bridge changed quite a bit, the uniforms were entirely different, even the actors were looking more “grown up.” There are some people who are worried about JJ and Company doing anything to change Star Trek, yet, if we look at TOS thru ENT, you might wonder how the name Star Trek remained on it. I think this “back to the egg” idea is the best thing that could happen to Star Trek.

I’m simply curious as to how it all works in the end.

What I’ve seen/heard so far looks good.

34.
I agree. With every subsequent series, Trek moved a little further away from its’ core values, and became endlessly repetitive. This sort of “back-to-basics” approach with a new creative team is what Trek has sorely needed for so long.

# 14. (Bob Tompkins).

LOL! That’s great!

#36—“This sort of “back-to-basics” approach with a new creative team is what Trek has sorely needed for so long”

Without a doubt.

“James Doohan, he owns that role and he always will.”

Pegg is shaping up to be my fav. person, in regards to his honoring of the original, in all of his comments, he actually has reverence for the old guys unlike some of the others….. But, he still looks nothing like James Doohan (take that you anti Nemesis/Picard doesnt look like Shinzon people! LOL!) But, Pegg along with Quinto, I am hoping will get some notice because of the movie. But, I wish Pegg would come to a convention, because, Quinto, no matter how well intentioned is a very boring public speaker, which makes a perfect Vulcan but, not a good speaker for a convention.

27. “Sounds like it’s gonna be the same basic design, just with a good amount o’ tweaks in all the right places!”

The tweaks must be metal, plastic, and fiberglass materials, PCs/Macs, and digital monitors. And the movie might show the bridge doing things involving force fields and nanotechnology – for example, a control panel reconfiguring itself or the chairs conforming to the bodies of people sitting on them.

#36 “Trek moved a little further away from its’ core values, and became endlessly repetitive”

Totally agreed. You can have very talented directors and writers (Moore and so on), but in the long run, things have to change to find some fresh air. Trek had become old and repetitive and Enterprise, despite some good ideas, suffered (maybe unfairly) from the inevitable, natural death.
Trek was no more, so we have to thank Abrams for at least trying to revive it.
A TOS movie, with a “back to the roots” approach is (imo) the best thing to do: no useless heavy reference to thousands of races, empires, events, characters and son. Just some fresh, plain Star Trek.

40. “And the movie might show the bridge doing things involving force fields and nanotechnology – for example, a control panel reconfiguring itself or the chairs conforming to the bodies of people sitting on them.”

That is, the movie might retcon that the bridge props which seemed static in TOS were actually always dynamic – sort of like the exterior of the TARDIS.

42. “That is, the movie might retcon that the bridge props which seemed static in TOS were actually always dynamic – sort of like the exterior of the TARDIS.”

For those who do not follow the BBC TV show Dr Who, the TARDIS is the spacetimeship of the show’s main character, the Doctor. Because of a faulty Chameleon Circuit, the exterior of the TARDIS is stuck in the form of a London police call box from the 1960s.

Pegg is, I think, the best overall spokesman this movie has. They need to keep this guy front and center when the time comes for the real public attention.

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Away team!!!! what the….

Simon Pegg is a class act. JJ is lucky to have Simons geek cred front and centre. And I can’t wait to see all the wonderful and eciting changes that are being brought to the world of Star Trek!!!!

I love these Pegg interviews. He talks plain!

Star Trek has simply shown the natural life cycle of all such ideas. The show starts off with the characters already established, then moves on to those characters getting older. Inevitably a new scenario has to be created when they get too old – prequel, reboot or Children of Trek – so we get a future generation of characters to follow*. Eventually the second generation wears out so the list of options comes back again – prequel, reboot or Children of TNG. Another generation in the future is straying too far from the source, so we get a prequel**. When the prequel is done and dusted, what do you do? You’ve built up so much complex continuty, a reboot is really the only logical option. We’ve seen it happen in novels, movies, comics and TV shows and now Star Trek, having played out every possible option, is going back to basics. With luck, even though there’s going to be an in-continuty expanation for any deviations, TOS, the movies, TNG and its counterparts will be seen as a self-contained continuity and the new Star Trek will lead to a slightly different, alternate future with its own next generations until the cycle goes full circle again! (*although normally you would expect a genuine ‘Next Generation’ to have included characters such as Saavik on the Enterprise-A a few years down the line, so all the original characters could still appear, older, once in a while!) (** The prequel suffers though, because the guy… Read more »

“We had advisors on set the whole time. If we needed to know what happened on a–if there was an away mission and only a certain amount of people went, then who carried the tricorder–we got it all from the people that really know.”

I also hope those experts made sure those away missions were carried out by a landing party and not an away team! The wrong terminology will invoke the wrong feeling, and yes it is all about how it feels as TNG does feel 100% different than TOS. Everything else Pegg mentions, about Trek needing to get back to the basics of TOS, how this recasting is NOT like Hamlet and how the aestetics like the bridge is still the bridge,just tweaked is right on the money. All in all, very encouraging stuff.

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