Simon Pegg (Star Trek’s new Scotty) is still out promoting his new film How to Lose Friends and Alienate People and still talking (a bit) about Trek. Pegg tells Conan O’Brien that while he pays tribute to the original Scotty, James Doohan, he doesn’t imitate him. And in that interview and many others, Pegg again shows off his geek cred.
Pegg – geek but not a nerd
On NBC’s Late Night With Conan O’Brien, Pegg’s segment started right off with questions about Simon’s six lightsabers and his custom Darth Vader helmet. Pegg said that he was ‘out and proud’ to be a geek, but not a ‘nerd.’ O’Brien asked a couple of questions about Trek here is what Pegg had to say.
About getting the role
I am genuinely a sci-fi geek, so to get that call from JJ [Abrams], which was literally just an email — I got off the plane and there was this thing ‘would you like to play Scotty?’ on my phone and I kind of fainted.
on how he will avoid seemingly like a parody of Doohan
I didn’t want to go and do an impression of James Doohan, because the guy created one of the most iconic characters in science fiction. The man is a legend and he deserves respect, so does the character. So I tried to approach it as if it was the first time it had ever been played. It is a tribute to him. And his son Chris was with me on the Enterprise – he was my assistant so I was able to chat with Chris about his experiences with his dad. .
on why he took the Scotty role [BBC]
BBC: You’re best known for comedies – is that why you took a role in Star Trek to show you have a more serious side?
Pegg: I’m not trying to prove anything to anybody – I do what I do because it makes me happy and if I read a script and I like it, or I get the chance to be in something as monumentally historic as Star Trek, then I’m going to do it.
I don’t do it because I think ‘what will people think of me?’. I wish it didn’t involve any of that. It would be nice if you got to make your film and give it to your mum on DVD.
But the choices I make are about if I think I’m going to enjoy it. My favourite thing about this job is shooting and being on set and the three or four months it takes to make the film – the second part I could do without!
on Nimoy and Doohan [AZCentral]
AZCentral: You’re in Star Trek. Were you a fan?
Pegg: I was a huge fan. Leonard Nimoy’s in it, everyone knows that; it’s strange to be in something with not just an actor you’ve known since you were a child but that character. You’re suddenly in the universe with the character that’s been through all that stuff.
AZCentral: You play Scotty. How did you approach that?
Pegg: I think you have to approach it from scratch. You can’t play James Doohan (who played the original Scotty). That would be disrespectful to James Doohan and the character. James Doohan, when he got that role, was given a specific character to play and he’d look to the character and he portrayed it from the ground up, he interpreted it. That’s what I have to do. I have too much respect for him as an actor to go and do an impression of Scotty. I have to think, “This is a Scottish astrophysicist who works on a spaceship.”
on Star Trek director JJ Abrams [Guardian]
Pegg: He’s an absolute fan of film and TV. He’s part of the generation who are now starting to take over Hollywood. They are the people that grew up with video – loving film and TV, renting it, recording it – and they are now controlling what’s being made. It’s basically the rise of the geeks.
More on his geekiness [Boston Globe]
A lifelong science fiction and comic book geek, Pegg says he’s “encyclopedic about certain things, but not to the point of, you know, of making costumes for myself.”
Upon the US release of “Shaun of the Dead,” Pegg, fellow “Dead” actor Nick Frost, and writer-director Edgar Wright – then mostly unknown in this country – promoted the movie at ComicCon and then spent several days shopping, seeing movies, “just hanging out – it was heaven.” (How much of a sci-fi geek is Pegg? He’ll happily interrupt discussion of his latest film to extol the virtues and flaws of the various “Star Trek” spinoffs – and the Borg babe Seven of Nine. One “Star Trek” he can’t discuss: “Star Trek XI,” the movie in which he plays engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott.)
…and even more geekiness from ‘Ten Things You Never Knew About Simon Pegg [Showbiz Spy]
8. Simon’s favourite TV show is Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which displaced The X Files as his top series. Better not tell his How To Lose Friends… co-star Gillian Anderson!
9. Simon says The Empire Strikes Back is his favourite film of all time because it’s the “darkest and coolest” of the Star Wars series. When The Phantom Menace was released in 1999, Simon jetted to the US just so he could see it early. That’s an expensive cinema ticket!
10. Even though he’s a big fan of the BBC’s Doctor Who, Simon has no interest in taking on Daleks when David Tennant quits the role. “I really love Doctor Who and I’d hate to have to sit down every Saturday night and have it be me,” he says.
UPDATE: Pegg and Dunst take Trivia Questions
Simon and his How To Lose Friends co-star Kristine Dunst (who was a guest star on TNG when she was a kid) were interviewed by MTV and even took a couple of Trek triva questions