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